Free Family-Friendly 2019 Christmas Events in Toledo & Surrounding Area

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! Toledo & the surrounding areas are literally bursting with fun family friendly holiday events! The best part, there is something for everyone and every budget! For our family moderation is key during this special time of year, sure we splurge on certain family traditions like, Children’s Wonderland, Disney on Ice, and the Nutcracker.  But in order to keep that Christmas cheer & make certain the entire family, (including mommy and daddy), stay merry & bright throughout the season we seek out fun FREE events in our community…and let me tell you, there is no shortage of fun, FREE, family friendly Christmas events!

Bowling Green’s Annual Holiday Parade in historic downtown BG…“Polar Express: Next Stop Bowling Green,”!

Where: Downtown Bowling Green, OH. The parade steps off at 9:50 a.m. & the first float is set to hit Main and Wooster streets at 10 a.m.

When: Saturday November 23rd 10am-12pm….Over 10 marching bands, 40 floats and 140 units, from dance groups, to sports teams, to scouts and other organizations  BG’s parade boasts of being Northwest Ohio’s biggest and best! The 2019 Bowling Green Holiday Parade’s theme is “Polar Express: Next Stop Bowling Green,”!





The Annual Levis Commons Tree Lighting and Christmas Kickoff is back for its 16th year and COOLER than ever….so cool it’s FROZEN!


When……. November 23rd 

5pm-8pm: Visit with Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff

5pm-9pm: Horse and carriage rides $5/person $10/family of four

5:50pm: Santa arrives with a dancing entourage from PHS Dance Team and Perrysburg Twirling Sophisticates in the Taylor Automotive Family Trolley.

6:00pm – 7:00pm: Disney’s Frozen Jr* will be on stage bringing you an hour of your favorite Frozen music and fun from Act 2 Productions Toledo.

7:00pm (aprx) Count down to light the 50 foot tree



Hope for the Holidays & Tree Lighting

When: November 22nd @ 5pm

Where: Promedica Park

Join ProMedica and 13abc as we kick off the holiday season with an evening of Santa, character meet and greets, food trucks, carolers and family fun! 13abc will be on hand for a live broadcast throughout the evening that ends with the lighting of the Promenade Park tree!

5-6 p.m.: 13abc Action News Live news broadcast from Promenade Park
5-8 p.m.: Hope for the Holiday Celebration & Toy Drive



Santa’s Magical Arrival @ The Shops at Fallen Timbers

Where: The Shops at Fallen Timbers 3100 Main Street Maumee Ohio

When: November 29th 5:30-7:30pm

What: The Shops at Fallen Timbers will be Welcoming Santa to town with a Magical Arrival Event. Friday, November 29th from 5:30 – 7:30 enjoy Character Appearances, Music and Dancing, Face Painting and Balloon Animals, a bounce house, and we will end the evening with bringing Santa Down Main St. on a Firetruck to enjoy a Fireworks Spectacular!
This event is free and open to the public!


Downtown Wauseon’s 10th Annual Lighted Christmas Parade!



Where: Downtown Wauseon

When: Saturday Nov. 30th – 7pm

Who loves a parade! It’s time for Downtown Wauseon’s 10th annual Lighted Christmas Parade! Parade winds through historic downtown Wauseon. The parade features, bands, horses, carriages, twirlers, and more!! It wraps up with caroling, FREE refreshments, and a visit with Santa at the Depot!


Maumee Holiday Light Parade

When: November 30 @ 7pm

Where: Light parade will start at the Maumee Indoor Theater & proceed southbound on Conant St.

The Holiday Light Parade is an annual event that takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. NEW THIS YEAR: At the suggestion of the Maumee Police Division, the route for the parade has been changed. Holiday Light Parade: Lighted floats and walking groups will line up along the six-block stretch of West William Street. The parade will then step off from the Maumee Indoor Theater and proceed southbound down Conant Street toward the river before turning right onto Broadway Street to disperse.

The Streets will be alive with crowds of kids both young and old waiting to see the 60+ lighted floats and the man of the night SANTA!



Pemberville Lighted Christmas Parade

When: December 1st @ 6:30pm

Where: Downtown Pemberville



Christmas in Ida & Parade of Lights (and Fireworks!!)

When: Dec. 6th-7th

Where: Downtown Ida

Christmas in Ida & Parade of Lights…..Hosting over 52,000 visitors, and known as a family destination of the Midwest, the festival creates a winter wonderland known for its hospitality, entertainment and the Granddaddy of all, the spectacular Christmas in Ida Parade of Lights featuring parade units from Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, Canada and Michigan. Most of the events are Saturday, including lunches with Santa, story time with Mrs. Santa Claus and the craft shows are all day! Click on Website for full rundown of events for the weekend!

Saturday Dec. 7th at 7pm, HUGE light parade and fireworks!



The Polar Express Storytime

All aboard! Come in your PJs and join other kiddos for a magical evening as they host their annual Storytime of the beloved classic The Polar Express. Free hot chocolate and cookie…and activities to follow!!

When: Friday December 6th, 2018 7:00 PM

Where: Barnes & Noble Fallen Timbers 3100 Main St #1400, Maumee, OH 43537



How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Storytime



When: Saturday Dec. 7th 11am-12pm

Where: Barnes & Noble Franklin Park & Fallen Timbers

“Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes!” and celebrate all things Grinch with a reading of the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! We will have good deed badges and tracking booklets for kids to log all the good things they do this holiday season. Activities to follow!


Heralding the Holidays -Toledo Botanical Gardens


When: Friday, December 6, 5 to 9 p.m.
Saturday, December 7, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, December 8, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Toledo Botanical Gardens

Heralding the Holidays
Heralding the Holidays is a decades-long tradition showcasing the artist and garden clubs of the Artist Village at Toledo Botanical Garden. Throughout the weekend, you will find art, jewelry, stained glass, and pottery for sale, dried herbs and herbal products, food trucks and roving carolers. Visitors can blow a glass ornament, and glimpse Father Christmas (Friday evening) wandering through the village. Village studios will be decorated. For more details visit the Artist Village website.


City of Toledo Holiday Tree Lighting 

When: December 15th 3-7pm

Where: Ottawa Park Ice Rink

Bring your family to Toledo’s 6th annual Holiday Tree lighting, outside the Ice Rink.


Light-Up Waterville for the Holidays

When: Saturday December 7th 6pm-9pm

Where: Third Street

Special lighting celebration to take place on Third Street at 6:00 p.m. kids can visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves, enjoyed music and view tree lighting at 6:00 pm.


Home for the Holiday’s Parade- Downtown Perrysburg & Parade

When: December 8th @ 2pm

Where: Downtown Perrysburg

Downtown Perrysburg, Inc. (DPI) is busy preparing for the annual “Home for the Holidays” parade, complete with marching bands, horse drawn carriages, dancers, and other street performers, clowns, big and small balloons, little cars and big trucks, candy and of course Santa Clause! The parade will begin at 2 p.m.


Miracle on Main St Holiday Weekend & Light Parade 

When: December 6 at 5:00 pm & December 7 
Where: Downtown Sylvania, 5632 N. Main St.
Sylvania, OH 43560
For Full Lists of events click on website.

Holidays in the Manor House

When: December 7th- 15th  10am-8pm

Where: Wildwood Metropark 5100 Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43615

Ring in the holidays at one of Northwest Ohio’s most festive celebrations, Holidays in the Manor House! For over 40 years, community volunteers have transformed over 30 areas of the Manor House at Wildwood Preserve into a holiday wonderland. Tour the Manor House and see why over 25,000 people make Holidays in the Manor House an annual tradition. They always incorporate the kiddos into the tour by adding a small scavenger hunt for items, dress up & photo opportunities, s’mores outside, & NEW this year, ice skating!!!



Winter Wonderland- Co-sponsored by the City of Toledo

When: Tuesday, December 03 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Where: Toledo Heights Library 423 Shasta Drive Toledo, OH

Help us celebrate the holiday season with an event for all ages. We’ll start with a craft at the Library, then walk together to the Highland Park Shelter House to enjoy live music, cookies, hot chocolate and a visit from Santa!





It’s A Wonderful Life: Silver Screen Classic Film ($5 a person)

When: Friday, December 20th & Sunday, December 22nd @ 7:30pm

Where: 410 Adams St, Toledo, OH 43604

Enjoy Toledo’s New Old Fashioned Night Out! Cold Tall Drafts, Full Bar & Popcorn available! It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra. Starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, and Henry Travers. (Tickets are general admission but reservations are strongly encouraged for this film).

Cost: $5 per person for admission

Order tickets here:


Family Movie Time

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (26 minutes), TV-G

When: Saturday, December 21 4:00pm – 4:30pm

Where: Kent Branch Library

Every who down in Who-ville likes Christmas a lot, but the Grinch who lived just north of Who-ville did NOT! So the cuddly as a cactus Grinch (with termites in his smile and garlic in his soul) tries to wipe out Christmas for the cheerful Who-villains, only to discover: maybe Christmas, he thought doesn’t come from as store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more! Magnificently narrated by Boris Karloff and animated by cartoon legend Chuck Jones, it’s an award-winning Who-roast-beast-feast of a holiday classic!



Click here for details


8 Tips to Help You Save Money this Christmas

It’s the time of year when many of us are thinking with our hearts as opposed to with our heads. We allow our hearts to do the shopping, decorating, wrapping, and giving without consulting our heads, a.k.a. logic & reason. Then in January our heads are back in the game and have to live with the consequences our hearts made via bank accounts and credit card statements. Not this year! Here are 8 tips that will help satisfy the warmth of the heart and logic/reason of the mind/head.


8 Tips to Help You Save Money this Christmas

1. Look for FREE Christmas Activities and Events Going on in the Community


  • Did you know the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo offers one FREE weekend visit…and free parking.
  • Holidays in the Manor House at Wildwood Metropark is a FREE fun family event…children will enjoy participating in the scavenger hunt as they tour the rooms adorn with festive themes, dress up in the props provided in the photo booth room, take a quick lighted stroll, & warm up by the fire while enjoying a complimentary s’more!!
  • Barnes & Noble Stores (Fallen Timbers & Franklin Park)has FREE Holiday themed Storytime’s & activity that follows on Saturdays in December at 11am

2. Don’t partake in the lethal combination of Craft/Hobby store & Pinterest-Stick to a List!

  • When you walk into any craft store you are greeted by adorable holiday décor that practically screams, “Take me home”!! You may have entered the store looking for just a throw pillow but you are leaving with a cart full of goodies, all color coordinated, & too adorable to pass up! What’s worse is if you “accidently” click Pinterest while in said craft store, it is the worst enabler! Exercise self-control this Christmas…make a list before entering a craft/hobby store and stick to it and NEVER click on Pinterest when in a craft store, do your research before you arrive and save a pic of the project.

3. Reuse Christmas Decoration

  • As a child I recall fond memories of helping my parents get out the Christmas decorations each year…the ornaments, stuffed animals, etc. There was something so special about unpacking even the wreath from Christmas past, especially when we moved. It helped make the new house a home because with that wreath came all the beautiful memories from past Christmases spent at our old home. Somewhere along the way we have lost the importance of tradition when it comes to Christmas décor and perhaps tip #2 has a lot to do with it. But this year why not save money and build on the memories with your children by reusing last year’s decorations.8tipstosavemoney3
  • But what about the live Christmas trees? Okay, so maybe you will need to spend a little on Christmas décor if your family opts for a live tree. Our family enjoys the experience of selecting and cutting down our own tree. We go to Samarian Hidden Tree Farm; they have a great selection and a great price, all trees are $40 (cash only).

4. Wear Clothing that is in Your Closet

  • There is no reason to get all new Christmas clothing, shoes, etc. every year when you already have Sunday best in your closet.

5. Host a Simple Gathering

  • Throwing a Christmas party is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work and money. This year throw a simple Christmas gathering, invite friends over for dessert, have a Sundae bar and/or Hot Coca bar and request that each friend bring a specific topping/sweet to share. This way all you have to have ready when guest arrive is hot cocoa and/or ice cream and serving dishes. And what’s more you get to actually enjoy your party instead of constantly running back and forth checking of food.8tipstosavemoney4
  • Why not add to the entertainment and spread the Holiday savings, make your party a White Elephant party. Have guest wrap a gently used item from home to swap. Not familiar with While elephant? Click on link,

6. Take your own Family Christmas Portrait

  • Don’t pay a dime for a Christmas Portrait sitting fee! Take your own with a tripod and timer on your camera and/or phone.
  • Meet up with another family at a park or other beautiful backdrop and take turns taking pics of each other’s family.

7. Re-think the Christmas Card

  • Just send a virtual Christmas card to friends for free…Smilebox even has music!
  • Only purchase a small about of Christmas cards for the loved ones who are not on Facebook or Social media. Chances are most relatives are seeing adorable pics of your munchkins on a daily basis, so you could simply add your Christmas pics to your page to share. But there are those few who are not on social media who do still enjoy receiving a Christmas card. Just order 10-25 cards…look for deals online. This year I ordered a bunch of items from Shutterfly and received 10 free cards.8tipstosavemoney5
  • Have children help make Christmas cards from items in your arts & craft container and then print off your Christmas picture (that you had a friend take, of your family wearing clothing that was already in closets 😉 ) at Walgreen, Meijer, etc. and place photo inside the homemade card. Loved ones will appreciate the personalized touch and you will save money, win-win!

8. Implement the rule of 3 for children’s gifts-Want, Need, & Share

  • Make a list of 3 items to purchase for each child and stick with the list, no impulse buys! Purchase children one item they want, one item they need, and an item to share. Ideas for items to share, games for family game nights, puzzles, Lego bricks, movies for family movie nights, and/or one of those craft kids.8tipstosavemoney6
  • Remind children that Christmas is Jesus’s birthday, not theirs and that we should be thankful and appreciative for any items under the Christmas tree. It also helps if adults focus more on the excitement of giving gifts rather than receiving, model the behavior you wish to see in your children.