8 things to do this holiday season in Bay County

‘Tis the season—the season of trading your rake for a shovel, winterizing your home, and trying not to let the winter blues get you down. It’s easy to get stuck inside when the weather feels too treacherous to face. Luckily, Bay County is booming with winter holiday activities that will have you heading out the door—winter coat donned, cocoa in hand—in no time!

1. Santa’s Arrival: November 23rd - Bay City

The holiday season kicks off by welcoming the big man himself, Santa Claus, to Wenonah Park on November 23rd at 7 pm. Once he parks his sleigh, he’ll be lighting up all of downtown by flipping the switch on the downtown Christmas tree. Bring the whole family to enjoy special holiday performances on the friendship shell stage as well as a meet and greet with Mr. Claus at the Nickless Family Community Pavilion.

2. Sundays in The City: Nov 25th through December 16th - Downtown Bay City

A true holiday staple in Downtown Bay City, Sundays in the City are what holiday dreams are made of. Enjoy a coffee from Harless & Hugh (1003 Washington Ave.) or Populace Coffee (810 Saginaw) and head over to the State Theatre for free horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday decorations, movies and more. You may even be able to catch some carolers strolling around town!

Sundays in The City begin on Sunday, November 25th, and then continue through December 16th.

3. Village Glass Works Glass Blowing Workshops: Nov 3, 8, 15, or 17 - Auburn

This no-experience-necessary glass blowing workshop is great for those who have ever been curious about this beautiful art form. Try your hand at blowing your own ornament, icicle or candy dish this holiday season!

Call 989.662.4940 to reserve your spot, or visit villageglassworks.com for more information.

4. Painterly Pottery - Bay City 

This downtown Bay City DIY art spot is a perfect holiday activity for the entire family or a group of friends! With the help of the in-house experts, you can create the perfect holiday ornament or personalized gift—no prior experience necessary.

Check out their hours and specials at painterlypottery.com.

5. Become a Holiday Cookie Artist with Studio 23: December 1 - Bay City (City Market)

This event will undoubtedly get you into the holiday spirit…and probably have you on a sugar high for the rest of the day! On December 1st, from 11 am to 1 pm at the City Market (401 Center Ave)—bring your mom, your best friend or a coworker and get your hands sticky in this cookie decorating workshop!

6. Second Annual Holiday Kick-Off: November 15 - Uptown Bay City

This holiday event is not to be missed! You will find over 15 local businesses represented in this Uptown holiday extravaganza. Enjoy creative holiday drinks and appetizers from local restaurants, bars and coffee shops while snagging exclusive holiday gift deals from your favorite shops. Don’t miss the grand ribbon cutting of a new Uptown business, Sushi Remix, at 4 pm. Pick up your “passport” in the Galleria building and have at least 10 shops stamp your “passport” to be entered in a raffle at the end of the night! Enjoy the evening strolling through your favorite shops all in one place for this special holiday event! Visit this Facebook event page for more information.

7. The Great Lakes Winter Market: December 8 and 9 - Bay City (Masonic Temple)

This first annual holiday art, craft and culture market presented by The Great Lakes Market and The Humane Society of Bay County is the perfect spot to pick up the most unique gifts while supporting local artists. On Saturday, December 8th at 10 am and Sunday, December 9th at 11 am head over to the historic Scottish Rite Masonic Center to stroll through this magic market. Anyone under the age of 15 enters for free and everyone else pays just 1 dollar! This holiday event can’t be beat.

Visit this Facebook event page for even more details.

8. Festival of Trees, November 9-11, Apple Mountain - Freeland

This magical event will ignite the spirit of giving within all who participate! Here’s how it works: over 100 designers donate beautifully decorated, elegant, magical trees to be raffled off throughout the night. There are also local vendors selling their holiday specialties.

Though this event isn't being hosted in Bay County, all money raised over the weekend supports the Junior League of the Great Lakes Bay Region—a group dedicated to promoting volunteerism and improving the community.

General admission is $5. Children 6 and under are free. Raffle tickets are $1 each, or six for $5. It’s sure to be a magical evening of giving!

You can find all the details here.

What are your favorite things to do in the Bay region during the holiday? Give us your suggestions in the comments below!
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.