By Jennifer Young
Michigan becomes quite an enchanting place during the holiday season with its wintry weather and well-known Christmas towns. Many people begin their Christmas shopping with a special trip to one of the state’s beloved Christmas markets. Some are long-established and attract visitors from all over the Midwest. Whether you’re hunting for a special piece for your Christmas village, hand-blown glass ornaments, or homemade peppermint fudge, these towns have a gift for everyone–seriously–and are bound to put you–and even your husband–in the Christmas spirit.
Sure, there’s Amazon (and we last-minute shoppers love you, Amazon) but even the great retail giant can’t offer the Christmas ambience that Frankenmuth can. Frankenmuth features an Old World outdoor market where shoppers can mingle with their hot drinks while browsing a wide range of holiday merchandise and handcrafted wares.
Frankenmuth has been dubbed one of the most “Christmassy” towns in America. Aside from the light-strewn outdoor market, Frankenmuth is also home to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland , the world’s largest Christmas store. There’s even a holiday tour of homes. If you’re interested in a Bavarian-style market this side of the Atlantic, plan your trek to this truly merry Michigan Christmas town.
Holland boasts a renowned Christmas season celebration with its annual Parade of Lights event. The parade typically features nearly 100 holiday floats complemented by marching bands and carolers. Holland is famous for its “ Dutch Winterfest ,” which includes a myriad of seasonal events scheduled from November through January. If you plan to visit, be sure to attend the city’s European-style Kerstmarkt, an open-air marketplace, that features a plethora of handmade and European-imported holiday items. Other Holland Christmas-themed events include Victorian teas, tree-lighting ceremonies, and theatrical and musical performances.
Naturally, a town that goes by the name Christmas is going to make a special point of celebrating the most wonderful time of the year. Located in the Upper Peninsula, Christmas, Michigan, can feel like the North Pole during the month of December, but attractions like Santa’s Workshop, giant Santa-inspired cutouts, and special events help convince visitors to come and brave the cold. Most of the town’s businesses are, not surprisingly, dedicated to Christmas and visiting tourists.
Since many vacationers head to Mackinac Island during the warm season to enjoy its pleasant outdoor attractions, few realize this locale has been dubbed as one of the best Christmas towns in the entire country. Each year, the town features a special tree-lighting ceremony and large Christmas bazaar–the old-fashioned sort with a myriad of handmade offerings and enthusiastic shoppers. The shops and restaurants all brim with Christmas decorations and visitors can even enjoy sleigh rides through the snow.
Noted for its million-lights displays, Rochester is another Christmas town you might want to explore this holiday season. Each year, the town’s buildings and store-fronts attempt to outdo their neighbors with their fabulous displays. Shopping along Rochesters festively lit-up streets is a tradition for many. The town’s illumination officially begins on November 25th, but you can catch the displays until January 5th. The town’s lighting event is serious that crews work seven days a week beginning on October 1st to have the million lights twinkling by Thanksgiving for a trial lighting.
If you want to put yourself in the Christmas spirit, then take yourself to one of these exuberant Christmas towns that puts its heart into the Christmas season. And, if you’re looking for a more urban experience, consider stopping in Detroit. Its many museums and art galleries also feature special Christmas and holiday events for visitors along with discounted pricing.