This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell, in which I was compensated. The opinions and text are all mine.
This holiday season, explore the best Christmas towns in the Midwest. Many may be in your backyard, full of holiday festivities and Christmas cheer.
Best Christmas Towns In The Midwest
It’s no secret the holiday season is my FAVORITE time of the year! I love everything about Christmas. From the music, the food, the smell of fudge, holiday lights, wrapping presents, hot chocolate, singing Christmas carols, sleigh rides and more. Yes, I love it all! One thing that has been on my bucket list is to start visiting the best Christmas towns. This year, I decided to start with the Midwest. Yes, I know there are a ton of great Christmas cities around the world, but there are several fantastic ones right in my backyard.
If you have plans to travel around the Midwest this year, check out some of the best Christmas cities to visit during the holidays, and make plans to visit at least one! Before I can hit the road and start checking these towns and cities off my list, I’m stopping to fuel up on gas and snacks for the road.
Thanks to Shell and the *Fuel Rewards® program, I will be able to save on gas while exploring Christmas towns and cities around the Midwest. As mentioned before, when you sign up for the Fuel Rewards® program, you will receive Instant Gold Status, saving you 5 cents off per gallon, up to 20 gallons per fill for at least six months.
Chicago, Illinois– There is always something fun to do in Chicago. One of the iconic things Chicago is known for during the holiday season is the Macy’s State Street display. “Recognized as a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Macy’s State Street is a Macy’s flagship destination and a true American original. Join generations of Chicagoans as you shop and dine your way through this historic building filled with the best in fashion, cuisine and more.” This is on our bucket list to do this year, as well as discover other fun things to do during the Christmas season in Chicago.
Santa Claus, Indiana– We explored Santa Claus, Indiana for the first time earlier this year. With a town named after Santa Claus, you know they are pulling out all the stops on Christmas activities. This small town celebrates Christmas all year, receiving millions of visitors to their family-friendly theme park, Holiday World, and events at Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort. Some of their Christmas activities include The Land of Lights display, a Christmas dinner hosted by Santa himself, a live Reindeer exhibit, and a Santa Claus Christmas parade. You can find quite a few things to do in the Santa Claus area during the holidays, visit their page to learn more.
Frankenmuth, Michigan – I remember the first time I went to Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, Michigan. That store overwhelmed me. I mean, it was so hard to take it all in at once. It was Christmas overload but in a good way.
Bronner’s is known as the BEST Christmas store. They bring in guests from all over the world, and you don’t leave empty-handed. But Bronner’s is not the only thing this quaint little town is known for– the whole town transforms into a Christmas town. You remember growing up watching A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens? Well, this is a real-life version of it. The streets are decorated to the max, window shops covered in holiday decor, and you will find actors dressed up in Dickens-Day apparel singing Christmas carols and wishing you holiday greetings. The smell of fudge and roasted chestnuts fill the air.
Manistee, Michigan– Last year when I was searching for holiday activities in the Mid-Michigan area, I was told about Manistee. If you want the nostalgia Christmas, then you want to head to Manistee. They kick off the holiday season with the Old Christmas Weekend, filled with activities, including a Gingerbread House contest, Festival of Trees, and guided tours of the Babcock House. You will find carolers decked out in period dresses, coats, and let’s not forget the top hats! There’s also a Victorian Sleighbell Parade, with the highlight being Belgian draft horses pulling a 30′ Christmas tree down River Street in downtown Manistee. Find a list of activities and dates by going to their website.
Grand Rapids, Michigan– You may not think of this Michigan city as a magical Christmas place, but it is. With a Christmas Open House, a decked out Rosa Parks Circle, which also offers ice-skating, performances of The Nutcracker, A Christmas Story, and Holiday Pops by the Grand Rapids Symphony, all of this will put you in the holiday spirit. And just down the road is the Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s “Christmas and holiday traditions around the world.”
Dearborn, Michigan– Another great place in Michigan to visit during the holiday season is the Dearborn area. Not far from Detroit (where you should make a stop at the zoo to see all the holiday lights), Dearborn offers an outdoor living-history museum during the holidays. During the Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village, you will find actors dressed in period clothing, carriage and Model T rides, Santa and his reindeer, ice-skating, and caroling. They also host a variety of traditions and tastes of holidays past; chestnuts will be roasting as well as bonfires. As a life-long Michigander, I will be checking this one off my list this year (finally).
Wooster, Ohio- I fell in love with Wooster, Ohio last year on a press trip. A huge attraction that draws in a ton of visitors each year is the Pine Tree Barn. This is a restored Dutch bank barn featuring over 25,000 square feet of furniture, home decor, and all things Christmas. This family-owned shop and restaurant started back in the early 1960’s selling Christmas trees. Over the years they have expanded to a full-service, treating customers with hot cocoa while they picked out their trees, then over to the store and restaurant for gifts and pastries. After spending an afternoon at The Pine Tree Barn, you can explore downtown Wooster, where you will find one of their main Christmas attractions, the Wooster Window Wonderland. Windows along the main street are decked to represent times of the past, and from what I’ve been told, it’s a sight you have to see for yourself. You can explore each storefront’s window with a cup of hot cocoa, along with other Christmas activities going on to kick off the Christmas season.
*Restrictions apply. To qualify for the Gold/Silver Status offers, you must be a Fuel Rewards® member and swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID when you fuel at a participating Shell station. With Gold Status, you will receive 5¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings on every fill-up. The 5¢/gal reward for Gold Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. If you are an existing Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status from 6/5/2017 through 12/31/17, the “Existing Member Introductory Period.” If you are a new Fuel Rewards® member, you will receive Gold Status for the initial month you join through the last day of the month, 6 full calendar months later, the “New Member Introductory Period.” The last 3 months of the Existing Member Introductory Period or the New Member Introductory Period (collectively the “Introductory Period”) is the “Qualification Period.” You will retain your Gold Status during the Qualification Period, but you must make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to qualify for Gold Status for the next 3 months, the “Benefit Period.” During the Benefit Period, you must continue to make 6 qualifying fuel purchases to maintain your Gold Status for the next 3-month Benefit Period. A qualifying fuel purchase is any fuel purchase at a participating Shell station in which you swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID and fill up with at least 5-gallons of any grade of fuel. For example, if you are a new Fuel Rewards® member and register on 6/15/2017, you will receive Gold Status through the New Member Introductory Period (i.e., 12/31/2017). You will need to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the Qualification Period (i.e., 10/1/2017 and 12/31/2017) to maintain Gold Status during the Benefit Period (i.e., from 1/1/2018 to 3/31/2018). Thereafter, if you continue to fill up with at least 5 gallons of fuel at least 6 times during the successive 3 consecutive month Benefit Periods, you will retain your Gold Status. If you do not maintain your Gold Status, you will receive Silver Status. With Silver Status, you will receive 3¢/gal in Fuel Rewards® savings. The 3¢/gal reward for Silver Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account. Redeem Fuel Rewards® savings with your Fuel Rewards® card or Alt ID at participating Shell stations. Fuel Rewards® savings are limited to 20 gallons of fuel per purchase, per vehicle, or fraud limits placed by Shell and/or limits placed on your financial card by your financial institution, each of which may be lower. Fuel Rewards® savings must be redeemed in a single transaction. Once you begin to dispense fuel using your Fuel Rewards® savings, you must dispense to the 20-gallon limit or you forfeit any remaining discounted gallons of fuel. For example, if you only pump fifteen (15) gallons of fuel, you would abandon the remaining five (5) gallons of discounted fuel. If you have a rewards balance greater than the current per-gallon price of fuel, the price will roll down to the maximum capability of the fuel equipment, and your remaining rewards will be saved for a future fuel purchase. Dispenser may require a price of up to 10.9¢/gal. It may not be possible to combine multiple discounts and/or rewards in a single transaction. For purchases of $75 or more, please go inside to pay. Unbranded diesel and alternative fuels may not be eligible. The Fuel Rewards® program is owned and operated by Excentus Corporation. Offer may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Not valid where prohibited by law. Please see fuelrewards.com for complete Fuel Rewards® program details and Terms and Conditions. Other restrictions may apply. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. To learn more, visit fuelrewards.com/gold or call (888) 603-0473
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shell. The opinions and text are all mine.