Family Fun Freebies this DecemberDecember might just be my favorite time of year in Billings. It gets dark so early that you don’t have to stay up late with the kids to drive around and see Christmas lights. By now you might be in the middle of decorating the house, buying presents for the family, and trying to make it through the rest of the year, however, carving out moments to spend time with the family is important. Here are some fun (and free!) ways to enjoy the season together and get in the holiday mood.
BILLINGS PUBLIC LIBRARY
- Wednesday/Friday Fun at the Library– Play games and build LEGOS from 3-4:45pm, every Wednesday and Friday at Billings Public Library in the Craft Corner!
- Berry Merry Holiday – Saturday, December 1-24th 9am-3pm. Two special bears will be visiting the library this holiday season! Snowflake and Jingle Bell will be spending time in Children’s Services. They plan on having a few adventures while hanging about, and it's certain that the security camera will catch their shenanigans! Stop by the Children’s desk daily to view the picture of what the bears did the night before. Use the picture to find Snowflake and Jingle Bell located somewhere in the Children’s area. Tell the Librarian where you found them to earn an entry into a drawing for a chance to win a prize! You may enter daily from December 1st to December 24th.
- Special Story Time Event – Saturday, December 1st 10-10:45am. Usborne Books author Michelle Nelson-Schmidt is presenting a special 45 minute program. Michelle is the author of six picture books (including Cordelia, Cordelia and the Whale, Bob is a Unicorn, and Dog and Mouse) and one novel. A motivational speaker for children, her presentation has been described as magical. This event is sponsored by Best Beginnings of Yellowstone County and HRDC.
- READ to a Dog – Saturday, December 1st 11am-12pm. Each child may sign up for one 15 minute time slot with a dog of their choice. (Sign ups are day-of program only). READ to a Dog program is a chance for children to read to a dog one on one. Sometimes, children may have a difficult time reading and reading to a dog can bring a feeling of non-judgment, which makes reading a more relaxing and fun experience. In bringing the Intermountain Therapy dogs here, it creates a relaxed feeling in a safe and comfortable environment.
- Crafting Holiday Cards – Monday, December 3rd 3-4:45pm. Spread a little holiday cheer by gifting a card! Kiddos are invited to join in this exciting afternoon of creating beautiful handmade holiday cards that will be sure to warm the hearts of loved ones! Each child that makes a card can choose a free book from the Pedal-Powered Library! All children welcome, no registration required.
- Make & Take Winter Craft – Monday, December 10th 3-4:45pm. Kiddos are invited to come get their craft on with the Make & Take Winter Craft in the Children's Craft Corner. No registration is required! All children under the age of 8 MUST be accompanied by an adult.
- The Big Sky Holiday Chorus – Saturday, December 15th 11am-12pm. Get in the spirit with a concert of traditional holiday favorites, performed for you in barbershop style by The Big Sky Holiday Chorus. The sounds of the season will ring out throughout the Library.
- Special Story Time: Music Lingua French Class for Children – Wednesday, December 19th 10:30-11am. Music Lingua is a unique foreign language program for children that use music, movement, drama, storytelling and art to make language learning fun! Ages 0-8 years welcome.
- Friday Night Fun - Twisted Christmas – Friday, December 7th 6:30-8:30pm. Wear your ugliest holiday sweater, enjoy the Christmas classic Gremlins while munching on treats and creating the perfect twisted Christmas creation for your Christmas tree!
- Friday Night Fun - Celebrate Deck the Halls Day – Friday, December 14th 6:30-8:30pm. Make a paper-chain ornament, decorate cookies and sing holiday songs - you'll be all ready for the holidays!
- Friday Night Fun – Santa Visits the Library – Friday, December 21st 6:30-8:30pm. Visit Santa before he heads back to the North Pole (including a picture with Santa). Make an ornament for your tree. Enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. Library Director Gavin will read stories.
MONTANA AUDUBON CENTER
- Open House– First and third Saturdays, December 1&15 11am-3pm. Open House at the Montana Audubon Center is a great time to explore the great outdoors and ask a naturalist any questions you might have.
- Wise Wonders: First Free Friday Night – December 7th, 6-8pm. Visit Wise Wonders every first Friday of the month for free from 6pm to 8pm! This event is made possible by our sponsor, the US Bank Foundation.
- GoUnite – Sorting Donated Toys for the Salvation Army – Wednesday, December 5th 4:30-6pm. The Salvation Army and the motorcycle group, Roaddogs, partner every year to collect toys for kids in need for Christmas. Last year, more than 600 motorcyclists, many wearing Santa hats and riding tinsel-wrapped Harleys, rode through Billings, delivering enough toys for 700 families! All of these toys need to be sorted by type of toy/age so they can easily be distributed to kids in need. They will be meeting at the warehouse (10 South 30th St) at 4:30pm to help sort and organize these toys. Anyone is welcome come volunteer; kids of any age are welcome to come help too. (60 volunteers is the max). If you plan on coming, please reserve your spot here: https://volunteer.usawest.org/OpportunityListPage.aspx Simply create a login with the Salvation Army and select the "GoUnite Roaddogs Toy Sorting Event".
- This House of Books Game Night –Every Thursday night from 5-8pm for Tabletop gaming. There is a large library of games to demo, or feel free to bring your own. While there enjoy a variety of drinks and snacks!
- Christmas Stroll – Friday, December 7th 6-9pm. A tradition in the Billings community for over 24 years, the Christmas Stroll celebrates the season on the first Friday in December, in conjunction with the Holiday ArtWalk. With families in town for the weekend, the Christmas Stroll is a great activity for the people of Billings to usher in the Holiday season by joining their community for gift shopping, strolling through downtown businesses enjoying eggnog, refreshments, photos with Santa, and horse drawn carriage rides in the core of downtown. Take pictures with Santa at The Northern Hotel from 4-6pm.
- Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – Friday, December 7th 6-7pm. Billings Parks and Recreation and the Billings Jaycees have teamed up again to bring you the 2nd Annual Historic Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Join in the fun at Community Park on the corner of Division and 1st Ave N. The ceremony features music, a visit from Santa, free refreshments and more! The official tree lighting will take place at 6:30 pm sharp! What a great way to kick-off the holiday season!
- Art House Cinema – Thanks a Million Week. Wednesday December 26- Sunday December 30. All movies will be free as a thank you for continuing to support the Art House and all they do. Take the survey on their site to help choose the top two movies they will be showing during the week.
- Toys for Tots Family Day at Moss Mansion – Saturday, December 1st 12-3pm. Join in this annual toy drive at the Moss Mansion Museum. Donate one new toy (under $30 value) and your entire family gets in free! Santa will be on hand for personal photos. Cocoa and cookies also will be available to enjoy. See the trees, vote on your favorite, and celebrate the season with your family. Help us support the Toys for Tots cause and have a wonderful Christmas kick-off this holiday season!
- Kids’ Workshop: Sled with Reindeer – Saturday, December 1st 9am-12pm. Dash through the snow in this hands-on workshop where you and your child can build a model sleigh pulled by a reindeer. Once your sleigh is complete, you and your musher can decorate it with paint and stickers and put imagination to work towing gifts around town. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron, and a commemorative pin while supplies last. Children must be present at the store to participate in the workshop and receive the kit, apron and pin.
- KidsKlub: Celebrate Christmas at Billings Scheels – Monday, December 3rd 6-7pm. Join the Scheels team in celebrating Christmas. Decorate cookies, write a letter to Santa, and more! For ages 4-12 years old.
- Meet Santa Claus at Billings Scheels – Saturday December 1, 8 & 15th 10am-7pm. Come meet Santa! Bring your camera for a FREE photo opportunity with Santa. Pattycakes the Elf will also be there December 1 1-7pm, December 8 10am-7pm and December 15 10am-7pm.
- Free Photo with Santa – December 1-24. Weekdays 10-8pm, Saturdays 10am-8pm and Sundays 10am-5pm. Free crafts on weekdays from 5-7pm, Saturdays & Sundays 12-5pm and free games & activities all day long. A different craft each week, write a letter to Santa, and a free plush to the first 100 kids to have their picture taken with Santa each week! See website for more details.
BARNES & NOBLE
- Story time for babies and preschoolers– Monday, December 3, 10, & 17 and every Wednesday, 10-11am. Check B&N’s calendar for details on the different book each day.
- Roaddogs IRO Christmas Toy Run – Sunday, December 2nd See a sight that you have rarely seen. Hundreds of bikers, along with flatbed trucks, and even semis, will bring $60,000+ worth of toys into Rimrock Mall in an attempt to bury the Salvation Army Angel Tree in toys! This annual event is always such a heart-warming exposition of the generosity of the Billings Community.
- Krispy Kreme with Claus – Saturday, December 8th Pop by the food court for some special one-on-one time with Santa. Enjoy story time with Santa while you dive into some tasty Krispy Kreme doughnuts and milk.
- Christmas Caroling – Friday, December 14th 6:30-7:30pm. Let the caroling of the Open Bible Christian Center lift your holiday spirit!
- Cinnabon with Claus – Saturday, December 15th Swing by the food court for some special one-on-one time with Santa. Enjoy story time with Santa while you dive into some tasty Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls and milk.
- JCPenney Kid Zone – Saturday, December 8th 11-12pm. Create your own Nerf target. This is for school aged children. Parents receive a 10% off coupon for use in-store on the day of the event only.
- Santa Photo Days – Saturday & Sunday, December 8 & 9, 15 & 16 12-4pm. Santa Claus is coming to town & to petSmart! Enjoy a FREE photo opportunity with your family, pets & Saint Nick.
western ranch supply
- Pictures with Santa & Pony – Saturday, December 1 11-3pm. Pictures are FREE! We post them to our Facebook page about one week after the event. You are also welcome to bring your own camera and take your own pictures. We will be having lots of sales going on throughout the store!
the shops at shiloh holiday stroll
- Shops at Shiloh Holiday Stroll – Saturday, December 8th 5-8pm. Head to the Shops at Shiloh Crossing the 8th of December for the 3rd annual Holiday Stroll at the Shops at Shiloh. Santa will be at the North Pole, a Grinch in Whoville, an Elsa in a sparkling wonderland, and SO MUCH MORE. Come take pictures with your kiddos. Enjoy champagne and hot chocolate and loads of Holiday Cheer.
yellowstone valley animal shelter
- Deck the Howls – Saturday, December 15th 5:30-7pm. This year, YVAS is hosting a magical “Deck the Howls” event – and you're invited! This holiday-themed evening offers children an opportunity to wear their cuddliest pajamas while visiting YVAS to read holiday tails to pets waiting for adoption! Plenty of goodies and holiday cheer will be provided! There are a limited number of spots available, so please register with Kelsey, the Activities Coordinator, at email@example.com or 294.1137. Walk-ins are NOT accepted. This event is appropriate for children ages 5 and older. It is FREE to register, but monetary or item donations are greatly appreciated.
pilgram congressional church
- Sober New Year's Eve – Monday, December 31st 4pm-Midnight. Join in the fun for a safe and family friendly New Year's Eve Party. All are welcome. There will be arm wrestling, pizza buffet, table and arcade games, human hungry hippo, ice cream, and more! (409 S 36th, Billings)
- Saturday Night Arm Wrestling and Games – Every Saturday Night 6:30-8pm. Learn a new sport, make new friends, play air hockey, foosball, and more. Free dinner, all are welcome. (409 S 36th, Billings)
about the author…A stay at home mom to two children, trying to remember to move the Elf on the Shelf EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.