If you’re looking for a festive and free holiday-themed experience in the Philadelphia area, the Byers’ Choice Christmas Museum is just the place for you. Filled to the brim with Christmas displays to view (and even participate in), it gives you all the season’s warm and fuzzy magical feelings. Below are tips you need to know for visiting.
About Byers’ Choice
Byers’ Choice is a family-owned company that has produced handmade Carolers for over 40 years. These limited-edition festive figurines exude traditional holiday charm that hearkens to Christmases past, particularly that of Charles Dickens and Victorian Christmases, and consumers love to collect and display them each Christmas.
The Byers’ Choice Christmas Museum
The Byers’ Choice headquarters is located in Chalfont, Pennsylvania, which is in Bucks County, roughly an hour north and slightly west of Philadelphia. There, visitors are treated to a free Christmas Museum that provides an array of festive experiences, along with a behind-the-scenes look at how the iconic Carolers are created.
My family and I have been collecting and displaying Carolers for several years. A fan of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, I especially love their old-fashioned Dickensian charm. They look straight out of Victorian England!
And since I live in the Philadelphia area where they are made, people kept telling me that I “needed” to celebrate the holidays with a visit the Byers’ Choice Christmas Museum. They weren’t wrong! This literary travel destination completely blew me and my family away.
It feels like a hidden gem that even locals don’t often know about but definitely should have a tradition of visiting every holiday season. It’s the type of place where there is just so much to see, and it’s all so detailed and intricate, that you will have a different experience each time you go.
Upon entering, you’ll find the gift shop, a small movie theater, and an immersive London cobblestone street akin to Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
To see the Museum displays, follow the cobblestone street. This alone is an impressive, interactive experience. The windows are filled with holiday displays like beautiful dinner tables and Christmas relics. You can even stop into one to play dress up with Victorian garb and take a picture reminiscent of a Charles Dickens-inspired Christmas theme.
Thereafter, you will find several rooms of themed Carolers displays, featuring hundreds of figurines in a variety of vignettes, from a visual re-telling of Christmas stories like A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, and‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to scenes of Christmases around the world, snowy towns with townspeople performing holiday-themed activities, and even the North Pole, which includes exquisitely crafted gingerbread houses.
Step up onto the Observation Deck and watch the Carolers being handcrafted in real-time. It’s simply delightful to see sewing desks instead of manufacturing machines there.
Lastly, step into The Créche Collection and peruse 200+ Nativity scenes from around the world, including Carolers and SO much more, from centuries ago to the present. This was such a meaningful and unexpected surprise and learning experience.
You’ll end up back at the gift shop, which feels like a collection of displays itself! Browse AND shop everything from The Twelve Days of Christmas Carolers to the Salvation Army collection, American historical figures, and so much more.
Here’s a quick video with a bit of the museum’s backstory, as well as a sneak peek of what it offers:
Tips for Visiting
Parking and entrance to the Byers’ Choice Christmas Museum are free.
Start your self-guided tour by walking down the London cobblestone street first. You’ll loop through several displays and end up back at the gift shop at the front.
Allow for about 1-3 hours to browse and shop.
The Museum is appropriate for all ages, but not all of the displays are enclosed, so be extra cautious if you bring a child who likes to touch things.
Nearly all Carolers and items in the gift shop were full price, even after Christmas (when I visited).
Looking for somewhere to eat nearby?
I recommend the William Penn Inn(where I got married and regularly visit), which is about 15 minutes away.
It’s a 300-year-old Inn with delectable food and a very traditional atmosphere akin to that of the Byers’ Choice Christmas Museum. It’s beautifully decorated for Christmas during December, and they also regularly display a few bespoke Byers’ Choice Carolers. They’re known for their signature zucchini bread and a good old-fashioned steak dinner.
The Byers’ Choice Christmas Museum is so exquisitely detailed that pictures don’t do it justice — it is best viewed in person without a doubt! That being said, here are a few photos to give you a preview of its festive charm.
The Byers’ Choice Christmas Museum is a hidden gem in the Philadelphia region that is both free and fun for a memorable old-fashioned holiday experience.
Primarily displayed are the company’s iconic Carolers in a variety of holiday-themed vignettes, including a visual re-telling of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. You’ll also experience an immersive London cobblestone street to peruse and an impressive collection of 200+ Nativity displays from around the world.
Allow for about 1-3 hours to fully experience the magic of Christmas there.