Kalamazoo Christmas Events: Santa Visits, Light Displays, Christmas Tree Farms & Local Gifts- 2021

Christmas Tree Decorate

2021 Christmas Events & Activities in SWMI

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.

December brings a variety of fun, seasonal activities for families to enjoy. Try our suggestions below and don’t forget our calendar for daily activities.

The Habitat Performing Arts Center

Dance + Acro classes in Kalamazoo for ages 2 and up as well as our Adaptive Dance Program for dancers who are differently abled.

GROW with us! Be you. Be us. BELONG!

The Habitat Performing Arts Center

Use this list to find your family’s holiday fun:

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Where to See Santa

The jolly man in the red suit is making the rounds in 2021, and we have the scoop on where to find him.

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

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Christmas Lights

Looking at Christmas lights is an annual tradition in our family, and one of my favorites. Warm up some cocoa, put the kids in their jammies, and take a drive around Kalamazoo for some fantastic Christmas displays.

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

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See also: Drive Through Lights in Michigan »

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.

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

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Tree Lighting Ceremonies & Parades

Few things are more fun than seeing an entire park light up for the season, or a band marching for a parade. Try this roundup of tree lighting ceremonies and holiday parades near Kalamazoo:

Come join us downtown for the 59th Kalamazoo Holiday Parade!

Christmas Parade

Help kick off the Merry Mile at the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Tree Lighting

Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony with free hot chocolate and cookies!

Tree Lighting

Santa Paws Pet Parade (4:30pm), pictures with Santa (4:30-5:30 & 5:45-7:30pm), Mrs. Claus and their elves, ice skating, campfires and smores, hot chocolate and coffee, dessert truck, luminaries, plus the grand reveal of the new holiday lighting! 5:30 pm Lighting Ceremony

Christmas Parade, Tree Lighting

Join in on this annual event scheduled 5-7pm on Friday, November 26 in Bronson Park.

Festivities include live music, crafts, hot chocolate, and other holiday fun. Visits with Santa, sponsored by the Kalamazoo Downtown Partnership, will take place 6:20 – 7:30 p.m. The Tree Lighting Ceremony is always free, and everyone is welcome to join the fun.

Tree Lighting

The 2021 theme, “Giving Has No Season,” salutes everyone in the community who serves others.

Christmas Parade

Santa makes his grand arrival in Downtown Allegan escorted by the Allegan High School Band,

Christmas Parade, Tree Lighting

Parade starts at 1pm beginning at Wicks Park. Santa will be making a special appearance! Santa's Workshop (11am-4pm)- photo opportunities with Santa plus kids craft projects, tree decorating, music, refreshments and more!

Christmas Parade

Festivities begin at the City Centre Mayor’s Tree with caroling and a tree lighting ceremony. Sing carols as you stroll down Bicentennial Trail behind a horse-drawn wagon with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Children can share their Christmas wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Stuart Manor or mail their letters to Santa inside the Schoolhouse.

Tree Lighting

Nutcrackers, Christmas Plays + Holiday Concerts

1940s Radio Hour

The Kalamazoo Civic Theatre
329 S Park St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

November 26 – December 12, 2021

This gem of a holiday musical is filled with colorful characters, big dance numbers, and lots of heart. DETAILS

Kalamazoo Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra

Kalamazoo Valley Museum
230 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

December 3, 2021

The Kalamazoo Mandolin and Guitar Orchestra presents holiday music old and new, along with other traditional audience favorites. FREE. DETAILS

Ballet Arts Ensemble Nutcracker 2021

Chenery Auditorium
714 South Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI
December 4 – 5, 2021

NUTCRACKER 2021, presented by Ballet Arts Ensemble, is an affordably priced holiday full length concert for the entire family.

Featuring live music by members of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, guest professional dancers from Grand Rapids Ballet and Western Michigan University, a cast of more than 100 children and adults, and guest performers from the Kalamazoo Children’s Chorus.

December 4: 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM
December 5: 2:00 PM

Tye Chua Dance Nutcracker

315 West Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
December 4 – 5, 2021

Celebrate the season with a family classic The Nutcracker! Our condensed version is just 1 hour long, making it great for the whole family! DETAILS

Sounds of the Season

Chenery Auditorium
714 South Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI

December 17 – 18, 2021

Enjoy a Saturday evening dinner out, then join us at Chenery Auditorium for classic Hanukkah and Christmas music. DETAILS

Ballet Kalamazoo presents Nutcracker Kalamazoo

Comstock Community Auditorium
2107 N 26th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49048

December 18 – 19, 2021

Take a magical stroll through Candy Cane Lane, circa 1865 for our Kalamazoo inspired Nutcracker!

Tickets go on sale on November 18th at 1:00 PM
Tickets are $10-$20
Children 1 and under are lap child seating and are free

December 18: 7:00 PM
December 19: 2:00 PM

Live Nativities

Bethlehem Journey: A Living Nativity

Bethlehem Journey: A Living Nativity: Experience Bethlehem like Mary and Joseph. Petting Zoo, Free refreshments & Free Admission

Bethlehem Journey: A Living Nativity

Bethlehem Journey: A Living Nativity: Experience Bethlehem like Mary and Joseph. Petting Zoo, Free refreshments & Free Admission

Bethlehem Journey: A Living Nativity

Bethlehem Journey: A Living Nativity: Experience Bethlehem like Mary and Joseph. Petting Zoo, Free refreshments & Free Admission

Merry Mile – Live Nativity

Live nativity at the Merry Mile

Merry Mile – Live Nativity

Live nativity at the Merry Mile

Holiday Meals to Go

Local Kalamazoo restaurants are stepping up to the plate this year in a big way, and offering complete meals to go for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

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

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Local Gifts

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 list covers kids of ALL ages, plus moms and dads too.

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Skiing, Sledding and Skating Spots

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?

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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 activities to check out during the school break.

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More to Explore