Christmas Around West Michigan

From parades to light shows, holiday artist markets to cookie tours, traditional holiday celebrations to Christmas festivals, there is not shortage of West Michigan events to get you in the holiday spirit this month!

Be sure to also check out where you can find a Santa Sighting and gift ideas from our Holiday Gift Guide.

Find more events at the WMTA Event Calendar.

Celebrating Christmas in South West Michigan

Battle Creek

Celebrate the season with the whole family! Plan a merry visit to the zoo to see winter-hardy animals on exhibit, ride the carousel, and much more at ZooLights at Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek. The zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with brilliant light displays, festive décor, and plenty of “oohs and aahs”! ZooLights runs four weekends Friday, Saturday, and Sunday November 30th – December 22nd, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm each night. Admission is $6 for general public, $5 for Binder Park Zoo Members. Please note, Wild Africa is not open for ZooLights.

Be sure to stop by Battle Creek for the International Festival of Lights! Downtown Battle Creek will be festooned with lights, making for a picturesque evening walk. On Saturdays between December 7th-21st, stop by the Battle Creek Welcome Center at 34 W. Jackson St., Suite #1a  5:00 pm to 8:00 pm to meet Santa and drink some hot chocolate, then go for horse-drawn carriage ride to see the lights. 


The Barn Theatre in Augusta extends their season into December for the 7th Annual Christmas Cabaret! Slow down the hustle and bustle of the holidays and come to the Rehearsal Shed as they celebrate the Christmas season with all of your favorite carols and holiday songs. To add to the festivities, they will be serving complimentary pie, coffee, and hot chocolate. Perfect for the whole family, this joyous, reflective, and heartwarming show is sure to create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Performances will be held December 13th-15th, and 18th-22nd. Weeknight performances at 7:00 pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Tickets are $32 and can be purchased on the Barn Theatre’s website


The Air Zoo in Portage is a highly charged, multi- sensory atmosphere that goes beyond anything you’ve ever seen. Voted the “Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners” and “Best Place to Spend a Day with Your Family” three years in a row, the Air Zoo features more than 100 rare and historic air and space artifacts, amusement park-style rides, Full-Motion Flight Simulators, and a Missions Theater, as well as historical exhibits and educational activities. This holiday break, combat the cabin fever, get out of the cold, and join the fun at the Air Zoo during the DeNooyer Winter Break Family Fun Days! December 26th-27th and January 2nd-3rd, 11:00 am-3:00 pm, there will be free special activities for the family included with admission, such as themed crafts and games (while supplies last), special guest visitors, and interactive demonstrations. 

St. Joseph & Benton Harbor

Getting into the holiday spirit is easy when you visit the Victorian-era downtown of St. Joseph during the month of December. Visitors can stroll downtown and enjoy Window Wonderland Friday, December 6th, 7:00 pm-8:30 pm. Dozens of storefronts will participate in this holiday window decorating event, including the Purely Michigan store on State Street. Gift hunters will appreciate the unique selections, special prices, and festive shopping that evening and throughout December.

Photo: St. Joseph Today

Come down to St. Joseph for a fantastic way to kick off the holiday season. The annual Reindog Holiday Parade features dressed-up pets and their owners in a variety of holiday garb. Be prepared to see all kinds of costumes from “Santa Bernards” to “Reindeer Rotweilers,” this is definitely a must-see event. The event also marks the arrival of Santa – who will then be available for wish list conversations and photos. Kids will have a chance to visit with some of their favorite friends, including area mascots and the queens from the Southwest Michigan Scholarship Fund. Guests are encouraged to participate and walk in the parade. Judging for the event begins at 2:00 pm and will end at 3:45 pm. Judging will take place in front of the St. Joseph Today Welcome Center located at 301 State Street. The parade will begin promptly at 4:00 pm at Elm and State Street. Prizes will be awarded after the parade so stick around!

Visit Santa’s House, December 7th-23rd, Thursdays & Friday 4:00 pm-6:00 pm, Saturdays Noon-5:00 pm, and Sundays 1:00 pm-5:00 pm for picture perfect holiday fun in downtown St. Joseph. Santa’s house will be located on the corner of State and Pleasant Streets

Enjoy a special performance of The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Musical December 18th at 7:00 pm at The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor.

The Twin City Players bring How the Grinch Stole Christmas to the stage Southwestern Michigan December 19th-21st. 


December 7th is the Holiday Market at Crane’s Pie Pantry, Restaurant, & Winery in Fennville.  Vendors will be on site selling a wide variety of Christmas gifts such as essential oils, Tupperware, jams and jellies, handmade jewelry and crafts, and knitted items from noon-3:00 pm. They will also have some fun give-aways, and some pie specials for the holidays.


The Marshall Historical Society’s 40th annual Candlelight Walk will be on Saturday and Sunday, December 7th & 8th at 4:30 and 6:45 pm. The event features guided tours to five historic homes decorated for Christmas. Each begins with a reception at the First Presbyterian Church at 200 W. Mansion St. Participants are urged to arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled tour times to enjoy the receptions and to allow walking time to the first home. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the Marshall Historical Society’s website or by calling (269) 781-8544.  


The Backsliders perform December 8th, 2:30pm, at Dablon Vineyards Winery & Tasting Room in Baroda. The Backsliders are precisely one half of the Van Dyke Revue, John and David Van Dyke, father and son musicians, with two acoustic guitars and vocals. 


Greenbush Brewing in Sawyer hosts their Holiday Party on Saturday, December 7th.

South Haven 

Michigan Maritime Museum hosts “Christmas at the Keeper’s House” December 14th in South Haven. The museum’s historic Light Keeper’s House will have a children’s book reading of the Christmas Tree Ship, hot cocoa, cookies, sledding, and a little nautical holiday shopping. The event is free to attend, however donations are appreciated. 

New Buffalo

Cirque Dreams Holidaze will have two shows at Four Winds Casino New Buffalo December 14th, 8:00 pm and December 15th at 5:00 pm. Broadway Director and Cirque Dreams Founder, Neil Goldberg, has searched the world to assemble a remarkable cast of incomparable cirque artists, singers, dancers, and talent to mesmerize audiences with new acts, holiday scenes, theatrical innovation, and much more. Set in a multi-million-dollar wonderland of elaborate scenes and dozens of original holiday production numbers, audiences will celebrate the most wonderful time of the year as they experience spectacular costumes and the world’s most astonishing acts.  

Three Oaks

Staymaker at Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks invites you to Holiday Brunch 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, December 26th through December 31st. Why wait until Sunday for brunch? Join Staymaker at Journeyman Distillery for the best meal of the day, each and every day this holiday season! The Holiday Brunch Buffet features breakfast-themed pizzas, a donut bar, breakfast meats, savory casseroles, fresh eggs, house-made pastries (including vegan options)—plus a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar, brunch cocktails, and much, much more. Adult Buffet is $20, Kids 5–12 are $15, Under 5 eat free! (Closed Christmas Day)

Looking for something to do with visiting family? Make plans for an evening of cask-strength laughs at Journeyman Distillery “Comedy on the Rocks” in Three Oaks Friday, December 27th, 8:00 pm–9:30 pm. Featured performers include Pat Sievert, winner of the 2019 Funniest Person in Grand Rapids Competition; Rob Christensen, a Brooklyn-native who’s appeared on EPIX and Comedy Central’s ‘This is Not Happening’; and Journeyman’s very own Maxwell Tidy, your charismatic host for the evening. Tickets are limited and available on Journeyman Distillery’s website.

Mark down December 21st as Harbor Country Opera in Three Oaks brings the “Jolliest Christmas Ever” at its thirteenth annual Christmas performance in Southwestern Michigan!

Coldwater Country

Enjoy the sights and sounds of a steam engine train in the winter with a ride aboard The Christmas Express at Coldwater Country’s Little River Railroad. Visit with Santa on the train, then enjoy holiday treats and a Christmas tour of the depot. Saturdays and Sundays, December 7th & 8th, and 14th & 15th. 

Head to downtown Coldwater on Saturday, December 7th for the annual Christmas Parade and Santaland. Enjoy tree-lit streets, bands playing Christmas carols, children anxiously awaiting a glimpse of Santa, and more during the magic of the holidays in Coldwater.

The lights are on and ready for Coldwater Country visitors at Ron and Chickie’s Festival of Lights. From Thanksgiving to the day after Christmas visitors can tour the interior lights displays, 6:30 pm-9:00 pm, along with the outdoor displays, from dark to approximately midnight, at this Union City holiday tradition.


Come celebrate the holidays at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings at the Dreaming of a Green Christmas event, December 14th. Give Santa and his reindeer a break and learn how sled dogs pull their weight all year-round (not just at Christmas time) from renowned sled dog owner and race competitor, Annie Hammond of Kalamazoo. Learn how to beautifully decorate your gifts and tree with recycled or biodegradable materials, make and take home unique holiday ornaments using natural materials, create edible gifts for your animal friends to enjoy, and build (and eat) your own “gingerbread” houses. Find the schedule of events at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute facebook page. 


Music is in the air in the Greater Lansing Area, where you’ll find a number of holiday concerts and events as well as special holiday light shows throughout the area. 

Celebrating Christmas in Central West Michigan


The Critter Barn in Zeeland invites you to the 20th annual Live Nativity, held Tuesdays-Saturdays between December 4th and the 28th. Visit the Critter Barn animals, including sheep, goats, and cows, and take photos of the scene in the historic barn.

The Zeeland City Christmas tree and Magical Christmas parade bring the holiday season downtown on December 2nd beginning at 6:15pm.


Join Holland Museum staff and volunteers December 7th, 11:00 am-4:00 pm as they decorate for the holidays! Help trim the tree and hang wreaths to the tune of holiday music, learn to make paper snowflakes, and design your own ornament to hang in the museum lobby. Supplies will be provided by the museum and all are welcome to this free event in the museum lobby. Admission to museum galleries and exhibits additional. The Holland Museum will be celebrating a Victorian Christmas at the Cappon House December 14th and 15th, noon-4:00 pm. Enjoy a tour of the opulent home while learning how yuletide celebrations have changed in the last 100 years. Visitors can also create traditional decorations, sample holiday sweets, sing along to Christmas tunes on the piano, capture a loved one’s affection under the kissing ball, and more. This event is appropriate for the whole family, with activities aimed at both adults and children ages 5 and up. Advance registration is strongly encouraged. Admission is $8.00 per person for museum members, $10.00 per person for non-members, free for ages 5 and under.

Stop by the Sneaky Elves Workshop December 20th noon – 3:00 pm and December 21st 10:00 am – 3:00 pm at the Holland Area Arts Council. Children will be led through the creation and wrapping of a handmade gift so that they can take part in the giving this holiday season! Parents can drop their kids off and go shopping in Downtown Holland or stay and participate in the fun. 

Experience an authentic European-style open-air Christmas market with handcrafted items, delicious food and artisan demonstrations at Kerstmarkt in Downtown Holland. Open Fridays and Saturdays through December 14, and Tuesday, December 3rd, at the 8th Street Marketplace. 

Presented by the Holland Civic Theatre, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, brings the classic holiday film to life in Holland December 1st, 5th, 7th, 13th, and 14th.

Santa arrives escorted by bands, floats, trucks, and family and friends, all decked out in thousands of sparkling holiday lights at the Parade of Lights, December 3rd at 6:30 pm. More than 80 entries will illuminate the streets of Downtown Holland. At the end of the parade, Santa will greet his fans – young and old alike! The parade begins at 8th Street and Columbia Avenue and continues on to the Eighth Street Market Place, home of the Holiday Kerstmarkt.

Explore the Annual Holiday Home Tour December 5th, noon-6:00 pm in Holland. Walk through six new homes on 10th and 11th Streets, each beautifully decorated for the season. Tickets (with maps) are $20 each. Find more information at the Holland Museum website.

Celebrate the season with arts & crafts, lantern making, refreshments, and story time at the Holland Area Arts Council Sinterklaas Eve Celebration, December 6th, 6:00 pm-9:00 pm. Just after 7:00 pm, families head outside with their lanterns to join Sinterklaas on his white horse, leading the procession down 8th Street to the Kerstmarkt at the Holland Civic Center Place. The evening includes photo opportunities, MAX Transit trolley rides, and fabulous holiday shopping!

Still on the hunt for the perfect holiday gift? Then don’t miss the Downtown Holland Shopping Jam on Saturday, December 14th! Participating stores will open early for this special savings event. The earlier you shop… the more you save! During the Shopping Jam, merchants will be offering discounts of 30% off from 8:00 am – 9:00 am and 25% off from 9:00 am – 10:00 am. Discounted merchandise will vary by store, but will include a discount off at least one item. Please see the participating businesses for savings details. The Shopping Jam is sponsored by Downtown Holland’s own Horizon Bank.

Enjoy classic holiday music and seasonal favorites at the Holland Chorale Holiday Concert “The Glory of Christmas,” December 8th at 3:00 pm & 7:30 pm at First Reformed Church in Holland

Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean that you can’t fill your table with fresh, local and healthy food. The Holland Farmers Market is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm though Saturday, December 21st. Stop by to pick up everything you need to make your family’s favorite holiday dishes or to decorate your home for the holidays.


Hudsonville Family Dental sponsors the annual Christmas Tree Lighting event on Tuesday, December 3rd, from 4:00 pm-7:00 pm in Downtown Hudsonville. You and your family are invited for free kids activities, photos with Santa, complimentary snacks and beverages (while supplies last), horse and carriage rides throughout Hudsonville’s Downtown, and more! The downtown tree will be lit at 6:00 pm. Bring your family out to celebrate the holiday season in Downtown Hudsonville.


A holiday tradition returns to the Muskegon Carr-Fles Planetarium with “Mystery of the Christmas Star!” Tuesdays and Thursdays through December 12th. No reservations are needed for this free, 30-minute show in room 1072 at Muskegon Community College. 

Come to the Beardsley Theater in Muskegon December 1st as the Muskegon Civic Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol!” The Academy Award-winning composer Michel Legrand has teamed with Sheldon Harnick, one of the theatre’s most celebrated Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning librettists, and the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s prophetic Christmas Eve is reborn. From the pages of Dickens comes this scintillating musical adaptation of the Yuletide classic that continues to touch hearts and minds the world over. 

America’s Tallest Singing Christmas Tree visits Muskegon December 5th through 7th. 2019 marks the 35th anniversary of the Mona Shores Singing Christmas Tree which has been featured on both the Travel Channel and the Learning Channel! With its 25,000 colored lights that coordinate to the beautiful singing, 15 tiers that reach 67 feet up into the majestic Frauenthal Center, over 280 singers, and accompaniment by the 50 piece Mona Shores High School Orchestra, the Singing Christmas Tree must be seen to be believed. 

Experience the 19th century Hackley & Hume homes of Lakeshore Museum Center in Muskegon decorated beautifully for the holidays by Muskegon’s local community groups with period-appropriate artifacts, ornaments and more! Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $10 per person, $8 for seniors 65+ and $5 for Kids ages 2-12. Tour dates and times are December 1st from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, December 14th, 21st, and 27th from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm, and December 28th from 1:00 pm -4:00 pm.

Enjoy a special performance of “Clickity Clack Ho Ho Ho!” in Muskegon, December 7th. Based on the book “Click Clack Ho Ho Ho” by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin, families will enjoy a live narration of this fun holiday story with graphics displayed on a 20 foot screen at The Block. The story is accompanied by original music played by professional musicians and children will have an opportunity to help compose their own music and hear it performed. Join them for a holiday celebration with your favorite Click Clack Moosic barnyard pals, cookies and milk… and if he isn’t too busy in his workshop, maybe even a visit by the man in the red suit! 

What better way to kick of the holidays than a parade? Downtown Grand Haven hosts the Jingle Bell Parade, December 7th at 6:00 pm.

Grand Rapids

Kick off the Holiday Season this year at the Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids with holiday music and a visit with Santa and his reindeer at a special event December 1st, 1:00 pm-4:00 pm. Opening for the season will be the train formerly shown at Breton Village Mall! This train is now a permanent holiday display at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. There is no cost to attend this family-friendly celebration and no reservations required.

Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum presents Season’s Greetings from the White House, with Mary Evans Seeley, December 12 at 7:00 pm. Mary Evans Seeley is a collector, historian, lecturer, author and publisher of two books about Christmas at the White House. She has the most extensive collection of Presidential Christmas memorabilia in the country. Her book, Season’s Greetings from the White House is now in its eighth edition. It tells the stories of Christmas at the White House from Calvin Coolidge through Donald J. Trump. Join the museum as she documents nearly a century of presidential Christmases. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the event. The event is free with open seating, registrations are appreciated.

Excitement surrounds this time of year as the annual Metro Health Christmas & Holiday Traditions exhibition brings the glow of over 300,000 colorful lights, strolling carolers, visits from Santa, rooftop reindeer, and 46 international trees and displays to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Ring in the season with a beloved winter exhibition. Honoring holiday cultures around the world, Meijer Gardens focuses on the authenticity of the symbols of beloved holiday traditions – it’s an idyllic spot to center your thoughts on the true meaning of the holidays. The Holiday Traditions exhibition will be on display through January 5, 2020. 

Join the Grand Rapids Public Museum on December 20th and 21st to enjoy listening to live holiday classics at the Holiday Classics Organ Concert performed by Dave Wickerman on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ. This experience is fun for the entire family! 

This holiday season, visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum from December 21st through January 5th to experience Snowflake Break! Fun for the entire family, visitors will make themed crafts, play games, and explore the museum! Snowflake Break is included with your ticket purchase. Additionally, see historic Grand Rapids built from LEGO® bricks, complete with operating trams, showcasing Grand Rapids during the early 20th century. Take pictures with the Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train, see 15 historic Santas from around the world, and find 12 elves hidden throughout the Museum. Visit the GRPM’s Planetarium to see Let it Snow, featuring festive classics from Frank Sinatra and Chuck Berry to Burl Ives and Brenda Lee, with a stunning finale by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Tickets are $4 each with general admission to the Museum, free to Museum members and $5 each for planetarium only tickets. Let Is Snow showings run through January 5th. As an annual tradition, visitors will be able to view and take pictures with the Herpolsheimer’s train throughout the holiday season. Recognizable to any baby-boomer, the train chugged along the ceiling of the toy department at the Herpolsheimer’s Department Store. 

DeVos Performance Hall and Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids have a number of Christmas events this season! 

  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Christmas Eve and Other Stories at Van Andel Arena, Sunday, December 1st at 3:00 pm & 7:30 pm. “Christmas Eve and Other Stories” is based on the triple-platinum album of the same name and follows a story by TSO’s late founder/composer/lyricist Paul O’Neill. The story is set on Christmas Eve when a young angel is sent to Earth to bring back what is best representative of humanity. “Christmas Eve & Other Stories” takes listeners all over the world to help reunite a young girl with her distraught father. The album and tour feature such fan-favorites as “Ornament” and the epic “Old City Bar,” both of which have not been performed live in recent years. The rock opera also features such TSO classics as “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24,” “O’ Come All Ye Faithful”, “Good King Joy”, “Promises To Keep”, and “This Christmas Day.” Additionally, the tour will enjoy a new second set containing some of TSO’s greatest hits and fan-pleasers including “Christmas Canon,” “Wizards In Winter,” and many more.
  • Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith “Christmas 2019” at Van Andel Arena Thursday, December 5 at 7:00 pm. Multi-platinum, GRAMMY® winners Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith are reuniting to co-bill their popular Christmas tour this upcoming holiday season, where they will be joined by special guest Marc Martel. A full symphony orchestra will be incorporated into every show! The highly anticipated show will feature selections spanning the artists’ expansive Christmas repertoires and combine the vast collection of critically acclaimed holiday albums between them. The dynamic duo last brought their Christmas tour on the road in 2017 to the delight of fans in sold-out shows throughout North America.
  • Grand Rapids Symphony presents Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops at DeVos Performance Hall, Thursday, December 5th at 7:30 pm, Friday, December 6th at 10:00 am & 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 7th at 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 8th at 2:00 pm. It’s Grand Rapids’ favorite holiday music tradition! Your family will thrill to the spectacle of the season as the GR Pops and their very special guests perform this sparkling holiday celebration. Carols, sing-alongs, and more. And yes, Virginia, there will be a Santa Claus! New this year, a 6th Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops performance has been added, taking place on Friday, December 6 at 10 AM! This one-hour concert will be a shortened version of the holiday performance, perfect for young families and those who prefer daytime concerts. Please note the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus will not perform on this program.
  • Grand Rapids Ballet presents The Nutcracker at DeVos Performance Hall, Friday, December 13th at 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 14th at 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm, Sunday, December 15th at 1:00 pm & 5:30 pm, and the following weekend, Friday, December 20th at 7:30 pm, Saturday, December 21st at 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 22 at 1:00 pm
  • West Michigan’s favorite holiday tradition returns to the grandeur of DeVos Performance Hall with sets by famed children’s book author and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg (The Polar Express, Jumanji), Broadway-quality set design by Tony Award winner Eugene Lee (Wicked, Sweeney Todd, Saturday Night Live), choreography by Val Caniparoli, and the live music of your Grand Rapids Symphony. Don’t miss the magic!
  • Grand Rapids Symphony presents Old National Bank Cirque de Noel at DeVos Performance Hall, Wednesday, December 18th at 7:30 pm and Thursday, December 19th at 7:30 pm. Since 2009, Cirque de la Symphonie has spent part of each Christmas season in Grand Rapids. Celebrating its 10th annual Cirque de Noel with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Cirque de la Symphonie’s company of acrobats, jugglers, contortionists and aerial artists makes merry with amazing feats of agility and strength, accompanied by beloved Christmas songs and classical favorites. Tickets are available at and in person at the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place box offices.

Find the perfect holiday wreath or tree for your home at Grand Rapids Downtown Market Christmas Tree Lot, hosted by Lenderink Tree Farms, Wednesdays and Fridays: 4:00 pm-7:00 pm, and Saturdays & Sundays 10:00 am-6:00 pm through December 15th.

Experience the magic of the season at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market Winter Wonderland, Wednesday, December 4th, 4:00 pm-8:00 pm. Enjoy special offers from Market Hall merchants and shop the holiday artisan market. Don’t forget to share your wish list with Santa in the greenhouse! 

River Country/Newaygo County

Head to River Country to see the Colors of Christmas through January 1st. The Colors of Christmas is a drive-thru wonderland of lights and Christmas displays. Open every night from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm, the Croton Township Campground will be open for you and your family to drive through or hike through The Colors of Christmas light displays. Free to everyone, a $5.00 donation is suggested, however donations of any amount are greatly appreciated.  All donations go towards purchasing new lights displays.

Christmas in Newaygo in River Country kicks off Thursday, December 5th, with The Season of Hope Charity Auction and continues Friday, December 6th, with the Christmas Walk in Downtown Newaygo. Wrap up the weekend Saturday, December 7th, at The ChoiceOne Bank Saint Nick Kick.  

The unique, small town of White Cloud in River Country plays host to Santa for a fun filled day of family focused activities, December 7th, noon-3:00 pm. Join the area businesses as they host the annual Kids’ Carnival, Santa’s Workshop, and so much more.

The arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus will kick off the Croton-Hardy Tree Lighting Ceremony, 6:00 pm, December 14th, in River Country. Enjoy a horse drawn wagon ride through “The Color of Christmas” in Croton Township Campground or warm yourself up with some hot chocolate and cookies around the warming fire. Kids can visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and feel free to take pictures with them, then head over to the craft table where you can decorate and create your own Christmas ornament. 


Photo: Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

Head to the Ludington area for the West Michigan B&B Cookie Tour. Participating bed & breakfasts in Whitehall, Hart, Pentwater, Ludington, and Bear Lake will hold private open houses and cookie tours during the first two weekends of December. Get a peek inside each B&B and see them all decked out for the holidays, smell the aroma of fresh baked goods, and most importantly, sample or take home each innkeeper’s beautifully decorated creations.

Enjoy the sights of sounds of Historic White Pine Village in Ludington all decked out for Christmas at the White Pine Christmas, December 13th and 14th, bringing together traditions of the past and present for you to make new memories with your friends and family. 

This Christmas in Ludington, Edgar Struble Presents: A Nashville Family Christmas, December 21st at 2:00 pm and 7:30 pm. A holiday musical event for the entire family, this country musical extravaganza includes traditional and contemporary holiday country favorites, guest appearances, holiday treats, and pictures with Santa! 

Add some special fun to your holiday parties with mobile virtual reality rental from Jump Around Fun Center in Ludington. Top of the line virtual reality gear for the best experiences and over 50 game selections.

Mecosta County

The Holidays are upon us and with that comes seasonal events! Mecosta County is filled with cheer to celebrate the Holidays. 

  • Kick-off the month of December by attending the Annual St. Mary- St. Paul Christmas Bazaar on December 7th and December 8th at the St. Mary Parish Center in Big Rapids. This event includes a luncheon (on Saturday), handmade crafts, bake sale, book sale, grandma’s attic, jewelry booths, gift baskets, raffles, and an array of fresh greens made into wreaths, swags, and holiday centerpieces. On Sunday morning, while shopping at the bazaar, everyone is welcome to attend the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast. 
  • Saturday, December 7th is filled with cheer! The Holiday Inn of Big Rapids is hosting the Friends of Friends Holiday Craft Show from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Peruse wonderful works from talented crafters and artisans, and the direct product sales you love from the people of the Mecosta County area. Later on in the day, celebrate the season joy with “Gloria: An Angel is Among Us!” at the 19th Annual Holiday Concert at the Big Rapids High School from 7p.m. to 9p.m. This concert will feature music from Voca Lyrica, Con Brio Voce Brass Quintet, and the Treblemakers Youth Choir. Tickets for this event can be purchased from Patterson’s Flowers, The Old Pioneer Store and Emporium, and Simply the Best Boutique.
  • Monday, December 9th, the Mecosta County Convention & Visitors Bureau is extremely proud to announce that they will be hosting grammy award winning singer and songwriter John Berry with his crowd-pleasing Christmas concert, “Christmas Songs & Stories with John Berry” at Ferris State’s Williams Auditorium at 7:00 pm. John’s annual Christmas tour brighten the holidays for thousands as does his electrifying rendition of “O Holy Night” Tickets are $35 per person. There is also a VIP upgrade experience that is an available and an additional $25 per person. You can purchase tickets at the Mecosta County CVB office or website.
  • Saturday, December 14th and Sunday, December 15th, the Chippewa Hills High School is hosting the annual Chippewa Hills Craft & Vendor Show. From 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday & 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Sunday, come find crafts, re-purposed treasures, merchandise and products from local home businesses, a cookie sale by the Warrior Band, 50/50 raffle, and more. All registration fees, raffles, cookie, and concession sales benefit the CHHS Band program. Come support this very worth-while event!
  • Tuba Bach is pleased to present TUBACHRISTMAS on Sunday, December 15th at the Big Rapids High School Auditorium. Come watch and listen to the euphonious holiday cheer. In addition to the TubaChristmas ensemble, the concert will feature several number by the Tuba Bach Quartet – Ed Mallett and Gail Robertson on euphonium, and Charles Guy and Phil Sinder on tuba. Audience members will have plenty of opportunity to sing along with the Christmas carols and holiday favorites. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated, themed tubas. This wonderful festive event is free to attend! On December 19th, the Downtown Big Rapids Business Association will be hosting their annual Ho-Ho-Home for the Holidays event from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. This annual event is a one-of-a-kind shopping experience throughout Michigan Avenue in Historic Downtown Big Rapids. Each business will have vendors in or around their store front with a multitude of items for purchase such as baked goodies, gift certificates, jewelry, art crafted by Michigan locals, and more! Heighten your shopping experience with cups of warm, hot cocoa, sleigh rides, festive music, and caroling galore.
  • Finally, one last hurrah before the big day, is the 35th Annual Musicians’ Christmas Party hosted by the Big Rapids Eagles on Monday, December 23rd from 4:00 pm to midnight. Get your dancing shoes ready as you move to the groove of these amazing musicians lined-up for celebrations! Tickets for this celebration are $10 and all proceeds go towards Angels of Action. 

Mt. Pleasant

See a beautiful display of Christmas lights throughout downtown Mt. Pleasant all month long. The holiday season begins with the Mt. Pleasant Christmas Celebration, December 6th and 7th. This two-day event features a tree-lighting ceremony, Jingle All the Way 5K run/walk, community sing-along, pancake breakfast with Santa, a lighted parade, and a fireworks display to conclude the celebration.

Celebrating Christmas in North West Michigan & Upper Peninsula 

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 variety of Christmas lights downtown and in residential areas. Stop downtown to find unique gifts for someone special.


Stop in the Bistro at Courtyard Marriott Petoskey to try their winter seasonal menu. Enjoy classic plates with a twist as well as holiday-themed drinks at the bar. Looking to host a group? The elegant meeting space holds up to 90 and is perfect for any holiday gathering. Call 231-439-3333 today to ask about planning your holiday party!

Holiday cheer spreads far and near in the Petoskey Area:

  • On December 6th, Petoskey welcomes visitors with music by the Petoskey Steel Drum Band as well as other fun activities in the downtown area from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the Holiday Open House.
  • The fun continues with more music from the Petoskey Steel Drum Band and frivolity in nearby Harbor Springs with the Harbor Springs’ Merchant’s Open House on Saturday December 7th from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.
  • On Friday, December 13th, the Petoskey Steel Drum Band heads to Alanson for continued merriment from 6:00 until 8:00 pm at the Alanson Downtown Holiday Open House.
  • Stafford’s Perry Hotel plays host to performances by the Petoskey High School Madrigals on December 8th, 15th, and 16th. Guests will be taken back to the days of the old with live performances accompanied by a delicious 4-course meal. Reservations required, $45.00 per person.

Join The Village at Bay Harbor for the 2nd Annual Christkindlmarkt, December 13th and 14th. See the village turn into a festive European traditional market setting for the holiday. Beautifully decorated storefronts and twinkling light displays, as well as cozy fire pits along Main Street will bring holiday joy to your heart. Thirty market artisans will have hand-made and unique items for everyone on your holiday list at the artists market 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm Friday, December 13th, and 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Saturday, December 14th. The official tree lighting ceremony will take place at 6:00 pm on Friday, December 13th. Santa’s workshop and family crafts will take place in the village on Saturday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Enjoy German fare in the village restaurants during the two day event as well. The event will conclude with an amazing, high energy performance from the Petoskey Steel Drum Band on their lighted double-decker bus on Main Street on Saturday at 6:00 pm. Make a holiday weekend by spending the night in one of the amazing suites in the Bay Harbor Village Hotel. 


Iron Fish Distillery in Thompsonville hosts a wreath-making workshop December 1st from 2:30pm – 4:30pm and on December 8th from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm, Cheryl Wolfram performs Christmas carols in the Tasting Room.

Feast on your holiday favorites at the Wild Tomato on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville. Reservations are required. Ski or snowboard from 10:00 am to close on Wednesday, December 25th with lift tickets for $25 per person and rental for $25 per person. Remember, kids 6 and under and seniors 80 and older receive a free lift ticket anytime!

Traverse City Area

Spend Christmas relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends while Grand Traverse Resort & Spa’s Aerie Restaurant & Lounge in Acme takes care of the cooking. Visit Wednesday, December 25, for a Christmas Day Dinner complete with all of your holiday favorites like mashed potatoes, ham, prime rib, pie, and more. Adults $34.95, children ages 5-12 $18.95, and kids 4 and under eat free.

Chateau Chantal in Traverse City is offering Holiday Wine Dinners the first three weeks of December. The Holiday Wine Dinners are a delicious wine dinner, perfect for your holiday party. These seated wine dinners are prepared fresh in-house, featuring seven delicious courses, each paired with your favorite Chateau Chantal wines.

Snowshoes, Vines and Wines returns to Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay. Snowshoe through forest and vineyard trails then warm up with chili, hot pressed sandwiches, and hot mulled wine or hot chocolate. Beginning December 26th through the 31st and continuing Saturdays through February 16th. Great for all ages. Snowshoe rental provided, or bring your own.


There are so many ways to celebrate Christmas with Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire. Plan a weekend getaway with friends and family to relax, unwind, and celebrate. Join as Shanty Creek celebrates the holiday season at Ivan’s Café on Saturday, December 21st. Enjoy dinner, Christmas carols around the tree, Christmas cookie decorating, and a visit from Santa. The evening is capped off with the Torchlight Parade, led by the big guy himself, down the face of Schuss Mountain, and immediately followed by fireworks over Schuss Mountain. Can’t make it to the resort before Christmas? Make sure to visit on Christmas Day for the annual Ski Free with Santa, Shanty Creek Resort’s gift to you this holiday season. Santa will hit the slopes of Schuss Mountain from 9:00 am-4:30 pm. Pay it forward with a donation of non-perishable food items, gently-used winter clothing and/or household items to benefit local food pantries.

Short’s Annual Ugly Sweater Party is back, Monday, December 23rd, at 5:00 pm. Don your ugliest holiday garb and sip on festive brews as Short’s celebrates the season with friends near and dear at Short’s Brewing in Bellaire. 


Celebrate the magic of the holiday season in Marquette at the 9th Annual ‘Winter Snow Fun’ Holiday Parade and 45th Annual City of Marquette Tree Lighting December 6th. Bundle up with friends and family as illuminated floats, tinsel-strewn trucks, and colorful carolers transform Third Street into a magical scene from the North Pole. After the parade, spectators are welcomed to the Marquette Commons where Santa Claus and friends will light up downtown at the annual City of Marquette Tree Lighting. Festivities include a performance by the Marquette Senior High School Redmen Chorale, pony rides, and photos with Santa Claus. The Marquette Post Office staff lends a helping hand to Santa’s elves by collecting children’s letters to Santa along the Holiday Parade route.