Looking for a break from the holiday hustle and bustle? West Michigan has plenty to offer when you’re done with the mall (or even Amazon).
Several events throughout West Michigan will put the joy back in your holiday season. And, according to the West Michigan Tourist Association, there should be something for just about everyone.
Here’s a sampling of what in store for the season:
Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum presents “Season’s Greetings from the White House” with Mary Evans Seeley, at 7 p.m., Dec. 12. Seeley is a collector, historian, lecturer, author and publisher of two books about Christmas at the White House. She has the most extensive collection of Presidential Christmas memorabilia in the country. Her book, “Season’s Greetings from the White House,” is now in its eighth edition. It tells the stories of Christmas at the White House from Calvin Coolidge through Donald J. Trump. Join the museum as she documents nearly a century of presidential Christmases. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the event. The event is free with open seating; registrations are appreciated.
Excitement surrounds this time of year as the annual “Metro Health Christmas & Holiday Traditions” exhibition brings the glow of over 300,000 colorful lights, strolling carolers, visits from Santa, rooftop reindeer, and 46 international trees and displays to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Ring in the season with a beloved winter exhibition. Honoring holiday cultures around the world, Meijer Gardens focuses on the authenticity of the symbols of beloved holiday traditions — it’s an idyllic spot to center your thoughts on the true meaning of the holidays. The exhibition will be on display through Jan. 5, 2020.
Join the Grand Rapids Public Museum Dec. 20-21 to enjoy listening to live holiday classics at the “Holiday Classics Organ Concert”performed by Dave Wickerman on the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ. This experience is fun for the entire family!
This holiday season, visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum from Dec. 21-Jan. 5 to experience Snowflake Break! Fun for the entire family, visitors will make themed crafts, play games and explore the museum. Snowflake Break is included with your ticket purchase. Additionally, see historic Grand Rapids built from LEGO bricks, complete with operating trams, showcasing Grand Rapids during the early 20th century. Take pictures with the Herpolsheimer’s Child Passenger Train, see 15 historic Santas from around the world and find 12 elves hidden throughout the museum. Visit the GRPM’s planetarium to see “Let it Snow,” featuring festive classics from Frank Sinatra and Chuck Berry to Burl Ives and Brenda Lee, with a stunning finale by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Tickets are $4 each with general admission to the museum, free to museum members and $5 each for planetarium only tickets. Showings run through Jan. 5. As an annual tradition, visitors will be able to view and take pictures with the Herpolsheimer’s train throughout the holiday season. Recognizable to any baby boomer, the train chugged along the ceiling of the toy department at the Herpolsheimer’s Department Store for years.
- Grand Rapids Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”at DeVos Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 13, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. On the following weekend, times are 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.
- Grand Rapids Symphony presents “Old National Bank Cirque de Noel” at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 18-19, at DeVos Performance Hall. Since 2009, Cirque de la Symphonie has spent part of each Christmas season in Grand Rapids. Celebrating its 10th annual Cirque de Noel with the Grand Rapids Symphony, Cirque de la Symphonie’s company of acrobats, jugglers, contortionists and aerial artists makes merry with amazing feats of agility and strength, accompanied by beloved Christmas songs and classical favorites. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com and in person at the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place box offices.
For those getting a late start to the season, find the perfect holiday wreath or tree for your home at Grand Rapids Downtown Market Christmas Tree Lot, hosted by Lenderink Tree Farms, from 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 15.
The Critter Barn in Zeeland invites you to the 20th annual Live Nativity, held Tuesdays-Saturdays through Dec. 28. Visit the Critter Barn animals, including sheep, goats, and cows, and take photos of the scene in the historic barn.
The Holland Museum will be celebrating a Victorian Christmas at the Cappon House from noon-4 p.m., Dec. 14-15. Enjoy a tour of the opulent home while learning how yuletide celebrations have changed in the last 100 years. Visitors also can create traditional decorations, sample holiday sweets, sing along to Christmas tunes on the piano, capture a loved one’s affection under the kissing ball and more. This event is appropriate for the whole family, with activities aimed at both adults and children ages 5 and up. Advance registration is strongly encouraged. Admission is $8 per person for museum members, $10 per person for non-members, free for ages 5 and under.
Stop by the Sneaky Elves Workshop from noon-3 p.m., Dec. 20, and 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Dec. 21, at at the Holland Area Arts Council. Children will be led through the creation and wrapping of a handmade gift so they can take part in the giving this holiday season! Parents can drop their kids off and go shopping in Downtown Holland or stay and participate in the fun.
Experience an authentic European-style open-air Christmas market with handcrafted items, delicious food and artisan demonstrations at Kerstmarkt in Downtown Holland. Open Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15, at the 8th Street Marketplace.
Presented by the Holland Civic Theatre, “It’s a Wonderful Life” brings the classic holiday film to life in Holland Dec. 13-14.
Still on the hunt for the perfect holiday gift? Then don’t miss the Downtown Holland Shopping Jam on Saturday, Dec. 14. Participating stores will open early for this special savings event. The earlier you shop … the more you save! During the Shopping Jam, merchants will be offering discounts of 30% from 8-9 a.m., and 25% from 9-10 a.m. Discounted merchandise will vary by store, but will include a discount off at least one item. See the participating businesses for savings details. The Shopping Jam is sponsored by Downtown Holland’s Horizon Bank.
Just because summer’s over doesn’t mean you can’t fill your table with fresh, local and healthy food. The Holland Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday through Dec. 21. Stop by to pick up everything you need to make your family’s favorite holiday dishes or to decorate your home for the holidays.
A holiday tradition returns to the Muskegon Carr-Fles Planetarium with “Mystery of the Christmas Star!” on Dec. 10 and 12. No reservations are needed for this free, 30-minute show in room 1072 at Muskegon Community College.
Experience the 19th century Hackley & Hume homes of Lakeshore Museum Center in Muskegon decorated beautifully for the holidays by Muskegon’s local community groups with period-appropriate artifacts, ornaments and more! Tickets can be purchased at the door and are $10 per person, $8 for seniors 65+ and $5 for kids ages 2-12. Tour times are 4-8 p.m. Dec. 14, 21 and 27, and 1-4 p.m. Dec. 28.
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