Snow is falling, Christmas lights are twinkling, and the scents of fresh pine and hot chocolate are drifting in the air. The holidays have arrived, and the quintessential small towns and villages of Door County are lighting up like Christmas trees with their festive storefronts and holiday decorations. With winter being a slower and quieter season in Door County, it’s the perfect time to relax and reconnect with yourself and loved ones away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Celebrate the holidays in Door County with these upcoming festivities and events that are fun for the whole family!
In the peninsula, Christmas often comes far before Thanksgiving, with holiday parades, Sturgeon Bay’s “unwrapping storefronts,” and visits from Santa throughout the different towns. With the festive cheer well underway, Baileys Harbor caps it off with Harbor Holiday, a traditional tree-lighting ceremony on Saturday, December 9. The ceremony begins with their weekly Winter Market, which features locally made and grown products from local artisans. Wake up early that morning, grab a peppermint mocha, and stroll through the market’s vendors to find the perfect holiday gift for that special someone. After the market, Santa will come to town with his elves and reindeer for photos, caroling, and delicious Christmas cookies! Finally, the festivities conclude with the lighting of the tree and hot chocolate for all.
The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor will also be hosting its annual Natural Christmas, where you can walk on a lit boardwalk to the festively decorated cabin to create wreaths or other crafts from natural materials found in the environment. Live out Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” by roasting chestnuts or marshmallows over an open fire and singing yuletide carols. You’ll definitely feel the Christmas spirit!
Further up the peninsula, in Sister Bay, you’ll find the traditional northern European Christkindlmarkt at the Sister Bay Historical Society. Honoring Door County’s heritage, local artisans and crafters will be selling homemade furniture, art, jewelry, and so much more, with customary European food offered by local restaurants. Sip on a cup of glühwein, hot mulled wine, in a souvenir Door County Christkindlmarkt mug that’s only available this year in limited quantities! This is the perfect opportunity to shop for Christmas gifts from local and small businesses and to learn more about Door County’s rich history.
For more holiday activities around the peninsula, check out the Door County Trolley tours! The Santa Trolley Express invites you and your family to visit Santa’s cabin in the woods (his vacation home, of course). Keep warm by the fire as your children tell Santa their wish list, and sip on hot chocolate or other beverages from the Door County Trolley holiday gift shop and bar counter. All proceeds of the express go to Door CANcer, an organization that financially aids families after a cancer diagnosis, which is a great way to spread the wealth of love that comes with the holiday season.
There are wintry trolley tours for singles and couples, too! Climb aboard a heated trolley for the Holiday Pub Crawl, which will take you to different festive Door County establishments to enjoy your favorite cocktails and free appetizers! Ugly sweaters, Santa costumes, and other holiday attire are not only welcome, but encouraged. The Winter Wine Tour & Sleigh Ride combines the best of both worlds of family-friendly fun and delicious wine—with your family and friends, ride along in a cozy, horse-drawn sleigh through Door County’s snow and warm up with a fireside lunch at the English Inn. Feel free to eat, drink, and be as merry as you’d like, because the Door County Trolley picks up and drops off at the Landmark Resort!
The fun continues even after Christmas! Less than a week later, Door County will be gearing up to celebrate the New Year with the locals’ version of the ball drop—the FM 106.9 The Lodge Cherry Drop! The party starts at 8:00 p.m. with fireworks at the Sports Complex, where you can skate on the ice or keep warm by the bonfire. FM 106.9 The Lodge will be playing the biggest music hits of all time leading up to the Cherry Drop at The Garage right at midnight! The very next day (after sleeping in for a little while), Egg Harbor hosts the New Year’s Day Parade, where anyone and everyone is welcome to join! Dress up, decorate your vehicle, and even bring your pets along for this fun and festive stroll through the village. For the more daring, you can leap into Lake Michigan with Jacksonport’s Polar Bear Plunge! There’s no better wake-up call than that!
Plan your holiday getaway to Door County at the Landmark Resort, where you can take advantage of discounted packages with already reduced rates! With our Midweek Special, enjoy 15% off your suite when you book right now! If you’re not sure what restaurants are still open during the season, let us take care of your dinner plans with our Dine & Stay Package, which offers you a reduced rate on your suite, plus a $50 dining credit at the Carrington! Make Door County a part of your family holiday traditions and make landmark memories at the Landmark Resort.