Delmarva families follow a Christmas star to Bethlehem

"It’s like baking cookies and decorating the tree, just coming to Bethlehem is just another part of the tradition." 

It's a 38 year tradition for Debbie and Tom Brannock, a tradition that involves a 40 minute drive. 

"We just take the day and come over and bring our Christmas cards and stamp them with the stamp of the three wise men and we just enjoy doing it because it just gives more meaning for the card just a little more special," says Debbie. 

But the Brannock's aren't the only ones who travel far to get to the quaint little town of Bethlehem.

Even people who can't make the trip find a way to get the special stamp on their holiday cards.

"We have people that mail in cards to us from Florida, Wisconsin. This year we had some from the Netherlands and China where they mail us a card or post card with a little note in it asking to give us some information about Bethlehem, to put our cache stamp on it and to send it back to them," says Kerri Brandow, Bethlehem and Preston's Post Master.

"On an average she’s been sending out 2 to 3,000 cards a day." 

But these folks certainly aren't the first ones to make the trek either. The custom was started back in 1938 when a 16-year-old girl decided Bethlehem needed something special for the holidays.

"79 years later the tradition still continues." 

For many, traveling to Bethlehem is not just about putting the special stamp on their letters, it's what the holiday season is all about.

"It’s of course the reason for the season and our friends look forward to it every year and it’s just a tradition and one that we love to carry on," exclaims Debbie. 

It's a special experience for everyone. 

"It’s very special, it’s very heartwarming to see people come back year after year after year just for the stamp and the post mark. It makes Christmas," says Brandow.

To accommodate everyone who travels to Bethlehem, the store owner next door even lends a helping hand since the post office doesn't open until the afternoon.

Kelly Ferguson keeps that special stamp at his store so people who come in after hours can still get it.

He says it's essentially his Christmas gift to those who make the trip. 

Categories: Local News, Maryland

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