Christmas in Pennsylvania

Write a piece about a typically “local” experience from where you come from as though it’s an entry in a travel guide.


There is something very special about Christmas in southeastern Pennsylvania.  So many old stone houses still stand, and many have been beautifully restored. During the Christmas season especially, you will see these stately old homes lit from the inside with a candle in every window. Often, they are also

adorned with  green wreaths and red bows, and swags of red from window to window and over the doors. A drive through the countryside of Bucks or Montgomery County will certainly put you in the Christmas spirit.

Another feature of Christmas decorating, especially in the towns and cities, is the luminaria that line the sidewalks. Paper bags filled with sand, with a candle glowing inside, make it easy for carolers and visitors to walk from place to place. 

Of course, the city of Bethlehem is a continual delight during the Christmas season. There is so much to see and enjoy.  We particularly enjoy the Love Feast at the Moravian Church on Christmas Eve, where the music is wonderful and the atmosphere takes you back to 1700 or so.  Each visitor enjoys a cup of hot chocolate and a delicious sugar cookie while the service is observed.  It’s truly a heartwarming experience.

And then there is the Putz. It is hard to describe this intricate, detailed rendering of the events of the birth of Jesus Christ. On a wide stage, the panorama of these events is recreated with figures, backgrounds and lighting that make you feel you were actually there.  Children love the Putz. The word is pronounced like puts, and is a Yiddish word that is literally ornament, finery, probably noun derivative of putsn to clean, shine; compare early modern German butzen to decorate.


11 thoughts on “Christmas in Pennsylvania

  1. michaelkreger

    I loved the Moravian touches, the luminaria, and the Putz (as opposed to all the putzes with whom I am forced to interact all too frequently). I also loved the train ride to Philly to see the displays in Wanamaker’s store, especially if it was snowing. I didn’t like the Christmas programs, but I loved the caroling. I loved working on 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles while listening to our Christmas records. I loved watching you, especially, as you set out the fancy china and silverware and napkins for the Christmas meal. I loved when we all played with the crystal glasses, trying to make them sing. We only ever did that at Christmas and Thanksgiving, and it’s just one of those things that sticks in my memory.


  2. I really liked the paper lamps filled with sand and with a glowing candle inside. In India we often use mashals for this purpose. It is basically a thick long log of a tree, its one end covered with cloth soaked in oil, another end fixed on a pole. The oil keeps on burning and show path to passengers. A older version of torch……Beautiful Christmas there ! 🙂


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