5 must-see christmas museums

National Christmas Center – Paradise, Pennsylvania

“Dedicated to preserving and sharing precious mementoes and memories of Christmases past”, this museum boasts 20,000 feet of space devoted to showcasing both the spiritual and secular holiday traditions, with 15 exhibitions including a recreation of a 1950s “Night Before Christmas” scene inspired by a Coca-Cola advertisement and life-sized Santa’s Workshop. If you can’t make it in person, take the virtual tour.

A Christmas Story House and Museum  – Cleveland, Ohio

If you’re glued to the TV during the annual 24 hour marathon of this classic movie, then you must find your way to this museum. The home featured in the film has been restored and includes reproductions of the furniture and props used during filming. After quoting your favorite lines, jump across the street to the museum and see props, production photographs and other film memorabilia. If you’re a true die-hard, make sure you sign up for the Annual Convention mailing list and pick up a Leg Lamp from the gift store.

Santa Claus Museum – Santa Claus, Indiana

Located near the only official Santa Claus Post Office in the United States, this is a two-for-one Christmas bonanza. Besides hosting an array of photos, newspaper articles and memorabilia regarding the town’s colorful history, it also serves as a branch of Santa’s Workshop where the elves work tirelessly to answer letters to Santa (approximately 12,000 each year).

Aluminum Tree and Ornament Museum – North Carolina


Please, please, please tell me this museum is not gone for good (apparently it is displayed in different locations each year)! Although it is closed for the 2010 holiday season, it is my solemn hope that the Aluminum Tree and Aesthetically Challenged Seasonal Ornament Museum & Research Center will continue to bring its shiny goodness to the world. It warms my retro heart to know that the Christmas trees of my youth are being preserved and exhibited.  [Okay, I know I’m not the only one who had one of these in their living room- fess up, y’all! And if you had that funktastic rotating color wheel you were really living large.]

 The Hallmark Ornament Museum – Warsaw, Indiana

In a loving shout-out to local biz Hallmark, this museum (located in the rear of a 12,000 square foot Gold Crown Hallmark store) hosts the only complete collection of Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments from 1973 – present. I know a couple of Keepsake collectors and I can tell you acquiring these ornaments every year is serious business, with the coveted 1980 mint-condition “Frosty Friend” now worth at least $500. Check your trees now!