Your Christmas Activities Checklist for 2023 – West Michigan

Christmas Activities Checklist – How Many Will You Check Off This Year?

If you’re like me, you want to soak in as many magical holiday moments and Christmas events as you can.

This Christmas Activities Guide shows you the best places for Christmas lights, holiday shopping, reindeer visits, and more aroung Rand Rapids.

Let’s load up your holiday season with fun and maybe create new holiday traditions in 2023!

Christmas Activities Checklist
Want to print or CUSTOMIZE this checklist? You can! Details at the end of the article.

☐ Chase Down the Best Christmas Lights

Chasing down the best Christmas lights is a favorite Christmas activity every season.

All you need is a car and maybe some warm jammies and hot cocoa in a thermos as you go on a light-spotting adventure.

And we’ve made it easy with a handy map of all the best-lit houses and downtowns around!

Or, take the road trip a bit further and enjoy either Drive Thru Christmas Light Shows or Walk Through Christmas Lights Displays all around Michigan.

574 venna place coopersville christmas light display

☐ Visit a “Real” Christmas Tree Farm

Heading out to cut your own real Christmas tree is more than just stomping through the woods, saw in hand. Nowadays, it’s an experience.

Many West Michigan Christmas tree farms offer bonus activities -and maybe hot cocoa – to make your visit cheery and bright. 

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree Farm - Old Grove Michigan

☐ Go on a Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride

 There’s something magical about horses and snow and sleighs all mingled together.

horse-drawn sleigh ride is probably the ultimate old-fashioned holiday experience.

Some sleigh rides go through the streets of downtown Grand Rapids while others go through the woods. Both are different, yet equally amazing, Christmas activities.

Here’s where you can jingle all the way around West Michigan.

Sleigh Ride at Wild West Ranch

☐ Visit a Reindeer Farm

While Santa visits are often at the top of the Christmas Must Do List, visiting reindeer should be on it, too.

Visit details vary by destination, but each includes interactions with real, live reindeer. You can even pet the reindeer at some places.

You may even see Santa, too!

reindeer ranch kalamazoo
Reindeer Ranch in Kalamazoo

☐ See Santa & Take Pics, Too

You have a lot of opportunities to find Santa before Christmas. Whether you visit him at Cabela’s (the free photo is a great perk) or you find him at a paid event, he’s not too hard to find.

where to see santa

☐ Get Tickets to a Holiday Show

Are you a Nutcracker person? Or is the symphony more of your thing? Musicals? Improv?

Maybe you think Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

No matter your taste, there’s likely a Christmas production with your name on it.

☐ Find a Christmas Train to Watch or Ride

Trains at Christmastime are a quintessential holiday experience. 

Watch the model train round the bends at Meijer Gardens or find the old “Breton Village train” at its new home at the Ford Museum.

Snag a ticket for one of the train rides in Michigan – some are modeled after the famed Polar Express! Tickets go fast, so start looking as early as August to reserve your seats.

Northern Star Railroad in Midland

☐ Bundle Up for a Christmas Parade

Santa Parades, Christmas Parades, Nighttime Light Parades – West Michigan has them all – and quite a few of them!


☐ Chase the Train, Look at the Trees & Watch the Light Show at Meijer Gardens

1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Meijer Gardens deserves a stop at Christmastime. Their Christmas activities list alone is enough to keep many families busy.

Reindeer, Santa, Carolers, a Christmas train, and now a light show are all reasons we want to be first in line at this venue.

Winter Glow Meijer Gardens 2023

☐ Shop for Holiday Gifts

There are so many fun things to do around Grand Rapids – why not gift some exciting outings?

Memberships, gift cards, or tickets make fantastic gifts for everyone on your list – or as stocking stuffers.

Play all day at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, sign up for a class at the Academy of Music, or go big with a Disney or Universal Studios family vacation.

☐ Put a Toy Under the Angel Tree

If you are able, giving to a child in need is especially appreciated at Christmastime.

Several local organizations operate toy gift drives to help make the holiday season brighter.

Toys for Tots collects new toys for kids.
Fun Again Toys for Everyone (FATE) collects used ones.

The nationwide Angel Tree program gifts toys to kids while also providing families with a gift card for Christmas dinner.

See if it works for your family to spread joy this holiday season.

oys for tots grand rapids michigan

☐ Ice Skate at Rosa Parks Circle

Rosa Parks Circle, 135 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503

Give it a whirl under the lights. Ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle has become a beloved Grand Rapids tradition!

Ice skating starts for the season on Nov 24, 2023. Admission includes free skate rentals.

Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink

☐ Grab a hot chocolate at MadCap Coffee

98 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

And then head out to shop downtown storefronts. (MadCap closes at 4 most days.)

Get the Checklist Template!

Drop a comment with your ideas for this Christmas Activities checklist – we’re pretty sure we didn’t get them all.

Or, fill out the form below to get access to the template and make the checklist your own (it’s free).

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