Hopefully by now you’ve grabbed your copy of the boxed set, A Christmas to Remember, and are completely in the holiday spirit thanks to the novellas. I thought I’d share a bit more about my story, Restoring Christmas, and the place that brings Holly Christmas back to Geneseo Valley: The Christmas Mansion.
I tossed the idea around of having a literal Christmas character name for awhile, nervous it would be too cheesy. After my visit to Castle Noel in Medina, Ohio, I realized I could pull it off if everything in the character’s life revolved around Christmas. The holiday. Her family name. The family business. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the story started during my Castle Noel tour. It was Christmas on steroids. It was magical. Amazing. I wondered, what would happen if you had to work at a place like that and you hated the holiday? Then, I kept raising the stakes by making it the family business. A staple in the community. The beloved tourist attraction that kept her parents so busy they missed out on life. A showplace Holly Christmas left far behind as soon as she graduated high school.
Although I didn’t incorporate everything I saw during my tour, Castle Noel is known for their Christmas themed movie props. Their show stopper is the actual slide from A Christmas Story. If you remember Ralphie, he froze as soon as Santa asked him what he wanted for Christmas, so he agreed to a football and down the slide the elves threw him. Ralphie remembers he really wants the Red Rider BB gun, and stops himself on the slide to confess. My son and I were able to go down that slide. The guide told us their oldest guest to enjoy the slide was ninety!
We also saw props from The Grinch, starring Jim Carrey. I believe they had Cindy Lou Who’s entire bedroom. There were pieces from the Santa Clause movies, including wardrobe. There were animation displays from movies I vaguely remember as a kid. They had an entire room of signed photos from the celebrities who have starred in beloved Christmas movies through the years.
Our first prop stop was outside to view the actual RV from Christmas Vacation. Cousin Eddie’s RV. That was so fun to see and hear how they purchased it and got it from California to Ohio.
Besides the props and slide, there were also entire Christmas displays from previous years that used to adorn Macy’s. My goodness the creativity in those displays. They truly were breathtaking.
What you see in Restoring Christmas that is a tip of the hat to Castle Noel is the room where Holly hangs ornaments from the ceiling. The room in Castle Noel has over 10,000 ornaments from the ceiling. As you move forward in the tour, to get to the next exhibit, you have to squeeze through “Santa’s Chimney,” what I can only describe as thick, thick gym mats that are tricky to maneuver. Kids were delighted to make it through. I was praying I didn’t get stuck!
If you are ever in NE Ohio, Castle Noel is open all year. I know the ticket price at first glance seems pricey, but if you love Christmas, movies, trivia, and history about Christmas movies, etc…it is worth it. Beyond worth it.
Have you visited a place that was completely dedicated to Christmas? Leave a comment sharing your experience and I will choose TWO winners to receive A Christmas to Remember. Merry Christmas!