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!

Alden: Christmas Craft Show: November 28, 2009

The Torch Area Artisans Guild’s annual Christmas Craft Show at the Helena Township Community Center, 9am-4pm. Refreshments available. Alden, 231-331-6583.

Alden’s Holiday Illumination: November 28, 2009

The community is officially illuminated for the holidays along with a carol sing and refreshments. Shops stay open until 8pm. Alden, 231-331-4845.

Bay Harbor: Holiday Open House: November 28, 2009

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,

Benzonia: Festival of Trees at Benzie Area Historical Museum: November 27-29, 2009

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,

Boyne City: Santa Parade & Holiday Open House: November 27, 2009

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,

Charlevoix: Community Tree Lighting: November 27, 2009

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,

Cross Village: Tree Lighting in Cross Village: November 27, 2009

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.

Elk Rapids: Holiday Open House: November 28, 2009

Merchants host their annual Holiday Open House with in-store activities and specials, 10am. Elk Rapids, 231-264-8202,

Frankfort: Holly Berry Arts & Crafts Fair: November 28, 2009

The 14th Annual Fair is held at Frankfort High School, 10am-4pm. Frankfort, 231-352-7251,

Glen Arbor: Ring in the Holiday: November 27-28, 2009

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,

Indian River: Christmas Craft Show: November 27, 2009

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,

Leland: “Where the Holidays Begin”: November 27, 2009

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,

Ludington: Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Show: November 28, 2009

Christmas Extravaganza at the Center for the Arts, 9am-7pm. Ludington, 231-845-2787,

Northport: Holiday Open House at By the Bight Gallery: November 27-29, 2009

Original works of art featuring jewelry with semi-precious stones, clay pieces and Leelanau landscapes. Enjoy seasonal treats, 10am-6pm. Northport, 231-218-9976,

Traverse City: Downtown Mini Festival of Trees: November 15-December 6, 2009

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,

Downtown Traverse City Welcomes Santa: November 27, 2009

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,

Petoskey: Stafford’s Holiday Parade: November 28, 2009

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,