|Image via http://www.geneseecountyparks.org/pages/Christmas|
When we moved to Ann Arbor, I was mostly impressed with all it had to offer, then December happened. In all the other cities we had lived in, there was so much to do during December we could hardly fit it all in, but in Ann Arbor I searched and searched for fun, family, Christmas activities, but they were no where to be found.
After a few years, I learned that you had to branch outside our college town to find most of the good, Christmas stuff, but it is out there! I will list a few of our favorites first and the all the others I discovered are happening this year. I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season!
Saline Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 6 at 7pm http://cityofsaline.org
This is a small event where they light Saline's Christmas tree, but it was a great little event for our family. There was a small band singing Christmas carols that we joined in on and free cookies and hot cocoa. It only lasted about 30 minutes, but it infused a little holiday spirit in all of us.
Saline Holiday Parade
December 7 at 5:30pm http://cityofsaline.org/
This is one of our favorite events during the holiday season. They parade is fantastic with bands, dancers, fire trucks and floats and lasts about 1 hour. It is a jolly atmosphere with Santa as the grand finale. If you want to sit on the big guy's lap, hustle back to the Arts Center where you can tell him all of your wildest wishes. A great event for families!
Treasure Trail to Santa Saline, MI
December 14 from 10am-1:30pm
In the Busch's Shopping Center in Saline, kids can go from store to store and collect little prizes, then they can visit Santa at Busch's. It's simple but free gifts and candy are always fun for the little ones.
Crossroads to Christmas in Flint, MI
Thanksgiving to Christmas (hours vary)
I know Flint may seem like a long drive away, but they have one of the best Christmas activities you can find! At Crossroads park they offer an entire Christmas village, a real train to ride on as you look at holiday lights, Santa and his workshop and lots of other fun shops and stops. If you are really needing a dose of authentic Christmas cheer, this is where you can get it! The only downside is that is is NOT free, but is reasonable!
Plymouth Walk of Trees Plymouth, MI
Thanksgiving to Christmas (Santa hours vary, but trees always open)
Plymouth is a darling city not far from Ann Arbor that does Christmas right! They have a walk of trees outdoors that you can admire and Santa is often there on weekends to surprise the little ones. They have also always had a gingerbread house hunt, but I don't see that on the docket this year. We love to grab a hot chocolate at Panera, look at the trees and Santa, find gingerbread houses in store windows, wander through the Genuine Toy Company (a GREAT toy store), then grab some food at the Burger Spot. We never get in the car without a quick trip into Kilwin's for a treat. One of our favorite traditions!
Live Nativity Ann Arbor, MI
December 24 from 4-8pm
If you are looking for something a little more spiritual on Christmas Eve, stop by the First Congregational Church at 608 East William and State Street in Ann Arbor and watch costumed actors and live camel, sheep and donkey re-enact the nativity scene. It is a wonderful way to usher in Christmas Eve. There is also a worship service the public is welcome to attend.
Here are a few other Christmas Events that caught my eye this year:
Chelsea Hometown holiday Dec. 6-8 (Chelsea) Runs all weekend and looks like tons of fun for the whole family!
December 6 Midnight Madness on Main Street (Ann Arbor)
Starlight Spree and Tree Lighting (Ypsilanti)
KindleFest Kerrytown (Ann Arbor)
December 7Dexter holiday hustle 5K Run (Dexter)
Go Santa Go 5K (Ypsilanti)
Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert (Ann Arbor)
Holiday Pops Concert Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra (Ann Arbor)
Breakfast with Santa Ypsilanti
Holiday Tour and Downtown Stroll Ypsilanti
Songs of the Season Ann Arbor
Is there something else you know about that I am missing? Fill us in!
Willing to go a little further for Christmas fun? Check out this list: http://detroit.about.com/od/familyactivities/tp/christmasfamilyactivities.htm