These shops keep the holiday spirit with you a good portion of the year.
Sure, we may groan and shake our heads when we start seeing holiday decorations in stores way before the season officially begins. Yet in Christmas shops, that feeling comes off more as being quite merry. And, the joy lasts much longer at these businesses, which keep their doors open a bit before and after December. Get festive faster by picking up a stocking, an ornament, a present or more at these Christmas stores across the U.S. bringing tidings of good cheer ahead of and/or after December 25.
The Pink Sleigh
WHERE: Westbrook, Connecticut
Founded by 1963, this Christmas shop is housed inside a mid-19th century New England barn that gives off the first impression of being Santa’s workshop on the outside but more draws inspiration from European Christmas markets indoors. The upper level of this two-floor shop contains a 12-foot-tree as its centerpiece and is shaped in a circular pattern overlooking the lower level. The latter area holds trees of various furnished themes–think birds, sports, cats, dogs, nautical, and travel–placed along a walkway. And the store merchandise is just as diverse. Find European and Old World glass ornaments, German nutcrackers, Fontanini Nativity sets, or Russian nesting dolls. Then there are common figures such as Santa Claus and snowmen, along with tree-trimming décor (garland, ribbons and tree toppers).
The Christmas House
WHERE: Elmira, New York
Inside a “Painted Lady” Queen Anne Victorian Mansion, this store was opened by Elaine and Tony DiBiase in September 1983 and sold a decade later to Julie and Mark Delgrosso, who continue to operate it to this day. Its best-sellers include ornaments relating to family traditions, as a nod to the multi-generations that come here; their sales can involve an annual decoration that’s engraved or commemorating a holiday first or a new addition to a village display. Along with traveling far and wide to find items to stock in their store, the Delgrossos also have products representative of Mark Twain County. Find a gourmet food tasting section that encourages sampling specialty dips, brownie mixes, salsas, and jellies. The house is also bright in its own right, with a 1934 Chevy Coupe as a lawn ornament, and as one of the most photographed buildings with its New York State region. Originally built for lumber baron Justus Harris, the mansion became the residence for Elmira Mayor Daniel Sheehan and then housed young men belonging to the National Youth Administration, one of FDR’s New Deal programs, and later on, was divided into apartments with a beauty shop on the first floor.
WHERE: Arlington, Texas
Started in 1989 in the living room of David and Kathy Hanson, this 60,000-square-foot showroom utilizes every inch of space in serving as a one-stop-shop for Christmas decorating needs. The eye-catching aspect of this space is its centerpiece: a 1951 Chevy truck with Santa in the driver’s seat and a tree in its bed. A red barn completes a Christmas tree farm display while an oversized hot coco booth provides photo ops. Life-size Nativity scenes, over 130 styles of pre-lit Christmas trees, and 10-foot handblown glass chandeliers are just as easily noticeable. A recently-opened Dasher Pie Company, a Christmas themed coffee and pie shop, provides a cozy spot by a fireplace and in front of a Christmas tree for watching Hallmark Channel movies. Having the largest selection of fall and Christmas decor in the state of Texas, the store has over 40 themes and displays that change from year to year. They also teach their customers a thing or two about DIY holiday home décor, in offering decorating classes several times a year and posting tutorials on their YouTube channel.
Käthe Wohlfahrt of America
WHERE: Stillwater, Minnesota
Forty miles from the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, this year-round store is the only North American location of this German Christmas décor company. Carrying approximately 3,500 products throughout the year, its inventory encompasses Bavarian and German gift ideas and traditional holiday trimmings. Among its bestsellers, the Christmas Pickle is based on a German custom in which this cucumber-looking ornament would always be the last one to be placed on a Christmas Tree. And it would be hung up in a way that it wasn’t easy to spot, so that when children saw the tree for the first time, whoever initially found the pickle would get an early gift from St. Nicholas for being the most observant. Also each holiday season, this U.S. branch brings its handcrafted Christmas collections to nine seasonal Christmas markets across the country.
WHERE: Solvang, California
Founded by his parents, Dwight and Clare Watts, in June 1967, son David Watts and his wife, Lauren, now run this family Christmas store that fits right in with the Danish village of Solvang. Originally his folks purchased and ran a store that sold pottery, but then they started to place Christmas ornaments in the store. The decision to do so was also Solvang’s Danish residents enjoyed liked to see Christmas ornaments in stores and they sold well. Within a few years to These days, most of the store’s interior is furnished in a 17th-century Danish décor; such as some of the shelving made by Ferd Sorensen, a designer and architect, who is considered to the “father of Solvang” who was knighted by Denmark’s Queen Margrethe. With its name meaning “Christmas House” in Danish, this Old-World store carries glass-blown ornaments, Nativity sets, and handcrafted pieces with an emphasis on Scandinavian customs.
North Pole City
WHERE: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Interestingly enough, David and Darra Green opened this Christmas store in Oklahoma City in 1988 as a way to supplement income for their ceiling fan business. They thought that a topnotch Christmas store would be the right fit. While open for only five to six months out of the year, the Greens use the full calendar year for buying trips in January and visiting Christmas markets in Europe, restructuring their store in March and employing about 10 full-time craftsmen to make impressive story displays. As for trees, the store showcases traditional styles adorned with Santa, gingerbread, and snowmen; there are also large and equally impressive Nativity sets. Garlands and wreaths align the walls. Children can find something of interest to them in the store that goes beyond décor–they can go for a ride aboard the North Pole City Express, a magical train ride through what’s known as the Kris Kringle Kaverns.
Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland
WHERE: Frankenmuth, Michigan
Wally Bronner was nicknamed “Mr. Christmas,” and Christmas would become the focus of the store that he founded in Michigan’s “Little Bavaria.” Originally established a sign painting business after graduating from high school, Bronner would find that half of his sign shop orders focused on creating Christmas decorations. Over time, his business would be bustling in size, going from having a single storefront to multiple expansions; in the seventies, Bronner decided to focus on Christmas full time. Now referred to as “The World’s Largest Christmas Store,” Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland has over 50,000 trimmings and gifts, with a selection of décor celebrating Christ’s birth alongside secular items. The décor includes everything from top-selling personalized ornaments and Santa Claus attire, to garlands, advent calendars, Snowbabies, Jim Shore and Precious Moments figurines. The property also has a Silent Night Chapel, a 56-foot-replica of the chapel in Oberndorf, Austria, where Silent Night was first sung on Christmas Eve in 1818.
The Shop — A Christmas Store
WHERE: Santa Fe, New Mexico
A half-block away from the Santa Fe Plaza, this Christmas store puts the “local” in Christmas, in that it carries a good amount of Christmas ornaments made by New Mexican artists. They’re made from materials such as clay, metal, wood, glass, plant or even paper. There’s potter Jil Gurulé, who is noted for her hand-sculpted and hand-painted earthenware depicting the state’s historical figures and traditional pueblo architecture; consider her hand-painted Red Chile ornament. Or folk artist Larry Jacquez, who carves angels from driftwood found in New Mexico’s Rio Grande. Local crafters also come into the store to demonstrate their work at times. The shop also carries Nativity sets and traditional and modern ornaments from leading designers, and from the day after Thanksgiving through the end of year, customers can get a serving of cookies and hot cider. While The Shop opened in 1977, its current owners have worked there since 1983 and purchased it in 2002.
Santa Claus House
WHERE: North Pole, Alaska
For this list, this Christmas store and its classic location in interior Alaska couldn’t be more fitting. Founded in 1952, the store first served as a place for getting groceries and supplies but over time became the source for Christmas ornaments and attractions. Along with having a decoration store, Santa Claus House showcases a three-dimensional Santa Claus statue, a letter from Santa ordering program, and a next-door Antler Academy (of Flying & Reindeer Games) for meeting Santa’s sleigh pulling team.
The Incredible Christmas Place
WHERE: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Billed as the American South’s largest Christmas store, this over 43,000-square-foot wonderland at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains opened as a small family business by Hursel and Marian Biggs in 1986. Today’s it’s a year-round enchanting village unto itself. Along with decorated and themed Christmas trees, ranging from “Under The Mistletoe” to “Silent Night,” the product selection at this epicenter encompasses ribbons, lights, gift ideas, and holiday collectibles such as Department 56 villages and Christopher Radko ornaments. A chance to meet Santa Claus is also available, as he comes to visit here year and hangs around his Santa’s Haus. You can also sit in on Santa’s Storytime session, take up the fun activity of cookie decorating, and try the monthly fudge flavor from Mrs. Claus Candy Kitchen (or all three!). In 2020, the store will be receiving a gift–the planned opening of a second location in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.