Each Christmas we visit Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan for what is arguably the best holiday experience ever…Holiday Nights.
This year, of course, was no exception.
We could write so many posts about our experience there. The weaving, the glass makers, the carolers, the model T rides, the food, the entire experience? All worthy to write about.
Ringing in the Yuletide while walking along streets lined with greenery and lights is magical. Add that the street is within a handcrafted village made of original historic homes and it is absolute heaven.
Upon our arrival we were greeted with free hot cocoa to enjoy in the line and a map of where to go once we were through the gates. Once the event was open and we were through the admission gate we made our way to the Model-T rides. Authentic Model T rides through the village are such a fun experience and it is such an amazing way to see the village bustling with holiday excitement.
After our amazing ride we walked along the streets to take in the sights and smells. Chestnuts actually roasting over an open fire piqued our noses. Next to the vendor they were selling hot cocoa and hot apple cider in the cutest souvenir mugs in all the land (still using mine daily for my coffee!).
And then we went ice skating! That’s right, real life, ice skating! It was amazing and fun and silly. A huge bonus is the skates they have for you to borrow, for free! It is so nice to go ice skating without having to lug around skates or to pay extra money to borrow a pair of blades.
After our ice skating experience (the only picture I got was the one above!) we went and got some food. After all, as much fun as we have ice skating, we’re kind of like a hot mess. Hats traded, gloves lost, who knows where Nick went. At least the kids had fun and we all had some laughs. And we earned that food! They have so many yummy choices to eat. Each year we’ve gotten a roast beef sandwich but this year we decided to mix things up and we got a ham sandwich! The roast beef and ham are cooked on a spit over an open fire and when you order it they cut the meat to order. It is so much fun. They also had a huge cauldron and we could not pass up the smell so we got a bowl of their chicken dumpling soup. It was amazing!
One of our family’s favorite areas is the Liberty Craftworks area. We were able to watch a lady weaving on a giant loom, watch glass blowing, and tin works. It is so fun to watch!
The whole night was cloaked in nostalgia as we passed groups of carolers singing while warming themselves around bonfires. Each turn was another holiday moment we each talked about storing up for days when you feel blue. So many things to be seen around each corner…like Santa reading from his nice list at Robert Frost’s home!
My favorite moment was touring Noah Webster’s home, decorated to celebrate New Years Eve! It was so festive and fun to see how they lived back then.
The evening ends with a group of carolers leading a procession across the green up to the town hall with lanterns. When they come to the town hall you realize that every single caroler is in traditional nineteenth century clothing. All at once you are transported back to a place in time where everyone in a town knew one another and would gather for fun and memory making. As songs are led and letters to Santa are read a camaraderie develops, not only with the carolers leading the event but with the strangers around you. It is a precious moment, fragile and fun, a time that you don’t want to see end, despite the cold.. The evening ends with Santa coming to say farewell and fireworks start from afar to show the reindeer where to land. It all is magical and festive.
To end the night with thousands of strangers singing “silent night” in harmony is a feeling that brings such wonder and honor to the Christmas season.
We know you will love Holiday Nights as much as we do!
Our Wonder Collective’s Summary
This is the most family friendly event. Despite thousands of tickets being sold for each evening there is never any drama... No skiving, yelling, or rudeness. Everyone is kind and friendly.
This is an educational event as well as festive. Listening to Thomas Edison's original wax recordings on his own phonograph in his workshop and seeing the desk where the Wright brothers worked out their calculations is very wonder filled. If you are homeschooling this can totally be counted as a field trip.
The Weather-there is nothing that can be done about this but this is an outdoors activity and it is Michigan. It can be bitterly cold so make sure you come prepared!
There is a lot of walking. Although we see lots of people with their kids in strollers we have encouraged our extended friends and family to wait until your kids are a bit older before coming. To each his own but that is our opinion.
If you are going on a model-T ride we highly suggest you get in line when you first arrive. The line seems to become progressively longer as the evening goes on.
Bundle up! I feel like I cannot say that to you enough. This year it was in the 40’s and we still bundled up. Don’t be deceived by warmer temps…standing outside in the middle of winter is still standing outside in the middle of winter no matter how warm it may seem when you are sitting in your hotel room.
Budget extra money: Please be aware that food is not included in the admission ticket. If you are going to want to eat or drink while you are there then make sure you plan on extra money for the event. All vendors take credit cards/debit cards so you don’t have to bring cash. There are other things to purchase as well. One of our favorite purchases are the lanterns they sell at an open air tent just down the street from the Wright Brothers shop.
We know you will love Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village! If you’ve gone, please comment below with what is your favorite thing about the event.