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22 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Door County


Christmas and the holiday season are such special times to be in Door County.

From the pure white snow blanketing the woods, bluffs, and shorelines to the vibrant displays of lights and decorations found in nearly every town, late December in Door County is a time of beauty, joy, inspiration, peace, and holiday magic.

Downtown Fish Creek decorated for Christmas at twilight

To capture this magic, communities across the peninsula and Washington Island host events and activities each year in order to bring people together and spread the holiday cheer. If you’re headed to the Door County area this season—or considering a winter trip for a later date—don’t miss these must-do holiday activities and events.

1. Take a tour of beautifully decorated Christmas trees at the Merry-Time Festival of Trees and enter for the chance to win one.

2. Get into the Christmas spirit with Sister Bay’s Capture the Spirit event, which takes place each year in late November. Visit with Santa and his reindeer and elves and share in other holiday-time activities with others.

3. Visit Door County’s first-ever European-style Christkindlmarkt. Enjoy food and drinks and shop for gifts from local vendors, including weavers, potters, photographers, painters, woodworkers, furniture makers, jewelers, candlemakers, glass artists, and more.

4. Attend the Noble House Tree Lighting and Caroling for an evening of food, drink, song, and celebration at the Alexander Noble House in downtown Fish Creek.

5. Find carriage rides, Christmas activities, a tree lighting, and an appearance from Santa at Ephraim’s Christmas in the Village.

Downtown Ephraim covered in snow with holiday lights aglow

6. In need of holiday gifts for your friends and family? Check out Door County’s huge number of one-of-a-kind shops, stores, and boutiques—whether online or in person.

7. Door County has a number of fantastic shops and stores dedicated to selling Christmas and holiday decorations. Find everything from wreaths, garlands, and ornaments to lights, tabletop displays, and much more.

8. Enjoy crafts, a farmers market, a parade with holiday-themed floats, caroling with Santa (plus his elves and reindeer), and a tree-lighting ceremony during the Harbor Holiday & Tree Lighting event in Baileys Harbor.

9. Check out these local winter traditions, including sports, events, activities, and oddities that you simply have to experience for yourself if you want the full Door-County-in-winter experience.

A couple ice skating on a lake on a sunny day

10. Host a gathering at local restaurants or event spaces for friends, family, or co-workers. From day-of family celebrations to work parties, reunions, and other events, this is a great time of year for planning a get-together to connect with the people in your life.

11. Ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing, or hiking—doing some kind of fun, Christmas-y outdoor activity at least once a year is a must.

12. Celebrate the holidays Door County style by cooking up a stellar meal, enjoying one at a fine-dining restaurant, embracing the great outdoors, or making time for relaxation.

13. Meet up with friends and family at a restaurant or supper club to spend time together, revel in old memories, and make new ones.

14. Or—if beer, wine, or spirits are more your thing—keep it simple and catch up with the gang at a brewery, winery, or a pub, bar, or tavern. Dining establishments are far less busy during the off-season, making for a cozier experience.

15. Immerse yourself in nature during this beautiful, snowy time at Natural Christmas at Ridges Sanctuary.

Visitors can take a short hike, enjoy holiday music, eat cookies and drink cider, make crafts, and observe the decorated outbuildings.

16. Take a self-guided Tour of Lights across downtown Fish Creek. Locals decorate their homes and businesses with Christmas lights and decorations to spread holiday cheer. Download the map, grab a hot beverage, and see the beautiful lights for yourself.

17. Get into the Christmas spirit with a formal concert featuring a brass quintet, drummer, and vocalist at the Christmas at Birch Creek concert.

18. Keep the Christmas vibes going by attending a performance of Northern Sky Theater’s annual Home for the Holidays concert between December 27-31.

19. Attend the famous New Year’s Eve Fireworks and Cherry Drop in Sister Bay. Music, food and drink, fireworks, and a midnight dropping of an enormous light-up cherry fill the evening with cheer.

20. Take in the spectacle at the Egg Harbor New Year’s Day Parade, where residents decorate cars and floats, parade around in costumes (or put their pets in costumes), and enjoy an all-around wacky and informal kick off to the new year.

21. Brave winter’s chill during the Jacksonport Polar Bear Swim, when the locals put on their best New Year’s Day swimwear and plunge into the frozen waters of Lake Michigan.

22. Participate in the Frostbite Open, a freezing-cold mini-golf tournament that takes place on New Year’s Day.

More on Door County in Winter

Some of the year’s best and most vibrant events take place over the holiday season, but there’s still plenty to do all winter long.

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