Santa Claus is coming to West Michigan! Leave the malls for shopping and crying children. If you're looking to catch a glimpse of Santa (and some of his reindeer) this holiday season, check out these events near you.
Where there's brunch, there's Santa.
Some elves are transforming Wheelhouse Kitchen & Cocktails into a winter wonderland for Brunch with Santa. This family-friendly event offers a buffet-style brunch by Executive Chef Andrew Alcid, cookie decorating and more. Enjoy the hot chocolate bar with your kids (or adult beverages for yourself), and watch the holiday festivities unfold around you as your kids write letters to Santa. No mailing necessary: Santa is on-site for free photos—and to hear your child's wish list. You could also drop of donations under the Salvation Army Angel Tree.
Find Santa at Wheelhouse on December 10, 11 and 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations for Brunch with Santa are encouraged. Make them online at www.wheelhousegrandrapids.com or call the restaurant at 616.226.3319. Follow the event on Facebook for more information.
Santa ... and all of the other reindeer.
Santa and his reindeer are returning to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park to help celebrate their beloved winter exhibition, Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World. Bring your camera for selfies with Santa and photos with him on his sleigh, or pet and feed his reindeer. Stick around to enjoy all of the beauty Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park—with 400,000 lights, strolling carolers, and 40 international trees and displays—has to offer during the holidays.
"This year we're taking a new look at stories of old, with an intriguing exploration of the folklore and traditions that shape the holiday celebrations around the world," said John VanderHaagen, public relations manager. Santa is available on November 22 and 29 and December 6, 13 and 20 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. His Rooftop Reindeer will visit on November 26 and December 3, 10 and 17, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more at www.meijergardens.org.
Whoo can keep Santa away?
Dress up as your favorite Dr. Seuss Whoville character for the annual "Whootville" Saugatuck-Douglass Christmas Parade. Come see long-time community favorites including the men's Snow Shovel Brigade, the women's Peppermint Stick Brigade, the Saugatuck High School Band, festive floats and more. The Grinch can't keep Santa from coming to this one! Santa will appear on Butler Street on December 3, at 1 p.m. Find more holiday events at www.saugatuck.com.
White hair, white beard ... and a white horse?
Sinterklass will arrive in Holland on December 2 to celebrate Sinterklass Eve—not by reindeer, but on his great white horse. Beginning at 6 p.m. at the Holland Armory, listen to stories, make a Dutch lantern and play family games. Sinterklass will begin his procession through the city shortly after 7 p.m., leading children and their families to Centennial Park. There, he'll greet the crowd and lead the lighting of the Christmas tree. Afterward, join Sinterklass for photos, holiday crafts, and tasty cocoa and cookies at the Holland Museum. Find details at www.holland.org.
Santa ... and all of his other animals.
As it turns out, Santa and his reindeer visit animals too. Come to John Ball Park Zoo on December 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to find Santa, his reindeer and all of the other animals at Christmas for the Animals. Enjoy crafts, music and ice carving demonstrations—free! All you have to do is donate an animal enrichment gift. For more information on the event—and for a Christmas wish list from the animals—visit www.jbzoo.org.
Santa has a Facebook page?
Santa is available for any event in West Michigan. (He also offers Skype video calls, personal phone calls and letters from the North Pole.) If you're looking for the holly jolly man in the red suit to bring smiles and joys to everyone who has Christmas spirit in their heart, connect with him on Facebook.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for West Michigan Woman magazine.
Photo courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.