Though the weather might be a little frightful, why not brave it and celebrate the holidays season in Ann Arbor? While this month is going to look different than ever before due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still plenty of events happening in the Ann Arbor area to help you celebrate this festive month.
This year, join the fun at our region’s favorite December events, which includes several virtual classes, book festivals, parades, tree lightings and more. Let us know which ones you plan to attend in the comments below!
Arts + Culture | Community Celebrations | Sports | Food + Drink
Arts + Culture
Graphic courtesy of the Jewish Community Center
Where: Various Locations Throughout Ann Arbor
When: November 30-December 22
Starting on November 30th and running through December, this multi-week festival celebrates culture and arts of all kinds, but is still heavily anchored by authors as it has been for the past three decades. Most of this year’s events are free to attend and the authors, performers, artists, topics and projects are Jewish or have significant Jewish connections. Check out the schedule here.
Where: Downtown Ypsilanti
When: December 4, 5-9 p.m.
First Fridays Ypsilanti is a self-guided monthly art and culture walk throughout downtown Ypsilanti at multiple venues. On the first Friday of every month, participating venues offer free art activities involving local artists, musicians, and/or tastings. The goal of the First Fridays Ypsilanti is to invite community members into the downtown area to have fun and support local talent and businesses. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to stay updated on this month’s special events and be sure to wear a mask and social distance when exploring.
When: December 28-30, 10:30-11:45 a.m.
2021 is almost here! And to celebrate, you’re going to need plenty of fun props. Luckily, the Ann Arbor Art Center is providing a virtual art camp that will help you party in style this year. Their New Year’s Extravaganza art camp is three days and will teach you and your family how to make a dazzling New Year’s Eve wearable item, silly photo props, and a special box to hold treasured memories and keepsakes. All you have to do is register for the event (which you can do here) and then stop by the Art Center to pick up your ArtBoxes between December 15-19, which includes everything you’ll need to make your crafts.
Where: Downtown Saline
When: December 1, 4-5:30 p.m.
The holidays in Saline begin December 1st, downtown in front of KeyBank with an exciting, tree lighting event! Additional fun includes tree decorating, hot cocoa, cookies and holiday sing-a-longs. They recommend dressing warmly as the entire event will be held outside. Face coverings and social distancing is also highly recommended.
Where: Main Street, Ann Arbor
When: December 4, 11, & 17, 7-11 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Main Street Ann Arbor
Every year, just in time for the holiday shopping season, downtown Ann Arbor businesses stay open late for one of our community’s favorite shopping events. Main Street Ann Arbor’s Midnight Madness includes holiday specials inside shops and restaurants, performances by various entertainers, and visits by Santa Claus and Miss Washtenaw County. Due to COVID-19 and to help with social distancing, they have spread 2020’s event into three separate weekends! Click here for the full schedule and for some incredible online shopping discounts at local Ann Arbor businesses.
When: December 4-6
In Chelsea, the holiday kick-off lasts an entire weekend! The activities start with Santa lighting the Christmas tree at Pierce Park on Friday night and end with a holiday carol concert featuring singing groups from the churches of Chelsea on Sunday evening. Highlights throughout the weekend include Santa’s Workshop, gingerbread house decorating, the annual Light Parade, and more. To see the full activity schedule, click here. Due to COVID-19, their schedule may change as the event grows closer. We recommend following Chelsea Festivals and Events on Facebook to stay updated.
Where: Dexter United Methodist Church
When: Saturdays Throughout December, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
If you’ve been searching for a place to get all your holiday shopping done at once—look no further! Dexter United Methodist Church is hosting a winter marketplace every Saturday throughout December that will host vendors from all over the area selling arts and crafts, baked goods, jewelry, fresh produce, eggs, cheese, meats and more. There will also be local musicians and vendor drawings! Social distancing, masks and one-way traffic will be required to help keep you and the vendors safe throughout the event.
Where: Thibault Lane, Saline
When: December 5, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
We look forward to the Saline Winter Parade each year and 2020 is no different! While the event this year is going to look a little different, they are still planning a fun event that the whole family will love. Celebrate the season as the chamber presents a drive-through parade on Thibault Lane on Saturday, December 5th. Click here for more information on how to participate and get ready for a fun (and safe!) holiday event you won’t ever forget!
When: December 1-January 14
Kick off your 2021 new year resolution by participating in an exciting virtual race! Epic Races is hosting a Bling in the New Year virtual race that allows you to run, walk, cross country ski and snowshoe a 5K wherever and whenever you want. All you’ll have to do is register for the event, choose the perfect spot to complete your 5K, log your race online, and then wait for all the amazing swag to come in the mail! Click here to register and to learn more.
When: December 19
Photo courtesy of Running Fit Michigan
This one-mile fun run and 5k in Dexter has become one of our favorite family traditions in the area. The dash through the community allows participants to take in the neighborhood light displays and run in festive costumes, too! Five dollars from each registration will be donated to local charities. This year, due to COVID-19, this annual event has gone virtual! You’ll be able to participate wherever you want throughout the Dexter area. All participants will receive a custom beanie, custom medal and access to the exclusive Facebook event page where you’ll be able to upload photos from your run! Click here to register and to learn more.
Food + Drink
When: December 1-24
The most popular event from Zingerman’s Bakehouse is back for the 2020 holiday season—virtually! Fancy Schmancy Holiday Cookies will teach participants how to make the best cookie creations using whole grains, local ingredients and freshly milled flours. There are more than 40 classes through Christmas Eve and all the spots are almost sold out, so register as soon as you can as this event is likely to fill up quickly. And, if you get there too late, be sure to register for their waitlist just in case they have any spots that open up later.
When: December 3, 5:30-7 p.m.
Stay at home and join Zingerman’s Deli online for STEEP: An Exploration of Tea! Unlike most Deli tastings, this event will take a deep dive into just a few of the fantastic teas they offer. They’ll share the history of each tea, their production style, the terroir, the harvest, and everything else that makes it special. December’s Steep will feature a selection of their best teas of 2020, making their way through six different styles of tea. The online course costs $35 and will include access to the Zoom meeting and one tasting portion of each tea and some cake. Click here to register!
When: December 5, 6-8 p.m.
The annual holiday fundraiser for Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels will look a little different this year, but it still promises to hold all of the fun that supporters have come to expect from this exciting annual event. The night will include a selection of delicious meat or vegetarian appetizers from Simply Scrumptious, a live demonstration of how to prepare two of the appetizers, live musical entertainment by local folk duo Adam Labeaux and Sara Gibson, an auction of donated items as well as handmade items from YMOW clients, and messages from EMU president Jim Smith, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and YMOW clients. Click here to see the full event schedule and to order your food, snack and wine packages to participate!
We Ho-Ho-Hope That You Have a Great Month!
What are your plans for December 2020 in Ann Arbor? Let us know in the comments below!