2023 Kalamazoo Christmas Events: Parades, Tree Lightings, Holiday Concerts + Santa

Kalamazoo tree lighting Christmas Events

cover image: Downtown Kalamazoo Partnership

2023 SWMI Christmas Events & Activities

Each year we accumulate more Christmas decorations.

Another box of ornaments, a new building for the Christmas village, or another cuddly stuffed animal donning a Santa hat.

And while each January tests my spatial relations to return said decorations to their storage in the basement, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Christmas is more magical (and more fun) since we had kids; I’m okay if it also means a few extra trimmings to store for next year.

We’ve curated a guide to celebrating the holidays in Kalamazoo with a variety of fun activities. No matter how your family chooses to celebrate this year, we wish you a happy and safe holiday.

Try our suggestions below for must-see Christmas events and don’t forget our calendar for daily activities.

Reindeer Ranch Visit
Reindeer Ranch Tours in Kalamazoo

Branch Gymnastics

Featured Partner

2393 Helmer Rd N, Battle Creek, MI 49037
6712 Financial Pkwy, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Branch Gymnastics is committed to building character, commitment, and community by impacting children’s lives through sports.

Register for dance and gymnastics classes and events:

Branch Gymnastics

Santa Events

The jolly man in the red suit is making the rounds in 2023, and we have the scoop on where to see Santa.

Santa is inside this year in multiple spots for photos and meals and will make some parade appearances.

Gull Meadow Farms Visits with Santa
See Santa at Gull Meadow Farms
(image: Gull Meadow Farms)

Tree Lighting Ceremonies

Few things are more fun than seeing an entire park light up for the season.

Try this roundup of tree lightings near Kalamazoo:

Bronson Park Tree Lighting
Bronson Park in Kalamazoo

Christmas Parades

Many cities kick off the holidays with an annual parade as their first Christmas event for the season.

Be sure to bundle up, snag a comfy spot early, and enjoy the show- you may see Santa there too!

Kalamazoo holiday parade Maple Hill holiday parade downtown Kalamazoo
image: Maple Hill Holiday Parade

The Nutcracker, Christmas Plays + Holiday Concerts

Are holiday shows a tradition in your family?

These Christmas events showcase festive tunes, the classic Nutcracker ballet or other holiday favorites.

Which local spot will you visit to see some Christmas cheer with live performances?

BAE Nutcracker 2021
The Nutcracker (Ballet Arts Ensemble, 2021)

Live Nativities

If you’re looking for a unique way to visualize a Nativity scene, try a live Nativity.

These scenes have real people reenacting the original Christmas scene using live animals. Some may include music, refreshments, or a live narrator to tell the story of Christmas.

If your organization is hosting a live nativity, submit your Christmas event to be included in our events calendar and this list.

Live nativities are favorite Christmas events for many SWMI families

Christmas Lights

Warm up some cocoa, put the kids in their jammies, and drive around Kalamazoo for some fantastic Christmas lights.

For drive-through lights, advanced tickets may be required (and will save you time waiting in line).

Christmas Lights
The Merry Mile (Calhoun County Fairgrounds)

Christmas Tree Farms

While our Christmas tree resides in our basement 11 months out of the year, many families visit Christmas tree farms annually to bring theirs home.

Local tree farms are open and ready to help families take home a terrific tree, offering both pre-cut and u-cut options, starting around Thanksgiving.

Be sure to verify times and payment policies (some are cash only) before you head out.

almena pines christmas tree farm
Almena Pines Christmas Tree Farm

Christmas Meals to Go

Local Kalamazoo restaurants are stepping up to the plate this year in a big way, and offering complete Christmas dinners to go in 2023.

Support a locally-owned restaurant and take cooking a big meal off of your plate this year (win-win).

Holiday Gift Guide: Experiences + Local Retailers

Kalamazoo and its surrounding communities offer a fantastic variety of gift options for the holidays.

And if your family is looking for less “stuff,” we’ve included experience options like memberships and ticket subscriptions.

Send Santa to shop locally this year, as our Kalamazoo Shopping Guide covers kids of ALL ages, plus moms and dads too.

Kalamazoo shopping holiday shopping shop local

Skiing, Sledding & Ice Skating

Many Michiganders hope for a white Christmas as the season changes and temperatures drop. But once the ground is covered in that white fluffy stuff, where are the best spots to enjoy it?

We’ve rounded up the top picks for sledding, skiing, ice skating and tubing to jumpstart your winter fun activities.

How many will you visit this year?

Kids sledding in the snow - Kalamazoo Winter Fun Guide Outdoor
Find the best sledding hills in SWMI

Winter Break Activities

After the dust has settled on the presents and the big meals, what are your family’s plans for the remainder of winter break?

We have camps and fun winter break activities to try during the school break.

Winter Fun with family - sledding - Kalamazoo
Plan your Winter Break fun