Free Family-Friendly December Events

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Free Family-Friendly December Events

December is here! It’s the month so many of us wait for every year, especially kids! Start the holidays with FREE family fun…after all, it’s the memories that count. Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Free Family-Friendly December Events 

Dec. 1, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22: Santa’s Magic Forest (Taylor) – On Saturday, November 30, Santa’s Magic Forest will open its doors in Taylor’s Heritage Park to thousands to the delight of area families. It is also a benefit to almost eight thousand households in the downriver area and communities beyond who depend upon you and Fish & Loaves Community Pantry for food assistance.

We ask that you join us as supporters of Fish & Loaves and partner with us on this great event. Over 30,000 people attended Santa’s Magic Forest last year. It is the largest holiday community display of its kind featuring a host of heart-warming winter village scenes made livelier by moving animatronic figures.

Dec. 1-Jan. 5: The Big, Bright Light Show (Rochester) One of the state’s best light displays. 

Dec. 3: Holiday Walk at the Flint Cultural Center (Flint)Featuring caroling, festive live music, Santa Claus visits, planetarium shows, holiday theatre activities, hands-on arts and crafts, refreshments, and more. From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Non-perishable item suggested as donation.

Dec. 5: Mommy & Me Hike (West Bloomfield) – Join the West Bloomfield Park Naturalist on a nature discovery and exercise walk. The trail is unpaved so all-terrain strollers are recommended. Indoor activities will be added if it’s too cold. These events are free but pre-registration is required.

Dec. 5-8: Winterfest 2019 (Belleville) – The annual outdoor event welcoming Santa to town. this is a 3 Day Event, brought to you by the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce, and all the Sponsors! See FB page for updated event information.

Dec. 6: Cranbrook Institute of Science (Bloomfield Hills)Visit for FREE after 5 p.m. on the first Friday of the month courtesy of the MASCO Corporation Foundation.

Dec. 6 -7: Southgate’s Winter Wonderland (Southgate) – Southgate’s 10th Annual Tree Lighting and Santa’s Christmas Express Train Rides will take place at Kiwanis Train Park (corner of Leroy and Trenton). The park will be lit up with beautiful decorations and light displays sponsored by local businesses. The Great Lakes Live Steamers welcome families to come ride the train through the park to Southgate’s North Pole to visit with Santa and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate provided by Sweet Arrangements Candy & Dessert Shoppe.

  • Friday, December 6th
    5pm – Annual Tree Lighting and Key to the City presentation to Santa
    6pm-9pm – Santa’s Christmas Express Train Rides and visit with Santa
  • Saturday, December 7th: 6pm-9pm – Santa’s Christmas Express Train Rides and visit with Santa

Dec. 6-8: Birmingham Winter Market (Birmingham)Shain Park will come alive with activity including European food and drinks, gift items, holiday greens, crafts, ice carving demonstrations, live reindeer, warming stations, a Kinderhaus children’s activity area, the popular Santa House, horse-drawn carriage ride.

Dec. 7: FREE Christmas Movies (Farmington) – Free movies with a donation to the Farmington Area Goodfellows in the form of new unwrapped toys, new books, new batteries, bag of nonperishable, canned/boxed food with 2021 expiration dates and beyond. Cash/check donations gladly accepted. 50% of concessions sales during the movies benefit the Farmington Area Goodfellows.

Movie schedule:

10:00am The Polar Express (G) 1 hour 40 minutes
10:10am Shrek the Halls (TV-PG) 21 minutes
11:10am Shrek the Halls (TV-PG) 21 minutes
12:20pm The Polar Express (G) 1 hour 40 minutes
12:10pm Shrek the Halls (TV-PG) 21 minutes
1:10pm Shrek the Halls (TV-PG) 21 minutes

Dec. 7: Kindermusik with Grandfriends (Livonia) – Kindermusik with Grandfriends is an innovative concept for bringing generations together through music and play. The same beloved Kindermusik curricula used in the classroom are brought into a residential care facility and creatively adapted to include the residents. The residents are invited to participate in meaningful ways as parents and their little ones enjoy this lively class in their presence. Some children will “adopt” a special grandma or grandpa here as the same seniors tend to watch the children grow and play with music. Parents are encouraged to facilitate this special bond between the seniors and their child that may continue to blossom outside of class time.

Educators from Evola Music of Canton present this monthly intergenerational program the first Saturday of each month at 11:00 am at Angel Gardens of Livonia. We’ll sing, play, dance, and more together as we create new friendships and strengthen brain development in all participants. The event is free, but registration is recommended. Call 734.455.4677. All families receive a small gift to take home.

Dec. 7: Holiday Extravaganza Parade (Pontiac)Enjoy an ice carving competition, petting farm, live reindeer, s’mores, face painting and more. The parade starts at 11 a.m. 

Dec. 7: Trenton Christmas Parade (Trenton) – Trenton Parks and Recreation and Civic Commission have once again teamed up to kick-off the holiday season in a big way with the annual “Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony.” Stroll downtown and welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus to Trenton! The downtown streets will be all aglow with hand-held candles illuminating the parade route. The Parade begins at 6 p.m. Following the Tree Lighting Ceremony, all are invited to Trenton City Hall for the Parade afterglow and parade awards.

Dec. 7: Holiday Lights Parade (Berkley) Visit downtown Berkley for vintage trolley rides, carolers, a petting zoo, and more. The Holiday Lights Parade begins at 5:30 p.m

Dec. 7: Freighthouse Holiday Festival (Ypsilanti) – Crafting, live music, storytelling, handmade goods and a visit from Santa during the annual Freighthouse Holiday Festival! Card and gift tag making table, where kids of all ages can learn how to make upcycled cards and crafts.

  • 12- 1 pm Artisan market opens and kids’ crafts begin with music from Kevin S. Devine
  • 1-2 pm Holiday storytelling
  • 2-4:30 pm Visit from our Ypsi Santa
  • 3- 4pm Caroling with Out Loud Chorus

Dec. 7: Christmas at the Westland Historical Village (Westland) – Santa Claus is returning to the Westland Historic Village this year! Bring you kids out so they can let him know what they want for Christmas this year. Pictures will be taken and posted on our Facebook Page, feel free to download them. Refreshments will be provided. This is a free event, however donations will always be accepted.

December 7, 14, 21, 28: FREE Day at the Flint Institute of Art (Flint) – This museum is FREE to visit every Saturday thanks to Huntington. 

Dec. 14: Free Young Astronomers Fall Planetarium Show (Wayne State University, Detroit) –  Free one-hour public planetarium show geared towards children under 10. Tickets may be reserved on the Sunday before the show at noon. They will also have 20 seats available for walk-in visitors. Learn about the solar system, constellations and the current night sky. This season’s shows include the fulldome animated movie ‘Polaris, the Space Submarine and the Mystery of the Polar Night’! Tickets are required for all attendees, and children may not be left at the show unsupervised. If you reserve seats please arrive at least 10 minutes before the show begins. Unclaimed seats will be released to walk-in guests at this time.

Dec. 14: Holiday Lights Parade and Tree Lighting (Clarkston)Check out the Holiday Lights Parade at 6 p.m., then visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in Depot Park for the tree lighting ceremony.

Dec. 21: Santa Claus Visits Yankee Air Museum (Belleville) – Santa is making a special trip to the Yankee Air Museum to make sure that every child has had a chance to let him know what their Christmas wishes are. He will even be arriving by helicopter!

Activities and animals from the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and the Leslie Science & Nature Center – LSNC

Museum open at 10am
Santa arrives via helicopter at 11am (He leaves at 2pm)

Other Holiday Ideas 

Be sure to check out the Dine with Santa events and tree lighting events also in our area! 



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