By Maria Wyllie Explore Big Sky Associate Editor

Get in the holiday spirit this season by partaking in these special events in southwest Montana. From fun runs to feasts, farmers markets to Christmas strolls, there’s something for the whole family.

Many of the events also support local nonprofits like the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Women In Action, and the Big Sky Ski Education Foundation, so you can support the community while having fun with friends and family.

Big Sky

Shifting gears to the Christmas season, the 17th annual Big Sky Christmas Stroll is slated for Dec. 12. The night kicks off at 5:30 p.m. in front of Blue Ribbon Builders for a tree-lighting ceremony and caroling. Other event highlights include photos with Santa, an elf show, and a holiday market in Town Center with live music and fireworks. Sleigh rides will be offered in both the Meadow Village and Town Center, and participating businesses in both areas will also host open houses all evening.

Bozeman

Bozeman’s Christmas Stroll is Dec. 6 on Main Street from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Santa Claus will work his way from the Emerson Cultural Center, leading more than 6,000 patrons down Main Street, singing carols and illuminating the downtown holiday lights. Guests can partake in horse-drawn wagon rides and take pictures with Santa, among other activities.

A number of holiday performances and shows including “The Nutcracker,” “A Christmas Carol,” and “Bells of the Bridgers” will also take place throughout the month of December.

Livingston and Paradise Valley

The Elks Lodge in Livingston is hosting its annual Christmas auction on Dec. 5, and a Christmas Bazaar will take place the following day at the Park County Fairgrounds. The Western Sustainability Exchange is also hosting a holiday market on Dec. 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with more than 30 vendor booths featuring crafts and baked goods. Guests can have fun purchasing holiday gifts from local farmers’ market vendors, while also participating in raffles, taking photos with Santa, and listening to live music.