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Bethlehem Christmas Displays

new york
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Bethlehem Christmas Displays

I understand there are very colorful holiday decorations in Bethlehem. I, and some friends, would like to see some on a clear afternoon & evening. When might be the best time of the week to visit, would a weekend or weekday be best, considering traffic and parking?

I assume Main Street is a good central spot, but are there any other choice spots for seeing some of the best lights and decorations? Are there also good spots in the South side, along 3rd or 4th?

Is the Christmas trees from around the world display at Comfort Suites worth a visit?

www.christmascity.org/thingstodo/trees.asp

Thanks for any suggestions.

Center Valley...
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1. Re: Bethlehem Christmas Displays

There are some colorful decorations, but I think the best part of Christmas in Bethlehem are the attractions. I like going to Christkindlmarkt (which is downtown), visiting the putzes (some downtown, some not) and visiting the local shops. The South side doesn't have as many attractions...it's mostly shopping. The Christkindlmarkt isn't open during the week, only Thursday-Sunday, so if that interests you, then those are your days. Traffic into the festival areas will be better during the week, but it's not horridly bad on the weekends.

You can park in one of the garages downtown. Everything is really within walking distance, but if it's bitterly cold or you just don't feel like walking, they normally have trolleys running that make stops around town for free (I've not been downtown yet this year so I'm not sure if they have the trolleys this year). There is very limited free street parking, and on most streets it's for limited hours. I'm a local and even I don't fool with the street parking. Street parking tends to be easier to find on the South side, in my experience.

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2. Re: Bethlehem Christmas Displays

Thanks so much MrsKruse ~ I’m mainly interested in seeing displays and having some opportunities for taking some colorful photographs. So I guess the Main St. downtown area is best? I don’t understand what you mean by “visiting the putzes,” my dictionaries only give some rather slang type meanings?? ;-)

Does anybody know anything about the Christmas trees from around the world display?

West Conshohocken...
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3. Re: Bethlehem Christmas Displays

Dave,

Check out the below two links for a better idea of what a putz looks like.

Main Street in downtown is definitely your best bet by far for good photography. The Christmas tree display at the Comfort Suites is okay but like a lot of Christmas things it's a bit cheesy. But if you go at least it's free so if you don't like it at least nothing was lost.

I will add that, IMHO, Christkindlmarkt is really something that could be avoided. The idea that you are going to pay money just for the right to go in and spend more money is kind of silly.

It's just two big tents. One tent has pictures with St. Nicholas for the children and with some craft vendors. Also is some overpriced garbage food from some of the lesser vendors who also appear at Musikfest. (Nothing says holidays more than a boiled hamburger from Heaven on a Bun).

The other tent has more vendors and that's about it. If you want something interesting try getting tickets for the walking tour or the night bus tour. You get far more for the money and you may get better shots of the city than the staged hokiness of Kindlmarkt.

centralmoravianchurch.org/seasonal/putz.php

http://www.easthillsmc.org/putz.html

http://www.christmascity.org/tickets/

West Conshohocken...
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4. Re: Bethlehem Christmas Displays

Dave,

Your best bets are Thursday and Sunday. I live about three blocks from Main Street and I can tell you that that the parking and especially the traffic gets ridiculous for Bethlehem standards on Friday and Saturday nights every weekend in December until Christmas.

Check the below link for where the two main parking decks downtown.

All the rest of the parking downtown is mostly metered and fairly impossible to get during weekends outside of Christmas let alone during Christmas. The city actually recently added more meters along the bridge on Broad Street in anticiaption of Christmas.

The Southside really doesn't have much to see that is of interest. The biggest difference is that on the South Side the lights the city puts up on the light poles are colored and on the North Side on all lights are all white.

http://www.bethpark.org/

new york
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5. Re: Bethlehem Christmas Displays

Lefty~Thank you very much for all the information & links. I’m sure we will now visit some interesting places other than the casino in Bethlehem. I find it sad the North Side lights are not colored. White icicles make sense, but most other Christmas lights have traditionally been colorful—at least red & green, if not orange, blue, yellow, purple, etc. Maybe it’s because lots of bright uncolored lights always remind me of a refinery I pass on the NJ turnpike?

I knew I was missing something about the putzes, thanks for clearing that up….. I didn’t want to believe it was a Freudian slip. And thanks for sharing your thoughts about the Christkindlmarkt; some friends of some relatives who live nearby have basically told us the same thing.

Thanks again Lefty & MrsKruse. I hope you, yours and all reading here have a Merry & a Happy!!!

Center Valley...
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6. Re: Bethlehem Christmas Displays

I would agree that a majority of the vendors at Christkindlmarkt are what you'd find at any standard craft fair, but I go specifically for the German christmas ornament/decoration vendor Käthe Wohlfart. All of the ornaments are handcarved in Germany, and if you like that kind of thing, it's one of the few places that you can find them in the US outside of online shopping (they do have one B&M store up in MN). And the selection is phenomenal. I think for most people Christkindlmarkt is a one time visit place, but I try to go every year to buy a new piece for my collection. It's expensive enough that one piece a year is about all I can afford anyways :)

Lefty, I'm hoping to take a walking tour this year! And Burnside plantation is on our list this year as well. This will be our 4th Christmas in the LV and we've yet to do everything.

Dave,

My goal is to make it to the Christmas tree display at the Comfort Suites this weekend. We meant to go last weekend but got a bit caught up. If you haven't gone yet, I'll let you know what we thought! I've never actually been inside that hotel before.

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7. Re: Bethlehem Christmas Displays

MrsKruse~That’s great. I hope you have a great weekend. I assume it’s OK to take pictures of the hotel display. I think It would be nice to see some new pictures posted here; the photos up here now mostly seem a little dated and/or boring? [Or pm my way if you can send some pictures to a real email. That would also be greatly appreciated.] We haven’t made it there again as this is definitely a busy time of year, but we hope to get there in the next week or so.

Looking forward to any information you might share about the Christmas tree display.

Does anyone know if there are any Christmas displays or decorations worth visiting up by Nazareth? The forum there seems to be asleep for the past few years.

Edited: 13 December 2009, 01:18
West Conshohocken...
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8. Re: Bethlehem Christmas Displays

Mrs. Kruse,

I forgot when I was dissing Kindlmarkt that the Wohlfart stuff was there.

My wife has two or three pieces and she also thinks they are the greatest.

Burnside is pretty neat too, sort of Colonial Williamsburg-ish.

Dave,

One other thing I wanted to pass on if you’re visiting this year. Next month the company that has the electricity monopoly in the area is jacking rates about 30%. So I would imagine next year, especially from homes, you would see much less in terms of lights and displays in town.

I wish I could help more on Nazareth but it's a bit out of my social circles.

But from now on I’ll always think of Christmas the next time I pass one of those lovely NJT refineries.

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9. Re: Bethlehem Christmas Displays

Thanks again for such great responses.

“I’ll always think of Christmas the next time I pass one of those lovely NJT refineries.”

Yes—So Sad, I guess we do see a lot of “modern Christmas lights” all year long as we drive by our local energy companies. [Sorry to hear your electric rates are also being raised.] But who is this Grinch that’s taking color out of Christmas? Is it really only about the $—uncolored bulbs cost a fraction of a penny less to make?

When I tell people we found Bethlehem, PA to be such a nice town, with a lot of history, many ask about nearby Nazareth, isn’t that where it all started? Now I also want to see what that place looks like during this season, especially after learning the local electric rates will be skyrocketing.

Center Valley...
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10. Re: Bethlehem Christmas Displays

Oh, and if you have children, they would really like Lights in the Parkway in Allentown. It's $7/car this year (last year it was $9/car) but you can get a $1 off coupon on their website. It's not the most amazing light display ever, but it's well done and it was a nice evening stroll. They have a "gift barn" at the end with crafts & concessions.

http://www.lightsintheparkway.com/

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