Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chritsmas Is August?

I know... school hasn't even started for us yet and here I am talking about Christmas. But you'd have to know me (and especially my hubby) to really understand. We LOVE Christmas. We watch Christmas movies and listen to Christmas music all year round. We got married four days before Christmas, and we love using our special anniversary night out together every year to do things like finish stocking shopping and looking at holiday lights.

We keep our few Christmas village pieces up all year round and light them up each night. We also have kept a lighted garland up this past year as well.

The boys are into it too. Aaron a little more so than Noah.

About two hours northeast of here is the small city of Frankenmuth, Michigan. It's "touristy" downtown area has a German themed feel to it and it is home to several famous landmarks such as Zehnder's Famous Chicken and Bavarian Inn (which has five indoor water slides). We have never been to either of those landmarks due to the high prices. Nearby is also a very large outlet mall area named Birch Run.

But the draw for us has always been another landmark. Bronner's CHRISTmas store. The world's largest CHRISTmas store. Nope, this isn't an advertisement of any sort. Just a fun trip that we have made a few times over the years. People I know either love this place, or detest it. I can absolutely see reasons for both viewpoints.

We love it.

Steve and I used to go each year back before kids but we haven't gone since Aaron was a tiny baby (over four years now) so since Steve took a few vacation days last week for a much needed break, we decided to make a day trip to Frankenmuth.

I didn't have real high hopes. Take two young boys, both of who hate shopping, take them into a store the size of two football fields FILLED with breakable stuff, and expect them to be happy about it, especially after two hours in the car to get there.

Guess what?

It was one of the most fun visits we have ever had there. Perhaps because I had lower expectations, I'm not sure.

Aaron was hooked the minute we walked in and he looked up to see a huge Santa greeting us.

I knew we were going to end up having to get a souvenir of some sort and within the first five minutes of entering, Noah picked out a new best friend. Monk Monk jumped into his arms and never left his side. As a matter of fact, it has actually rarely left his side ever since.

I don't mind getting him buddies every so often, because he really does LOVE every single one of them.

One of the things I thought was so neat about this visit was that as an adult, we are always so focused on looking at the things for sale right in front of us.

The boys look at things differently. They kept looking UP. And what we discovered when we stopped and looked UP was a whole world of decorations and lights and neat displays that we had never noticed in the fifteen years that we had been going.

The boys had fun walking through the nativity sets and seeing how many different kinds there were and imagining which pieces we should get for some of our sets. Noah was excited to see the entire display dedicated to Noah's Ark.

After about an hour (can you believe it?) we stopped into the little snack shop for an ice cream and pretzel treat and then we were off again.

We went into a room where they show movies about the site and different things in it. We learned about the Silent Night Chapel in Austria where the hymn was first written and sung. Wally Bronner traveled to Austria to get permission to make an exact replica on this property in Frankenmuth. Very cool.

Aaron also loved the dancing Santa on display. He figured out exactly the moves the Santa was doing and imitated them to a tee. I wish I had thought to video tape it.

They both also stopped to talk to Santa on the phone.

You will notice when I wrote the name, I wrote it as CHRISTmas. That is how the creator of this store designed it and it really does show when you are walking through the store.

Almost two and half hours later, we were finally on our way. We drove through the tourist downtown area but decided instead that it had been a full day and decided (after a few quick visits to some stores at the outlets) to grab dinner and head home.

The funny things was, the next night as we were thinking about doing movie night, what movie should some on TV but Tim Allen's The Santa Clause, which became our family movie that night.

So as we are preparing to send the boys back to school next week, I am already in the throes of preparing Christmas music for church and have started the gift purchasing process.

But when I lay down in the living room each night in the dark watching TV, I am not thinking about all of the commercial stuff. I just love to just sit and look at the lights and that is when I get so excited for the season to start. Although, how can something start, when for us, it really never ended in the first place?

Have a great Thursday.


Debbie Yost said...

It does look like a fun place, but I'm really just not ready to think about it yet! I haven't even gotten ready for Halloween.

bethn said...

I love Bronner's. It's been forever since I've been there though. It sounds like a great day. I'm glad you all had fun. ALthough, I have to admit I'm with Debbie, I'm not quite ready to think about Christmas yet.

Courtney said...

I am so glad you shared this post. I get caught up in the commercialism of the holiday and dread it every year. Maybe it'll be different this year, thanks to your post.