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Holiday Displays and Tree Lightings in Southeast Michigan

'Tis the season for family fun! Gather the kids and head to these 2013 holiday events in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw counties to make it merry.

The holiday season is upon us. Add some cheer to your family's celebration by heading out to one of these spectacular seasonal events. Metro Parent has rounded up a list of the best glittering tree and menorah lightings, joyful music and many more events in southeast Michigan to help your family celebrate, from metro Detroit to greater Ann Arbor.

Wayne County Lightfest

Nov. 14-Dec. 31, 2013 (closed Dec. 25)

  • Address: Hines Park, Merriman Hollow Area, Westland; enter off of Merriman Road between Ann Arbor Trail and Warren Avenue
  • Times: 7-10 p.m. daily
  • Cost: $5/car
  • Phone: 734-261-1990

Four miles of twinkling lights are ready for you to drive through! The grand opening is Nov. 14; then, visit until New Year's Eve. Pictures with Santa and concessions (Nov. 22-Dec. 23) provide even more Christmas magic.

Wyandotte Tree Lighting

Nov. 15, 2013

  • Address: downtown Wyandotte, Biddle Avenue
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 734-324-4502

Music and merriment await you and your family as this downriver city lights up its Christmas tree.

The Big Holiday Reveal, Milford

Nov. 21, 2013 (kickoff)
Nov. 21, 2013-Jan. 1, 2014 (holiday displays live)

  • Address: downtown Milford
  • Time: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 21; then daily
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-684-9719

Local kids "unwrap" all the storefronts on Nov. 21 to reveal their holiday displays. Come downtown for the fun – and come back for the festive deals.

Detroit Christmas Tree Lighting at Campus Martius, Detroit

Nov. 22, 2013

  • Address: Campus Martius Park, 800 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Time: 5 p.m.-midnight
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 313-962-4054

Visit Campus Martius Park for Detroit's signature tree lighting event. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, DTE Energy CEO Tony Earley and Santa will once again participate in illuminating the Christmas tree. The tree remains up in the midst of the ice arena area until Jan. 20, 2014.

Holiday Hoof, FestivALE and Tree Lighting, Ferndale

Nov. 23, 2013

  • Address: downtown Ferndale, Woodward Avenue and Nine Mile Road median
  • Cost: free
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Phone: 248-546-1632

There's a big tree lighting, yes – but that's not all that's in store today! Swing by the FestivALE at One Eyed Betty's (noon-midnight) for family-friendly music, cold-weather comfort food, street performers and 30 pinball machines, all in a tented area (and, of course, beer for parents!). There's also the Holiday Hoof, featuring an obstacle run (about 4 miles, 5:30 p.m.) and fun walk for kids ages 10 and under (about 2 miles; 5:45 p.m.).

Hanukkah Family Celebration, West Bloomfield

Nov. 24, 2013

  • Address: Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, 6600 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield
  • Time: 10 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-432-5471 (ask for Marilyn)

The free family fun includes games, crafts, balloon animals, traditional Hanukkah treats, entertainment and the traditional Tzedakah Fair (bring pennies), topped off with a menorah candle-lighting ceremony. And don't forget to bring a kosher food item for Yad Ezra. New for 2013 is a children's talent show.


Festival of Trees, Dearborn

Nov. 24-Dec. 1, 2013

  • Address: Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn
  • Times: 2-7 p.m. Nov. 24, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Nov. 25-26, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 27, closed Nov. 28, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Nov. 29-30, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 1
  • Cost: $5/adults, $3/kids, free/under age 2
  • Phone: 248-336-2331

Check out the enormous public display and sale of trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses, Christmas stockings, gifts and more.

Holiday Tree Lighting, Madison Heights

Nov. 25, 2013

  • Address: Civic Center Plaza, City Hall, 300 W. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights
  • Time: 6:30 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-588-1200

Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrive to power up the lovely lights – and the mayor will personally hand Santa the key to the city. Hot chocolate and holiday cookies are served.

Birmingham Tree Lighting & Santa House

Nov. 27, 2013 (lighting)
Nov. 27-Dec. 24, 2013 (Santa House)

  • Address: Shain Park and Birmingham shopping district, Bates Street between Martin and Merrill streets
  • Time: 7 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-530-1200

Visit Birmingham's Shain Park Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. for a tree lighting spectacle. On weekends, kids also can visit the Santa House – all the way till Dec. 24. In addition, the whole family can take an old-fashioned carriage ride during the season.

Holiday Walk at Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester

Nov. 29-Dec. 23, 2013

  • Address: Meadow Brook Hall, 480 S. Adams Road, Rochester
  • Time: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; call ahead for evening hours on select dates
  • Cost: $20/adults, $5/ages 17 and under, free/ages 2 and under
  • Phone: 248-364-6200

Fireplaces ablaze, ornament twinkling trees and a live organ playing festive tunes are all part of the annual holiday magic. Join in the Teddy Bear Hide-n-Seek, where tiny bears are hidden along the Holiday Walk all the way to the Knole Cottage – where, if you can find all the bears, you'll get a prize.

Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Sing-Along, Taylor

Nov. 29, 2013

  • Address: Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Garden, 22314 Northline Road, Taylor
  • Time: 6-8 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 888-383-4108

Visit this nature spot for light refreshments including cocoa and cookies, a bit of singing and, of course, the tree lighting. Dress for the weather, the cocoa and cookies are going to be held outside around a bonfire this year!

Michigan's Original Dickens Festival

Nov. 29-Dec. 1, Dec. 7-8 and 14-15, 2013

  • Address: Downtown Holly
  • Times: 7 p.m. Friday, 2-8 p.m. Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sunday
  • Cost: Free
  • Phone: 248-328-8191

The England from the days of yore comes to life Charles Dickens-style with horse-drawn carriage rides, Christmas caroling, old-fashioned games and characters from A Christmas Carol, including Scrooge and Tiny Tim. The festival kicks off at 7 p.m. on Friday with a tree lighting and holiday parade.

Kerrytown Market & Shops Tree Lighting

Dec. 1, 2013

  • Address: 407 N. Fifth Ave. at Kingsley Street, Ann Arbor
  • Time: 5-5:30 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 734-662-5008

Kerrytown kicks off the season with annual flair in its courtyard, complete with Christmas carolers and candle luminaries – and Santa will be there to light the tree.

The Big Bright Light Show, Rochester

Dec. 2, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014

  • Address: downtown Rochester, Main Street from South Bridge to Romeo Road and Fourth Street from Walnut to Water streets
  • Time: 7 p.m. Dec. 2; then evenings throughout the holidays
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-656-0060

Downtown Rochester is once again decked out in some 1.5 million (plus!) lights, brightening up buildings every evening. It all kicks off Dec. 2 with "Lagniappe" (Creole for "a little something extra"), which includes activities like strolling carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, gifts from merchants, roasted almonds – and, of course, Santa.


Waterford Tree Lighting and Santa Celebration

Dec. 3, 2013

  • Address: Waterford Town Hall, 5200 Civic Center Drive, Waterford
  • Time: 6-8 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-674-5441

Visit for crafts, a chance to visit Santa, a Christmas sing-along, food concessions and more at this 27th annual event.

Livonia City Tree Lighting & Caroling Ceremony

Dec. 3, 2013

  • Address: south side of Livonia City Hall, 33000 Civic Center Drive, Livonia
  • Time: 7 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 734-466-2200

Sing some holiday tunes with the Livonia Civic Chorus, visit Santa, make holiday crafts, watch a magic show and top it off with some hot chocolate and cookies (refreshments are at the nearby Civic Center Library).

Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, Wayne

Dec. 3, 2013

  • Address: Wayne Historical Museum, 1 Towne Square St., Wayne
  • Time: 7-7:15 p.m. tree lighting, 7:15-8 p.m. pictures with Santa, cookies and hot chocolate
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 734-721-7400

Come see the tree lighting and take pictures with Santa. Enjoy cookies and hot cocoa and holiday music from the St. Mary Catholic Church Youth Choir.

Tree Lighting and Afterglow, Macomb Township

Dec. 4, 2013

  • Address: Township Hall, 54111 Broughton Road, Macomb Township
  • Time: 7 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 586-992-2900

Head to Macomb Township for this ninth annual holiday happening, complete with crafts, Santa, holiday dance performances and refreshments at multiple stations.

Menorah in the D

Dec. 4, 2013

  • Address: Campus Martius, 800 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Time: 5:30 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-788-4000

This third annual event features the lighting of the candles on an impressive 24-foot-tall menorah – and loads of free perks, including a hot soup bar, doughnuts, a band performance by 8th Day Band – even parking (at Two Detroit Center Parking, 160 E. Congress St.).

City of Troy Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Dec. 4, 2013

  • Address: Veterans Plaza, City Hall, 500 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy
  • Time: 7-8:30 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-524-3392

Kids are invited to visit with Santa Claus after he lights up the city tree. Then, the Athens High School Choirs (Magic! and Concert Choir) lead the sing-along caroling. Enjoy hot cocoa and holiday sweets, too. Sponsored by Genisys Credit Union.

Tree Lighting Event, Canton

Dec. 4, 2013

  • Address: Summit on the Park, 46000 Summit Parkway, Canton
  • Time: 6-8:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $5/family
  • Phone: 734-394-5100

Kick off the holiday season at this annual township event including indoor and outdoor festivities, seasonal entertainment, refreshments and visits with Santa. The actual lighting occurs at 6:30 p.m.

Christmas Aglow Tree Lighting, Shelby Township

Dec. 5, 2013

  • Address: Shelby Township Municipal Grounds, 52700 Van Dyke Ave., Shelby Township
  • Time: 7 p.m. (lighting around 7:15/7:30 p.m.)
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 586-731-0300

The Eisenhower High School choir and band lead the community in Christmas carols. Visit Santa's Snack Shop for hot cider and cookies, plus catch the marshmallow roast, horse-drawn carriage rides and kids craft area. After he lights the tree, Santa meets kids over in Historic Hope Chapel.


Wixom Tree Lighting

Dec. 5, 2013

  • Address: Wixom Community Center, 49015 Pontiac Trail, Wixom
  • Time: 6:15-8 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-624-4557

City hall lights up for the holiday season and starts with the celebration featuring a visit from Santa and his reindeer. Bring the whole family to this event, which includes free refreshments.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Royal Oak

Dec. 5, 2013

  • Address: near Royal Oak Farmers Market, 316 E. 11 Mile Road, Royal Oak
  • Time: 6-8:50 p.m. (7 p.m. tree lighting)
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-246-3280

This community shebang kicks off with refreshments at 6:15 p.m. and caroling lead by Stagecrafters and the Royal Oak Salvation Army Band. Then, hear the city's children's choir at about 6:30 p.m., followed by the tree lighting at 7 p.m. – and Santa sticks around to visit after the ceremony. Also includes the Holiday Magic Marketplace (4-8 p.m.) and goodies like cocoa, hot dogs coffee and candy canes.

Christmas Aglow in Clinton Township

Dec. 6, 2013

  • Address: Clinton Township Civic Center grounds, 40700 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township
  • Time: 6:30-8 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 586-286-9336

Watch the decorations fill the grounds with light, visit with ol' Saint Nick, take a horse-drawn trolley ride, view beautiful ice sculptures and much more. Warm up with hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies.

Light Up the Night, Novi

Dec. 6, 2013

  • Address: Novi Civic Center, 45175 W. 10 Mile Road, Novi
  • Time: 6-9 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-347-0473

Indoor and outdoor activities abound, including seasonal entertainment, kids' activities, ice carving demonstrations, marshmallow roasting, a craft show and, of course, Santa and the main tree lighting event (6:15 p.m.). Visit the nearby library, too, for a magic show, crafts and activities – and ride the children's train behind the civic center.

Auburn Hills Tree Lighting

Dec. 6, 2013

  • Address: MOMS Memorial at Auburn and Squirrel roads, downtown Auburn Hills
  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-370-9353

Even Santa and Mrs. Claus will reportedly be on hand for this 20th annual community tradition.

Saline Tree Lighting Ceremony

Dec. 6, 2013

  • Address: Key Bank, 100 W. Michigan Ave., Saline
  • Time: 7 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 734-604-0051

This festive community event kicks off the holiday season with a tree lighting, a few Christmas carols and cups of hot chocolate.

Heritage Holidays at Wolcott Mill Historic Center, Ray

Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 2013

  • Address: Wolcott Mill Historic Center, 64162 Kunstman Road, Ray Township
  • Times: 5-8 p.m. Fridays, 2-8 p.m. Saturdays, 2-6 p.m. Sundays
  • Cost: event entry is around $5/kids, $3/adults (check ahead for finalized costs); $5/vehicle entry fee
  • Phone: 586-749-5997

This year it's open on Sundays, too! Make old-fashioned crafts, check out historic displays from the 1840s to 1960s and take the kids for a visit with Santa that will wrap them up in the holiday spirit (and encourage them to be on their best behavior!).

Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village

Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 19-23, 26-28, 2013

  • Address: Greenfield Village, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
  • Times: 6:30-10 p.m.
  • Cost: $22/adults ages 13-plus, $16/kids ages 5-12, free/ages 4 and under (less for members; more if you add-on Holiday Dining in Eagle Tavern)
  • Phone: 313-982-6001

Walk the candle-lit village streets to see costumed characters, live entertainment, shops decked out for the holidays and Santa with his sleigh and reindeer. Plus take a Model T ride, go ice skating and watch the marvelous fireworks display.


Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Open House, Lake Orion

Dec. 7, 2013

  • Address: downtown Lake Orion
  • Time: 5 p.m. tree lighting kickoff
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-693-9742

You'll find caroling, hot chocolate, Mrs. Claus and a big community tree decorated with ornaments that are made by local kids.

Tree Lighting Ceremony, Chesterfield Township

Dec. 7, 2013

  • Address: Township offices grounds, 47275 Sugarbush Road, Chesterfield Township
  • Time: 5:30 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 586-949-0400

Swing by for Christmas caroling, Santa's arrival by fire truck and a holiday craft project. Cookies and cocoa are available at the Weller School (in the Historical Village). Plus, enjoy vocal performances by area school and Scout groups. Note: Kids must be in line by 7:30 p.m. to visit Santa!

Holiday Lights Parade, Berkley

Dec. 7, 2013

  • Address: gazebo at City Hall, 3338 Coolidge Highway, Berkley
  • Time: about 5:30 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-658-3300

It's a full Saturday of fun, with horse-drawn carriage rides, free trolley (1:30-4:30 p.m.) and a petting zoo (both 2-5 p.m.) and parade at 12 Mile Road and Bacon Avenue (5:30 p.m.). The tree lighting happens right after the parade – along with Dinner at Farina's (reservations required at 248-546-7800) and evening horse-drawn carriage rides.

Gibraltar Christmas Parade, Tree Lighting & Kids Christmas Party

Dec. 7, 2013

  • Address: Gibraltar Community Center, 29340 S. Gibraltar Road, Rockwood and city hall, 29450 Munro St., Rockwood
  • Time: 5:30 p.m. parade, followed by lighting and party
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 734-671-1466

The city hosts Santa, a petting form, kids crafts, a food vendor, kettle corn, face painting, a balloon maker and a few crafters outdoors – as well as cookies and hot cocoa inside (a kids' craft, too) at this event that also features a parade and holiday tree lighting.

Trenton Light the Night Santa Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony

Dec. 7, 2013

  • Address: downtown Trenton; lighting at the clock tower at West Road and West Jefferson Avenue
  • Time: 6 p.m. parade, 6:30/7p.m. tree lighting (at parade's conclusion)
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 734-675-7300

Kick off the season downriver-style with this annual event. The streets are aglow with handheld candles, and the tree lighting tops off the fun. Don't miss the afterglow and awards.

Noel Night, Midtown Detroit

Dec. 7, 2013

  • Address: Midtown Detroit, up to 70 cultural institutions
  • Time: 5-10 p.m.
  • Cost: Free
  • Phone: 313-420-6000

Detroit's art museums, science institutions and other cultural centers collaborate for the 41st annual, including 120-plus local theater, music and dance groups, horse-drawn carriage rides and entertaining crafts. A traditional community sing-along led by the Salvation Army Band ends the night.

Jaycees Tree Lighting, Farmington

Dec. 7, 2013

  • Address: Gov. Warner Mansion, 33805 Grand River Ave., Farmington
  • Time: 5:30 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-474-5500

Swing by for this annual community family-friendly event. The house, which is decorated for Christmas, also will be open from 5 to 7 p.m.

Holly Days, Farmington

Dec. 7, 2013

  • Address: downtown Farmington
  • Times: event times vary; tree lighting is at 5:30 p.m. (see previous listing)
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-473-7276

Farmington is transformed into a winter wonderland complete with its own North Pole at Sundquist Pavilion (33113 Grand River Ave.). Swing by, at various times, for ice carving demonstrations, Santa snapshots, Santa's workshop, a kids holiday craft area, free gift wrapping, stories and cookies with Mrs. Claus, free holiday movies and shows at the Farmington Civic Theatre (33332 Grand River Ave.) – and, of course, the Farmington Area Jaycees Holiday Tree Lighting, happening at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the Gov. Warner Mansion (33805 Grand River Ave.).

Tree Lighting and Sing-Along, Dearborn

Dec. 9, 2013

  • Address: Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., Dearborn
  • Time: 6-9:30 p.m.; Tree lighting at 6:35 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 313-943-2285

Santa always shows up at this community event. The Dearborn Big Band will be performing. Anyone who attends is also welcome to visit the Festival of Trees for free this night. Light refreshments are served, too.

Holiday Ice & The Saucy Social, Ferndale

Dec. 14, 2013

  • Address: downtown Ferndale
  • Times: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-546-1632

Find 50 "sub-zero super hero" ice sculptures on display, plus free photos with Santa at Schiffer Park (10-11:30 a.m. and 2-4 p.m.), live reindeer (11 a.m.-4 p.m.), free trolley rides (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) and lunch with Santa at Buffalo Wild Wings (noon-1:30 p.m.).

Family Holiday Fest & Tree Lighting

Dec. 14, 2013

  • Address: Nankin Mills Interpretive Center, 33175 Ann Arbor Trail, Westland
  • Time: 3:30-6 p.m.
  • Cost: crafts and games: $6/child, $2/adults, free/3 and under; free/Santa visit and tree lighting
  • Phone: 734-261-1990

The 26th year of old-time activities and fun events includes the favorite "Fruitcake Bowling," "Reindeer Antler Toss" and "Pin the Nose on Rudolph" games. Kids also can participate in a sing-along, decorate their own tree and tell Santa what they want most for Christmas. Followed, of course, by a tree lighting.

Holiday Lights Night, Clarkston

Dec. 14, 2013

  • Address: downtown Clarkston
  • Time: starts at 6 p.m.; tree lighting about 7 p.m.
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 248-625-8055

Check out the Holiday Lights Parade at 6 p.m.; then hoof it to Deport Park. Here, Santa reads a story and lights the tree. Kids can give him their wish lists, see live reindeer, make a s'more and have some hot chocolate, too.

Kwanzaa Celebration, Wright Museum, Detroit

Dec. 26-29, 2013

  • Address: Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit
  • Times: call ahead for times
  • Cost: free
  • Phone: 313-494-5800

Join the museum to celebrate this holiday's rich cultural heritage with storytelling, crafts, a Kwanzaa marketplace and traditional African dance and fashion shows.

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