The North Pole may be bustling with activity this time of year, but Santa Claus himself is taking time out to check-in with the children of Northern Michigan during Thanksgiving weekend and early December. Among his Northern Michigan stops? He’ll be in Cross Village, Petoskey, Bay Harbor, Harbor Springs and Traverse City to welcome the holiday season in true small town style, and we’ve tracked down a host of expected Santa sightings (get your list ready!) as well as some magical holiday happenings that can only be found Up North:

Friday, November 26

Cross Village Community Tree Lighting—The tree lighting ceremony happens at 5:30 p.m., but there are always plenty of quirky, fun, and oh-so-unique activities (plus music and food) happening before and after the switch is flipped.

Saturday, November 27

Stafford’s Holiday Parade in Petoskey—Kicking off at 10 a.m., this annual parade is chalked full of local charm.  With floats, bands, marching characters and more, the streets get lined with children waiting to see that special sleigh go by…and after the parade, Santa will stop by the veranda at the Perry Hotel to listen to children’s Christmas wishes.

Bay Harbor Holiday Open House—From 3-6 p.m., merchants will share tasty treats and special deals with customers as the Village at Bay Harbor kicks into holiday gear.  Santa will be on-hand for those with a list ready, and carolers will stroll the streets while waiting for the official “lighting of the greens” to take place at 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 28

Harbor Springs Community Tree Lighting– The quintessential holiday moment for hundreds of folks who gather at the center of Main and State Street each year to sing carols and countdown the moment when the town tree and downtown streets light up for the holiday season.

December 3

Downtown Traverse City’s Open House – Head downtown around 5 p.m. to catch music at the corner of Cass and Front Street, and gear up for Santa’s 6 p.m. arrival—as well as the holiday tree lighting—with community caroling led by the Interlochen Arts Academy Chamber Choir.  Stay for carriage rides, steel drum band performances, and great in-store specials and sales.  Santa will stay until 8 p.m. before heading back north (with a new bag of lists in tow).

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