Merry and Bright Holiday Events Not to Miss

Bring on the cheer at three family-friendly festivities

Nothing gets the holiday spirit going like the lights, sights, sounds, tastes and traditions of the season. Gather family and friends for a jolly good time at one of Michigan’s top holiday happenings.


Shop for unique gifts and decorations, savor traditional food and drink, enjoy artisan demonstrations and entertainment, and so much more at Holland’s Kerstmarkt (Dutch for “Christmas market”), weekends from November 19 to December 10.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the European-style open-air holiday market and to celebrate there will be a ribbon cutting with the mayor on opening day. Traditional Glühwein (mulled wine) in collector mugs will also be available for purchase on Fridays and Saturdays, from open to close.

Nearly 20 booths with handmade gifts and goodies from local artisans are featured at this holiday celebration.

“The wooden toys and cookies and treats are always a hit with children,” says Wendy Link of the Holland Area Visitors Bureau.

Sinterklaas, Photo by Mike Lozon

Part of the city’s Dutch WinterFest, visitors will find countless special events, including the Sinterklaas procession, the Holiday Parade of Lights, handbell concerts and dogsled demonstrations, among other activities, while strolling the heated sidewalks of historic downtown Holland.

Traditional Dutch food such as banket, pigs in a blanket, pea soup and windmill cookies are served at the the Eet Smakelijk food booth. There will also be several food trucks offering a variety of different tasty meals.

Christmas & Holiday Traditions

Experience the sights and sounds of the holidays from all over the world at the Christmas & Holiday Traditions exhibition at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, November 21 through January 2.

Now in its 27th year, the annual horticulture exhibition brings the glow of over 300,000 lights, strolling carolers, rooftop reindeer and 46 international trees and displays. This year’s exhibition theme is “Light” and will feature immersive projection mapping performances in the amphitheater garden evenings the week before and after Christmas.

The companion Railway Garden exhibition is a unique display that incorporates garden design, handmade miniature buildings and model trolleys and trains travelling through landmarks from West Michigan and Grand Rapids sister cities.

Christmas & Holiday Traditions, Photo by Johnny Quirin

“The visual beauty, cultural learning opportunities and accompanying programming and events make our exhibition ideal for families and individuals alike,” says John VanderHaagen, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s director of communications.

Visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus and treks to the farm garden for a close-up reindeer experience are highlights for children.

This year’s exhibition theme is “Light” and will feature immersive projection mapping performances in the amphitheater garden evenings the week before and after Christmas.

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village

Stroll through delightful streets of nostalgia and mingle with merrymakers at Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village in Dearborn (adjacent to The Henry Ford). The immersive holiday experience transports guests to a small town from the distant past to celebrate the magic of the holiday season.

Warming bonfires, the smell of roasting chestnuts and the sound of carolers, fiddlers and bustling yuletide activity greet visitors as they walk down lantern-lit paths to explore the decorated historic homes and shops, shop for holiday goods and enjoy food and warm beverages.

Holiday Nights, Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Photo by Nick Hagan Photography

There are costumed entertainers, Model T and horse-drawn carriage rides, carousel rides, visits with Santa and his live reindeer and a dazzling firework display that marks the end of each evening.

Holiday Nights are hosted Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in December from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Cover Photo by Dean VanDis

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