November 8, 2012

Ann Arbor Holiday Event Planner Guide

Find lots of things to do with the kids this holiday season with the Ann Arbor Mom
Holiday Event Planner and Guide. Find activities, events, festivals, and
performances for kids ages 0-99!
It's inevitable, the holidays are rapidly approaching. As much as I love a good Michigan Autumn, I do love the holidays and all that they bring. Cheerful music, good food and friends are the top of my list, however the Ann Arbor area has so many things to do with kids it's amazing!

On this holiday event planner, you will find holiday parades, festivals, activities for kids, teens and toddlers, events, and everything you will need to plan your weekend or lay out your plan of attack for the next two months! Come back often too, as the holiday event planner master list will be updated frequently with content. I also have a listing of holiday craft events for the kids listed in another post.

Noteworthy Holiday Events Nearby:

We have been to Greenfield Village at the holidays and to the Wayne County Lightfest, but I have to say that I am really excited to hear about the opportunity to BIKE through the Lightfest on November 14. Just think about riding your bike through the lights before it opens to the public - Here are a few nearby holiday events happening.

11/15-12/31: Wayne County Lightfest
12/16-31: The Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo
12/1-27: Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village
12/1-15: The Santa Express on the Old Road Excursion Train, Blissfield

Holiday Parades

There are many great holiday parades around the area. Many offer Santa coming to town - I especially enjoy the nighttime parades with all of the lights, and have enjoyed taking my scouts to participate in them for the past 2 years. This year I am considering taking the kids to see the Holiday Fireworks in Belleveille on December 1 at the start of their Winterfest.

11/17 - Manchester Holiday Parade | 10:00 a.m.
11/22 - America's Thanksgiving Parade | 9:00 a.m.
12/1 - Belleville's Winterfest Parade of Lights | 6:00 p.m.
12/1 - 36th Annual Holiday Parade Saline | 5:30 p.m.
12/1 - Milan Holiday Parade | 6:00-8:00 p.m.
12/1 - Grass Lake Festival of Lights Parade | 5:00 p.m.

Arrival & Visits With Santa:

Santa is a popular guy this time of the year. Mom and Dad warn children that he's watching, kids want to tell him what they would like for Christmas and he can be found on almost every corner. Want to visit with him? No problem, there are lots of places you can do that. Just be sure to pre-register if you need to!

11/19 - Santa Arrives at Briarwood Mall | 6:30 p.m.
12/2 - Santa visits Kerrytown every Saturday in December | 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
12/8 - Santa at the Belleville Historical Museum | 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
12/8 - Santa visits the Northfield Township Library | 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
12/9 - Autistic Child Friendly Visit With Caring Santa at Brairwood Mall | 9:00 a.m.
12/9 - Santa Central at Hudson Mills Metropark | 12:30 & 2:30 p.m.
12/15 - Sing-a-long With Santa and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra | 4:00 p.m.
12/15 - Santa at the Belleville Historical Museum | noon - 4:00 p.m.

Letters To Santa

Get a direct line to the North Pole by visiting one of these great mailboxes for your child's letters to Santa!

11/1-12/2 - Letters to Santa at Canton's Summit on the Park Lobby
11/23-12/19 - Santa's Mailbox Ann Arbor

Breakfast With Santa:

Eating with Santa is another favorite past-time this time of year. Check out the many local listing s for breakfast or lunch with Santa - You might even be able to eat with him while traveling on a train!

12/8 - Briarwood Mall Breakfast With Santa | 9:00 a.m.
12/8 - Free Event | Breakfast With Santa at Sidetrack and the Enchanted Florist Ypsilanti | 9:00 a.m.
12/9 - Breakfast with Santa at Canton's Summit on the Park | 11:00 a.m.
12/1, 12/8, 12/15 - Breakfast With Santa at the Detroit Zoo
12/16 - Lunch With Santa on the Old Road Excursion Train, Blissfield

Pet Photos With Santa:

Don't forget your four-legged friend at the holidays. We always enjoyed having our dog get a picture with Santa when he came back from the groomer.

11/11, 11/18, 12/2 - Pet Photos With Santa at Briarwood Mall | 6:30 p.m.

Holiday Shows/Theatre

There is something about the season that makes going to the theatre or a concert even more special. People dress up, families feel close and happy. It's a joyous time of the year. So take the opportunity and go see a play or concert in Ann Arbor this holiday season!

Plaid Tidings at The Encore Musical Theatre Company | 11/23-12/23
The UMS Choral Union and The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra presents Handel’s Messiah | 12/1
Holiday Classic Film Series at the Michigan Theater | 12/1-23
Wild Swan Theater presents A Christmas Carol | 12/6-9 
Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops Concert | 12/7
Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre Presents The Nutcracker | 12/14-16

Holiday Concert with the Washtenaw Community Concert Band & Choir | 12/18
Ypsilanti Community Choir Christmas Concert | 12/18

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremonies

11/24 - Depot Town Tree-Lighting Celebration | 5:30 p.m.
11/25 - Kerrytown Tree Lighting | 5:00-6:00 p.m.
11/30 - Downtown Ypsilanti Starlight Spree Tree Lighting at the Library Park Plaza | 6:00-7:00 p.m.
11/30 - Downtown Saline Tree Lighting | 7:00 p.m.
12/1 - Tree Lighting at Belleville's Winterfest | after parade
12/5 - Tree Lighting just outside the Canton Summit | 6:00 p.m.

If you can't find something to do among all of THOSE holiday events and activities, here is a weekly listing of many more great things for your family to do in and around Ann Arbor this holiday season. Check back often as events will be updated as I find them.

I also have created an entirely separate holiday craft program blog post for kids and teens. It will help keep this post a little less lengthy!

Week of November 12-18

If you live near Manchester, then checking out Christmas in the Village on November 17 is a must. Families will find activities throughout the city including visiting Santa, shopping, crafts, music and good food a plenty! For Dexter families, why not visit with a live turkey during their "Turkey in the Straw!" live turkey program at the Dexter District Library. on November 17 at 11:00 a.m.

Week of November 19-25
After stuffing yourself at Thanksgiving and possibly shopping into the wee hours of Black Friday in Ann Arbor, your family might enjoy get out and about ice skating, swimming or even seeing a movie. Make sure to check out the Thanksgiving weekend events roundup for more ideas.

11/21 - Free movie & popcorn: See Brave at the Dexter District Library | 1:00 p.m.
11/23 - Warner Brothers Cartoons Day After Thanksgiving | 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
11/25 - Sing-a-long White Christmas | 4:00 p.m.

Week of November 26-December 2

11/30 - Lantern Parade at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market | 7:0 p.m. - Lantern pick-up at 6:30
11/30 - Ann Arbor Midnight Madness Sale downtown | 7:00 p.m.
11/30-12/2 - Chelsea Hometown Holiday 
12/1-2 - German Family Christmas - weekend
12/1 - Downtown Home & Garden Holiday Party | 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
12/2 - Paul Keller Ensemble’s Holiday Concert at the Ypsilanti District Library | 2:00 p.m.
12/12 - Holiday Celebration at the Dexter District Library | 4:30 p.m.

Week of December 3-9

12/7 - Kerrytown Caroling Sing-Along Party | 6:00-9:00 p.m.
12/7 - Polar Express Storytime and Pajama Party at Barnes & Noble | 7:00 p.m.
12/8-9 - German Family Christmas - weekend
12/8 - Winter Wonders Solstice at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens | 10:00a.m. - noon
12/8 - Christmas Tea at Gordon Hall | 1:00 p.m. or 4:00 p.m.

Week of December 10-16

12/15 - Kids can visit with a LIVE reindeer at the Dexter Farmers Market | 11:30-12:30

Week of December 17-23

Happy Holidays to you all. May you have a wonderful week with your family and friends. Be safe my friends!

I will have a post specifically for Christmas Break activities too.


  1. My favorite time of year! Thanks for all the great ideas :-)