Christmas Towns: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Santa Claus, Indiana

Bethlehem, PennysylvanniaSome American towns have a special Christmas magic created by their name and unique Christmas attractions and celebrations. Today, we'll look at two of them.

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Bethlehem, a picturesque Pennsylvania city on the Delaware River, is in an area that was the historic home of the Lenape First Nation people. During the 18th century, it became a Moravian settlement  and was renamed Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, 1741.

The small Allentown Bethlehem Easton Airport is the closest airport, but many visitors fly into Philadelphia International Airport, which is just 1 hour and 20 minutes away. 

Bethlehem is known for its Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, the Christmas Stroll that tours historical Bethlehem, fireworks, ice carving demos and the Bethlehem by Night Bus Tour. Guides wear Moravian period dress.

Heritage event venues include the Burnside Plantation 's Farm in the City, dating back to the 1740s and the Kemerer Museum of Decorative Arts showcasing 19th-century photos. A charity holiday dinner and auction on December 1 ushers in the Advent season.

Where to Stay: The historical Hotel Bethlehem has 128 rooms and 11 meeting rooms. Other hotels include the 300 room Sand Casino Resort and, for small groups, Sayre Mansion, an inn with a capacity of 22 and 1 meeting room

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, IndianaOn Christmas Eve, 1852, Santa Claus, Indiana received its name; however, the special Christmas attractions date back to 1933, when a former lawyer purchased land, built a gift shop with medieval accents and began to manufacture decorative sleighs. The rest is history. 

Toy manufacturers soon joined him, and the Curtiss Candy Company opened a store. Santa Claus Land theme park, which has been re-named Holiday World opened in 1946. There is a year-round Santa Claus Museum and a Santa Claus Christmas Store.

Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport is the closest large airport to Santa Claus.

Places to Stay: With Christmas decor all year, Santa's Lodge has 170 rooms and, for events, Celebration Room with a capacity of 375 as well as decks and a gazebo by the lake.

For another American town with special Christmas celebrations read about Celebration, Florida.

Photo Credits: Lehigh Valley, PA, millr

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