Christmas in the Mitten

Merry Monday! Guys. IT’S THE LAST MONDAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS! That means it’s the last Monday of work for me until January, and only 3 more days until we’re heading North for the Holidays. I’m so stinking excited!

The last week before Christmas, I know I’m always looking to pack in as many holiday festivities as I can. For some reason, every single Christmas activity seems just a little bit more magical the closer and closer it gets to the big day. So yeah, we’ve all been to see the Tree Lightings, and in Christmas mode since November, but, the best time to experience Christmas cheer is now.

And if you’re anywhere close to the great state of Michigan, you’re in some serious luck. There’s so much Christmas stuff going on, that you’ll be busy right up to Christmas Eve. Here are some of my favorite places to celebrate.

(PS… Could I say Christmas any more times? HAHA)

If you’re near Detroit (which face it, you probably are, especially if you’re flying in from out of town) you’ve got some seriously amazing Christmas events happening in your backyard.

  • Ice Skating at Campus Martius Park, Downtown Detroit. While Ice Skating is technically an activity you can do all winter, it’s just way better at Christmastime! Campus Martius is decorated so beautifully, you won’t be able to resist a quick skate among the lights! Plus, it’s only $8! For more information, click here!
  • Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo, Royal Oak. Okay… this is cool. I promise your family will love this, and you’ll enjoy it too. BUT you may have read my post  the other day about not being super impressed by Wild Lights. Let me say this, Wild Lights is great, but I prefer The Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo. The reason? Their animal exhibits are all open. So not only do you see amazing lights, BUT you get to go to the zoo too. I was expecting to see animals at The Detroit Zoo too, and when I didn’t, I was really bummed. So, if you live near Detroit, and don’t mind the hour drive, I would 100% tell you to make your way down to Toledo with your little ones. Either way, buy your tickets in advance!
  • Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village, Dearborn. This has to be the most recommended event in the area for Christmastime! Going to Greenfield Village is like stepping into the past, and it’s even more beautiful at Christmas. Eat chestnuts, ice skate and ride in a horse drawn carriage. Again, you must purchase your tickets in advance for this… it’s a super popular event. (Some dates are already sold out… so if you’re interested, get on it NOW.)  Also know, this comes with a pretty big price tag, but I promise you… it will be worth it!
  • Downtown Rochester. If you LOVE Christmas lights, a trip to Downtown Rochester is just what the doctor ordered. You will love all the twinkly lights, and should stop in for some yummy food and drinks at any of the great restaurants. (However, I have a soft spot for Rochester Mills.)
  • Frankenmuth, Michigan. Home to the biggest Christmas store in the world, you can bet that the entire town is picture perfect at Christmastime. Check out my guide to Frankenmuth here!

If you’re near Grand Rapids… lucky you! This city is seriously amazing, and so dang full of Holiday spirit!

  • Ice Skating at Rosa Parks Circle, Downtown Grand Rapids. Ice Skating at Rosa Parks is BY FAR one of my favorite wintertime activities in Grand Rapids. I used to go every year when I was in college before we left for Christmas Break. It was the perfect activity for girls night, and even more perfect when I found Trev. Plus it’s right in the middle of downtown, so you can easily head out for a drink or four at any of the amazing bars nearby when your done.
  • Christmas and Holiday Traditions at Frederik Meijer Gardens. 400,000 lights + carol singers + reindeer + internationally decorated Christmas trees = 1 perfect holiday celebration. Learn about holiday traditions from around the world, and you’ll have a bunch of fun snapple facts to share at your always awkward extended family Christmas dinner! Learn more, here.
  • Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! at The Grand Rapids Public Museum. You guys, I’m so excited about this one! We wanted to see it SO BAD when we were there a few weekends ago, but just didn’t have enough time. So I think you should go for me, take pictures, and let me know how amazing it is. It literally sounds like so much fun! Check it out here. And while you’re there, be sure to explore the rest of the museum. It’s pretty awesome! Be sure to head to The Native American exhibit and look for some pictures and quotes of my Great Great Grandpa, Alex Sams!!
  • Christmas Lite Show, Comstock Park.  Driving around looking at Christmas lights is one of my all time favorite activities! When I was little we used to grab snacks and hot cocoa, put on our Christmas music and drive around town. I STILL make my parents do this every time we’re home for the holidays. (Don’t worry Mom and Dad… we’ll be doing this in a few days! HAHA) The Christmas Lite Show in Comstock Park makes this super easy, with a whole bunch of lights in one place! Enjoy over 10,000 lights from the comfort of your car.
  • Christmas Cookies for Kids and Teens, Downtown Market. If you have little ones, this is by far the coolest things on the list! This Wednesday, the Downtown Market in GR is offering Christmas Cookie classes for your kids! If you’ve never been to the Downtown Market, it’s seriously amazing, and I promise your kids will be in great hands. Check out the schedule (times vary for different ages) and sign up your kids here. And while they’re cooking up a storm, you can head down stairs for some shopping, food, spirits and sweets.

If you’re near Traverse City… you can come see me! HAHA Just kidding, you totally don’t want to waste your precious time with me.

  • Get Outside. There is no better place to get out and enjoy the snow (so.much.snow) than Northern Michigan. Check out one of our amazing ski hills (Crystal Mountain and Boyne for the win!) or some of our awesome sledding hills (you can sled on the Sleeping Bear Dunes guys!). You can snowshoe, snowmobile, pretty much anything you can put the word “snow” in front of actually.
  • Get in good “Spirits”. Downtown Traverse City has some AMAZING places to stop in for a drink and warm up from the cold while you’re last minute shopping. You can read about some of my favorite spots here.
  • Christmas at The Grand Traverse Resort.  When I was little, I used to LOVE going to GTR to see all the lights and gingerbread houses. They have an entire weeks worth of activities leading up to Christmas that will be sure to make you and your family very very jolly! Check out a full list of activities here.
  • Christmas movies at the State Theater, Downtown Traverse City. The State Theater is right downtown among all the hustle and bustle. Stop in and see a Christmas classic while you’re out and you won’t be disappointed! See a schedule here.
  • Last minute shopping in picturesque downtowns. There is no better place to do your last minute shopping than Up North. You will find absolutely unique gifts that are guaranteed not to already be under the Christmas tree. Plus, the little towns are SO DANG PRETTY you’ll be filling up your iPhones with pictures.

And if you’re in the U.P… God bless you. HAHA Just kidding. But seriously, you’re very brave heading that far north in the winter!

What are you doing this last week before Christmas? If you’re planning to spend some quality time with your sweetheart, you should be sure to come back tomorrow! I’m sharing my favorite “Holiday Date Nights” that Trev and I do every year just before Christmas!

Enjoy the rest of your Monday! And if you’re in the Midwest. STAY WARM! It was so cold on my way to work this morning that I’m STILL shivering.



2 thoughts on “Christmas in the Mitten

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