I was having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year so I was glad when Don’s sister Joan and her husband George decided to come up for a December weekend in Lehigh Valley. I’ve been talking about doing most of my Christmas shopping at Christkindlmarkt for years, so of course that would be on our agenda.

We planned on a leisurely dinner at home Friday night since it is a two hour drive from their home in New Jersey. Saturday we left our house relaxed and ready for a full day of activities. Christkindlmarkt was packed, but I have to say everyone was in good spirits, politely yielding to parents with strollers heading to have their children’s pictures taken with St. Nick. Joan was really impressed with the quality of the vendor’s crafts and left with quite a few bags of gifts.

After showing off SteelStacks we headed to see the new Christmas City Village in Historic Bethlehem, and to pop in some of my favorite shops. We had hours to fill before our evening plans but didn’t think to make dinner reservations in advance. We tried the restaurants at the beautiful Historic Hotel Bethlehem, as well as Apollo Grill, EDGE & Starfish…all booked. No worries, we were heading to Allentown anyway so we called ahead and reserved a table at Sangria*.

All of our entrees were superb, matched only by the service. Too full for desert, I just opted for after dinner coffee. I wanted to make sure I was wide awake for the last part of our evening which was a first for me, seeing the Bach Choir of Bethlehem perform their annual Christmas Concert at the First Presbyterian Church of Allentown.

Listening to the Bach Choir is like hearing angels sing. The evening ends with the audience joining in singing Christmas carols which would even put the Grinch in the holiday spirit! Let’s just say we now have a new holiday tradition.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

*Sangria closed July 2013.