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Your Guide to the 2012 Holiday Season in Metro Detroit

Looking for some holiday cheer within an hour's drive? We've got lights, Santas, parades and more happing in the greater Detroit area.

Your Guide to the 2012 Holiday Season in Metro Detroit Your Guide to the 2012 Holiday Season in Metro Detroit Your Guide to the 2012 Holiday Season in Metro Detroit Your Guide to the 2012 Holiday Season in Metro Detroit Your Guide to the 2012 Holiday Season in Metro Detroit

We combed our Michigan Patches for some great holiday events to put together this list of holiday happenings all over Southeast Michigan. Get out and have some festive fun!

Oakland County


Holiday Lights Parade and tree-lighting ceremony: The festivities begin early in the day Dec. 1 with a petting zoo, carriage rides, etc., and go into the night with the tree-lighting after the parade, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Here’s a link to last year’s coverage: http://patch.com/A-pkHk


Holiday Tree Lighting: 6 p.m. Nov. 21 at Shain Park. That is also the first day for the Santa House in Shain Park (lasts through Dec. 24), and the first day for carriage rides around the city (through Dec. 22).

Magic of Birmingham: Shopping events takes place Dec. 8 and Dec. 15 at most downtown shops.

Winter Markt: (Yes, that’s how you spell it) takes place Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Shain Park. 


2012 "Gingerbread House Brunch": the Friends of Preservation Bloomfield will present their fifth annual Gingerbread House Brunch on Friday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. at Oakland Hills Country Club. This event will be preceded by the third annual “Family Hour” preview evening on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 5-8 p.m. Both events will showcase whimsical gingerbread houses created by local professional and non-professional pastry chefs, which will be reviewed by judges and awarded ribbons for the ‘best of the best.’ Both events are open to the public. See coverage of last year's event.


Tree Lighting: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Blair Memorial Library. Santa arrives by firetruck at this annual event co-sponsored by the Clawson/Troy Optimist Club. Refreshments following at Clawson Middle School.


Holiday Ice and Winterfest Market: Dec. 9, 10 and 11 in downtown Ferndale. Enjoy an outdoor market with unique gifts, ice sculptures, photos with Santa, children's activities and more.

Farmington-Farmington Hills

Holly Days: Dec. 1, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. (Greens & Gifts Farmers Market, Santa Visit, ice carving and more at the Walter E. Sundquist Pavilion; story time with Mrs. Santa and crafts at Mike Greer Photography, 33316 Grand River Ave.; free movies at the Farmington Civic Theater; holiday open house and tree lighting at the Governor Warner Mansion); Farmington Hills tree lighting Nov. 27, 6:30 p.m., at the municipal campus, 11 Mile and Orchard Lake Roads (visit from Santa and refreshments)

Lake Orion

Tree Lighting: 6 p.m. Nov. 28, Downtown Lake Orion, across from CJ's Lakeside restaurant. Features the tree lighting ceremony, carolers, Mrs. Claus, and free hot cocoa.

Holiday Lighted Parade: 6 p.m. Dec. 1. A nighttime light parade. This year's theme is "Magic on Broadway!" Christmas lights illuminate floats and vehicles. Community groups, marching bands and Santa join in the procession.

Holly Jolly Folly: Nov. 30 at Golling Buick GMC. Community fundraiser for the light parade, includes dinner, a silent auction, entertainment and the Lake Orion High School Choir. $33 admission; table of 10 for $300. Cash bar. Tickets are at Golling Buick GMC, 1491 S. Lapeer Road, Lake Orion.

Lake Orion Lighted Holiday Village Shopping Event: All day Dec. 8. Look for horse-drawn carriage rides, reindeer petting stations, ice carvings, carolers and more during this all-day festive shopping extravaganza.


Light Up the Night: Friday, Nov. 30 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Novi Civic Center. The event includes a tree lighting at 6:45 p.m., craft show, Santa visits (professional photos are $5 each), children’s activities, face painting, marshmallow roasting, hockey skills competition, live reindeer, miniature train rides and free food samples from several local restaurants. Live performances include a magician, festive choir, and an interactive Nutcracker performance. The event is free. 

Holiday Family Road Rally: Friday, Dec. 14 from 6-10 p.m. Teams of 4-6 people go on a scavenger hunt to find predetermined items to photograph. Teams can consist of adults and children, but need at least one adult 21 or older. Each picture taken with the team earns points, which can win you prizes. Teams must have their own vehicle and digital camera. The night ends at a local restaurant for appetizers and awards. Cost is $100 per team and you must  register by Dec. 7. The event begins in Fuerst Park in Novi.

Rochester/Rochester Hills

Lagniappe and the lighting of downtown Rochester: Businesses will give small gifts to customers from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 26; the lighting - and Santa’s arrival - happens at 7 p.m.

Hometown Christmas Parade: 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. The parade starts north of town at the corner of Tienken and Rochester roads in dowtown Rochester and continues south on Main Street to downtown Rochester.

Royal Oak

Holiday Marketplace at the Royal Oak Farmers Market: Get an early start on holiday shopping. Over 60 local crafters, artisans and Royal Oak merchants will be at the Royal Oak Farmers Market from 4-8 p.m. on Nov. 29 at 316 E 11 Mile Rd.

Tree Lighting Ceremony: Join carolers, the Salvation Army Band and the Royal Oak Children’s Choir while waiting for a visit from Santa. The jolly elf will flick the switch to light the holiday tree. This event takes place from 6:15-7 p.m.  Nov. 29 at the Royal Oak Farmers Market at 316 E 11 Mile Rd.


Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: 7 p.m. on Dec. 5. at Troy City Hall. There will be caroling, hot cocoa and holiday sweets.

Third annual Indoor Walk-through Display of over 300 Nativity Sets from Around the World: Held at Bridge Community Church from 1-9 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 7, and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Dec. 8. For all ages; light refreshments provided.

West Bloomfield/Keego Harbor

Chanukah Wonderland at Orchard Mall Shopping Center, Dec. 9-12, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Includes live historical exhibit on how olive oil was pressed from raw olives during Temple period. Giant menorah lighting takes place Dec. 11, 5:30 p.m.

Holiday tree lighting at DPW building in Keego Harbor (Beechmont at Schroeder), Nov. 30, 7 p.m.

White Lake

Milford Christmas Parade: 10 a.m. Nov. 24 on Main Street in downtown Milford. This is one of the longest-standing Main Street traditions around. It's a wonderful holiday event for the entire region. Come early! Main Street fills up fast.

Highland Tree Lighting: 7 p.m., Dec. 3, at Veterans Park and Highland Station House in Highland. There will be caroling, cookies and cider. Come watch Santa light the Highland Christmas Tree using Christmas magic. Santa will then move to the Highland Station House where kids can visit with him and share what they want for Christmas.

White Lake Tree Lighting: 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Dec. 5 at the Village Lakes Shopping Center off M-59 in White Lake. Come for a night of activities including local choir groups, dance troupes, ice sculpture creations, children's crafts, gingerbread house displays, reindeer and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Macomb County

Chesterfield Township

Chesterfield Township Tree Lighting at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Municipal Offices. Christmas caroling, Santa's arrival by fire truck, holiday crafts as well as cookies and hot cocoa at the Weller School. Vocal performances by local schools and scout groups. Dress warmly. 

Holiday House Decorating Contest in Chesterfield Township. Nominate any home within the township by calling 586-949-0400, extension 4 and leave an address. Awards will be presented Dec. 17 at the Board of Trustees meeting. Nominations are due by 3 p.m. Dec. 7. Contest hours are 6-10 p.m. Dec. 10.

Macomb Township

Holiday tree Lighting and Afterglow: Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. on the steps of Town Hall, 54111 Broughton Rd., off 25 Mile Road. After glow to follow in the neighboring Rec Center. 

Mount Clemens

Macomb County Santa Parade: 10 a.m. Nov. 23 on Main Street in Downtown Mount Clemens. The parade steps off on Main Street at Church Street and will proceed north to Market Street.

New Baltimore

Pancake breakfast with Santa at New Baltimore Fire Department from 8 a.m. to noon Dec. 2. Proceeds to benefit the Anchor Bay Community Giving Tree Holiday Charity Program. Bring your camera for pictures with Santa.

New Baltimore Christmas Tree Lighting at 7 p.m. Dec. 3 on Washington Street in downtown New Baltimore. Join the sing-alongand bring a canned good or boxed food item to donate to the St. Mary's food pantry. See Santa in the recreation center, where there will be hot chocolate and donuts. Cameras are welcome. Dress warmly.

New Baltimore Parks and Recreation Commission Holiday Decorating Contest is from Dec. 1- 21. The Commissioners will be driving throughout the city picking their choices and will narrow down the three home winners and one business winner.  The winners will be announced at the first Parks and Recreation Commission meeting at 6 p.m.  Jan. 3.

Jingle Bell Run Dec. 9 at New Baltimore Recreation Center. Pre-registration pick-up and race day registration from 1-3:30 p.m. at the rec center. One-mile fun walk starts at 4 p.m. and 5K run starts at 4:15 p.m. Proceeds to benefit the Anchor Bay School DECA Chapter, A National Marketing Student Organization, Student Scholarships and M.D.A. Checks are to be made payable to Anchor Bay Roadrunners. Mail entries to: Jingle Bell Run, 6319 County Line, Fair Haven, 48023. For more information, call 586-725-0291.

Shelby Township

Tree Lighting Festival: Dec. 6 at the Shelby Township Municipal Hall, located at 52700 Van Dyke Ave. The Eisenhower High School choir and band will lead the community in Christmas carols.  Kids can also visit Santa's Snack Shop for hot cider and a cookie and then visit with Santa after the tree lighting.

St. Clair Shores

St. Clair Shores Tree Lighting: 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at City Hall. 

St. Clair Shores Optimist Club Santa Station: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Selinsky Green Farmhouse behind the St. Clair Shores Library. The family event includes opportunities to visit enjoy a candy cane, warm up with some hot chocolate, and tour the Farmhouse and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Children will also be able to feed and pet the animals including a fallow deer, miniature horse, alpaca and goats.

St. Clair Shores Optimist Club Poinsettia Ball: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Blossom Heath Inn. The ball is a tradition started by the St. Clair Shores Jaycees in the 1970s and brings together the business community, civic organizations and the community to celebrate the holidays. It's a formal holiday dinner dance, and tickets are available for $40 per person, or $50 at the door. The evening includes a champagne toast, prime rib and salmon buffet, open bar, and music by Elite Entertainment.

Wayne County

Wayne County Light Fest7-10 p.m. Nov. 15-Dec. 31 except on Christmas.


Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village: The 2012 dates for Holiday Nights are Dec. 1, 7-8, 14-16, 18-23 and 26-27 from 6:30-10 p.m. each night. Includes Santa and live reindeer, candle-lit paths, ice skating, model T rides, live 19th Century entertainment, and fireworks every night of the event. Supper with Santa available for members. Tickets for Holiday Nights range from $12.75-$72, depending on membership status, age and inclusions. PHOTOS HERE: http://patch.com/A-wJlS

Tree Lighting and Festival of Trees: Festival runs Nov. 17-25 at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center. Tree lighting and sing-a-long with Mayor Jack O’Reilly will be held on Nov. 20. Admission: Adults: $5, Children: $3, under 2 years - free Photos here: http://patch.com/A-nVCD

Grosse Pointe

37th annual Grosse Pointe Santa Claus Parade: Friday, Nov. 23, at 10 a.m. at the Village in Grosse Pointe. The 37th annual Grosse Pointe Santa Claus parade will feature marching bands from throughout the region, community organizations, multiple floats and more! Parade starts in The Hill shopping district in Grosse Pointe Farms and proceeds west on Kercheval through The Village.

Grosse Pointe Shores Improvement Foundation 'Opening Our Doors Holiday Home Tour':  1-4 p.m. Dec. 2.  Tour five beautifully decorated homes in Grosse Pointe Shores. Proceeds benefit the Grosse Pointe Shores Improvement Foundation.

Sarah Rose Mother-Daughter Holiday Tea: Noon-4 p.m. Dec. 15 at the  Grosse Pointe War Memorial. The event will include: financial literacy, etiquette lessons, arts and crafts stations, horse and carriage ride, lunch and much more. The fashion show will feature the latest holiday lines from  La Jolie Rose, a chic boutique and  Hannah Bear Boutique in conjunction with a Holiday Bazaar.


Holiday Lighted Parade: Friday, Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in downtown Northville. After the parade, the public is invited to gather in Town Square for a tree lighting ceremony, carol singing and appearance by Santa. 

Jingle Bell Run: Saturday, Dec. 1 beginning at 6 a.m. at Northville Downs. The 5K and 1 mile fun run benefit The Arthritis Foundation.

Winter Market: Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2 in Downtown Northville. The event includes horse and carriage rides, a live reindeer exhibit, carousel, ice carving demonstrations, treats, artisan and greens sale, and the Santa House.


Plymouth Walk of Trees: Nov. 16-Jan. 2. More than 70 Christmas trees will line Kellogg Park in Downtown Plymouth. Trees are sponsored and decorated by various local businesses, families and organizations. Gingerbread houses will also be on display at local businesses beginning Nov. 23.

Photos with Santa in Kellogg Park/Holiday Tree Lighting: Bundle up and help welcome Santa back to Plymouth with Santa, Mrs. Claus and Christmas Carol arriving by fire truck at 6 p.m. on Nov. 23. The Salvation Army will be in full force for collections and sharing some hot chocolate. Santa will be welcomed by City officials and will pull the lever to light all of the Christmas Trees in Kellogg Park. Afterwards, children can visit Santa's house in Kellogg Park until 8:30 p.m. Santa’s House Hours are: Nov. 23: 6-8:30 p.m.; Nov. 24: noon-4 p.m.; Dec. 1: noon-5 p.m.; Dec. 7: 6-8 p.m.; Dec. 8: noon-5 p.m.; Dec. 16: noon-5 p.m.; Dec. 21: 6-8 p.m.; Dec. 22: noon-5 p.m.; Dec. 23: noon-4 p.m. Photos are available for $6.

"A Dickens of a Christmas" Exhibit: Experience a Dickensian Christmas at the Plymouth Historical Museum. Launches Nov. 21 and runs each Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through Jan. 13 from 1-4 p.m. The museum is located at 155 S. Main St.

Simply Dickens Christmas Show: The Plymouth Historical Museum brings back the popular Simply Dickens Christmas Show for its third year Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. The show highlights lesser-known classic Christmas carols. There also are comedic holiday skits performed by group members. Simply Dickens is a period-dressed quartet of trained vocalists and musicians that specializes in the music of the 18th and 19th centuries. Tickets to the show are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Museum doors will open at 6 pm; the show starts at 7 pm.

Teddy Bear Toss at Whalers game: Plymouth Whalers vs. Kitchener Rangers. Dec. 1 at Compuware Arena, 14900 Beck Road in Plymouth Township. 7:05 p.m. Teddy bears tossed onto the ice after Whalers' first goal. Helps provide toys for families in need. Free tickets for military personnel and discounted tickets for military families.


Letters to Santa: Canton Leisure Services has made special arrangements with its friends at the North Pole and the U.S. Post Office to deliver children's wish lists to Santa. To mail your letter to Santa, please drop it in the North Pole express Mailbox in the Summit on the Park lobby Nov. 1-Dec. 2. Santa asks that you print your name and address clearly so he can reply to your letter. Each household will receive a return letter and Santa will take care of the postage.

Holiday Home Decorating Contest: Post a photo of your home light display on the  Canton Leisure Services Facebook page or contact Canton Leisure Services to arrange for staffers to stop by and take a photo. Judging will take place from Dec. 1-15 with winners announced Dec. 16.

34th Annual Tree Lighting Celebration: Canton Township will light its tree Dec. 5 at Summit on the Park with a festive celebration from 6-8:30 p.m. Festivities will take place both indoors and outdoors with the tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for indoor events. There will be visits with Santa Claus, holiday-themed entertainment, refreshments, crafts and activities.

Santa Brunch: Enjoy brunch with Santa Claus the morning of Dec. 9 at the Summit on the Park ballrooms. Doors open at 11 a.m., with Santa "landing" at 11:30 a.m. Registration is open now until Dec. 2. Children 3 and under are free; ages 4-12: $12 and ages 13 and up are $16. Photos and videos are encouraged.


Breakfast With Santa: Have breakfast with the big man at 9 a.m. Dec. 8. Enjoy holiday pancakes, sausage and juice served up with a slice of Santa! Stories, songs and a special goodie bag complete this festive morning. Choose 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. Limit is 25 guests per seating. Believers ages 4-7 only. Cost is $15.

Livingston County


Fantasy of Lights parade with the Cyldesdale horses: Friday, Nov. 23, in downtown Howell. Kick off the holiday season with the Fantasy of Lights Parade as it marches down Grand River Avenue in historic downtown Howell before a crowd of thousands. This traditional event features a spectacular nighttime parade, marching bands and musical entertainment, a 5K run, children's activities, and of course, Santa Claus.


Warm N Cozy Bazaar: Saturday, Dec. 1. 32nd Annual Holiday craft bazaar.

Black Sheep Weavers Guild Holiday Sale: Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. 30th annual holiday sale. All handmade/woven items.

Washtenaw County


The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Nov. 29-30 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 1-2 at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Stone Arch Arts & Events, 117 S. Ann Arbor St. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, directed by Kara Williams and Elizabeth Champion, is based on the book of the same name.  

Saline Tree Lighting Ceremony: Nov. 30 at 7 p.m., KeyBank, 100 W. Michigan Ave., Saline

Saline Holiday Parade: Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m., 141 E. Michigan Ave., Saline

Santa’s Village in Saline Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 3-4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Stone Arch Arts & Events, 117 S. Ann Arbor St., Saline

Fiddlers ReStrung Toys for Tots Hometown Concert: Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. at Saline High School, 1300 Campus Parkway, Saline. Special Guests include 6th Grade & 7th/8th grade Fiddle Clubs, Varsity Blues, and SHS Drumline.  Tickets are $10 for Adults, $5 for Seniors & Students and are available at www.fiddlersReStrung.com Call 734-663-8923 (8am to 8pm) or at the door.  Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate!

1930s Christmas on the Farm: Dec. 8 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 9 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Rentschler Farm Museum, 1265 E. Michigan Ave., Saline.  See how farm families coped at Christmastime, when faced with a tight money situation during the Great Depression years. Our 12-room farmhouse will be decorated with natural things that might have been found on the farm. A live tree will grace the parlor with genuine 1930s ornaments and lights. Simple decorations, good aromas throughout the house, and pleasing sights and sounds will greet visitors as they enter the front door.


Winter Festival: The Dexter Winter Festival takes place downtown on Nov. 24. Events include a holiday wreath auction, caroling at Monument Park, and the annual lighting of the village Christmas tree. Time: TBA

Home for the Holidays: Dec. 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in downtown Dexter. The event includes Breakfast with Santa, craft bazaars, Christmas at Gordon Hall, and the annual Holiday Hustle 5K. Participants in the 5K can register online at www.runholiday5k.com.

Hudson Mills Metropark Santa Central: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the Hudson Mills Activity Center. Children can vist Santa Central and play reindeer games, enjoy a hayride and snack and share their wish list with Santa. You may bring your own camera, purchase a photo for $2 or bring a new toy for Toys for Tots and receive a photo free. Admission is by advance ticket purchase only. Tickets are available for purchase at the park office. Event fee is $6 per child.


Hometown Holiday: Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Hometown Holiday takes place the first weekend of December each year. It is a fun filled weekend celebration which marks the beginning of the holiday season. Ushering in the festivities will be a tree lighting ceremony and visits with Santa, plus lots of other holiday activities and entertainment at our many great merchants and historic locations in Chelsea, Michigan. To view a complete schedule of events, visit http://chelseafestivals.com/.

Plus, for more holiday events happening in Birmingham this year, visit Your Guide to 2012 Holiday Events in Birmingham.

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