Christmas Activities Checklist!
Enjoy Nutcrackers, Sleigh Rides, Light Shows, Reindeer, Holiday Trains & More
Christmas in Michigan, and especially in Grand Rapids, is a magical time.
If you’re like me, you want to soak in as many of these holiday moments and Christmas activities as you can.
This Christmas Activities Guide shows you the best places for Christmas lights, holiday shopping, reindeer visits, and more.
Let’s load up your holiday season with fun and maybe create new holiday traditions in 2022!
☐ 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 these Drive Thru Christmas Light Shows all around Michigan.
☐ 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.
Vormittag Christmas Tree Farm in Grand Rapids, MI
☐ 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 magical.
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!
☐ Go on a Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride
There’s something magical about horses and snow and sleighs all mingled together.
A 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 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.
☐ Chase the Train, Look at the Trees & Watch the New 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 new light show are all reasons we want to be first in line at this venue.
☐ 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 with Interlochen Online, 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.
☐ 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.)
☐ 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 25, 2022. Admission includes free skate rentals.
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Drop a comment with your ideas for this Christmas Activities checklist – we’re pretty sure we didn’t get them all.
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