Ann Arbor Christmas Traditions

I love celebrating the holidays in Ann Arbor. There are so many events all around town (and beyond). While I’ll be doing a roundup with all of the holiday events, I wanted to draw special attention to some of the annual events that have become Ann Arbor Christmas Traditions.

Ann Arbor Christmas Traditions

Holiday Concerts

Each year the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra hosts two holiday concerts. Sing Along with Santa on Saturday, December 5 is part of the Symphony’s Family Concert Series. At Sing Along with Santa families will sing favorite Christmas carols with Santa Claus, oboist Timothy Michling and Pioneer High School’s Desperate Measures, Dissonance, and Pioneers. My daughter’s favorite part of the contest was the Twelve Days of Christmas which each section having their own gift to sing. 

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra Sing Along Santa

The Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops Concert on Friday, December 11 at 8p. The concert is held at Hill Auditorium and can accommodate a large audience. My daughter and I attended last year and had a great time. Because of the 8p start time, I recommend the concert for older children and adults. At 9, my daughter was struggling to stay awake by the end of the concert. 


Holiday Films

Each year the Michigan Theater holds a Holiday Classic Film Series offering FREE holiday movies (both old and new holiday classics) on the Sundays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The 2015 lineup is:

In addition to the Holiday Classic Film Series, they will be holding a special Sing Along screening of White Christmas on Friday, November 28. 

My daughter and I attended a Holiday Classic showing of Miracle on 34th Street a few years ago. It was such a treat for me to share one of my favorite Christmas movies with my daughter.


Kerrytown Celebrations

The Kerrytown district of Ann Arbor is a great place to celebrate Christmas. December kicks off with their 7th Annual KindleFest on Friday, December 4. KindleFest is highlighted by the Children’s Lantern Parade which is based on the German St Martin tradition. KindleFest also features a Christkindlmarket, an annual free outdoor holiday market. There will be local and regional artisans selling hand-crafted ornaments, toys, and gifts at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market.

Merry TUBACHRISTMAS will be held on Sunday, December 6 as one gathering of tuba players across the country to play Christmas songs. nationwide tuba  Santa will also be visiting Kerrytown Market & Shops every Saturday afternoon in December. 

Holiday Performances

A number of organizations around Ann Arbor hold family-friendly holiday themed performances each year. Whether you make a tradition of always attending a performance by the same group or vary your attendance, there are several options around town. The Saline Area Players hold a different holiday show each year featuring local adults and children. This year’s play is Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus. Yellow Barn will be performing An Almost British Christmas based on the British tradition of Pantomime.

Of course there will be quite a few local productions of The Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker - A Guide to 2015 Ann Arbor Area Perforamnces

Events Beyond Ann Arbor

Two annual holiday traditions that I love beyond Ann Arbor are Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo and Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village. I know many other Ann Arbor families who have attended these events.

Greenfield Village Holiday Nights

If your travels will be taking you even further from Ann Arbor, I have participated in a “blogshop” to help you find Holiday Traditions around the United States.

Holiday Traditions Around the United States

Holiday Traditions in:



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Anna Mae

Anna Mae owns & operates Ann Arbor with Kids, a website dedicated to Family Activities in Ann Arbor. My husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and our daughter joined the family in 2006.

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