Editor's note: This article was published in Grand Traverse Scene magazine's Holidays 2019 issue. Pick up a free copy at area hotels, visitor's centers, chambers of commerce or at the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. Click here to read GT Scene in its entirety online.
Holiday shopping is always charming in the Grand Traverse Region’s charming cities, towns and villages decked out for the season with twinkling lights and a cloak of snow. But it’s especially fun when area for these special events designed to encourage visitors to come, shop and stay a while.
Nov. 16 — Traverse City Shop & Sip Craft Market
Shop handmade at this show featuring 75 vendors, a VIP preview, free parking with valet and shuttles, cash bars and tarot card readings. From 1-7 p.m. at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa’s Governors’ Hall Ballroom.
Dec. 14 – Christmas Magic
Enjoy shopping, breakfast with Santa, a cookie sale, a light parade, visits with Santa, kids’ activities and festive decorations by downtown businesses. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in downtown Beulah.
Nov. 30 — Winter Fantasy Art & Fine Craft Show
Get a jump on holiday shopping at this show featuring mixed-media art, fine crafts and specialty goods by local artists and artisans. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Historic Elk Rapids Town Hall.
Nov. 30 — Empire Artisan Marketplace
Kick off your holiday shopping with an array of handcrafted items, including jewelry, fiber arts, fine art, pottery and photography. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Empire Township Hall.
Nov. 29 — PJ Party
Dress in your coziest attire for once-a-year-worthy specials during this “better than black Friday” shopping experience. Specials from 6:30-9 a.m. in downtown Glen Arbor.
Nov. 29-30 — Glen Arbor Holiday Marketplace
Shop for handcrafted, locally made goods from more than 30 artisans plus a variety of holiday greenery for sale at the Glen Arbor Town Hall. From 6:30-8 p.m. Nov. 29, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 30.
Nov. 30 — Holly Berry Arts & Crafts Fair
Shop handmade pieces by 100 artists, then enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Frankfort Junior/Senior High School.
Dec. 14 — Mistletoe Magic
Join oliday specials, nibbles and beverages at participating downtown businesses from noon to 7 p.m., free screenings of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at The Garden Theater and gift-wrapping in the theater lobby.
Nov. 27 — Light Up Leland for the Holidays
Come for the shopping and stay for the tree lighting at Christmas Tree Corner beginning at 5:30 p.m. The ceremony is followed by a parade ending with Santa riding in a fire engine to the Village Green for community treats and caroling.
Nov. 30 — Small Business Saturday Scavenger Hunt
Shop to support local retailers and be entered in a drawing for a scavenger hunt gift basket by visiting selected stores to collect build-a-snowman ornament pieces. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Leland.
Nov. 30 — Christmas in the Village Artisan Market
Shop holiday gift items from fine arts to crafts. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Village Arts Building.
Dec. 8 — Downtown Cocoa Crawl
Spend the day shopping and sample free hot cocoa at participating retailers. Vote for your favorite cup on the official ballot. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Traverse City.
Dec. 12 — Ladies Shopping Night
Shop this special night just for women that features discounts, treats and gift-shopping assistance starting at 5 p.m. in downtown Traverse City.
Dec. 19 — Mens Shopping Night
Shop this special night just for men that features discounts, treats and gift-shopping assistance starting at 5 p.m. in downtown Traverse City.
Dec. 13-15 — Christmas in the Village
Enjoy a weekend-long celebration filled with music, visits with Santa Claus, carriage rides and shopping specials, including $20 stocking stuffers, at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
Nov. 23 — Suttons Bay Saturday – The Holiday Edition
Shop during this holiday party and give back to the community at the same time. Local merchants will show off their new holiday merchandise, offer refreshments and snacks, and donate up to 10 percent to your favorite area cause.
Dec. 7-8 — Holiday in the Village of Suttons Bay
Bring the family for shopping, library crafts, a “Polar Express” screening, caroling at the corner of Jefferson at M-22 and Santa’s arrival by fire truck, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday in downtown Suttons Bay. Shop again on Sunday and enjoy a cookie sale from noon to 3 p.m. and a community choral concert at 2:30 p.m.