Holidays in the City

The Joy of the Season Shines at these Five Merry Affairs

Moss Mansion Christmas Tour

For more than 20 years, visitors to the Moss Mansion have delighted in the museum’s annual Christmas tours. 

“Over a dozen organizations and businesses provide decorations and creativity for lit trees in various rooms of the mansion,” explains Jennette Rasch, curator. The theme for 2019 is Christmas Around the World.

“Guests can expect representations of cultural traditions from Germany, Australia, France and many other nations among the trees as they experience the beauty of the Moss Mansion at Christmastime.”

Holiday Schedule

Daily Christmas Tours:

+ Nov. 15-Jan. 5

+ Self-Guided: $15, Tuesday-Sunday, 12-3 p.m.

+ Guided: $20, Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m.

Evening Christmas Tours

+ Dec. 11, 18 and 27

+ Guided: $20, 5-8 p.m.

Christmas Spirits Around the World

+ Dec. 14 and 21

+ Guided: $35

+ Doors open at 6 p.m., and tours run 6:20-8:40 p.m.

Reservations can be made at or by phone at 406.256.5100.

For all tours, kids ages 5 and younger enter free.

Not So Silent Night: Stories with Santa

Each group that visits will get a tour of the Christmas trees, a Christmas story with Mrs. Claus, a Christmas craft, the chance to look for Santa’s elves (Carol and Joy), a visit with Santa Claus and a treat.

Holiday Schedule:

+ $25 per child

+ Dec. 12, 5-6:30 p.m.

+ Dec. 15, 3:30-6:30 p.m.

Children younger than age 2 enter free. All children must have an accompanying adult. 


December First Friday: Christmas Stroll and ArtWalk

“Downtown First Fridays are a monthly promotion of events,” says Lindsay Richardson, the events director at Downtown Billings Alliance. “Every year, the First Friday of December brings something special to the Billings community. Local downtown businesses and hot spots offer special holiday-centric programming throughout the evening. Local shops extend their shopping hours, offer special holiday deals, serve holiday beverages and snacks and ooze holiday cheer. Photos with Santa take place in the lobby at the Northern Hotel. Photos are provided by a volunteer photographer, but tips are appreciated.”

Multiple downtown organizations will have free admission and special programming for the Christmas Stroll, including Wise Wonders Children's Museum and The Yellowstone Art Museum.

“Many of the shops will extend their hours with special holiday offers and treats, and the restaurants will have holiday specials,” Lindsay says. “The downtown Billings Christmas Stroll has been a downtown tradition for over 17 years and annually coincides with the December ArtWalk, with over 40 Artwalk locations displaying regional and local fine art for purchase. Christmas Stroll is a family favorite with plenty of fun for kids and adults alike.”

Admission to the event is free. 

Pop Up Market

Shop and explore a special pop-up Holiday Market housed within a current vacant downtown space, filled with holiday gift vendors. 

Billings Symphony Orchestra: Nutcracker Ballet

Treat the whole family to a locally performed rendition of this charming and timeless ballet. 

“With its signature theatrics and beloved choreography, the San Diego Ballet delivers a light-hearted interpretation of this holiday classic that is expressive and dramatic,” says Michelle Dawson, manager of marketing and public relations for the Billings Symphony Orchestra. “Principal dancers are seasoned professionals who bring strong brilliant technique, expressive artistry and high energy to this well-loved ballet. Audiences easily connect with their inspired performances to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score performed live by the Billings Symphony Orchestra.”

Owner and founder of the School of Classical Ballet, Betty Loos, began putting on the Nutcracker with the Billings Symphony around 1979. 

“San Diego Ballet uses around 100 local child singers and dancers to fill all of the children’s parts,” Betty says. She believes it is a show suitable for all ages and backgrounds, even those new to ballet. 

“There is a good battle between the soldiers and rats for the young boys in the audience, some humor with the grandparents and beautiful variations for all to enjoy.”

Event Dates and Tickets

Saturday, Nov. 30, 2 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 30, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 1, 2 p.m. 

406.252.3610 | | 2721 Second Ave. N., Suite 350

Polar Express at the Billings Depot

“Once again, the fabulous story of the Polar Express is coming to life in the Historic Billings Depot Dec. 5-8,” says Michelle Williams, executive director of the Billings Depot. “For the seventh year, you and your children will be dazzled by both the story, told in a children’s theater production, along with a magical visit from Santa. Our historic train station will be transformed into a winter wonderland with dozens of children in footie jammies snuggled in on a fuzzy red rug where a children’s theatrical production will enthrall everyone with the wonderful story of Jimmy and the gang in the Polar Express. Santa stops at the Billings Depot, singing Christmas carols and taking professional pictures with each child. Santa even has a present for each child to take home.”

Guests can enjoy a variety of activities, including an arctic experience from ZooMT, a miniature train ride, hot cocoa and cookies and jolly winter experiences from Wise Wonders Children’s Museum and SCRaP. All activities and photos with Santa are included with the purchase of your ticket.

While the event is designed for children ages 3 to 8 years old, older children may still enjoy the festivities. Those in attendance should be independent enough to sit separately from their parents and follow simple directions. 

“For the older kids, the rule of thumb is as long as they still believe in Santa, they are welcome to participate,” Michelle says.

Breakfast with Santa 

“Families will be able to purchase tickets for children to enjoy a special breakfast with Santa himself on Sunday morning, Dec. 8,”  Michelle says. “Children can meet Santa and have fun asking him questions about the North Pole, the reindeer and Mrs. Clause. Seating is very limited for this event, so be sure to reserve your tickets early.”.

Event Dates and Tickets

Tickets go on sale Nov. 4. Visit to purchase early, as they sell out quickly!

Dec. 5: 6 p.m.

Dec. 6: 6 p.m.

Dec. 7: 12, 3 and 6 p.m.

Dec. 8: 9 a.m. (Breakfast with Santa), 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Family Tree Center: Festival of Trees

“The Festival of Trees is the integral fundraiser for The Family Tree Center,” says Stacy Dreesen. executive director. “All dollars raised at the festival go where they are needed most—toward the many child abuse prevention programs in place at The Family Tree Center. Begun in 1985, the Festival of Trees has become synonymous with the holiday season in Billings. For many residents and visitors, the holidays would not be complete without at least one visit to view the trees or participate in the weekend activities."

Event Schedule and Information

Thursday, Dec. 5

+Gala and Tree Auction, 6 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 6

+Special Viewing for Children and Seniors, 9-11 a.m.

+Tea in the Trees, 1-3 p.m.

+Public Viewing of the Trees, 3-8 p.m.

+Craft and Gift Show, 3-8 p.m.

+Family Fun Night and Entertainment, 5-8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 7

+Public Viewing of Trees, Children’s Activities, Craft and Gift Show and Entertainment, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

+Brunch with Santa 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

+MSUB Writer’s Roundup 12-5 p.m.

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