Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! Here's our list of holiday-related events happening around Grand Rapids this November and December, 2012:
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever play - Master Arts Theatre presents the seasonal comedy Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings November 15-December 8 (except Thanksgiving). Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for students and seniors.
A Christmas Carol - The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and School of Theatre Arts presents the timeless Charles Dickens classic that makes its West Michigan premiere after ten years at Madison Square Garden. Runs November 16-December 16.
The Nutcracker Ballet - The Hope College Ballet Club presents the classic Nutcracker beginning November 19 at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas - Performed by the C.A.R.E. Ballet, the beloved story set to traditional Christmas music comes alive on stage through dance at St. Cecilia Music Center November 23-25. After the performances, visit with Santa and the cast.
Sounds of Christmas - The Chamber Choir of Grand Rapids presents the 'Sounds of Christmas' at the Basilica of St. Adalbert with special guest Embellish Handbell Choir.
Music From the Heart: A Holiday Journey - The holiday benefit event for Dwelling Place at the Masonic Center will feature performances by the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Grand Rapids Ballet Company and Opera Grand Rapids, along with cocktails and valet parking. Ticket price: $100.
THE STORY Tour - Showcasing a full choir and special guest vocalists from well-known bands like Casting Crowns, the Nov 29 production at Van Andel Arena features many favorite Christmas carols as wells as the 'THE STORY', a musical journey from Genesis to Revelation. Tickets are $27.50 and up.
Mona Shores Singing Christmas Tree - The 67-foot tall tree on stage at the Frauenthal Center in Muskegon is America's tallest and features 25,000 lights and 300 singers accompanied by the award-winning 50-piece orchestra from Mona Shores High School. Performances: November 29, 30 & December 1.
Hark Up Christmas 2012 - The upbeat musical re-tells the story of Christmas through song with a 100+ member choir, featured vocalists, dancers and a 20-piece band. Performance days are November 30 & December 1-2 at GRCH's DeVos Center for Arts & Worship.
Nestle Gerber Holiday Pops - It wouldn't be Christmas in Grand Rapids without the Symphony performing its favorite holiday music sing-along at DeVos Performance Hall. The Symphony will be joined on stage by the Symphony Chorus and Santa will make a special visit. Runs December 6-9; tickets start at $18.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The symphonic rock group best known for progressive interpretations of favorite Christmas carols returns to Van Andel Arena with an all-new stage and performance December 7. Tickets: $31.50+.
Just One Angel - Irreverant singer, songwriter and entertainer Christine Lavin, along with folk-pop trio Uncle Bonsai, celebrate all of winter's holidays with a grain of salt and a lot of laughter at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.
Jason Gray - The contemporary Christian singer and songwriter visits Community Reformed Church in Zeeland December 8 to share the Christmas story through uniquely written songs. Family packs are $20.
The Promise - The Lakeshore holiday tradition that weaves together ballet, music, scripture, 88 dancers and 280 costumes to tell the Christmas story takes the stage at the Knickerbocker Theatre in Holland December 13-15 & 19-20.
The Nutcracker - For more than 3 decades, the Grand Rapids Ballet Company has brought the Christmas classic to life with dazzling choreography, sets and costumes, along with 100 dancers, including children and celebrities from the community. The Ballet returns to DeVos Performance Hall accompanied by the Grand Rapids Symphony December 14-16 & 21-23. Tickets: $20+.
Lessons and Carols - Now in its 23nd year, the Grand Rapids Choir of Men & Boys will once again present its Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols based on the King James version of the Bible December 14 at the Cathedral of St. Andrew in downtown GR. Free.
A Christmas Cabaret - The Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School choir will the holiday cabaret event at Fenian's Irish Pub in Conklin December 14. Proceeds will benefit the school.
Gaither Homecoming Christmas Special - Multi Grammy Award-winning singer Bill Gaither will present the holiday music spectacular at Van Andel Arena December 15 at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $29.50
Schubert Male Chorus Annual Christmas Concert - The Grand Rapids choral group founded in 1883 will perform their annual holiday concert 'The Spirit of Christmas' December 15 at the East Grand Rapids High School Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $17 per person.
Edelweiss Christmas Concert - The Edelweiss Choir performs their annual holiday concert with German and Austrian Christmas music, authentic costumes and traditional carols at St. Mary's on First St NW December 16.
Cirque de Noel - Back by popular demand, experience the magic of Christmas and the wonder of Cirque at DeVos Hall as the Grand Rapids Symphony performs holiday favorites while aerialists and acrobats fly overhead. Times: December 18-20 at 7:30 p.m.
LUMINAIRE: This Is Christmas - Daybreak Church in Hudsonville presents the original production that breaks from the traditional images and sights of Christmas in an effort to bring a fresh and new view on the birth of Christ. Two performances per day, December 21 & 22. $10.
Art Van Santa Parade - Presented by the Grand Rapids Jaycees Saturday, November 17 at 9 a.m., the parade has been the traditional holiday season kick-off for the region for more than 100 years. See nearly 100 entries and floats, and a visit from Santa Claus. The route for 2012 will start at the corner of Michigan and Monroe, travel south on Monroe past Rosa Parks Circle and will end at Market and Weston.
Hudsonville Holiday Parade - Celebrate the holiday season with a family friendly parade November 17 at 10 a.m. The route begins at Highland Drive & 32nd Avenue and ends at the fire station on Central Blvd. Hot beverages, snacks, and fun activities will follow the parade.
South Division Santa Claus Parade - The Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Santa Claus Parade December 1 at 10 a.m. The starting point is 34th Street & South Division, and the parade will continue south along Division to Brann's Steakhouse.
Rockford Santa Parade - The annual parade in downtown Rockford is scheduled for Saturday, December 1 at 11 a.m. After the parade, children can meet Santa in the Rotary Pavilion and share their Christmas wishlists.
Ada Christmas Parade - The parade route will start at the Thornapple Shopping Center, turn right on Thornapple and will end at Fire Station #1, where Santa will be available for photos and families can enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies.
Saugatuck Christmas Parade - The annual parade returns to downtown Saugatuck December 1 at 1 p.m.
Jingle Bell Parade - The annual nighttime parade in downtown Grand Haven steps off at 6 p.m. December 1 and winds along Washington and Harbor Drive before ending at Central Park for the lighting of the community tree.
Middleville Parade - The annual holiday parade steps off at 10 a.m. at McFall Elementary before heading east on Main to Church Street. Kids can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus in the gazebo at Stagecoach Park.
Hastings Christmas Parade - The annual holiday parade in downtown Hastings begins at 2 p.m. on East State Street.
Coopersville Santa Parade - One of Michigan's original nighttime parades returns Friday, December 7 at 7 p.m. (immediately following the tree lighting) in downtown Coopersville. See dozens of professional floats, decorated vehicles, fire trucks and a visit from Santa Claus. Free.
Sinterklaas Eve - In true Dutch folk tradition, the annual procession in downtown Holland welcomes Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) on his white horse surrounded by his mischievous Zwarte Piet helpers. The new route for 2012 begins at 7 p.m. December 7 at Central Ave and 12th Street and will end at the gazebo in Centennial Park.
Sleigh Bells and Holly - From November 8 through December 22, the Lowell Arts! gallery at 149 S. Hudson will have over 40 artists selling fine arts and gift items including pottery, photographs, ornaments, glass work, textiles, baskets and more. Open Mondays-Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Beneath the Tree - Private homes in Byron Center, East Grand Rapids and Grandville will be opened up to feature the artwork of more than 100 local artists. The holiday sale runs Friday and Saturday, Nov 9-10; tickets are $8 for the whole tour.
Meijer Gardens Holiday Gift Show - Find unique items for the home, jewelry, accessories, gifts for gardeners, toys and much more at Meijer Gardens' annual gift show November 10. Admission is free.
Christmas Art & Fine Craft Sale - Rockford United Methodist Church is the site of the November 10 Christmas Art & Fine Craft Sale featuring works for purchase created by members of the Rogue River Artist Association.
Rockford Holiday Lighting Ceremony - After performances by the Rockford High School Brass Ensemble and choirs, the countdown begins to the lighting of the trees, lamp posts and the dam. Begins at 6 p.m. November 13.
Grand Haven Light Night - Starting at 5 p.m. November 16, the holiday lights are turned on in downtown Grand Haven for the first time in the season. Participating shops will host open houses and luminaries will line the streets.
Santa's Workshop - After the Art Van Santa Parade, head over to the Grand Rapids Public Library's Main Branch for holiday stories, crafts and a visit from Mrs. Claus. Free.
Holiday Kerstmarkt - This open-air European Christmas Market at the Eighth Street Market Place in downtown Holland features sixteen vendors offering unique handcrafted gifts, authentic Dutch holiday treats, fresh greenery, ornaments and more Fridays and Saturdays, November 17-December 8.
Holiday Open House - On November 17, stroll through the decorated streets of downtown Holland filled with holiday carolers, roasting chestnuts, one-of-a-kind shops, boutiques and galleries, all offering holiday treats and free gift wrapping.
Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World - Now an annual holiday tradition itself, Frederik Meijer Gardens is transformed November 20-January 6 by 300,000 lights, strolling carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, the Polar Express-inspired Railway Garden and more than 40 international tree displays. New for 2012: kadomatsu, a traditional Japanese New Year decoration. Admission is $12 for adults and $4-$6 for kids; carriage rides are extra.
The Original Dickens Carolers - Donning Victorian-inspired costumes, the singers will roam through Meijer Gardens singing favorite holiday tunes. Included with admission.
Gaslight Village Tree Lighting Ceremony - East Grand Rapids lights the Gaslight Village holiday tree at 6:30 p.m. November 23, plus Santa & Mrs. Claus will visit, and attendees can see live reindeer and take a ride on a horse drawn carriage.
Festival of Trees - The Muskegon Museum of Art hosts its annual fundraising event November 23 through December 2 that features a holiday panorama with themed trees, seasonal decor, and a gingerbread village and model train station. All event proceeds will benefit the Museum.
The Santa Train - Ride with Santa himself aboard the vintage cars of the Coopersville & Marne Railway Saturdays and Sundays, November 24-December 23. Tickets include a chance to visit with Santa and the elves and kids can hear "The Polar Express" read aloud by the story-telling Princess. Adults $14.50; kids (2-12) $12.50.
Celebrate the Holidays with Mrs. Claus - At the GRPL Van Belkum Branch on Plainfield Ave, kids ages preschool and up can hear holiday stories, help decorate holiday cookies, sing and visit with Mrs. Claus from 6-7 p.m. on November 28.
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting - Look on as the giant evergreen placed outside of the Grand Rapids Art Museum is officially lit for the season at 5:30 p.m. November 30. Afterwards, enjoy free carriage rides, explore the art galleries and catch a very special, surreal performance in the Museum Lobby.
UICA Holiday Artists' Market - Stop by the UICA November 30 & December 1 for the 24th annual holiday sale and find one-of-a-kind works by some of the region's most exciting artists. Take advantage of free admission and parking, plus beverages, snacks and a children's workshop.
Christmas for the Animals - Zookeepers from John Ball Zoo invite the community to bring a gift on December 1 for the animals while visiting Santa and the reindeer. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Children's Holiday Party - Celebrate the season at GRAM during the Members Children's Holiday Party where kids can take part in art making activities, enjoy a holiday treat and take a free pedicab ride through the Museum.
Christmas Craft and Vendor Benefit - Plymouth Heights CRC will host the December 1 marketplace that will include handcrafted items, beaded jewelry, blankets, wall art, baked goods and more. Free admission.
Kentwood Community Church Annual Arts and Crafts Show - From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. December 1, more than 100 artisans will have handmade arts and crafts and the Holly Jolly Cafe will have baked goods for sale.
Cookie/Craft Bazaar - Messiah Lutheran Church on 5 Mile NE will host its annual Christmas cookie walk and craft bazaar December 1.
Uptown Shop Hop - On December 6, celebrate the season and support local businesses in Grand Rapids' Eastown, East Hills, Wealthy Street and East Fulton neighborhoods from 5-10 p.m. Ride the free shuttles and hop from store to store while enjoying carolers, in-store promotions and entertainment.
The Great Cookie Swap - The hands-on cooking class at the Family Fare-Spartan Culinary Classroom is an opportunity to learn how to make Dark Chocolate Cherry Almond cookies, Irish Cream Blossoms and Sugar Cookie Cut Outs. The attendees can then exchange cookies at the end of the night.
Christmas Fair 2012 - At the Coopersville Farm Museum December 8, Mrs. Claus will decorate cookies with the little ones while the adults can pick out gifts, get them wrapped and see trees decorated by people in the community.
Clara's Nutcracker Party - The popular annual family event hosted by the Grand Rapids Ballet Company features brunch, photos with Clara and other characters from the production, a reading of The Nutcracker and more before 2 p.m. performance on December 16.
Santa's Exceptional Arrival - The Kentwood Band, costumed characters and kids will help welcome Santa to Woodland Mall with the parade at 11 a.m. on November 10.
Woodland Mall - Have your photo taken with Santa November 11 through December 24 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
RiverTown Crossings Mall - Have photos taken with Santa at RiverTown Mall in Grandville from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays until December 24.
Frederik Meijer Gardens - Meet Santa on Tuesday evenings from 5-8 p.m. November 20-December 18. Visits are included in the price of general admission, $12 for adults, $4-$6 for kids.
Nite Lites Christmas Light Display - Returning for a 15th year, see Fifth Third Ball transformed into a lighted mile-long winter wonderland November 16-December 31. Open daily 6-10 p.m. (including holidays); price per regular vehicle is $14.
Ice Skating at Rosa Parks Circle - details to be announced.
Women's Christmas Tea - At Maranatha Bible in Muskegon December 2, enjoy an afternoon of desserts, music and tea along with an inspirational message delivered by guest speaker Terri McFarland.
Festival of Lights - Calvary Church's all-new production 'A Time for Christmas', a musical journey with a 100+ voice choir, a dramatic cast and more than 200,000 twinkling lights. Tickets are $6-$7; performances will be December 7-9 and 14-16.
Brookside CRC Living Nativity - The church on Kalamazoo and 36th will host their annual living nativity presentation December 7-9 at 7p, 7:30 and 8 each evening.
The Salvation Army Red Kettle Dinner - The special evening of inspiration, dinner and festivities at the Kroc Center on South Division kicks-off the Salvation Army's Red Kettle fundraising campaign. Keynote speaker will be Diane Paddison, author of the popular Christian book "Work, Love, Pray".
Meijer Gardens Holiday Gala - The enchanted evening December 6 among the Christmas & Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibit features horse-drawn carriage rides, globally-inspired cuisine, local celebrities and strolling entertainment. Tickets: $125.
Blue Holiday Sweater Party - On December 6, stop by Goodwill's blue boutique inside MoDiv in downtown Grand Rapids for wine, holiday appetizers and shopping. Admission is a donation of two 'blue boutique-worthy' items.
Guiding Light Mission's Community Christmas Dinner - Everyone in the community who could benefit from a hearty meal and some loving, Christian fellowship is welcome to attend December 23. The mission on South Division will also accept donations in advance of the event.
Bosch's Countryview Nursery - Located just west of Allendale, Bosch's has u-pick and u-cut Christmas Trees, horse-drawn wagon rides and visits from Santa on the weekends. Season starts November 21.
Last Updated 11/28/2012