By: Patricia Sittikul, LINC IT & Administrative Support
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – also lovingly referred to as “the Christmas City”. Any other time of the year, it probably seems obvious enough how we got this nickname: there’s the Christmas Star that sits atop South Mountain, illuminated and floating in the night sky like a beacon of home, and of course, the city name itself (not to mention the neighboring town of Nazareth, Pennsylvania). However, should you find yourself in Bethlehem during the holiday season, you’ll see for yourself the magic that comes to life and truly makes us worthy of the title “the Christmas City”.
From our LINC offices in the heart of South Bethlehem, we’re lucky enough to interact with individuals and organizations who dedicate their time and effort to the city, and one such organization is the SouthSide Arts District. I spoke with Missy Hartney, Bethlehem resident of 34 years and SouthSide Arts District Main Street Manager, and Kate Armbruster, Bethlehem resident of 15 years and SouthSide Arts District Main Street Coordinator, to get their perspective as long-time Lehigh Valley residents and community leaders on what makes Bethlehem “the Christmas City”.
“We strategically have large Christmas trees placed throughout the city, I mean they only are illuminated at Christmas time but if you look, there are Christmas trees everywhere, all over the town. I think it’s just like throughout the year we have all these things that are already in place so when Christmastime comes they can all really go nuts for Christmas, I think more so than any other town… I think everybody is so excited.” Missy explains.
This underlying sense of community pride and love for the holiday season shows itself through more than just Bethlehem city decorations as well: Kate remarks fondly about the Christmas decorations that abound throughout the city, showing up on people’s homes as early as Halloween, and Missy describes what feelings the holiday season inspires in the community: “I think the town really comes to life at Christmas, I really do. Even though it’s cold outside, people want to "walk down the street in the lights, you know, “ho ho ho”, and feel the spirit of Christmas. All throughout the year we have festivals and celebrate each season well, across the Lehigh Valley but when Christmastime comes, it’s like the culmination of all of our year’s hard work into amazing festivals and celebrations of Christmas. All of our hard work pays off in December when we can really put our creative minds to celebrating that time of the year.”
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