In the midst of school and party preparations this past week I never got around to posting pictures of our visit to the world’s largest Christmas store. Last week as we prepared to drive home after our family trip to the UP of Michigan my sister suggested we stop in Frankenmuth, MI to see Bronner’s Christmas store. She pointed out that it was a good halfway point to let the kids get out and stretch their legs as well as being a place that “you just had to see.” Since it was only a few minutes off the beaten path we decided to check it out. As we entered Frankenmuth, the town where it resides, we felt like we had been transported to a German village. The town was charming. I wish we had been able to explore more of it. On the far side of the town sat Bronner’s. You could tell it was a Christmas store from the moment you saw it. The “yard” of that enormous building was filled with hundreds of large outdoor Christmas displays. It would have been neat to see at night all lit up!
We parked, climbed out of the car, and with a lot of moaning and groaning stretched the kinks out of our cramped bodies. As we approached the store the first thing we saw was a sign with distances of different cities around the world. The kids enjoyed reading how far they were from places like Disneyland and Paris, France.
When we stepped inside we were instantly hit with a cloud of Christmas cheer..the carols were playing, the smell of cinnamon and fir filled our noses and everywhere we looked were the sights of Christmas. The building was filled with stockings, nativity sets, trains, and ornaments galore. I have never seen so many ornaments. Upon entering we were given a map to the store. On the map the ornaments are broken up into categories so if you are looking for an ornament that has to do with fishing you can easily find your way to that section of the store.
One Christmas tradition we have enjoyed from the time Gracie was a baby is an ornament exchange. Every year Toby and I go shopping and pick out an ornament for each of the kids that represent something they did or accomplished that year. I also buy for Toby and he buys for me. Then on December 23rd before we head to our family’s homes we exchange them. It is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. We started this tradition so that when our children leave home they will have 18-20 ornaments to start their own tree as well as sweet memories of their years at home that they can look back on.
When we entered Bronner’s we decided to handle our tradition a little differently this year. Rather than pick out the kids’ ornaments we decided to let them search for their ornament..something that represented them. Toby and I decided to still pick out each others. The kids had a blast walking around the store trying to pick from the thousands of choices.
They eventually made their selections..
Gracie picked a stack of books to represent her new love of reading and the obstacles she has overcome with her dyslexia. Molly picked a beautiful hand blown glass jelly fish to represent her time at the beach this summer. Rusty picked an English Bulldog ornament to represent Winnie and his love of dogs and Tyler picked a glass ball with a fishing fly suspended in the middle to represent his love of fishing and our family trip to the UP.
We made one last stop in the personalization room to have a family ornament personalized for our new 6 person family and then headed for the checkout to buy the ornaments that will then be tucked away and hid until December 23rd.
As we were leaving we stopped at the Santa booth where the kids all called the North Pole for a visit with Santa.
It was a fun detour on our way home and well worth the stop. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!