Disclosure: Rachel received free tickets to Holiday Nights. All opinions expressed are genuine and her own. Your experience may differ.
Metro Detroit Mommy Guest Blogger: Rachel Dean - Redesigning Happiness
Dec. 4-6, 11-13, 17-23, 26-28
6:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
If you are looking to get in the Christmas mood or you're ready for that "good ole' Christmas feeling", head to Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI. Voted a top ten family holiday destination by USA Today and Reader's Digest, Holiday Nights is sure to leave you in the spirit.
Take a step back in time and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of Christmas from long ago. Take a ride in a Model-T car, ride on the 1913 Herschell-Spillman Carousel, stroll the streets in a horse-drawn wagon, visit the historical homes decorated for the holidays, watch some holiday cooking, enjoy carolers, live music, and dramatic performances, ice skate on the Village's own ice rink, visit Santa and his live reindeer, and so much more.
As a first timer at Holiday Nights, I knew one thing for sure, I needed to dress warm and wear comfortable shoes as I'd be spending the majority of my time outside walking around the village. I bundled up in a couple layers before putting on a warm coat, scarf, hat, and gloves. It's always better to be too warm! The Village offers some opportunities for warming up. All the houses and buildings are heated, there are fire pits located throughout the Village, and the Village Pavilion offers seating along with snacks and food.
As soon as I walked into the Village, my eyes were drawn to all the beautiful lanterns that lit up the streets. The lantern poles were adorned with pine garland and lights. Model-T cars with passengers were roaming the streets as men and women in old-fashioned clothing greeted guests. It was a beautiful warm welcoming on a very foggy evening.
The first place we headed was Henry Ford's home which was adorned with fresh pine wreaths, a beautiful lantern, and various decorations inside the home. In the back of the home, a volunteer was cooking a meal on the flames of an old-fashioned stove. As with Henry Ford's home, the homes in the Village were open to walk through and learn about their history. If you are a history buff, be sure to enter as many houses and buildings as time allows.
As I mentioned, the smells were abundant. From chestnuts roasting on an open fire to flame-roasted beef and carved ham. Take your choice from traditional turkey dinner, soups, homemade stew, carved ham sandwiches, hot roast beef sandwiches, hotdogs, a variety of popcorn flavors, cookies, plum pudding, hot chocolate, hot spiced cider, and so much more. It wasn't an easy decision, but I choose the cheddar and caramel popcorn mixture and hot spiced cider. Both were worth the splurge!
Holiday Nights is packed full of fun for children. Santa and his live reindeer are a must see! Be sure to find Santa's helpers who will secretly relay your child's name to Santa for a special greeting. Get up close and personal with a couple of live reindeer. Just a heads up...Santa is on the balcony of the Robert Frost Home, so don't count on a picture of your child with Santa Claus. In the Miller School House, children can write a letter to Santa, then place it in Santa's mailbox at the Phoenixville Post Office. After doing so, children receive a candy cane. In the Activities Building, children can create a cardboard gingerbread house which is perfect for Santa's cookies on Christmas Eve. The Village Pavilion houses a vintage train and LEGO city - both of which are a must see. Of course, the Model-T ride, wagon ride, and carousel ride are a favorite of both children and adults.
Stick around to the end of the night for the lantern procession, sing-along and fireworks display. These events take place near Town Hall at 9:40 p.m. If you want to sit on a bench or be near a fire pit, be sure to arrive a little early. Holiday Nights ends at 10 p.m., so this portion of the night lasts about 20 minutes. It is a late night for young children, so my advice is to choose a Friday or Saturday night rather than Sunday.
As for me, my favorite part of the night was the musical performances which were scattered throughout the Village. The wide variety of live music included fife and drum corps, brass bands, string bands, quartets, choirs and choruses, and carolers. Beautiful voices enticed me to stop, listen, and join along in singing traditional Christmas songs.
I also enjoyed the horse drawn wagon. Each wagon held about 30 people and was pulled by two horses. During the ride, passengers were encouraged to sing along to Christmas songs. We had a comedian for a host on our wagon...he sure made a short ride a very memorable ride. I strongly encourage the wagon ride. Don't threat if there is a line! It moves very quickly because of the amount of people that each wagon can hold.
Tips for Holiday Nights:
Buy your tickets now - dates are selling out quick!
Wear comfortable shoes
Arrive a few minutes before the gates open (before 6:30 p.m.)
Plan to be there the whole time (there's so much to do!)
Hope you have the chance to experience Holiday Nights.
Happy Holidays to you and yours! Rachel