Christmas is a wonderful time for loved ones to gather and enjoy the company of one another. If you’re not in the holiday mood just yet, there are plenty of events and celebrations in West Michigan that will get you there. Grab a gingerbread cookie, relax by the fire, and watch a Christmas movie before heading out to one of these fun festivities!
Christmas in West Michigan’s South Region
Celebrate the holiday season in a turn-of-the-century Victorian setting! The 35th Annual “Of Christmas Past” celebration at Historic Charlton Park in Hastings is on December 10th and 11th. Tour over 15 historic buildings while partaking in activities of yesteryear including roasting chestnuts, drinking Wassail and taking wagon rides through the snow. This unique holiday event is perfect for all ages to experience the history of Christmas celebrations.
Saugatuck Brewing Company in Douglas is making sure that the holidays are enjoyable for everybody. December’s Pint Club Appreciation Night is Monday, December 19th from 5:30pm to 9pm. They’re going to be open from 11:30am to 4pm on Christmas Eve with 15% off all to-go beer so that you can stock up for your Christmas celebrations! They’ll be closed for Christmas, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying their beer with friends and family!
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings is hosting a Brunch, Artist’s Reception, and Christmas Concert on December 11th. Brunch seating is at 11:30am and 1pm and the concert is from 12:15pm to 1pm. This year’s Christmas Concert will feature Brass Rail, a brass quintet that plays a variety of musical styles including Renaissance and Baroque, Ragtime and Swing, Blues and Rock, and a good bit of New Orleans influenced music. After the concert, Anne Sipe will be available to talk to about her exhibit of exceptional photographs. Whether you’re looking for a great meal, fun concert, or incredible art, Pierce Cedar Creek has you covered!
The Air Zoo in Portage has programs every Wednesday through Friday during winter break for the entire family! Get out of the cold and join the fun at during their Family Fun Days and experience tons of hands-on, wintery science thrills. Find out who can build the tallest tower, most creative sculpture or strongest structure during the Design and Build Challenge on December 21st and January 4th. On December 22nd and January 5th is the Freeze It! program where families experient with hot ice crystals, dry ice tornados and learn how to freeze everyday objects using liquid nitrogen. Other programs include Rockin’ Robotics, Seasonal Nature Crafts, Sounds of the Season and more. Each is only $2 per person with purchase of general admission!
Round Barn Winery in Baroda is hosting its annual “Sippin’ with Santa Toy Drive” on December 3rd. Partnering with the New Buffalo chapter of Toys for Tots, the Round Barn owners and staff are delighted to give back to the local community that has supported them for the last 24 years. Donate a new, unwrapped toy (or $5 suggested donation for Toys for Tots) and help Round Barn make some Christmas wishes come true. Your donation will score the kids some quality time with the Man in Red so remember to bring your cameras to capture the sweet moment. Bonus kids activities include making ornaments and decorating holiday cookies. Can’t make it to the festivities? Toys for Tots will have an additional donation bin at the Round Barn Union Pier Tasting Room location during the month of December.
Since 1909, the Schuler family has opened its doors to welcome generations of families, helping them to make memories during the holiday season, and this year is no exception. While Schuler’s Restaurant in Marshall is closed on Christmas Day (the one day of the year they do so), you are invited to spend Christmas Eve in the warm comfort of this cozy restaurant where a white tablecloth dining experience and a special holiday menu awaits you and your family.
Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek transforms into an outdoor winter wonderland adorned in twinkling lights to celebrate the holiday season during their ZooLights event from December 16th to 23rd. Visitors of all ages can wander the lighted paths, visit winter-hardy animals on exhibit, admire the beautiful displays and enjoy free carousel rides. Traditional indoor festivities include dinner with Santa, holiday story time, themed crafts, holiday refreshments and more!
St. Joseph Today has some events early in the month to get you in the holiday spirit. On December 2nd, the community tree lighting ceremony, Light Up the Bluff, takes place. Christmas carolers from the St. Joseph High School Choir will be singing at 6pm with the ceremony taking place at 6:30pm. On December 3rd is the 18th Annual Reindog Holiday Parade. Pets dressed up in their best holiday outfits and their owners will take to the streets beginning at 4pm. Whether you want to start the holiday season with decorations or dogs, St. Joseph has events for you.
Visit Marshall and see why the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance likes to call the city “The Christmas City.” The downtown shopping district is decorated with real pine garlands, festive and colorful lights, and old-fashioned decorations. The Candlelight Walk is December 10th and 11th and will take you on a walking tour of several historic homes decorated for the holiday season. On December 15th is an Ugly Christmas Sweater themed Girls’ Night Out. Snack, sip and shop with specials, prizes and refreshments. Explore Marshall this holiday season with its decorations, events and immense Christmas spirit!
Coldwater Country is hosting their Quincy Lights event at the Village of Quincy on December 2nd. This family event features cookie decorating, games and crafts for kids of all ages to enjoy. If you want to see the big man himself, Santa is going to be at the Quincy Fire Station to meet with event goers. All families are invited to the Quincy Lights to bask in the holiday festivities.
The City of Hastings has events to help you kick off the holiday season. From December 2nd to December 4th, check out the Hastings Jingle & Mingle. There will be a Christmas tree lighting, free carriage rides, a Santa Dash 5K, Christmas parade and more spread across the three days. Each day is different, so visit for one or all three days to experience the celebration.
Battle Creek has two big holiday events in December. On December 3rd, enjoy the “Sounds of the Season” concert by the Brass Band of Battle Creek. This is their annual concert where they’ll be performing classic holiday songs. If outdoors activities is more your speed, the Tinsel Toes 5K is on December 10th through downtown Battle Creek. Runners will enjoy this unique 5K run/walk through the lights in downtown while dressed in their favorite ugly sweater or crazy holiday costume. Whether you want to spend an evening listening to amazing musicians or out for a fun 5K, Battle Creek will gladly help you celebrate the holidays!
Take a Holiday Traditions Tour through the Greater Lansing on December 3rd and 4th. Travel to holidays past as you visit historic Victorian homes, buildings and the museum. Also stop by the Opera House and see festive tables, decorated trees and the 1928 Barton Theater pipe organ.
Christmas in West Michigan’s Central Region
Amanda’s Bequest Bed & Breakfast and Bygone Basics in Montague is decking their halls the old fashioned way, by using fruit, nuts, feathers, greens and more. It’s worth the trip to stay, and they even have a Christmas dinner and filled stockings for guests. If you’re into mysteries, their December Murder Mystery dinner titled A Christmas Cracker Killing is December 3rd. Do you have what it takes to figure out who the killer is? The holidays are a magical time at Amanda’s Bequest, between the decorations, food and a wintery themed murder mystery!
Wheelhouse and Twisted Rooster in Grand Rapids have a special holiday themed menu for a limited time. The menu features two drinks and a dessert for you to devour. The White Christmas Martini has Pinnacle Whipped, Godiva White Chocolate and a hint of mint while the Spiced Cranberry Punch has Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Cranberry and Gosling’s Ginger Beer. Top your meal off with a salted caramel dessert. Two unique drinks and a delicious dessert await you!
The Grand Rapids Public Museum has exhibits and events to help you and your family enjoy the holidays. The traveling exhibit Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown explores the making of the animated Peanuts classic. This is included with general admission and even runs through January 29th! From December 17th to January 3rd is the Snowflake Break, when the Grand Rapids Public Museum takes part in a variety of friendly programs and activities themed around history, science and culture. Visitors can make their own themed snowflakes and punched tin to take homes and play a variety of games! Enjoy the holidays with a fair amount of education added in with these Grand Rapids Public Museum’s exhibits and events.
Reserve Wine & Food in Grand Rapids is having a special performance by the Grand Rapids Youth Symphony Chorus on December 22nd. Make your happy hour happier by listening to the kids sing Christmas carols or join in the singing along with them! This is in addition to Reserve’s already delicious lineup of food, wine and atmosphere.
On the Coopersville & Marne Railway in Coopersville, the friendly Conductor will call out “all aboard!” every Saturday and Sunday from now until Christmas. The vintage train cars, which date from 1919 to 1932, are all decorated for the holidays. Santa has a special seat and will be in your train car for half of the 90-minute journey through the snow-covered farms, fields and roadways that are along the route. The Storytelling Princess will read children’s Christmas-themed books when Santa is in another train car. The train runs even on snow days, so it’s the perfect way to enjoy these winter days as a family.
Downtown Market in Grand Rapids has a month of holiday events and classes for you to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit. From now until December 11th, they will have their Christmas Tree & Decor lot to help you find the perfect holiday wreath or tree for your home. On December 7th from 4pm to 8pm is their Winter Wonderland Open House. Enjoy special offers from their Market Hall Merchants, beverage demos, holiday shopping and a visit from Santa! If you want to hone your baking, cooking or bartending skills, Downtown Market is hosting holiday-themed classes all month long for kids, adults, teens and families, This includes Holly Jolly Cookie Bash, Cocktails to Leave Santa, Extreme Gingerbread Mansions and cookie classes for all ages. Fill your December with holiday fun from the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids.
Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant in Holland is decking their restaurant from top to bottom in lights, a Christmas tree and other holiday decorations. Enjoy the great food while surrounded by a little extra holiday cheer! Boatwerks is also a proud sponsor of the Angel Tree and Toys for Tots, giving you an even better reason to stop by during the month of December.
Six.one.six restaurant at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids will be once again be serving Christmas brunch. Enjoy a delicious farm-to-table meal with locally sourced ingredients prepared fresh for you. This event typically fills ups, so be sure to make your reservations early!
Deer Tracks Junction in Cedar Springs becomes even more jolly during the holiday season! Come and visit Who-ville and take a tour with the Grinch. Get up close and personal with animals and meet Max and Cindy-Lou! Of course, don’t forget your camera, so that you can take plenty of pictures with Santa! Whether it’s your first time or this is a long running family tradition, it’s always a fun time at Deer Tracks Junction.
There are two events in Big Rapids that are well worth your time! The Holiday Inn in Big Rapids is hosting a craft show on December 3rd. Check out local crafts and get a headstart on your holiday shopping with some unique gift ideas. Later in the month is the McClain Family Christmas performance on December 18th. This event is perfect for the whole family to have a jolly good time. Whether you need gifts for your family or want to spend some quality time with them, Big Rapids is the place to be this December!
The Holland CVB is hosting two events throughout the month of December. The first is their Deck the Halls event which kicks off the month on December 1st and 2nd. Join the Holland Museum staff and volunteers as they decorate for the holidays! You can help trim the tree, hang wreaths, make paper snowflakes and design your own ornament to hang in the museum lobby. Later in the month, visit the Cappon House to discover the magic of the holiday season. Visit December 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th for holiday decorations, treats, carolers and more!
Muskegon County has events from the beginning of the month to the very end that are sure to get you in the holiday mood! With over 25,000 colored lights, 280 singers and a 50 piece orchestra, the 32nd Singing of the Tree is a can’t miss event when its music fills the air from December 1st through 3rd. More music follows later in the month when the West Michigan Symphony presents Classical Christmas on December 16th. Join them for an evening of classical holiday works which all inspire the true meaning of Christmas. On December 18th is the West Michigan Youth Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, which comes to life in this wonderful ballet for the entire family. To round out the month, enjoy a tour of the homes of Muskegon’s most well-known lumber barons in candlelight on December 26th and 27th. Here you can see the Hackley & Hume Historic Site decorated for the holidays by local civic groups and volunteers. Check out one or all of these Christmas events and enjoy some quality time with the whole family.
The “Symphonic Santa Sunday” Family Holiday Concert in Mecosta County is December 11th at 4pm. Ferris State University’s Decades-long tradition of holiday concerts continues with a fun variety of music performed by large and small groups from all three of the University’s instrumental concert ensembles: the West Central Concert Band, the West Central Chamber Orchestra, and the Symphony Band. Another concert to attend is the Christmas Evening of Harmony on December 15th. The event will begin at 6pm with wine and light hors d’oeuvres followed by the performance at 6:30pm featuring all local talented musicians including vocalists with solos, duets and ensembles, instrumentalists and audience sing-a-long! The music will be a combination of sacred and secular favorite Christmas music.
Christmas in West Michigan’s North Region
From now through January 1st, Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. The whole resort will be decked out in spectacular decorations and include visits from Santa, North Pole University activities and a life-sized gingerbread house that you can dine in! Enjoy the winter howl-i-days in proper Northwoods style!
Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire has a gift for you this holiday season. Hit the slopes on Christmas Day, December 25th, and ski for free with Santa. After delivering all those gifts, it’ll be nice for Santa to enjoy a day on the slopes with the everybody!
Vernales Restaurant in Harbor Springs has a holiday menu that is sure to please everybody at your family or work holiday party. Enjoy a variety of new items including appetizers, steaks, seafood and pasta all under one roof. Not only does Vernales offer quality food, but they also create an atmosphere where you feel like family and experience exceptional service.
Left Foot Charley Winery in Traverse City is hosting the family friendly, all inclusive 7th Annual Unsilent Night on Friday, December 9th. Unsilent Night is a free, outdoor participatory sound sculpture of many individual parts played through a roving swarm of boom boxes, mp3 players, iPhones, iPads and laptops. This unique event has become an international sensation with many other cities across the globe taking part.
During the holiday season, Charlevoix’s restaurants offer a festive variety of unique holiday food options. Area restaurants can help you celebrate this special time of the year with a great family meal. Enjoy a walk through a variety of Christmas lights downtown and in residential areas, or stop downtown to find unique gifts for someone special.
Bellaire comes alive for the holiday season with the 7th Annual Light Up the Night and Soup Cook-Off celebration on December 3rd. There’s plenty to do, from a free kids movie, ornament making, the Holiday Pop Up Craft Show and, of course, the annual Soup Cook-Off featuring 12 participating restaurants. There will also be a visit with Santa after the “Parade of Lights.” Additionally, there is a community tree lighting, caroling, chestnut roasting and a live nativity. This event has is packed to the brim and is sure to have something for everybody trying to get in the mood for the holidays!
Christmas Magic in Benzie County is held every year on the second Saturday of December in Downtown Beulah and Benzonia. This year it’s on December 10th and features Breakfast with Santa and Frosty, Holiday Story Time, Christmas Magic Lighted Parade and more! The event runs from 10am to 6pm, so you have more than enough time to check out everything!
The Petoskey Area has decked the halls and all that’s needed for a great holiday season is you! The most festive of weekends is the first weekend in December. Santa hits the scene in Petoskey at 6pm Friday, December 2nd to light the tree and kick off the Holiday Open House, complete with a performance by the Petoskey Steel Drum Band. Be sure to stick around on Saturday, December 3rd as Santa heads to Harbor Springs for the annual Merchants Holiday Open House with live music, treats and even more holiday cheer. There’s plenty of holiday happiness scheduled throughout the month during this most wonderful time of the year in the Petoskey Area.
If you’re looking for Santa this holiday season, check out this helpful guide to find where the him and Mrs. Claus will be in West Michigan!