by Amy L.

We might not have snow yet, but there are plenty of fun, winter-themed activities for your family this December happening around Kalamazoo. Our list of fun, FREE or cheap activities features over a dozen events to help keep your family active this winter! 


Polar Express Pajama Storytime, Barnes and Noble, Portage

Friday, December 1, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm.

Kids will love attending this storytime clad in their most fun, festive pajamas! After the story there will be free coloring and seasonal activities. Barnes and Noble is hosting a number of other FREE holiday-themed events and storytimes this month – including How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Dec 2), Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (Dec 9). For a full listing visit their website


Santa’s Workshop, Epic Theatre – 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall

Now through December 24th

Head downtown Kalamazoo to see Santa in his workshop for FREE! Experience the excitement of visiting Santa in a traditional, fun, cozy space without the long lines. Before visiting with Santa, children can write a letter to Santa, so he can remember all the details on “the list”.

Santa Visiting hours: 

Thursdays & Fridays 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm,  Saturdays 10:00 am – 6:00 pm and Sundays Noon – 4:00 pm. *Cookie decorating on Saturdays from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm.

After visiting Santa, take a ride around downtown Kalamazoo on the Holly Jolly Trolley with a stop at Candy Cane Lane in Bronson Park. Always a fun thing to do this time of the year and it’s free! The Holly Jolly Trolley is a wonderful way to take in the holiday decorations and lights while getting around downtown.



“Let it Snow”, Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Now through December 23rd

“Let It Snow” is a treat for the eyes and ears, featuring festive full-dome video images choreographed to classic Christmas music. Enjoy seasonal tunes by Frank Sinatra, Chuck Berry, Burl Ives, and Brenda Lee, and a finale by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This fun animated show will have kids, parents, and grandparents humming or singing along to some of the classics associated with the holiday season. This show is both fun and suitable for any age. $3/ticket and children under two are free.


The Holiday Chocolate and Parchment Wassailing, Parchment Community Library, Parchment

Wednesday, December 6th, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.

Visitors will enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies made by the Parchment Garden Club and Friends! Ride the Holly Trolley to visit Parchment business, enjoying unique shopping and entertainment.


Christmas at the Flywheelers, Michigan Flywheelers Museum, South Haven

Friday, December 8th & Friday, December 15th from 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Your kids will love this old-fashioned holiday experience! Festive lights, crafts, holiday music, trolley hay rides, and a visit from Santa are awaiting your family. This event is free and all are welcome!


RELATED: See our HUGE listing of places to see Santa in our Santa Sighting Guide


Of Christmas Past, Historic Charlton Park, Hastings

Saturday, December 9th & Sunday, December 10th, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Of Christmas Past! is a celebration featuring traditional Christmas activities from the 1800’s. Families can try their hand at making hand-dipped candies, traditional ornaments and crafts. Traditional food will be available for purchase as well as unique gifts. St. Nicholas will also be stopping by! Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for children ages 4-12.


Sound Waves and Properties, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo

Sunday, December 10th, 1:30 pm

The Michigan State University Science Theatre presents a demonstration of simple scientific concepts to help audience members appreciate science in their everyday lives. The topic of this presentation is sound waves and their properties. The event is free to the public.


Cookies and Cocoa with Santa and his Reindeer, Davis Creek Apartments, Portage

Tuesday, December 12th, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.

A new event this year is sponsored by Davis Creek Apartments & Flats. Kids can enjoy a free craft as well as free cookies and hot chocolate while visiting with Santa and his reindeer! This a free community event and photos are encouraged.


RELATED: Where to Find Reindeer Around Kalamazoo this Holiday Season


ZooLights, Binder Park Zoo, Battle Creek

Friday, December 15th – Saturday, December 23rd, 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm.

Families will create wonderful family memories at Binder Park Zoo’s ZooLights event. The zoo is decorated for the holidays and weather-hardy animals are on display. Kids will love the unlimited free carousel rides, stories with Mrs. Claus, visiting Santa, hot chocolate, special activities and more. Admission is $5 for zoo members, $6 for non-members, and children under two are free.


YMCA Swim with Santa, Portage YMCA, Portage Branch

Friday, December 15th, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm.

Bring your swimsuit and get ready to have fun with Santa! This event is free for members of the YMCA and $15 for non-YMCA member families.


Gift Making, Kalamazoo Central Library, Kalamazoo

Saturday, December 16th, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Kids can drop in and choose from a variety of crafts to make for friends and family. This event is best suited for kids in grades 6-12. No pre-registration is required. Wrapping supplies will also be provided.


Monday Movie, Galesburg Charleston Memorial District Library, Galesburg

Monday, December 18th, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

Families can enjoy a fun, free night out on a Monday! Despicable Me 3 (rated PG) will be playing at the Galesburg Charleston Memorial District Library.


New Years Eve Skate, Millennium Park, Portage

Sunday, December 31st, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

Join in the fun with your family this NYE! A live, local DJ will provide music for skaters as they groove into the new year. A fun countdown at 7:00 p.m. will coincide with the New Year’s celebration at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, U.K. Prices are $5 for a skate and rental package, $3 for skating only (bring your own skates).


Hope you enjoy this Holiday Season with your family!








By | 2017-11-28T12:21:52+00:00 November 29th, 2017|Categories: Around Kalamazoo, Guides, Newly Published|Comments Off on December Free or Cheap Family Fun

About the Author:

Amy is an elementary school teacher and mother to two young girls. She enjoys spending time with family and being active within the community. In her free time, she likes to sew, read, and take her dog for long walks.