This weekend the Henry Ford Museum hosted my family for 2018 Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village. This is one of our favorite annual traditions. One thing that I love about Greenfield Village is that it is so large and there are so many extra activities that we always seem to find something new. Also, don’t forget to check out our 10 tips for attending Holiday Nights with kids.
Our 2018 Holiday Nights Experience
The last few years we have had dinner from street vendors at Holiday Nights. With cold temperatures in the forecast for Saturday, we decided to eat at home first.
New Experience at Holiday Nights
Even though we have been to Holiday Nights 8 times plus more trips to Greenfield Village, it is so large and they make program changes or add new spaces, that we find a new experience on every visit. New for us this year is the Davidson-Gerson Gallery of Glass. While it is not holiday themed, it was a neat experience and I recommend it on your next Greenfield Village trip (Holiday Nights or next spring).
10 Tips for Holiday Nights with Kids
Since we have attended Holiday Nights many times, we have some tips to share.
1 – Pre-Buy Your Tickets
Holiday Nights sells out on many of the more popular nights. For example, all Saturday nights before Christmas are already sold out. Of course this means you will have to take your chances with the weather. In recent years, we visited the first Saturday of Holiday Nights. We had other commitments that night, so we visited the second Saturday (December 8). We were lucky with the weather. The first Saturday was rainy. The night we were there was colder, but dry.
2 – Dress for the Weather
On most nights, you’ll want to make sure to bundle up. You will spend most of your time outdoors. Snowpants are a great option for anyone, but especially the kids. I usually double up tights and leggings or tights and wool pants. My husband wears long johns and jeans. Don’t forget hats, gloves, and scarves. You will be in and out of buildings heated by fire and there are fire pits around that give you a chance to warm up a bit.
If it is a rainy night, consider adding ponchos over your winter coats, or at least make sure they are waterproof.
3 – Arrive Early
There is so much to do at Holiday Nights, you will want to maximize your time in Greenfield Village. New for 2018, Members can enter 30 minutes earlier at 6p. Everyone else can still enter at 6:30p. Last year we waited 20 minutes to enter. This year, there was no line by 6:45. It definitely helped with the entry backlog.
4 – Enjoy Holiday Tastes
This year, we had dinner at home to minimize the time we spent eating. But I do recommend taking advantage of the food stands.
There are several street food options. In previous years, we have had dinner from the street food stands. There is a roast beef sandwich stand and a ham sandwich stands. Note, at both you are given just the roll at the booth and proceed to the fire where your meat is carved for you.
Other options include the Village Pavilion which offers hot dogs, mac & cheese, and sweets including mini-donuts – our tradition. Be sure to visit before the end of the evening. We arrived at 9:25. We paid for our hot chocolate and donuts at 9:30 and were still waiting for the donuts at 9:50. We switched to cookies, and when we left at 9:55, the people in front of us were still waiting for their donuts.
5 – Take Advantage of Freebies
Yes, there are a few freebies at Holiday Nights.
The Children’s Activity House has two crafts for the kids. Meijer has sponsored a rocking horse ornament reminiscent of Sandy. There is also a Jingle Bell sash craft. Markers and stickers are available to decorate the ornament and sash.
The Print Shop makes prints and gives them away. This is a great souvenir. We have the print from 2015 framed. I am going to buy frames for the 2017 & 2018 prints.
Model T rides are free during Holiday Nights. The line does get long, so I suggest arriving early and doing the ride first. We rode a Model T two years ago.
Carousel rides are free during Holiday Nights. The line usually wraps around the carousel. We didn’t stop this year, but have in the past.
There is also a free ice skating rink. Bring your own skates or use the loaner skates that are available.
6 – Have Santa Greet Your Kids
Santa is on the balcony of the Robert Frost House (through December 23). Across the street you will find Santa’s helpers. They are usually women dressed in long red coats. Give them your child’s name for Santa to call out a greeting. There are reindeer in front of the house to occupy your kids until Santa calls out their names.
7 – Talk to the Presenters
Take your time and talk to the presenters especially in less crowded buildings. A few years ago we had a great talk with a presenter at the Edison Illuminating building which presents the history of Christmas lights. Feel free to ask questions. The presenters are very knowledgable about their topic.
8 – Bring Home a Souvenir
Last year we bought a Greenfield Village lantern. It decorates our mantle for the holidays and we brought it back with us this year. Despite them selling candles in the lanterns, they don’t want lit candles in the historic buildings. Note, if you want to buy a lantern, bring a battery operated light from home. We had a small tea light, but saw someone with a battery operated string of lights. It provided much more light. Second tip – make sure your lights have batteries. I did not realize our light string did not have batteries until we were getting out of the car.
There are lots of great souvenirs from Holiday Nights. In previous years we have bought a wreath for our front door at Holiday Nights. Due to our travel schedule this season we decided to skip the wreath.
Other souvenir choices are ornaments, the annual glass candy cane, historic toys, and more.
9 – You Can’t do Everything
There is so much going on at Holiday Nights that you cannot visit every house, craft shop, and experience. Each year we try to fit in our favorite activities and find a few new ones. On my wish list is the Christmas Carol wagon ride, but I have not convinced my family to join me yet. Another experience we have yet to do is ice skating.
10 – Make A Quick Escape
We wrapped up our visit to Holiday Nights at Liberty Craftworks. As we were leaving, the end of the night fireworks were going on. We were able to watch them as we exited. Doing this allowed us to beat the crowds out of the parking lot.
2018 Holiday Nights Schedule
The 2018 Greenfield Village Holiday Nights Schedule is below:No Events
Buy your tickets now as weekend nights tend to sell out quickly.