Two Peninsulas

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Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

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Images will be added to this entry later.  I’m having image editing issues at the moment.

It seems like every year, the stores begin gearing up for Christmas earlier and earlier.  Pretty much once Halloween is over, all bets are off.  That is, unless, you’re talking about Bronner’s, where it’s Christmas all year round.

Bronner’s is located in Frankenmuth.  Even in a town that has about as many tourist attractions as it does people, Bronner’s stands out.  Opened in 1945 by Wally Bronner, it is the largest Christmas store in the world and is visited by millions of people. What do I mean by “the largest”?  Bronner’s is the size of five and a half football fields and is absolutely crammed with all things Christmas.

The outside of the store looks like your crazy neighbor went even more overboard than usual with the lawn decorations, and the inside looks either like a Christmas dream or a Christmas nightmare, depending on your inclinations and how many people are currently inside.  Make no mistake, the closer it gets to the holiday season, the more people you’re going to have to contend with.  If you choose to visit in the months of November or December, be prepared to park in one of the outer lots and hike into the store.  There is a snack bar in the store, but I recommend eating at one of the many fine restaurants in Frankenmuth either before or after you shop.

Because there is so much for sale here, I can’t talk about each of the different kinds of products you can buy.  Rest assured, if it’s Christmas-related, you can find it here.  However, I can recommend two services: personalized ornaments and personalized stockings.  I’ve used both, and have been highly satisfied each time.  The stockings can be personalized while you shop - not only can you choose what is going to be embroidered on the stocking, but there are many different styles of stockings to choose from, including stockings for your pets.  Personalized ornaments, on the other hand, may need to either be shipped to their destination or picked up at the store once complete, depending on the style you choose.  That’s because each ornament is hand-painted to the customer’s specifications, and while some can be done while you shop, others need a little more time to be completed.   The “classic” ornament that most people order is a colored glass bulb with a name painted on, but there are many other styles from which to choose.

In addition to the enormous store, you can visit the Bronner’s Silent Night Chapel, which is a replica of the Oberndorf Chapel in Austria.  The chapel is open daily (same  hours as store) for prayer and meditation, but is not available for services or ceremonies such as weddings.  At the chapel you can view plaques which bear the words to “Silent Night” in 300 different languages.

If you can’t get to Frankenmuth anytime soon, but would still like to shop at Bronner’s, or if you’re looking for that hard-to-find ornament, piece for your Christmas village, or you just gotta have a quality Santa suit, then visit their web site and request a catalog.

The Essentials

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
1515 S. Main St.
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
989-652-9931
http://www.bronners.com (click here for a printable store coupon or here for information on bringing tour groups to the store)

Hours:  January through May
Monday - Thursday & Saturday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Friday 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Sunday Noon to 5:30 pm
June through December
Monday - Saturday 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Sunday Noon to 7:00 pm
Closed on January 1st, Easter, US Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Bronner’s closes at 4:00 pm on December 24 and 31, and from noon to 3:00 pm on Good Friday.

Seasonal: No, open year round, although as seen in the “Hours” section above, the store is open at different times depending on the time of year.

Kid-friendly:  Yes

Handicap Accessible:  Yes

Written by Rebecca

October 19th, 2008 at 6:59 pm