Tag Archives: Christmas

Cut-your-own Christmas Tree

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner, time to break out the tinsel and start whistling Jingle Bells while you work. With so many things to do and places to be during the holiday season, it is nice to take a day to enjoy time with your family and slow down for a while.

We suggest a family outing to cut your own Christmas tree! It makes for a day of old-fashioned fun filled with fresh-air and lots of hot-cocoa to warm up. You don’t have to be a lumberjack to cut down your own tree, often tree farms are willing to help you with the cutting and tying down of your tree – all you have to do is seek out the perfect pine.

We have complied a list of several places around the county where you can cut your own trees. Take a look and plan a day to find the Fraser fir that fits your family’s home.

Abe’s Tree Farm
2305 Butter Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601
Friday: 12– 5 PM
Saturday: 8 AM – 5 PM
Sunday: 12 PM – 5 PM

Bowser’s Christmas Tree Farm
551 Stauffer Rd., Lititz, PA 17543
Monday-Saturday: 10 AM – 5 PM
Sunday: 1-5 PM

Country Barn Farm Market
211 Donerville Rd., Lancaster, PA 17603
Saturdays (Nov. 28- Dec. 19): 11 AM – 5 PM; Market open 9 AM – 6 PM

Elizabeth Farms
262 Homeland Rd., Lititz, PA 17543
Saturdays and Sundays: 9 AM- 5 PM
Tuesday – Friday: 1 PM – 5 PM
Closed on Monday

Heritage Tree Farm
142 Church Rd., Lititz, PA 17543
Fridays 12- 7 PM
Saturdays 9 AM – 4 PM
Horse-drawn wagon rides 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM on Saturdays

Hunt’s Christmas Trees
465 Stehman Church Rd., Milersville, PA 17551
Thanksgiving Day – December 23rd
Sunday- Friday: 12 – 5 PM
Saturday: 8 AM – 5 PM
Other hours by appointment

Log Cabin Trees & Trim
252 Hideaway Dr., Quarryville, PA 17566
717-786-4003
Monday – Saturday: 10 AM- Dusk
Sunday: 1 PM – Dusk

Stauffers of Kissel Hill
120 W. Airport Rd., Lititz, PA
Monday – Friday: 8 AM – 8 PM
Saturday: 8 AM – 6 PM
Sunday: 9 AM – 5 PM

Source: “Where to cut your own Christmas Tree in Lancaster County,” lancasteronline.com, Nov. 2015

Recipes to Inspire Your Holiday Baking

It’s the holiday season, and whether you’re baking cookies for a cookie swap or for your family to enjoy, we’re sharing some Amish and Mennonite-inspired cookie recipes to add to your recipe box.

From the seasonal favorite, sand tarts, to the unique Amish cookies, we hope that you’ll find a tasty treat or even a new Christmas tradition!

cookies1 cookies2 cookies3

Recipes from: Good, Phyllis Pellman, and Rachel T. Pellman. From Amish and Mennonite Kitchens. Intercourse, PA: Good, 1984. Print.

Ten Things to Do in November in Lancaster

November embraces fall fun in Lancaster, but also marks to beginning of the holiday celebration. Whether you’re ready to get into the holiday spirit or are still holding on to the excitement of fall, there are plenty of events for you this month in Lancaster!

Gifts Galore:

Start your holiday shopping or find the perfect memento of your visit.

If pottery is what you please, Eldreth Pottery’s 29th Annual Christmas Open House, November 11 through 13, is the event for you. Featuring a great selection of handmade pottery and unique items, this is a wonderful opportunity to find gifts for loved ones or even an addition to your own home décor.

The Artisan Fair at Spooky Nook Sports builds on the tradition of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsman, and features crafts and fine art from 80 local and national fine artists and craftspeople. November 12 and 13, the artists gather under one roof to display functional pottery, handmade jewelry, designer clothing, glass art, and more!

For one-of-a-kind Christmas items from local artists and craftspeople, be sure to visit Landis Valley Museum Store’s Holiday Open House on November 19 and 20. Browse items including Belsnickels, ornaments, Pennsylvania German paper stars, books, and more! Visitors can also learn how to make paper stars or punch a tin ornament.

Give Thanks:

Before sitting down to a delicious and filling Thanksgiving meal, take a spin around the county on a scooter or scoot coupe with Strasburg Scooters. Their Thanksgiving Day Tour takes place at 9:00 AM, and is a great way to experience the country side before a hearty family supper.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with family over a delicious meal in Lititz. At the General Sutter Inn, guests can enjoy either the Thanksgiving Buffet or Ala Carte menu featuring turkey, beef and seafood in Inn’s elegant dining room. Call ahead to guarantee your place at the table.

Enjoy a comforting meal with family without the hassle and dirty dishes. Lancaster DoubleTree’s Thanksgiving Feast features carved beef and ham, turkey, seafood, traditional sides, and scrumptious desserts. Reservations are required, so be sure to call ahead!

A Dash of Holiday Spirit:

The holiday season is right around the corner, and many theaters begin their winter-themed shows this month. From musicals to heartwarming holiday cheer, you’re sure to leave the theater humming a tune and ready for snow.

American Music Theatre presents The 2016 Christmas Show: Winter Wonderland, November 7 through December 31, for a feel-good holiday event that celebrates music, magic, and the meaning of Christmas.

A hilarious look at family tradition, holiday expectations, and the real meaning of Christmas, Our Christmas Dinner shines on the Bird-in-Hand Stage from November 11 to December 31.

Holly Jolly Christmas lights up the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre stage, November 17 through December 31, featuring dancing, holiday favorites, and a visit from the big guy in red!

Rainbow’s Comedy Playhouse presents Green Holly & Gray Potatoes, a Christmas comedy filled with family antics, now through December 28.

So whether you’re enjoying the final moments and events of fall or getting in the holiday spirit, there’s plenty to do in Lancaster. For a complete list of events, visit our complete online events calendar.

Do the Amish celebrate Christmas?

Yes, the Amish celebrate Christmas!

They observe Christmas as a sacred holiday with simplicity and tradition. While some are influenced by the traditions of their English friends, many do not get caught up in the modern-day commercialism as we experience it. Most don’t include Santa Claus, electric lights, flashy tinsel, fancy wrapping paper, or Christmas trees. Rather, they focus on the reason for the holiday– Jesus’ birth.

Because Christmas is so important in the Amish community, it is celebrated for two days. On December 25, they fast, meditate, and read Scripture; on December 26, or “Second Christmas,” they celebrate with family and friends with festive gatherings, great feasts, and gift-giving.

Because the Pennsylvania Amish have been greatly influenced by German Christmas traditions, they often decorate by lighting candles and hanging stars, angels, greenery, and holiday cards. Most families exchange gifts and usually pick names out of a hat so each person receives one gift each year. Gifts are not always of the old-fashioned handmade variety. Sometimes they give gifts such as Barbie dolls (dressed Amish), board games, and toy tractors. In addition, homemade cookies, candy, and stamped Christmas cards are very popular. Often Amish owned stores sell these homemade items.

At the Amish schoolhouse, a Christmas program is usually planned and is one of the most anticipated events of the year. The Amish community enjoys watching the children sing, read poems, and perform Christmas plays.

And, when it happens to snow, the children enjoy playing outside. They race down the hills on their sleds, ice skate, play ice hockey, and of course, have snowball fights and snowman building competitions.

While we, the English, enjoy our traditions at Christmas, the Amish, too, will be enjoying their holiday traditions, but always with Jesus at the center of their celebration.

To learn more about how the Amish celebrate Christmas, listen to Ada’s story.

Get in the holiday spirit with American Music Theatre

The first time I visited American Music Theatre (AMT), it was love at first sight. I was so impressed with the gorgeous lobby, the elegant bathrooms (yes, the bathrooms are really elegant), and the staff in tuxedos, I told myself I had to work there. Five months later, I was fortunate enough to land a position as a member of their management team.

I had the privilege of working at this world-class theater for over two years, during which time I discovered AMT is much more than just a “pretty face.” In addition to the beauty and comfort of this state-of-the-art, 1600-seat theater, the shows they produce are of unparalleled quality. Besides hosting celebrity concerts such as Frankie Valli, Vince Gill, Foreigner, and more, they also write, choreograph and produce their own Original Shows, the most popular of which is the annual Christmas Show.

The 2013 show theme was “The First Noel.” While every year the show has a different storyline, they all have several things in common: top-calibre vocalists and musicians, talented dancers, and beautiful set designs and costumes. The show features both secular and sacred music, and is ideal for guests of all ages, from families with young children to seniors.

This year’s show did not disappoint and had the perfect blend of singing, dancing, and light-hearted moments. The vocals were fantastic, as was the AMT Orchestra. The set resembled a perfect family fireside, and everything from the lobby to the theater was decked out in lively red & green seasonal decor.

AMT’s annual Christmas Show rivals any holiday show you’ll find in a major market. They hire outstanding talent from all of the country (sometimes all over the world), and the scenery, lighting and costumes are some of the best I’ve ever seen.

Attending this production is a wonderful way to get into the holiday spirit and spend a quality afternoon or evening with your family or significant other. There are so many restaurants nearby that it’s easy to make a night of it and eat out before you attend. But just in case you don’t have time, AMT does have a fully-stocked snack bar (as well as a gift shop with a wide variety of merchandise for last-minute holiday shopping).

Visit www.amtshows.com for more information on upcoming shows.

Dutch WINTER Wonderland

My wife and I always set aside an evening during the holidays to take the boys over to Dutch Winter Wonderland.  Dutch Wonderland is such a special place for young children during the summer it’s easy to overlook they have special hours during the fall for Happy Hauntings, and then again over the holidays as well.

The main attraction for us is always the Royal Light Show.  DW literally has tens of thousands of lights strung up throughout the hub of the park all synched to a stirring holiday soundtrack.  Make sure to take the sky ride, or take a drive with the antique cars to either get a birdseye view of the show, or drive right through the heart of it.

Of course, many of our favorite rides are open in addition to the holiday specific attractions.  My 2-year-old is a fan of Duke’s Dozers (miniature bulldozers), the Off-Road Rally (nice and tame Monster Trucks!), and of course taking a tour of the light be-decked park on their miniature train, the Wonderland Special!  The older boys (6 and 9 respectively) ride the Twister, hit up the bumper cars, and take a swing on the Space Shuttle (a space-themed Viking ship type ride).

If you have any budding young female royalty in your family, you might want to check out Storytime with the Princess.

With so much to see and do and at a great price, Dutch Winter Wonderland is another budding holiday tradition for the Evans family right here in Lancaster County.

A Christmas Tip from Lancaster County, PA: Decorating Ideas

It’s that time of year, when everyone is pulling out their holiday decorations! Some people (like me) love decorating and breeze right through it, but it can be a daunting task, so we’ve come up with a few tips to help you out.

1. Choose a theme.
Sometimes, when you plan around a theme, it’s easier to figure out which decorations to use, and everything looks like it goes together, instead of looking like you just hung the decorations willy-nilly. Some themes to consider are a Victorian Christmas, a Charlie Brown Christmas (this one worked great when I was first married and living in a small apartment), Santa and his elves and reindeer, the Nutcracker, I’m sure you can think of plenty. You can also choose a color scheme, I have a friend who decorates only with greens, reds, and golds.

A bird ornament at Bonbonniere2. Get some inspiration from shop windows.
I must say, this is a wonderful thing to do if you’re drawing a blank, or feel like you just can’t get the decorations to go quite right or just want to do something different. Downtown Lancaster has some wonderfully decorates shop windows that gave me some great ideas. You can see some more of the ideas that I got from the windows of Bonbonniere, Details, and the Heritage Center Museum Store by clicking here for photos.

The Fulton Theatre Limited Edition Ornament3. Start collecting ornaments from places that mean something to you.

Although almost any kind of ornament is nice on a tree, it’s even better when you’re unpacking the ornaments, and you really think about the sentimental value of them, instead of just thinking, “yup, these are the red and green Christmas balls that I bought at Target last year.” This year, I will be picking up a limited edition ornament of the Fulton Opera House, it was created by an organization called LEADS, and they do a lot of cool things for Downtown Lancaster, such as the hanging flower baskets that are so beautiful throughout the year. Anyways, the Fulton Theatre is a place that I love – so next year when I pull out that ornament, I’ll think of all the shows I’ve seen there, and the good times I’ve had with family and friends.

Hopefully these tips help your holiday decorating to be a little less stressful this year! Check back again next week for your next tip, on Christmas cookie baking!

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