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Ten holiday gift ideas that go beyond materialism


Sometimes, the best gifts under the tree aren’t the biggest ones. Sometimes, they come in an envelope and appeal more to the experiential side of the holidays rather than the capitalistic side. These gifts can be in the form of tickets, gift cards or even club memberships. Get your family, friends and loved ones the gift of experiences, something they’ll remember long after their toys break or their kitchen tools rust.

Mother & Earth Baby Boutique Gift Card — A perfect gift for parents or parents-to-be, a gift card from Mother & Earth Boutique allows you to help parents out without having to ask what exactly they need or risking giving the same gift as someone else.

Located at 1212 Turner St, the boutique has gifts available as low as 75 cents and as as high as $350. The boutique also offers classes on yoga and breastfeeding, ranging from $12 to $65.

Tickets for The Robin Theatre — Does your partner love music? How about art or drama? The Robin Theatre has something for everyone with its frequent performances and dedication to the local arts. The Robin posts events about a month in advance, so pick up a ticket for a January event when you check their calendar. They are located at 1105 S. Washington Ave. Tickets average at $15.

Powerhouse Gym Membership — For those wanting a new place to work out or get some exercise, a membership from Powerhouse Gym might be the perfect gift. Located at 4790 S. Hagadorn Road in East Lansing, The membership gives you 24-hour access and the opportunity to take classes from some of the gym leaders. The cost is $19.99 a month, and that includes one free hour with one of the personal trainers.

Soup Spoon Cafe Gift Card — No matter the person’s sex, interests, hobbies or age, it is hard to go wrong with a restaurant gift card. The Soup Spoon Cafe on 1419 E. Michigan Ave. offers gift cards of any dollar amount, and its menu covers breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Its food items can vary from $3 to $29, and its entire menu is available at soupspooncafe.com.

Riverwalk Theatre Tickets — Another affordable option for a full theater experience is a ticket to the Riverwalk Theatre.

This theater hosts performances that usually come four days a week for two weeks, and each ticket costs about $10. It has a full schedule for the coming months with shows like “Buried Child” and “Bridge to Terabithia.”

Lessons from Okemos Music Academy — Most people at some point have at least touched a musical instrument. Paying for a month’s worth of lessons can go a long way in starting up a new habit or rejuvenating an old one. The Okemos Music Academy, 3444 Hagadorn Road, offers 30-minute private lessons at $30 plus requires a $25 registration fee.

Gift Card for Bake n’ Cakes — Nothing says holiday love like brownies, cookies, cakes and, of course, pies. Bake n’ Cakes offers gift cards for any dollar amount, so give your family and friends the craving their sweet-tooths so desire. Located at 3003 E. Kalamazoo St., this bakery has both sweet and savory bakes, something for everyone to enjoy.

Tickets for the Wharton Center — With such shows as “Waitress,” “On Your Feet!” and “The Lion King,” the Wharton Center appeals not just to the theater buffs but to anyone who loves a good show. Most tickets are between $15 and $45, but for larger shows, the cost can be more. The Wharton also offers gift certificates if you’re not sure which tickets to get.

Impression 5 membership — Here we have a gift for the whole family. A membership with Impression 5 gets you free admission to the Impression 5 Science Center, exclusive member night events, a discount at the Impression 5 store, special program offers and free / discounted admission at a variety of science centers and museums nationally. Stop by at 200 Museum Drive to pick up your membership.

Strange Matter Coffee Co. Gift Card — For some people, having that cup o’ joe in the morning is a gift in itself. Help give the gift of espresso with a gift card. Strange Matter offers gift cards online for any amount, and the gift card covers both drinks and various souvenirs. Located at 337 S. Washington Square and 2001 E. Michigan Ave., Strange Matter offers the gift of caffeinated awareness.

THROUGH DEC. 17 >> MICHIGAN STEAM TRAIN NORTH POLE EXPRESS In this holiday themed ride, you’ll take a four-hour excursion into the village of Ashley- a two hour ride to and from the village, and two hours there. In Ashley, you’ll be able to enjoy a classic-style Christmas village with a post office that mails to Santa’s workshop, elves and a holiday raffle.

THROUGH DEC. 22 >> HOLIDAY ART MARKET Sponsored by Health Management Associates, this market supports local artists by making both contemporary fine art and modern crafts available for purchase.

The event features more than 100 Michigan-based artists and recurs daily. FREE. 5-8pm. Lansing Art Gallery, 119 N. Washington Square, Lansing.

THROUGH DEC. 31 >> WONDERLAND OF LIGHTS AT POTTER PARK ZOO Potter Park Zoo decorates for the holiday season with thousands of lights. The zoo’s 23rd annual Wonderland of Lights has beautiful animal exhibits, holiday displays, cookies and crafts for all ages. Bring a wrapped present on Dec. 2 for free admission to Wonderland. 5-8pm. Thursday-Sunday. $7/$5 children 3-12/ children under 3 FREE. Potter Park Zoo, 1301 S Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing. (517) 483-4222, potterparkzoo.org.

FRIDAY, NOV. 24 >> MASON HOLIDAY CELEBRATION Mason’s 17th annual Holiday Celebration presents the Santa Band along with visits from Santa himself at the Mason Historical Museum. The lighting ceremony begins at 6:15pm with the parade stepping off right after. 6-7:30pm. FREE. Downtown Mason. (517) 676-1046, masonchamber.org.

NOV. 24-26 >> ‘THE NUTCRACKER’ AT CAPITAL BALLET THEATRE Capital Ballet Theatre presents its 37th rendition of a family favorite, The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s classic tale is choreographed by Gregory M George with sword fights, sugar plums and mid-Michigan’s best young dancers. 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday; 2pm Sunday. $31.50/$18.00 youth and students.

Wharton Center for Performing Arts, 750 E Shaw Ln., East Lansing. (517) 432- 2000, whartoncenter.com.

FRIDAY, NOV. 28 >> VIENNA BOYS CHOIR: CHRISTMAS IN VIENNA The choir performs holiday favorites from around the world with their “angelic” tones, harmonies and repertoire. An enchanting event full of music and holiday joy for the entire family. 7:30pm.

$20.50 public/$15.50 youth ages 5-18. Wharton Center for Performing Arts, 750 E Shaw Ln., East Lansing. (517) 432- 2000, whartoncenter.com.

FRIDAY, DEC. 1 >> 46TH ANNUAL GRAND LEDGE NIGHT LIGHTS CHRISTMAS PARADE Before the parade begins, join the mayor in the Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Bridge Street Plaza. The lighted parade begins at the Grand Ledge Fire Barn and makes it’s way down to Bridge Street where you can find Santa and Mrs. Claus. 7 pm. Downtown Grand Ledge. (517) 627-2383, grandledgechamber.com

SATURDAY DEC. 2 >> HOLIDAY HULLABALOO Old Town participating businesses offers shopping specials, treats and crafts for the kids. FREE. 10am-7pm. Old Town, Lansing. Iloveoldtown.org.

SATURDAY DEC. 2 >> SCROOGE SCRAMBLE 5K Old Town Commercial Association is hosting its 11th annual Scrooge Scramble. Either walk or run along the Lansing River Trails; awards are given to the top three in each age category. All proceeds go to the Old Town Association. 10am. $25. Old Town, Lansing. Iloveoldtown.org.

SATURDAY DEC. 2 >> WINTER GLOW East Lansing’s annual holiday festival has a little of everything for everyone. The event features activities for the entire family. Enjoy roasted marshmallows, pictures with santa, ice carving demonstrations and so much more. 2-5pm. FREE.

Ann Street Plaza, intersection of Albert and M.A.C. avenues, East Lansing. (517) 319-6888, cityofeastlansing.com/winterglow.

SATURDAY DEC. 2 >> WILLIAMSTON CHRISTMAS LIGHT PARADE Light up the town and watch illuminated floats, vehicles and bands march through the streets of Williamston. Visit with Santa, pet some animals and watch the Christmas tree light up to kick off the holiday season. 6pm. FREE. Downtown Williamston, williamston.org.

SATURDAY DEC. 2 >> PHIL DENNY AND FRIENDS CHRISTMAS COLLECTIVE The evening brings together saxophonist Phil Denny along with Kayla Waters, JJ Sansaverino, L’Renee and Sam Trump in an exciting night of lively holiday arrangements and original music. Jazzy holiday hits are to be expected. 7:30pm. $28-42.50. Pattengill Auditorium, 626 Marshall St., Lansing. facebook.com/ annualpdcc.

DEC. 2-3 >> MSU ARTS & CRAFTS HOLIDAY SHOW MSU’s 54th annual Arts & Crafts Show is one of the largest in the state with more than 300 crafters/artisans. There is something for everyone from candles, jewelry, furniture, children’s toys and so much more. 9am-5pm Saturday; 10am-4pm Sunday. FREE. MSU Union, 49 Abbot Road, East Lasning, uabevents.com.

DEC. 2-3 >> HOLIDAY TRADITIONS TOUR This annual tour around Grand Ledge features historical houses around the Opera House, decorated trees, holiday tables and miniatures. 11am-5pm Saturday/1-5pm Sunday. $12/$10 adv./$3 children. Downtown Grand Ledge. (517) 627-2383, grandledgechamber.com.

DEC. 2-3 >> CHRISTMASPALOOZA LanSINGout gay men’s chorus presents its annual holiday concert. The concert will feature holiday favorites. Flaming Bear will have candles for sale at the event. 7:30pm Saturday; 3:00pm Sunday. Tickets are available at door. First Presbyterian Church of Lansing, 510 Ottawa St., Lansing. lansingout.org.

SUNDAY, DEC. 3 >> SANTA CARES AT LANSING MALL This event is open to all children of special needs. Everyone deserves a chance to take a picture with Santa, and with this event anyone can. Guests will be able to visit Santa in a calming environment, before the general public. FREE (not including photo packages). 8-10am. Lansing Mall, 5330 W. Saginaw Hwy., Lansing.

SUNDAY, DEC. 3 >> LANSING CONCERT BAND’S HOLIDAY FESTIVAL CONCERT The Lansing Concert Band continues their concert season for the 72nd year. The band is accompanied by the Steiner Chorale for seasonal classics. 3pm. $12/$5 students/children FREE. East Lansing High School, 509 Burcham Dr., East Lansing. (517) 321-3274, charlotteperformingartscenter.com

TUESDAY, DEC. 5 >> FESTIVAL OF THE TREES AT TURNER DODGE HOUSE The sixth annual Festival of the Trees at Turner Dodge House is decorated on all three floors with holiday trees. This annual event is hosted by the Friends of Turner Dodge House and Lansing Parks and Recreation. There are roughly 50 trees decorated by local artists, businesses and community organizations. 1-7pm Tuesday- Thursday; 5-8pm Friday; 12-8pm Saturday; 12-6pm Sunday; closed Monday. $5/children under 12 FREE. Turner Dodge House, (517) 483- 4220, lansingmi.gov/939/turner-dodgehouse.

TUESDAY, DEC. 5 >> HOLIDAY GLITTER AND APPLAUSE Join the Arts Council of Greater Lansing with a red carpet for the Applause Awards Show. Featuring entertainment with John Dale Smith and the MSU Musical Theatre Touring Group. A silent auction will be held of the original City Pulse Summer of Art covers. There will be a cocktail hour as well as hors d’oeuvres and live music. 6-9pm. University Club of Michigan State University, 3435 Forest Rd., Lansing. (517) 372-4636, lansingarts.org.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 6 >> WINTER WINE & STEIN AT POTTER PARK ZOO Celebrate the holidays with zoo animals. Patrons of the age 21 and older can sample beer, wine and spirits as they walk around the zoo’s Wonderland of Lights. 5-8pm. $30-35. Potter Park Zoo, 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing. (517) 483- 4222, potterparkzoo.org.

THURSDAY, DEC. 7 >> HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE AT MSU HORTICULTURAL GARDENS Enjoy holiday trees, a holiday plant sale and plenty of refreshments. 12-7:30pm. FREE. Parking not included. MSU Horticulture Gardens, 1066 Bogue St., East Lansing. (517) 355-5191, hrt. msu.edu.

SATURDAY, DEC. 9 >> REO TOWN HOLIDAY POP-UP MARKET Take a trip over to Reo Town and hop from vendor to vendor in an epic display of local crafts, food, and holiday gift ideas. Check out the event to see the participating storefronts. 10am. FREE. Reo Town, Lansing.

SATURDAY, DEC. 9 >> CHRISTMAS PAW-TY AT SOLDAN’S OKEMOS An event for pet owners to kick off the holiday season with a photo booth, free food and a chance to get an ornament for the tree. FREE. 9am-4pm. Soldan’s Pet Supplies, 1802 Grand River Ave., Okemos. (517) 349-8435, soldanspet. com.

SATURDAY, DEC. 9 >> BREAKFAST WITH SANTA AT THE LANSING MALL Spend the morning with St. Nick himself at the Lansing Mall. Enjoy food, stories and craft time with the jolly old man. FREE. 9am. Lansing Mall, 5330 W. Saginaw Hwy, Lansing.

SATURDAY, DEC. 9 >> OPEN HOUSE AT THE CAPITAL AREA HUMANE SOCIETY Bring your pet to take a picture with Santa. The event will feature a bake sale with treats for pets as well as their owners. Adoption specials will be running all day. 10am. FREE. Capital Area Humane Society, 7095 W. Grand River Ave., Lansing. Cahs-lansing.org.

SATURDAY, DEC. 9 >> A NOT SO SILENT NIGHT AT REACH STUDIO ART CENTER Over 100 pieces of art, local business gift cards and other gift-able items are up for silent auction. The event includes a wine and beer cash bar and refreshments. There will be a preview party before the event offering additional sales and socializing. 7-9:30pm main event. $25-40. REACH Studio Art Center, 1804 S. Washington Ave., Lansing. (517) 999-3643, reachstudioart.org.

SATURDAY, DEC. 9 >> HANDEL’S ‘MESSIAH’ AT WHARTON CENTER MSU’s Choral Union, University Chorale and State Singers share the stage to present this amazing 276 year old tradition. 8pm. $20/$18 seniors/$10 students. Wharton Center for Performing Arts, 750 E Shaw Ln., East Lansing. (517) 432-2000, whartoncenter.com.

SUNDAY, DEC. 10 >> LANSING SYMPHONY HOLIDAY POPS Enjoy an afternoon of Christmas carols and holiday classics with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. Demi Fragale and the MSU Youth Chorale will join the Orchestra for a tradition that will get everyone in the holiday spirit. 3pm. $20-$55. Wharton Center for Performing Arts, 750 E Shaw Ln., East Lansing. (517) 432-2000, whartoncenter.com.

SUNDAY, DEC. 10 >> CHRISTMAS IN THE VILLAGE Join Santa in the old-fashioned Christmas in the Village. Meridian Historical Village will be transformed with buildings being decorated and open for visitors.Volunteers will be in their traditional dress sharing their favorite past time stories. 2-4pm. FREE. Meridian Historical Village, 5151 Marsh Road, Okemos. (517) 347-7300, meridianhistoricalvillage.org.


AT TEN POUND FIDDLE Ten Pound Fiddle’s Sally Potter leads a community sing-along with special guests. Lyric books will be provided to sing your favorite holiday songs all evening long. 7:30pm. $15/$12 members/$5 students. MSU Community Music School, 4930 S. Hagadorn Road, East Lansing. (517) 337-7744, tenpound fiddle.org.

SATURDAY, DEC.16 >> TEASE A GOGO CHRISTMAS CIRCUS Get ready to get your bells jingled.

Tease A Gogo is is back for another year of holiday entertainment. This event offers a naughty evening of burlesque, drag, sideshows and more. There will also be delicious food, fabulous holiday drinks and a photo booth. 10pm. 18kknd. $15/$12 adv. The Avenue Cafe, 2021 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. Teaseagogo.com.


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