How to Celebrate Safe in Missoula this Holiday Season

How to Celebrate Safe in Missoula this Holiday Season

The holiday season is a magical time in Missoula, as twinkling lights decorate downtown streets and a blanket of snow decorates the surrounding hills. We take a step back to appreciate everything we have, and look forward to a new year (and new ski season) to come.

Of course, this year is anything but ordinary. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we gather and celebrate, and many of our beloved holiday traditions must be put on hold for the safety of those around us. But that doesn't mean the holidays are on hold altogether—Missoula is still packed with safe ways to celebrate all season long.

Spot Downtown Decorations

There's nothing quite like the view of twinkling holiday lights reflecting off the Clark Fork River, and you can count on a festive Missoula this holiday season. The tree by the XXXXs on Higgins will glow brightly this year, with 6,000 bulbs strung rather than the usual 2,000, and you'll find garlands and lights decorating the streets all the way  from Hellgate Highschool to the XXXX's. 

Support Small Business

Put your money where your heart is and shop small in Missoula. Many of our local businesses had a tough year due to widespread shutdowns, and it's up to us to give the gift of giving back this holiday season. Challenge yourself to keep your holiday shopping as local as possible this year! Many Missoula businesses are making it easier than ever by offering curbside pickup, online shopping, by-appointment shopping for small groups, and of course the go-to stocking stuffer that never fails: gift cards.

  • Small businesses throughout downtown Missoula are offering extended hours and holiday promotions for this year's Small Business Saturday! Find out when and where.
  • Southgate Mall is holding the Missoula Valley Winter Market every Wednesday from 4:30-7:00pm in the old Lucky's Market building, running November 25, 2020 - April 21, 2021.

Join the Festivities From a Distance

Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees has been a cherished all-ages event in Missoula for over 20 years now, and this year will be no exception. However, the Downtown Missoula Partnership will be making some adjustments in order to keep our community as safe as possible:

"With a focus on community health and inclusivity, the Downtown Missoula Partnership has pivoted the 2020 Festival of Trees to a multi-space, multi-day Tour of Trees with opportunities to win one of 10 designer-decorated trees this holiday season. Many of the trees will be viewable from outside of the businesses, and all of the hosts will have COVID-safe protocols in place, including required distancing of six feet, face coverings, and increased sanitization protocols. Public viewing of the trees is available during business hours from Friday, Nov. 27 through Sunday, Dec. 6, and everyone is encouraged to stay in small groups with their current close contacts."

Participating locations to check out downtown:

Find all the details you need to know about buying tree raffle tickets, what else you'll find at each location, and how to take home a Teddy Bear Tea Kit here

Parade of Lights

Catch the 18th annual Parade of Lights with a twist on Saturday, December 5. Take-home activities will replace the usual kid-friendly activities around town, and the parade itself will take on an innovative and safe new form by offering stationary floats you can drive past along Campus Drive. Find everything you need to know here.  

Window Decorating Contest

20+ locations in Missoula will decorate their storefront for a chance to win! Walk or drive by from November 27 - December 15 and vote for your favorite online.

Southgate Mall Traditions

The kids can still get their yearly photos with Santa at Southgate, while avoiding the line and making a reservation ahead of time! In addition to Photos With Santa, Southgate Mall will also be helping Missoulians in need with their Wish Tree—find more details here.

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