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New Jersey Family: 10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Lehigh Valley

December 5th, 2019 |

Written by Taryn Pine for New Jersey Family

For nearly 300 years, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has been a holiday staple. From street decor to community events, the Christmas City is worth the trip. Here’s how to make the most of the holidays in Lehigh Valley:

Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem

Select dates, November 17-December 17 
Get a taste of Germany at this  Euro-inspired outdoor market filled with tasty treats, holiday ornaments and handmade gifts from more than 150 artisans. The market was started in 1993 by ArtsQuest and quickly became one of the top holiday attractions in the northeast (it even made Travel + Leisure Magazine’s list of Top Holiday Markets in the World in 2007). Shop artisan-made goods to the tune of festive Christmas music. The event features Germany’s Käthe Wohlfahrt, famous for authentic German ornaments, nutcrackers, smokers and more. Don’t forget to visit St. Nicholas with the little ones, or go to a Santa breakfast.

The Bethlehem Carriage Company Tours

Select dates, November 17-January 13, 2024 
Picture your crew cruising through downtown from the back of a horse-drawn carriage. Take in lights, landmarks and history from a carriage. Mix it up with Christmas Carriage Rides, which will take you out in a sleigh instead of a classic carriage. Options include private rides, group sleigh rides, character sleigh rides and the Wonderful Winter Wagon Ride.

Live Advent Calendar 

December 1 – 23
The Groundie House is home to this one-of-a-kind experience, where each night at 5:30 pm the doors will open and guests will get a new holiday treat, in the form of musical acts and more from local shops and restaurants. And the best part: it’s free!

Historic Hotel Bethlehem

This spot has been a town staple since the 1700s so there’s no shortage of history and stories (read up on the three resident ghosts). The hotel gets dressed to the nines for the holidays from decor to seasonal cocktails and special events. Think more than 35K lights, a bunch of decked-out trees, towering toy soldiers and more. Stay overnight to explore the hotel’s decor throughout the space.

Christmas City Stroll

Select dates, November 19 – January 7. 2024
This hour-long walking tour has been designed especially for Christmas and focuses on cherished traditions: candle-in-every-window, the renowned Bethlehem Star, and the community Putz set among Bethlehem’s exquisite Victorian and colonial architecture and two National Historic Landmarks: the 1741 Gemeinhaus and the Bethlehem Waterworks.


December 30-31
If you are ooking for a special way to ring in the New Year, this is it! Bethlehem is gearing up for its 14th annual PEEPS Chick Drop: a giant marshmallow chick will be illuminated and dropped just like the ball in Times Square to celebrate 2024. The chick weighs a whopping 400 pounds and is 4’9″ in height. Take the little ones: The chick drops at 5:30 pm, so they won’t have to stay up late. There will also be a diorama competition, Family Fun Run & Walk, and and ice skating.

If you’re open to exploring the rest of Lehigh Valley, check out the following attractions:

Winter Light Spectacular at Lehigh Valley Zoo

Select dates, November 10 – December 31
This outdoor extravaganza features more than 1.2 million lights to dazzle your kids. There are photo ops, fire pits and live performances by princesses Anna, Elsa, Belle and Cinderella. It is the zoo’s biggest fundraiser of the year and works to help animal conservation.

Easton Peace Candle

Lighting on Nov. 25
Visit through December 25
The annual Peace Candle Lighting is the largest non-wax Christmas candle in the U.S. (people bid to be The Official Illuminator every year). Once it’s lit, the public can visit the enormous structure in Center Square, then check out nearby attractions like the Easton Farmers Market or stroll Easton’s Winter Village, where visitors can shop, snack and take a spin on the ice skating rink.

Koziar’s Christmas Village

Select dates, November 4 – January 1, 2024
This family-owned attraction has been creating Christmas magic tucked away in the dark countryside since 1948. This dreamy holiday fantasy lights up the valley at the end of a country road with more than one million bulbs. The seasonal hotspot also has gift barns, a tranquil lake that reflects the Christmas splendor lit up ashore and festive building displays. Don’t miss indoor and outdoor train displays and pics with the the jolly guy himself.

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