It really is true; Northern Michigan is magical throughout the holiday season. Picturesque towns from Traverse City to Leelanau County, from Charlevoix to Petoskey and up to Mackinac Island, light up with the very best small town Christmas decorations, events and holiday cheer. Here's a sampling of what's to come over Thanksgiving weekend and into December. Is your holiday event not listed? Please add it in the comment section below!
The Torch Area Artisans Guild’s annual Christmas Craft Show at the Helena Township Community Center, 9am-4pm. Refreshments available. Alden, 231-331-6583.
The community is officially illuminated for the holidays along with a carol sing and refreshments. Shops stay open until 8pm. Alden, 231-331-4845.
Meet Santa and stop at all the shops in the Village to pick up something special from each merchant, 4-7pm. Bay Harbor, 231-439-2000, bayharbor.com.
Christmas trees and wreaths decorated by individuals, businesses, churches, charities and schools. Silent auction proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity of Benzie County. Fri. & Sat. noon-8pm, Sun. noon-4pm. Benzonia, 231-882-5539, bahmuseum.org.
Tree lighting 5pm, Santa parade 6pm. Santa arrives on his sleigh with some of his elves. Santa meets the children in Old City Park. There are also hayrides. Merchants offer special shopping, refreshments and hospitality all day. Boyne City, 231-582-6222, boynechamber.com.
Visit East Park to decorate the community Christmas tree with homemade ornaments, 4-6 p.m. Beginning at 4 p.m., children may visit with Santa at his Charlevoix house on Bridge St., and have a photo taken with him! 231-547-2101, charlevoix.org.
Open House with music, food and festivities headquartered at Three Pines Studio, followed by the Annual Community Tree Lighting, 11am-7pm. Cross Village, 231-526-9447.
Merchants host their annual Holiday Open House with in-store activities and specials, 10am. Elk Rapids, 231-264-8202, elkrapidschamber.org.
The 14th Annual Fair is held at Frankfort High School, 10am-4pm. Frankfort, 231-352-7251, frankfort-elberta.com.
Fri. 5-7am Pajama party sales at downtown shops; 7pm tree lighting and carols at the Township Hall; 7:30pm Holiday Market Place preview party. Sat. 10am-4pm Holiday Market Place, Township Hall. Glen Arbor, 231-334-3238, visitglenarbor.com.
Over 150 crafters display handmade gifts: quilts, wood works, jewelry, stained glass, pencil drawings, photography, ceramics and pottery. Inland Lakes School, 10am, $2 admission. Indian River, 231-238-9325, irchamber.com.
It's the PJ Party and Sale from 8-10am. Shop all day, but for the best bargains, show up early in your PJ's! Leland, 877-Leland-1, lelandmi.com.
Christmas Extravaganza at the Center for the Arts, 9am-7pm. Ludington, 231-845-2787, ludingtonartscouncil.org.
Original works of art featuring jewelry with semi-precious stones, clay pieces and Leelanau landscapes. Enjoy seasonal treats, 10am-6pm. Northport, 231-218-9976, bythebight.com.
Visit Traverse City’s downtown stores to view Zonta Club's 4-foot professionally decorated trees in the shop windows. Vote for your favorite and bid in each participating store. Traverse City, zontatc.org.
Holiday music fills the streets and downtown shops all day. Community carol sing-a-long 5pm. Santa arrives by fire truck and helps light the tree at 6pm. Santa visits with children at his holiday house 6-8pm. Traverse City, 231-922-2050, downtowntc.com.
Floats, music and holiday surprises, 10am. Bring an unwrapped toy to place in the Toys for Tots float, then follow Santa and the parade to the Perry Hotel to share your holiday wish list. Petoskey, 231-487-1188, petoskeydowntown.com.