It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Michigan Decembers are festive, eventful and fun. From holiday-themed events to winter celebrations, there is something for everyone. For more suggestions of things to do this month in Michigan, visit michigan.org.
Annual Christmas in Ida Festival & Parade of Lights
December 2 – 3. 2011, Monroe
Head to downtown Ida for a youth dance, live music, lunch with Santa, ice sculptures and craft shows during the day with a fireworks show and night light parade wowing at night. For more information call (734) 269-6017 or visit http://www.christmasinida.com
Annual Noel Night
December 3, 2011, Detroit
The 39th Annual Noel Night kicks off at in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center Area. More than 40 are institutions open their doors to the public free of charge. Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 120 area music, theatre, and dance groups. For additional information call (313) 420-6000 or visit http://www.detroitmidtown.com/05/noelnight
Saline Holiday Parade
December 3, 2011, Saline
Saline’s annual Holiday Parade begins at 5:30pm downtown and only gets more festive from there. Marching bands, horses, floats, youth groups, the Detroit Derby Girls and Mrs. Claus all lead up to Santa’s big arrival. Kids can even get a free gift bag from Santa (but only if they’re on the “good list”!). For more information call (734) 429-4494 or go to http://www.salinechamber.org/?module=Page&sID=holiday-parade
December 2 – 17, 2011, Ray
A nostalgic holiday celebration for kids of all ages at the Historic Center. Kids can visit Santa Claus in an old-fashioned setting and create holiday crafts. The mill grounds will be lit and decorated with a modern synchronized light show. There’s even a bonfire to enjoy s’mores and hot mulled cider over. For more information call (586) 749-5997 or visit http://www.metroparks.com/calendar_item.aspx?ID=1440 .
Holly Dickens Festival
December 9-11, 2011, Holly
See the characters from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” come to life on the streets of Historic Downtown Holly during the annual Holly Dickens Festival. This free celebration boasts carriage rides, caroling choirs, hot roasted chestnuts and more amidst unique shops and the Victorian atmosphere of the holidays. Check out the Holly Dickens Festival Web site for full event details and schedule.
Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village
December 2- 27, 2011, Dearborn
Enjoy turn-of-the-century holiday fun with carolers, live reindeer and candlelit paths at the Henry Ford and Greenfield Village. For more information, call (800) 835-5237, (313) 982-6001 or visit The Henry Ford Web site.
The Big, Bright Light Show
November 28, 2011 – January 1, 2012, Rochester
Nothing says the holidays are here like seeing streets and homes lit up with lights. The Big, Bright Light Show covers every building on Main Stret from the south bridge to Romeo road will be covered by more than one million points of light. For more information on this event, call (248) 656-0060.
Grand Ledge Christmas Parade
December 2, 2011, Grand Ledge
Family fun to kick off the Holiday Season including a Lighted Float Parade through Grand Ledge ending with Santa at the Sun Theater. For more information call (517) 627-2383.
December 3, 2011, Paw Paw
Seek the art, savor the wine and meet the people who make it all happen. From 5 to 8pm, 20 artists will display their artwork, while St. Julian serves up wine samples & local eateries provide tasty treats. For more information call (800) 732-6002 or (269) 657-5568.
K-9 Fanciers Dog Show and Weight Pull
December 9 – 11, 2011, Kalamazoo
This United Kennel Club regional event features obedience classes, weight pulling, conformation, and junior showmanship. Fri 3pm, Sat & Sun 8am, in Hazel Gray. For more information visit http://www.dogonez.com
Holidays at the Homestead
December 1 and 11, 2011, Kalamazoo
Step back in time at the DeLano Homestead. Explore the 1858 farmhouse and enjoy holiday traditions such as making gingerbread cookies and crafts. Take a stroll to the 1830s log cabin replica to glimpse at life during a Michigan winter in the wilderness and try your hand at candle making. Enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride (weather permitting) and afterwards warm up with warm cider and a cookie. For more information call (269) 381-1574 or visit http://www.naturecenter.org/Calendar.aspx
Jack Frost Festival of Lights Parade
December 2, 2011, Ironwood
This annual event kicks off the holiday season with visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus and Jack Frost. There’s also a gingerbread house display and Gogebic Range Band Christmas concert. For more information call (906) 932-1122.
Christmas in Calumet
December 3, 10, 17, 2011, Calumet
Santa arrives in downtown Calumet via horse-drawn wagon and include free goodie bags at Rowe Furniture, free horse-drawn wagon rides, carolers and holiday music by strolling musicians. Phone for details (906) 337-6246.
Homestead BBQ, Tubing & Sleigh Ride
December 22 – 31, 2011, Iron River
All you can eat barbecue on Thursday and Saturday evening. Take the free sleigh to the barbecue from the bottom of Homestead trail. Live music on Saturday and Homestead tubing add to the fun. For more information contact (906) 265-4957.
Downtown Marquette Ball Drop
December 31, 2011, Marquette
Celebrate the New Year and watch the annual ball drop from the Savings Bank Building starting at 11:30pm at the corner of Washington and Front Streets, Marquette. Phone for details at (906) 228-9475.
Dickens Christmas Festival
December 2 – 3, 2011, Mount Pleasant
Step back in time and enjoy the holidays the old-fashioned way at downtown Dickens Christmas Festival. Take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage and listen to carolers or stop by Santa’s House to visit with live reindeer. Re-live the first Christmas at the live nativity and take in the performance A Christmas Story at the Broadway Theatre. For more information call (989) 779-5348 or visit http://www.downtownmp.com
Circle of Trees
December 4, 2011, Muskegon
Join family and friends at Walker Park in North Muskegon for the Annual Circle of Trees. Enjoy a dog parade, the lighting of the trees, a community carol sing and more. For more information on this event, call (231) 744-1621.
Homestead Holiday Festival
December 10, 2011, Grand Rapids
Experience the enchantment of winter with the whole family at Blandford’s annual Homestead Holiday celebration. Sing carols on a horse drawn sleigh, make traditional holiday crafts, dip cookies in delicious hot chocolate, and much more. For more information call (616) 735-6240.
November 19 – December 10, 2011, Holland
Historic downtown Holland provides the perfect backdrop for this holiday festival. Enjoy the creatively lighted floats in the Parade of Lights. Visit with Sinterklaas, the Dutch St. Nicholas, and stroll through the “Kerstmarkt”, a European open-air Christmas market. There are holiday theatre and musical performances, a greens sale, Victorian Christmas teas, special exhibits, and, of course, Santa himself. For more information visit the Dutch Winterfest Web site
Winter Solstice Celebration
December 22, 2011, Grand Rapids
Come out to Blandford Nature Center to celebrate the first day of winter and the longest night of the year – The Winter Solstice. Learn about the science behind the winter solstice, make and decorate a paper luminary to take home, and help out the birds on this long night by making a take-home bird feeder. For more information call (616) 735-6240.
New Year’s Eve Waterpark & Snow Tubing Party
December 31, 2011, Rothbury
Join us at 6:30 for a family party to ring in 2012 with a splash! Enjoy an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet, unlimited use of the Gold Rush Waterpark, snow tubing on Sundance Slopes, and lots of games & activities! Contact the front desk at (231) 894-4444 to make your reservations today or visit http://www.doublejj.com/New-Years-Eve-Party.html.
Caro’s Gingerbread Village
December 1 – 7, 2011, Caro
An old-fashioned holiday in Caro, where true happiness is homemade. Events include gingerbread house competitions for all ages, baking contest, family fun fest, raffles and visits from Fred and Ginger Bread, the mascots of the event. For more information contact (989) 673-5211.
Frankenmuth Farmers Market Christkindlmarkt
December 2 – 4, 2011, Frankenmuth
The Frankenmuth Farmers Market presents its free annual Christkindlmarkt, a traditional European-style Christmas market. Visitors are invited to experience the Lighting Ceremony in Frankenmuth’s River Place after visiting the Christkindlmarkt on Friday evening. For more information call (989) 295-9766 or visit http:/www.frankenmuthfarmersmarket.org.
Downtown Midland’s Holly Jolly Days
December 3, 4, 10, 11, 2011, Midland
Enjoy a festive atmosphere in Downtown Midland while doing your holiday shopping or enjoying a bite to eat with your family. Experience free horse-drawn carriage rides, strolling carolers, 25 cent hot cocoa and great holiday deals at participating stores. Call (989) 837-3330 for more information.
December 8, 2011, St. Clair
Enjoy an evening of exquisite tastes and merriment. Cuddle up in a horse-drawn carriage that will carry you around to St. Clair’s delightful restaurants where you’ll be served their finest cuisine. A wonderful holiday evening to share with friends and family! For more information, call (810) 329-2962.
Flea Market and Nascar Swap
December 18, 2011, Lapeer
The holidays are in full gear with Lapeer’s Flea Market and NASCAR Swap. There will be more than 40 plus tables of new and old items. Door prizes will be given every hour and there will be plenty of food. Come get your last minute Christmas gifts! For more information call (810) 654-0417.
Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic
November 25 – 30, 2011, Flint
This holiday fantasyland features thousands of sparkling lights and Michigan’s most spectacular moving light display, the Huckleberry Railroad. The entire village is aglow with colored lights and more lights decorate the railroad’s locomotive, coaches and trackside displays. For information and reservations call (800).648-PARK or visit http://www.geneseecountyparks.org/pages/Christmas.
Olde Fashioned Christmas
December 3 – 4, 2011, Presque Isle
Take a step back in time in Presque Isle and experience Christmas like they did “back then”. Celebrate with, horse drawn rides, children’s programs, a soup & chili lunch, live music, ice skating, snowman contest, arts & craft show and more! For more information, call (989) 595-5490 or visit http://www.presqueisletwp.org/content/Olde_Xmas/Olde_Xmas.asp.
Gladwin County Festival of Lights Christmas Parade – 2011
December 3, 2011, Gladwin
Enjoy the Christmas In Toyland Spectacular lighted parade in Gladwin. There’s huge helium balloons, lighted floats and Santa coming to town. Warm up with free hot chocolate and carriage rides at Riverwalk Place. Don’t miss out on this great family event. For more information call (989) 246-8000.
Farm By Lantern Light
December 9 – 10, 2011, Grayling
Our popular annual event, Farm By Lantern Light, is an interpretive, historical play presented by local actors depicting life during the holidays on a farm in 1932. Be guided by a team of horses through the snow-covered trails of Wellington Farm, USA. Each building is lit with the gentle glow of lanterns as the story unfolds with you visiting our Visitor’s Center, Blacksmith’s Shop, Carpenter’s Shop, Grist Mill and Summer Kitchen. Join us for this unique journey back in time. This event is very popular and requires reservations. Please call ahead to schedule your family or group to (989) 348-5187.
Victorian Sleigh Bell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend
December 1 – 4, 2011, Manistee
Highlights of the festival are the authentic Victorian parade with period costumes and horse-drawn units. Ramsdell Theatre production, tours of historic buildings, concerts, Festival of Trees, special museum and art exhibits. For more information call (800) 288-2286 or (231) 723-2575.
Holiday Open House
December 2, 2011, Petoskey
The evening begins with an appearance by Santa Claus, who flies in to town to light a giant Christmas tree in Pennsylvania Park. Merchants open their doors to offer warm holiday greetings. The streets are filled with merry entertainment by carolers and the Petoskey High School Steel Drum Band. For more information, call (231) 622-8501
New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Celebration
December 31, 2011, Ludington
The Ludington New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Celebration includes an entertainment tent in James Street Plaza, A Pub Crawl around downtown Ludington and the Highlight of the event – The Ball Drop. For more information, call (231) 845-6237.