Holiday Festivities 2020: Activities for the Holidays

Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo. Image courtesy of the Toledo Zoo.

We may not be able to mingle, but we can still find ways to put a little jingle into our holiday festivities this year. Local businesses are taking extra precautions to keep shoppers and diners safe. Light displays have made outdoor experiences extra enticing, and Santa visits have gotten creative with social distancing protocols. Catch a virtual holiday performance online, or bundle up (and mask up!) and head outdoors for a nature hike or photo op. 

For details on COVID-19 precautions, visit event websites for more information before heading out to explore.

Ballet Chelsea: A Very Merry Nutcracker

Experience the Nutcracker as a feature-length film. This collaborative effort is the result of over 400 hours of rehearsing, filming, and editing. The film will be shown as a drive-in movie at the Chelsea Fairgrounds.

Cost: $30 per vehicle

20550 W. Old US Hwy 12., Chelsea. | Hours: 7pm, December 4-6.

Chelsea First United Methodist Church: Special Needs Christmas Bazaar

Special needs families can shop from thousands of affordable handmade items for the holidays.

128 Park St., Chelsea. 7340475-8119. | Hours:  2:30-7:30pm, December 14

Chelsea: Hometown Holiday

Children can drop off their letters to Santa in the bright red mailbox located in Palmer Commons. To receive a return letter, include a self-addressed and stamped envelope. This event takes place November 30 until December 7.

222 S. Main St., Chelsea.

Chelsea’s 24th Annual Gingerbread House Show

Visit historic downtown Chelsea, where local merchants will display community-created Gingerbread houses. This event takes place December 4 to 20.

310 N. Main St., Chelsea. 

Chelsea Selfies with Santa

Merkel Furniture will be hosting a visit from Santa, who will sit in the front shop window display so that passersby can safely take photos outside. Check out Santa on December 13, from 2pm until 4pm.

205 S. Main St,. Chelsea. 734-475-8621. | Hours: 2-4pm, December 13.

Chelsea DIY Holiday Pet Photo Booth

Families and their pets can visit the photo booth at Lane Animal Hospital for a DIY photo op. Pets can take part in this photo op on December 5, from noon until 3pm.

701 N. Main St., Chelsea. 734-475-8696. | Hours: Noon-3pm, December 5.

The Creature Conservancy

Looking for a fun activity just for your family? Book a private tour for a chance to touch and feed the animals. You may even see one of Santa’s reindeer!

Cost: $125 for a guided tour for two. Each additional person (Up to a maximum of 6, ages 10 and up) is $25.

4940 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd., Ann Arbor. 734-929-9324. | Hours: 1-2:30pm & 3-4:30pm, Saturday & Sunday.

Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo. Image courtesy of the Detroit Zoo.
Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo. Image courtesy of the Detroit Zoo.

Detroit Zoo: Wild Lights

More than five million LED lights will light up the Detroit Zoo for this winter display that features illuminated buildings, trees, and sculptures. Nightly capacity will be limited, and guests are encouraged to buy their tickets early and online. Check out these lights from November 20 until January 3, 2021.

Cost: $15-20, children under 2 free

8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak. Wildlights. | Hours: 5-10:30pm, Friday & Saturday; 5-9pm, Sunday; Open select weeknights.

Dexter: Christmas at the Mansion

Historic Gordon Hall will be closed, but the front porch will be decorated for the holidays so that families can visit for their yearly photo op. Take advantage of this photo op from November 29 until December 13.

8311 Island Lake Rd., Dexter. 734-426-2519.

First United Methodist Church: Lights Before Christmas

Enjoy a drive-through light display synchronized to music every night in December.

First United Methodist Church of Saline. 1200 N. Ann Arbor St., Saline. | Hours: 6-9pm, Daily throughout December.

Glenlore Trails: Aurora
Glenlore Trails: Aurora. Image courtesy of Glenlore Trails.

Glenlore Trails: Aurora

Explore new trails and experience over a dozen interactive light displays at this winter show produced by Bluewater Technologies. Located in Multi Lakes Conservation Association in Commerce Township.

Cost: $10-$20 per person, kids under 3 free

3860 Newton Rd., Commerce Charter Township. | Hours: 5:30-11pm, Daily through January 10.

Greenfield Village: Holiday Nights

Hear the carolers, smell the roasted chestnuts, and visit the decorated homes and shops at historic Greenfield Village in Dearborn. You can see Santa and his reindeer, take a free carousel ride, and watch demonstrations by artisans and chefs.

Cost: General admission $30, Kids 5-11 22.50, Kids under 3 free, Seniors $27 (discounts for members)

20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn. | Hours: 6:30-10pm, December 4-6, December 11-13, December 15-23, December 26-28

Kerrytown Market and Shops: Festive Fridays

Enjoy the festive atmosphere and browse the unique local items, perfect for holiday gift-giving. Select stores will be open late for holiday shopping.

407 N. 5th Ave., Ann Arbor. | Hours: 10am-11pm, December 4, 11, & 18.

Milan Main Street: Santa Claus is Coming to Town

See Santa as he travels on the Boogie Woogie Choo Choo along a 12 mile route. Watch from your front door or park at one of the lots along the way.

153 E. Main St., Milan. 734-439-7932. | 6pm-8pm, December 5.

Matthes Tree Farm

Cut your own Christmas tree, visit the petting zoo, or browse through the Christmas gift shop.

See Santa (safely!) from 12PM-5PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

13416 Lulu Rd., Ida. 734-269-2668. | Hours: 9am-6pm, Daily.

MIS Speedway: Nite Lites

One of Michigan’s largest light displays, Nite Lites at Michigan International Speedway will be a drive-through only experience this year.

Cost: $25 per car

Open November 28-December 31, 5:30PM-9PM

12626 US Hwy 12, Brooklyn. 517-937-6426. | Hours: 5:30-9pm, November 28-December 31.

Paul Keller Ensemble: Holiday Jazz Concert

Ypsilanti District Library will host this jazz ensemble for their annual holiday concert. This online event will feature Christmas tunes arranged by Keller and bandmates. Follow the Ypsilanti District Library’s Event page for the concert link.

229 W. Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti. 734-482-4110. | 2-3:15pm, December 6.

Wonderland of Lights at the Potter Park Zoo. Image courtesy of Potter Park Zoo.
Wonderland of Lights at the Potter Park Zoo. Image courtesy of Potter Park Zoo.

Potter Park Zoo: Wonderland of Lights 2020

Stroll through the zoo, listen to the holiday music, and enjoy thousands of lights on display at the 26th annual Wonderland of Lights.

Cost: $9 adults, $5 kids, Kids under 3 free

1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing. 517-483-4222. | Hours: 5-8pm, November 21-Decemvber 27.

Saline Area Players: Ho Ho Ho, The North Pole Chronicles

The cast of this production will record the show on December 12, with virtual showings beginning December 13. Audience members will be able to stream the showing from the Saline Area Players Facebook page.

Saline Rec Center: Jingle Fest

This outdoor event will be held at Tefft Park, and will include games, crafts, and a visit from Santa. Remember to sign up for a time slot on the Saline Rec Center website before arrival!

Cost: $8/person

1866 Woodland Rd., Saline. 734-429-3502. | Hours: 4:30pm, December 10.

Three Cedars Farm: Country Christmas

Visit the donut hut, store, and tree lot. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for visits and photos (with social distancing).

Santa Hours: 11am-2pm, 4-7pm, Fridays and Saturdays; 4-7pm Sundays.

7897 Six Mile Rd., Northville. | Hours: 10am-8m, Friday & Saturday; 10am-5pm, Sunday.

Toledo Zoo and Aquarium: Lights Before Christmas

This award-winning display features over one million lights and over 200 illuminated animal images. Seasonal foods and drinks available. Admission is limited. Reserve tickets online, and gates close at 8pm!

Cost: Adults $21, Kids 2-11 $18, Seniors (60+) $18

2 Hippo Way, Toledo. 419-385-5721. | Hours: 3pm-9pm, November 20-December 31.