Summer Travel Quest #12

Shop for the Holidays in July

At Bronner’s Christmas Store in Frankenmuth, Michigan—the world’s largest Christmas Store—it’s never too soon to find just the right elf suit
by Diana Lambdin Meyer
Based in Kansas City, Missouri, and an officer in the Society of American Travel Writers, Diana loves the Midwest and all things quirky and unusual about our world.

But, once inside, guests receive a map with routes clearly marked to neighborhoods with various themes, colors and decorating needs. Restrooms, concession stands and rest areas are also noted.

This is not your ordinary day at the mall. 

Covering 27 acres, about the size of six football fields, Bronner’s is the largest Christmas store in the world. You can’t wait until the holidays to tackle a store this size, making summer a safe, defensive maneuver for getting the full Bronner’s experience.

INSIDER TIP

After all of the glitter and commotion, take a few minutes to escape to the “Silent Night” chapel. There you may find the peace the holiday season promises to all.

Entering Bronner’s has to be what it’s like to visit the North Pole, which, as everyone knows, celebrates Christmas 365 days a year. More than 350 fully decorated trees, none less than 8 feet tall, transform the massive warehouse-like buildings into an enchanted forest of twinkling lights and childhood dreams.

There are about 50,000 different kinds of ornaments, including blank ornaments and eager elves standing by to personalize to each shopper’s needs. Then there are the villages, nativities, inflatables, train sets, stockings, wreaths and garlands. There are indoor and outdoor and commercial decorations, Santa suits and elf suits and reindeer suits.

It’s enough to send some shopaholics in search of spiked eggnog.

This entire commotion started in 1945, when Wally Bronner painted a Christmas sign as a gift. Then it grew and grew and grew—like the Grinch’s heart when the people of Whoville start singing on Christmas morning.

Although the store is all about celebrating Christmas, Bronner’s also carries a healthy selection of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa merchandise. Then there’s Halloween and Easter, Valentine’s Day and the Fourth of July, Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving.

Wow, it appears they forgot Arbor Day.

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Based in Kansas City, Missouri, and an officer in the Society of American Travel Writers, Diana loves the Midwest and all things quirky and unusual about our world. Follow her on Twitter at @Mojotraveler.

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MORE SUMMER TRAVEL QUESTS

10) Play the Oldest Mini Golf Course in the U.S.

11) Sit in the Bleachers at Wrigley Field

12) Shop for the Holidays in July

13) Try to Spot Bigfoot

14) See Philip Johnson’s Glass House on a Self-Guided Tour

>> All 99 Summer Travel Quests

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Use the hashtag #99SummerQuests to share your own summer travels, and follow along with us at @MapQuest and Instagram.

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