There are a lot of places where you can see beautiful Christmas lights. But if you want to visit a place where the spirit of Christmas is ushered in without the added stress of pushy shoppers, impossible-to-find parking spaces, and rude clerks wishing you everything but a Merry Christmas, then you’ll want to visit Amish country, where simplicity and the festiveness of the season co-exist beautifully, and the clerks and shoppers couldn’t be friendlier.
Whether you choose Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, or any of the other popular Amish communities to visit, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised at all the holiday activities they offer. From world class concerts to Broadway-style musicals to incredible ice sculptures and holiday buggy rides to old fashioned Christmas caroling, you’ll find it all in Amish country. And if you’re looking for that special gift, these communities are a Christmas shopper’s paradise. You’ll stroll through gift shop after gift shop hearing Christmas carols, old hymns and new gospel music being played. You’ll see inspirational messages on walls and shelves everywhere you look. And you’ll be wished so many Merry Christmases, you’ll feel compelled to have your merriest one yet!
I haven’t even begun to talk about the food. If you want Christmas dinner every day of the week, you’ll find it here! Good old fashioned home cooking, just like Mom and Grandma used to make. Biscuits and gravy, homemade pies, holiday ham and turkey, and so much more.
With Thanksgiving wrapping up, the tree lighting ceremonies will either soon be taking place or they’ve already happened. But don’t worry—if you missed these annual ceremonies, the Christmas decorations and lights will stay up through New Year’s Day or even a bit longer.
Next year, Shipshewana, Indiana will open a mile long drive through experience with two million Christmas lights in their new Gift of Lights spectacular. And that’s just one of the new events being planned in and around the various tourist areas in Amish country.
So, sure, you could spend a near fortune taking your family to some amusement park that’s so big it’s got its own zip code and see their Christmas parade while standing shoulder to shoulder with about a million other people. Or you could come to Amish country and enjoy a different kind of Christmas, just as beautiful in its simplicity, with people who know what it’s like to slow down and remember what this season is truly all about.
Martha Bolton is an Emmy nominated former staff writer for Bob Hope, and the author of 89 books, including two Amish novels Josiah for President and The Home Game. She is also the Playwright for Blue Gate Musicals, which currently has productions at The Star Theater in Sugar Creek, Ohio, The Blue Gate Theater in Shipshewana, Indiana, and the Bird in Hand Stage in Bird in Hand, Pennsylvania. Martha’s second novel, The Home Game, was just awarded the Golden Scroll Merit Award for Fiction. Her latest book, Can I Just Hide in Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back? released this year.