The holiday season is all about gathering together with loved ones to celebrate “the most wonderful time of year”. Though the weather might be frightful, why not brave it and celebrate with the most anticipated events in and around Ann Arbor.
This holiday season get outside and enjoy music, parades, home tours, and more.
November 24 – December 17
Santa’s mailbox is now open for letters and wish lists in front of Conor O’Neill’s (318 S. Main St.). All letters received by 3pm on December 16th will be answered. Please remember to include your return address.
Silent Night: The Real(ish)Story
November 30 – December 3
The most beloved Christmas carol, “Silent Night,” was written almost by accident. A young priest, an Austrian village and a damaged organ all took part in the creation of this classic hymn. With a bit of embellishment, some memorable characters, and favorite holiday tunes, this staging of the almost catastrophe will be a delight for the whole family.
Kerrytown District’s KindleFest is a free outdoor holiday market happening December 1st, 6 pm – 10 pm. The festival features local and regional artisans and farmers selling hand-crafted ornaments, toys and unique holiday gifts, as well as German foods, sweets, and beverages. Enjoy live music, fire pits to keep you warm, warming tent, s’more roasting and a Lantern Parade in the Kerrytown neighborhood.
Once again Kerrytown and Main Street Association of Ann Arbor will be hosting Ann Arbor’s famed Midnight Madness on December 1. This is a fun-filled evening of shopping and dining. You’ll find great holiday sales throughout the stores, while you shop enjoy the sidewalk entertainment, and say hello to Santa Claus and Miss Washtenaw County, who will be roaming the sidewalks from 7 pm – 9 pm.
Ypsilanti Downtown Tree Lighting
The Ypsilanti District Library is hosting a fun tree lighting event. There will be caroling led by the Ypsilanti Youth Orchestra, hot chocolate, cookies, and a visit from Santa. This will happen on the Plaza of the Ypsilanti District Library – Michigan Avenue branch.
December 1 – 3
The annual Chelsea, Michigan, Hometown Holiday is a fun-filled weekend celebration which marks the beginning of the holiday season. Festivities start with a tree lighting ceremony and the weekend includes visits with Santa, a live nativity, holiday activities and entertainment at many great merchants and historic locations in Chelsea, Michigan Chelsea is decked out in holiday splendor to warm your hearts and get you in the holiday spirit. Local merchants are on hand with great gift ideas and special pricing for everyone on your list. Explore the annual gingerbread house displays, sip on hot chocolate, and enjoy the special events from December 1 – 3.
Ypsilanti Meals On Wheels Holiday Home Tour
Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels (YMOW) invites you to support the upcoming 21st Annual Holiday Home Tour. The Tour will include three private homes as well as the Queen’s Residence & the Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum (Hudson Automotive Museum). At each house you visit there will be holiday decor and a festive atmosphere. Beverages, appetizers and desserts will be on the menu from many great Ypsilanti & Ann Arbor area restaurants at the Afterglow reception.
42nd Annual Christmas Parade
Don’t miss Saline’s 42nd Annual Christmas Parade December 2, at 5:30pm. The parade will make its way down Michigan Ave. from Davenport St. to Lewis St. with more than 1,400 participants, 40 floats and special vehicles including a hot air balloon, bands, twirlers, dancers, and animals followed by Santa arriving at the four corners to greet crowds of excited children of all ages. Art Trapp will serve as the Parade Grand Marshal. Parking downtown will be limited due to closures so visitors are encouraged to use the free Saline school bus shuttle from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. between Busch’s Shopping Center and the W. Henry Street parking lot behind Mac’s Acadian Seafood Shack.
Milan Annual Christmas Parade
Come join thousands as spectators as they participate in for the 21st Annual Milan Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade. This holiday parade includes floats, horses, hot air balloons, marching bands, vehicles, walkers and a life-size Boogie Woogie Choo Choo train bringing Santa into town. Also, enjoy the lighting of the city Christmas tree, carolers, and Santa Claus visits. Please call ahead to confirm event details.
Chelsea Historic Home Tour
Five historic homes (including the newly-renovated museum) and a beautiful neighborhood church are opening their doors to greet visitors. You’ll start your tour at the museum where you will be provided with a map of the 6 locations. All the locations are an easy walk within a few blocks or you can choose to ride a festive horse and carriage (complete with brass jingle bells) for an extra fee.
Ypsilanti Choir Annual Holiday Concert
Join the Ypsilanti Community Choir for their annual Holiday Concert this December! In 2012, they returned to a favorite location — Towsley Auditorium at Washtenaw Community College — and continue to deliver holiday music for the local community. There is no charge for this concert; parking at this venue is free and plentiful outside the auditorium entrance. The choir will be singing a variety of sacred and popular songs to celebrate the holiday season.
Ebirds & Friends Holiday Show – 10th Anniversary
December 7 – 9
Since 2008, it has become a yearly tradition for The Ragbirds to present this unique family-friendly holiday show called Ebird & Friends. The songs and artists change from year to year, but the spirit of the event is community, the soul is creativity and the show is unforgettable. “Ebird”, of course, is Erin Zindle, lead singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist of The Ragbirds. Expect to be entertained, surprised, cheered, and warmed by this collaborative artistic performance of new and old songs, including Ragbirds’ original songs inspired by the holiday. This show has become a phenomenon—it’s up to four presentations this year for its 10th anniversary, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
Four shows, Thurs.–Sat. 8 p.m., Sat. 3 p.m. (special price for children on Saturday afternoon).This year’s cast includes Joe Hertler, May Erlewine, Rachael Davis, Mark Lavengood, Abigail Stauffer, Brad Philips, Jen Sygit, Jessica McCumons, as well as members of The Ragbirds, Appleseed Collective, The Macpodz and more, featuring over 20 talented up-and-coming Michigan artists.
Winter Art Tour
December 8 – 10
The Winter Art Tour (WAT) is an exciting new cultural event held on the second weekend of December which will take you on a tour of 10 art shows in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti featuring over 300 local artists. At each stop, visitors will be able to meet artists personally and learn more about their work. In addition to presenting the best handcrafted art our area has to offer, their goals are to improve the visibility and viability of local artists and to create a more vibrant arts community for everyone.
Ballet Chelsea: The Nutcracker
December 8 – 10
Ballet Chelsea is pleased to join forces with The Jackson Symphony Orchestra to present their 20th annual performance of The Nutcracker ballet on December 8 – 10, 2017. Add a festive touch to your event by attending our Sugar Plum Tea at 12:30pm, prior to our Sunday matinee performance.
DIYpsi Holiday Market 2017
December 9 – 10
Check out the best indie artists our region has to offer for a one-of-a-kind holiday shopping experience that will take care of everyone on your list. DIYpsi Holiday Market will feature 80 vendors at the Riverside Arts Center, 76 N Huron St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197. On top of finding unique hand crafted gifts, doing your holiday shopping at DIYpsi means you’re contributing to a larger cause- keeping thousands of dollars invested in our local economy and supporting the arts.
Tiny Expo is an annual holiday fair that features over 40 artists and crafters selling their wares in a festive library space where you can shop local and buy handmade. It’s a great way to support your community and find unique gifts. Ann Arbor Distric Library is thrilled to produce and host this event. Tiny Expo 2016 will be on Saturday, December 9 from 11 am to 5:30 pm at the Downtown Library.
Naughty or nice, walker or runner, come breathe in the December night air, burn a few holiday calories and give back to others. A silly, hilly dash around Dexter that will take in the neighborhood light displays and give you a chance to see the flashing gang ahead or behind you.
This charity event donates $5 of your entry fee to local Dexter charities. Bring canned or non-perishable food items for the needy and get a raffle ticket for each item! Raffle tickets will be pulled race evening for some sweet swag!
Join Washtenaw Community Concert Band for a Holiday Hallmarks Concert, which includes an audience singalong. This free event takes place December 14, 7:30 pm at Towsley Auditorium on the Washtenaw Community College campus.
Michigan Firehouse Museum’s Holiday Open House
The Michigan Firehouse Museum will host their Holiday Open House on Sunday, December 17 from 1 pm to 3 pm. Visitors can experience the museum decorated for the holidays and see all the entries in the Gingerbread Firehouse Contest. There will be crafts for the kids, holiday fire safety information, and a chance to visit with Santa. Light refreshments will be served.