In Amish country they have a National Christmas Center. It was a rainy afternoon and it seemed like a good idea to spend the day somewhere Oz could run around. When we arrived it was all but empty and we raised our eyebrows at the cost (it was something like $10 per person) but thought "what the hell? what else are we going to do today?"So we paid our admission and began.
The Center begins with the story of Yes, Virginia (which yeah, I got a little teary eyed!) and then sets off to tell you about all the different Christmas traditions and interpretations of Santa around the world. Then you proceed and see some wonderful Santas and ornaments.
There is a Santa's workshop full of toys and elves and at the end of the room is Santa's chair. I can only imagine the line up at Christmas when Santa is actually sat there.
Then there is a very "interesting" bit where it's a Christmastime story told thru a village of animatronic animals being very festive. Oz loved this whole section and spent a lot of time waving at all the animals. However, he did not like any animals actually being on eye level with himself and would dash away. It was cuteness overload.
The center ends with a nativity walk through where you would have retraced the steps of Mary and Joseph. Past that there is a whole room full of miniature nativities from around the world. My favorites were the African and Asian ones.
So it was a great visit. The gift shop was tiny, but we did buy a pickle for our Christmas tree.
It's odd visiting something like this. Either people will love it or hate it. Griff and I are unabashed Christmas fans. We love the decorations, traditions, shopping, music...all of it and we go all out every year. (If you asked Griff what his favorite type of music is, he will answer "Christmas music". He's very Scrooge in that he is the type of guy that keeps Christmas all year). So if you are a cynical anti-Christmas "it's soooooo commercial" type of person I wouldn't recommend it. I doubt it would thaw your tiny frozen heart.
We had an awesome time there and I was happy it was pretty much empty. It meant we could take our time and enjoy. We will definitely return.