10 holiday movies filmed in Michigan that will have you feeling festive

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.

By Lucas Henkel

December 4, 2023

Grab the family and settle into one of these festive features that were filmed and take place in the Mitten State.

Tired of watching the same Christmas movie each year? Same. That’s why we put together this list of Michigan-based movies that are sure to bring you some holiday cheer. So make some hot chocolate (or crack open a Vernors) and get settled on the couch. Here’s a round-up of movies that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit. 

Christmas at the Holly Hotel” (2022)| Filmed in Holly

Photo Courtesy of JPR Studios via YouTube.

Shot on location at the Historic Holly Hotel, this film follows Kathy—a food critic living in New York City—as she visits her parents in her hometown of Holly during the holidays. While in town, Kathy meets Matthew—a “handsome and kind” police officer—and falls in love. 

Will Kathy decide to head back to New York to pursue her career? Or will she choose what her heart truly wants? Find out for yourself: “Christmas at the Holly Hotel” is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.

Cupid’s Christmas” (2022) | Filmed in Holly

Phot Courtesy of SLK Media Group.

Inspired by real events, “Cupid’s Christmas” is centered around two residents—Katie and Luke—as they work together to save their town’s historic train depot. Meanwhile, Santa Claus is also visiting the town of Holly, but not for the reason you think—he’s actually searching for his lost reindeer, Cupid.

To watch this Midwestern love story unfold, watch it on Amazon Prime Video. For more updates on how to help the real-life effort to save the Holly Union Depot, click here

Miracle on Christmas” (2021)| Filmed in Brighton

Photo Courtesy of Green Apple Productions.

Filmed in various locations throughout the town of Brighton, one family welcomes an unexpected visitor and gets more than they bargained for. 

In an IMDB user review of Miracle on Christmas, one person said, “Not another meet-cute Christmas romance, this movie has deeper issues dealing with grief, faith, hope, family and love.” Watch it on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube

A Christmas Winter Song” (2019) | Filmed in Brighton

Photo Courtesy of Almost Never Films Inc. and MarVista Entertainment

Starring Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and actress Ashanti, “A Christmas Winter Song” is about a woman befriending a former jazz singer who’s facing tough times. Filmed in Brighton, the duo works together to find the strength to overcome their hardships——with the power of music and Christmas cheer.

Sing along to this modern holiday tale by streaming it on Hulu, Apple TV, and Lifetime

The Christmas Bunny” (2010) | Filmed in West Michigan

Photo Courtesy of Honey Creek Pictures.

Filmed in rural areas of West Michigan—including Lowell, Alto, Wyoming, and Zeeland—this tear-jerking film is about a lonely foster child who finds an injured rabbit on Christmas Eve. The child attempts to nurse it back to health with the help of the “Bunny Lady”—played by Florence Henderson—who runs a rabbit rescue behind her Michigan farmhouse. 

Hop on over to Amazon Prime Video to watch the film in its entirety. 

Prancer” (1989) | Filmed in Three Oaks

Photo Courtesy of Cineplex Odeon Films and Nelson Entertainment

After discovering one of Santa’s reindeer wounded in a field near her house in Three Oaks, a girl works to nurse it back to health in time for Christmas. This heart-warming tale will make you laugh, cry, and lift your holiday spirits. 

Relive the nostalgia of this late 80s Christmas movie on Amazon Prime Video. 

A Dog for Christmas” (2015) | Filmed in Rockford

Photo Courtesy of Questar, Inc

Based in Rockford, “A Dog for Christmas” features a variety of Hollywood stars—including Mount Clemens Native Dean Cain. The film is about a young girl who received a puppy as a Christmas gift from her grandfather and the chaos it brings to the rest of her family.

Real Michiganders will be able to spot the beloved Corner Bar in a few different scenes. Try to spot it for yourself—”A Dog for Christmas” is streaming on Roku

Small Town Santa” (2014) | Filmed in Rockford

Photo Courtesy of Be Your Own Hollywood

After arresting a home intruder claiming to be Santa Claus, Sheriff Rick Langston—also played by actor Dean Cain—has his whole world turned upside down. Santa helps show Rick that love is all around him—and potentially in the new girl in town, Lucy. 

While the film was created and set in Rockford, Sheriff Langston can be seen wearing a uniform from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. See it for yourself: “Small Town Santa” is streaming on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube

“Silver Bells” (2013) | Filmed in Manistee, Ludington, and Grand Rapids

Photo Courtesy of 10 West Studios and Rebel Forge

This film is about a sportscaster and ultra-competitive father who takes that energy too far and is forced to perform community service as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. Produced in association with the Salvation Army, this holiday story was filmed in various locations around Manistee, Grand Rapids, and Ludington. 

Stream “Silver Bells” on Tubi, Amazon Prime Video, and Sling TV.

“The Polar Express” (2004) | Based in Grand Rapids

Photo Courtesy of Castle Rock Entertainment, Shangri-La Entertainment, and Playtone

Inspired by his hometown of Grand Rapids, author Chris Van Allsburg wrote and illustrated “The Polar Express” in 1985. The train that inspired the book—and eventually the 2004 movie adaptation—was based on the Pere Marquette 1225 steam locomotive that was built in the 1940s and traveled to various parts of Michigan. 

If you haven’t had a chance to watch this holiday classic, do yourself a favor and check it out on Hulu, Max, or Amazon Prime Video


  • Lucas Henkel

    Lucas Henkel is a multimedia reporter who strives to inform and inspire local communities. Before joining The 'Gander, Lucas served as a journalist for the Lansing City Pulse.


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