Below is a list of just a few Michigan festivals & events for the month of December. As usual, there’s no way to get them all, so please add links and information for those we missed and reviews of ones we have here in the comments below!
Fast Facts via Wikipedia
- December is the twelfth and last month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days.
- In Latin, decem means “ten”. December was also the tenth month in the Roman calendar until a monthless winter period was divided between January and February.
- December’s flower is the narcissus or holly. December’s birthstones are turquoise, lapis lazuli, zircon, topaz (blue), or tanzanite.
- December is the month with the shortest daylight hours of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest daylight hours of the year in the Southern Hemisphere.
- December starts on the same day of the week as September.
“Mankind should be our business, Ebenezer, but we seldom attend to it.” ~ The Ghost of Jacob Marley, “Scrooge”
“Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?” ~ George Bailey, “It’s a Wonderful Life”
“Look Doris, someday you’re going to find that your way of facing this realistic world just doesn’t work. And when you do, don’t overlook those lovely intangibles. You’ll discover those are the only things that are worthwhile.” ~ Fred Gailey, “Miracle on 34th Street”
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags!” ~ The Grinch
Places to Go and Things to Do
Also check out the December Event Roundup in the Pure Michigan blog.
through January 8
Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World – Grand Rapids
Excitement surrounds us this time of year as Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World brings the glow of 300,000 lights, strolling carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides and more than 40 international trees and displays. A new feature this year is the redesign of the Diwali display honoring the Hindu Festival of Lights, along with the enhancement of Nativity displays including the new-to-the-exhibition Polish szopka. There will also be extended holiday hours December 20-23 and 26-30 - entire facility will be open until 9 pm.
through December 30
Christmas at Crossroads – Flint
Sometimes, it’s easy to wonder where the magic of Christmas has gone. Turns out it’s at Crossroads Village in Genesee County Parks. Every year, this turn-of-the-last-century town becomes a holiday fantasyland, with thousands (and thousands) of twinkling lights, costumed carolers, craft demonstrations, live entertainment at the Colwell Opera House and visits from a certain Jolly Old Elf. Not to mention rides on Michigan’s most spectacular moving light display, the world-famous Huckleberry Railroad.
Weekends through December 18
The Santa Train – Coopersville
Ride with the FUN GUY! Everyone loves Santa and Santa loves kids. Each of our vintage passenger cars has a special seat reserved just for the Big Guy and his friends. Elves will escort the children to sit with Santa. All kids get a present, even the shy ones! Our story-telling Princess will read from the book, “The Polar Express” which was written by Grand Rapids native, Chris Van Allsburg.
Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village - Dearborn
Step into a Christmas card from the past. Don’t miss the most popular holiday event in the area, complete with candle-lit paths, live entertainment, costumed presenters, horse-drawn wagon and Model T rides, delightful holiday shops, Santa and live reindeer, ice skating, a spectacular fireworks display and more. It’s America’s premier holiday celebration!
Dutch Winterfest - Holland
visit with Sinterklaas, the Dutch St. Nicholas, and stroll through the “Kerstmarkt”, a European open-air Christmas market and enjoy all kinds of holiday theatre and musical performances, a greens sale, Victorian Christmas teas, special exhibits, and, of course, Santa himself.
Victorian Sleigh Bell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend - 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.
December 2 – 5
Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend – Manistee
A whole weekend of excitement including the Sleighbell Parade with horse drawn entries, historic building tours, special Christmas production at the historic Ramsdell Theatre, Festival of Trees, concerts, museum and art exhibits, and much more.
December 2 – 3
Brass Band of Battle Creek Holiday Concert – Battle Creek
The 31-member Brass Band of Battle Creek has been described as an All-Star band of the brass and percussion world’s elite, attracting great musicians from around the United States and Europe to play two annual concerts in Battle Creek as well as a limited number of other engagements in handpicked locations in the U.S. and abroad. A new holiday CD will be available at the concerts as well.
December 2 – 4
Christmas in Ida Festival and Parade of Lights – Ida
Hosting nearly 40,000 visitors, and known as a family destination of the Midwest, the festival creates a winter wonderland known for its hospitality, entertainment and the Granddaddy of all, the spectacular Christmas in Ida Parade of Lights.
Jack Frost Festival of Lights Parade - Ironwood
This annual event kicks off the holiday season and visits with Santa, Mrs. Claus and Jack Frost plus Gingerbread House display and Gogebic Range Band Christmas Concert.
Frankenmuth Farmers Market Christkindlmarkt - Frankenmuth
The free, annual Christkindlmarkt is a traditional European-style Christmas market – don’t miss the tree lighting on Friday night!
Annual Noel Night - Detroit
The annual Noel Night will take place on Saturday, December 3rd from 5 9:30 p.m. in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center Area. Over 60 Midtown venues, including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Science Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Detroit Public Library, amongst many others, open their doors to the public free of charge during this Cultural Center-wide holiday “open house.” Activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday shopping, family craft activities and performances by over 120 area music, theatre, and dance groups. The evening’s festivities culminate with a community sing-along on Woodward Avenue led by the Salvation Army Band – a long-standing Noel Night tradition.
K-9 Fanciers Dog Show and Weight Pull - Kalamazoo
This United Kennel Club regional event features obedience classes, weight pulling, conformation, and junior showmanship. Fri 3pm, Sat & Sun 8am, in Hazel Gray.
Farm By Lantern Light - Grayling
The annual Farm By Lantern Light is an interpretive, historical play presented by local actors depicting life during the holidays on a farm in 1932. The story unfolds as you take a team of horses through the snow-covered trails of Wellington Farm, visiting Blacksmith’s Shop, Carpenter’s Shop, Grist Mill and Summer Kitchen. This event is very popular and requires reservations – call (989) 348-5187.
Annual Dickens Festival – Holly
For over 30 years, the sights, sounds, smells and surprises of the Dickens Festival have been delighting holiday revelers in Historic Downtown Holly. Join in the fun as Charles Dickens’ Merry Old England comes alive in the atmosphere of turn of the century buildings, welcoming shopkeepers, and skilled craftspeople.
Flea Market and Nascar Swap - 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.
Winter Solstice Celebration - Grand Rapids
Celebrate the first day of winter and the longest night of the year at the Blandford Nature Center. 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.
Downtown Marquette Ball Drop - 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.
Cherry Ball Drop - Traverse City
Join thousands on Front Street in downtown Traverse City for music, family fun and the dropping of the Cherry Ball.
New Year’s Fest – Kalamazoo
New Year’s Fest is an all ages showcase of performing arts that takes place New Year’s Eve in downtown Kalamazoo. There are a variety of activities that take place including music, magic, comedy, exhibitions, fireworks, and great food! New Year’s Fest’s vision is to be a premier event that introduces the greater Kalamazoo community to the performing arts by providing an array of quality, unique artists and activities. At midnight there will be fireworks.