Montanas Christmas Train Sold Out.

Boo hoo... the famous Charlie Russell Chew Choo Christmas train is already sold out. I've been hoping to take my kids on this allegedly magical experience near Lewistown for years, but I always forget to get tickets early. I'm such a bad planner. Maybe I should schedule a reminder now to secure our seats on the train the second they go on sale next year.

Photo by Eugenia Romanova on Unsplash
Photo by Eugenia Romanova on Unsplash
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The train will have to wait.

If you're looking for other fun family Christmas activities around Billings and the surrounding areas, here are five fun options. From the Downtown Billings Holiday Parade to a charming sleigh ride in the mountains, Montana offers plenty of family Christmas fun.

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Five Things to Do Since You Missed the Christmas Train.

Photo by Luc van Loon on Unsplash
Photo by Luc van Loon on Unsplash
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Red Lodge Christmas Stroll

Red Lodge looks like a mountain town postcard year round, but when it's lit up for Christmas, the community could easily be the set for the latest Hallmark movie. The annual Red Lodge Christmas Stroll is December 2nd and 3rd for 2022. Why not spend the night at a VRBO cabin or chalet and wrap up the evening with a hot toddy and games by a fireplace? Get your Custer Gallatin National Forest tree permit and you can cut your own Christmas tree the next day.

Photo by Jim Strasma on Unsplash
Photo by Jim Strasma on Unsplash
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Laurel Christmas to Remember

You may have missed your chance to buy tickets for the Charlie Russell Chew Choo this year, but hey! We have plenty of trains in Laurel. It's almost the same thing, right? This family tradition features a parade with Santa at the helm. Kids can meet him afterward. The Laurel Volunteer Fire Department lights up the crisp December sky with fireworks; perhaps the only town in Montana to fire off pyrotechnics at a Christmas parade. The event is on December 4th.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
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Downtown Billings Holiday Parade

People love parades, and this one draws big crowds of holiday revelers. My wife believes that Christmas shouldn't go up until the day after Thanksgiving, and it seems that the DBA feels the same way because this event is always on Black Friday. The real Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving (11/24 this year), not this "black Friday specials begin Nov 1st" type of crap we see on TV nowadays. Find full details HERE. 

Photo by Andrea Stark on Unsplash
Photo by Andrea Stark on Unsplash
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Take a horsedrawn sleigh ride.

Load up the family truckster and head for the mountains if you've always wanted to ride in a sleigh. The Lone Mountain Ranch south of Bozeman is one great option with its "stay and sleigh" packages, as is Elkhorn Ranch south of Big Sky. Red Lodge is offering horse-drawn wagon and sleigh rides at their festivities on Dec 2nd and 3rd. You also head east to Miles City for horsedrawn rides from Hoofbeats Wagon Services.

Solar Powered Christmas Tree Lights Up Brisbane
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All new Holiday Nights at ZooMontana.

The Zoo will be brilliantly lit with an awesome new holiday light display this year that I can't wait to see. My family has done the old ZooLights tour many times, and as much as I love the nostalgic feeling, some of the displays were getting a little tired. The new Holiday Nights show features over ten million LEDs!  You can enter to win tickets HERE with our station promotion. And check this out... you can rent a Smore's Tent at the event. How much fun would that be?

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