‘Tis the Season for Discovering Christmas in Lancaster, Pa.

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Discover Lancaster invites visitors to experience some traditional holiday fun, with new tours, fantastic shopping, and fresh seasonal shows.

The varied Christmas Trains at Strasburg Rail Road are always great holiday fun.

After the more muted colors of harvest time, there’s a merry beauty to the spirited colors of red, green, silver, and gold splashed across the Lancaster countryside.

“Home for the holidays” is a heartwarming tradition this time of year, so be sure to make time for Lancaster, Pa., this season. After all, the area is “home” to American Christmastime traditions like the first Christmas tree, delicious springerle holiday “picture cookies,” and the mischievous Belsnickle – the Pennsylvania Dutch version of Santa Claus who gives coal to kids who’ve been naughty, not nice.

Of course, there’s more than just festive history that makes Discovering Christmas in Lancaster something truly special. It’s also the fantastic holiday shows, great shopping deals, and unique seasonal attractions.

After the more muted colors of harvest time, there’s a merry beauty to the spirited colors of red, green, silver, and gold splashed across the Lancaster countryside, its towns and villages, and Lancaster City.

The pure joy of the season shines through in classic Yuletide tales and lively holiday songs ringing out from a multitude of theatres, like the true spirit of the season captured by Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre’s Holly Jolly Christmas (now through Dec. 31), or the seasonal extravaganza that is the American Music Theatre’s 2016 Christmas Show (now through Dec. 30).

Colorfully-lit shops twinkle in the crisp air, full of holiday treasures and hand-crafted presents. Get good deals and great memories with an old-fashioned Christmas shopping trip to area artisans and Amish craftsmen, town and village Main Streets, brand-name outlet stores, and fresh country markets.

Travelers can also explore the holiday spirit of the area via new “Scootin’ with Santa” tours through Amish farmland from Strasburg Scooters on selected December dates, or by enjoying beautiful homes & a prize search with the Authentic B&Bs of Lancaster County’s Belsnickle Christmas Tour, Dec. 3-4

Decorated visitor attractions celebrate the sheer fun of Christmastime, as well as local Pennsylvania German seasonal heritage. Warm up to Landis Valley’s Country Christmas Village (Dec. 3-4), be amused by great rides, entertainment, and other seasonal festivities at Dutch Winter Wonderland (now through Dec. 30), explore 15 different scenes from Yuletide days past and present at the National Christmas Center, or revel in the holiday atmosphere on one of the Christmas Trains at the Strasburg Rail Road (now through Dec. 17).

And don’t miss out on Lancaster City for the Holidays, centered ‘round Penn Square – which hosts the area’s community Christmas tree, visits with Santa in the Lancaster Marriott (Fridays 6-9pm & Saturdays 10am-3pm through Dec. 17), and horse-drawn carriage rides (6:30-9:30pm on Dec. 2, 9, and 16) – as well as special shopping hours at the city’s many distinctive retailers.

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Joel Cliff
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