When most people think of the holidays and wintertime, they think of cold weather, warm fires and lots and lots of fluffy, white snow. Sure, it’s easy to romanticize about the holidays, but when you’re right in the thick of it, it can sometimes be a pretty miserable time. In Detroit, we have the best of all aspects of the holidays to enjoy, including Thanksgiving, from amazing towns and villages built just for the winter to the best things to do across the Midwest in the cold. Winter can be a rough time up here, but the holidays are a welcome respite that make it all worth it.

The Frankenmuth Cheese Haus (Credit, Michael Ferro)

Frankenmuth Village 
635 S. Main St.
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
(800) 386-8696

In this well-loved and highly regarded little Bavarian town just north of Detroit, the holidays can truly come alive. Frankenmuth is quite honestly one of the most perfect winter cities on the map. Everything from the massive meals at Zender’s, famous worldwide for its chicken feasts, to the main street that looks its best when blanketed lightly with snow, all plays into the holiday season perfectly. Many tourist towns rely upon the summer and hot weather for their payday, but it’s just the opposite for the amazing world of Frankenmuth. Here, winter is king!

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland
25 Christmas Lane
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
(989) 652-9931

There is nothing, and we mean nothing, that says Christmas quite like Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. And you’ll not find anywhere more holiday-oriented and filled with good cheer than Bronner’s. Open 364 days a year, and dealing in nothing but pure Christmas and holiday items, Bonner’s has been a Southeastern Michigan favorite since it opened up in 1945. The location itself is massive, composed of an entire compound of warehouses and holiday paraphernalia. Bronner’s is also the World’s Largest Christmas Store; if that doesn’t put you in the holiday mood this season, nothing will!

Frankenmuth, MI (Credit, Michael Ferro)

Holiday Celebration & Candlewalk 2014
635 S. Main St.
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
(800) 386-8696

Date: Nov. 28, 2014

The winter can be miserable and cold and one of the best ways to counter this is to embrace the season. Nowhere does this happen in better style than during the annual Holiday Celebration & Candlewalk for 2014 in Frankenmuth, the Michigan town of Christmas and holidays. On November 28, starting at 6 p.m., head to the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce and join fellow revelers for some free hot chocolate and cookies, which is then followed up with a beautiful winter walk down the Riverwalk to the town square. Santa will be on hand from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for all of those who wish to bring their children for the festivities, as well.

Related: Best Pumpkin Dishes In Metro Detroit

Broadway in Saginaw! Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Show
303 Johnson St.
Saginaw, MI 48607
(989) 759-1330
www.doweventcenter.comDate: Nov. 28, 2014

If you enjoy great holiday-style music, no matter what time of year they begin playing it (which seems earlier and earlier each season), then you’ve probably heard the wonderful talents of Mannheim Steamroller. Many of this instrumental group’s hits can be heard all throughout the holiday season and it’s always an interesting listen. On November 28, Mannheim Steamroller will be making its way to Saginaw for a live multimedia holiday spectacle at Saginaw’s Dow Event Center. Enjoy a whole sensory experience that can’t be missed this holiday season.

Winter Glow in East Lansing
Downtown East Lansing
East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 319-6927
www.cityofeastlansing.comDate: Dec. 6, 2014

East Lansing is a wonderful place to take in the holidays. Whether school is in session for the students of Michigan State University, or everyone is home for the holidays, the city is always buzzing with holiday activities. One of the locals’ favorite of these is the Winter Glow Festival in the city’s downtown area. Everything from bonfires and roasting marshmallows to carriage rides and visits with Santa can be found here. There’s even a specially organized outdoor holiday farmers market that will offer some of the season’s best available produce and gifts. Best of all? All of this is free.

Related: A Breakdown Of Detroit Neighborhoods

Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at Examiner.com.