Bells are ringing, children singing—it's Christmas time in Northern Michigan. Since we really don't want to miss a merry moment of the short season, we've packed up a hefty list of kid-friendly festivities. From free cocoa to Santa himself, here's our tally of upcoming Northern Michigan holiday hooplah!

Dance The Halls at Crooked Tree Arts Center

Crooked Tree Arts Center's School of Ballet dancers celebrate the holiday season with a festive show for all ages. Join the performers on December 15 at 3 and 7 p.m. as well as December 16 at 3 p.m. Contact the box office at or (231) 347-4337. Ticket prices start at $5 for students and $15 for adults. 

Crooked Tree Arts Center is located at 461 East Mitchell, Petoskey, MI 49770.

Cookies For A Cause

The Michigan Northern Lights ensemble hosts an event of live music and refreshments at the Gaylord First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, Thursday, December 13 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. A variety of local musicians will perform at the second annual Cookies for a Cause, including the Harmonie Meisters, Infin8 Praise, Light Hearted, Jim Akans and his son Ethan Akans, the Nightshades, Grace and Rebecca Olson (flutists) and the Michigan Northern Lights.

The event originated last year by the members of Michigan Northern Lights and will benefit The Friendship Housing Center and Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan.

In addition to a variety of musical entertainment throughout the evening, homemade cookies and coffee will also be available courtesy of Michigan Northern Lights members. Donations of any amount will be accepted for admission to the event.

Handel's Messiah Performed in Petoskey

Live, sold-out performances of Handel's Messiah by the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and Chorus are the annual highlight of the holiday season in Petoskey.

Layton "Skip" James, principal keyboard artist for the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for 40 years, conducts.  Soloists are from the University of Michigan; the chorus is prepared by Peter Sims.

Reserved seats are $75, $50 and $25. General admission is $15.  Buy your tickets at the orchestra office in Petoskey, online at, or at chamber of commerce offices in Petoskey, Harbor Springs, East Jordan, Charlevoix, and Boyne City.

More details at or call 231-487-0010

Petoskey Madrigal Singers Performance

Pull up your chair for a night of Old English decadence. This Sunday, December 16 and Monday, December 17, the Madrigal singers of Petoskey High School invite all to Stafford's Perry Hotel for their annual Madrigal Renaissance feast. Tickets are $40 per guest, you can reserve yours by calling Stafford's at 231-347-4000. Your visit includes a four-course meal with Madrigal performances throughout the evening. The event begins at 5:30 p.m.

A Christmas Carol

Little Traverse Civic Theatre presents this beloved classic December 13-16 & 20-22. Ticket prices start at $10 for children and $15 for adults. Grab yours at!

Performances for Adult shows are 7:00pm for 8:00pm curtain Thursday – Saturday and 1:00pm for 2:00pm curtain on Sundays.

Story Time with Santa

Children can visit Santa at the Boyne District Library on Saturday, December 15 at 10:30 a.m. Pose for a picture with Santa and leave with a free book! Boyne District Library is located at 201 E. Main Street in Boyne City.

Santa Comes to East Jordan

Drive through the East Jordan Tourist Park to view one-of-a-kind holiday scenes created by local businesses, churches, organizations and individuals. There is no charge to drive throught the park. Santa Claus will be at the park on Dec. 14, 15, 21 & 22. Visit with Santa and enjoy hot chocolate & more! Get more information at

Santa's Workshop

Santa makes a stop in his sleigh at Stafford's Perry Hotel on Saturdays, December 15 & 22. From 12  to 2 p.m., children of all ages are invited for hot chocolate, cookies, and visits with Santa! Santa's Workshop is located at 100 Lewis Street in Petoskey. The sleigh will be parked in the Rose Garden Veranda at Stafford's Perry Hotel (231) 347-4000.

Winter Solstice Celebration

Workshops, presentations, holiday food and fun at Three Pines Studio, 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, December 15. Three Pines Studio is located at 5959 West Levering Road in Cross Village of Spring Harbor. Contact (231) 526-9447 or visit for more information.

Santa at the Castle

Bring your cameras on Saturday, December 15th for a royal Christmas celebration. Santa comes to Castle Farms from 1 to 3 p.m., along with the Polar Express train display, Christmas Train Tree, story time, crafts, and carols by the Hot Club Duo. Only $5 per child 2 and up. Visit their site at Castle Farms is located at 5052 M 66 in Charlevoix, MI (231) 237-0884

Find more Northern Michigan events on our events calendar!