Families outlay a lot of cash this season, from gifts to holiday outings. Parents can find some monetary relief in these fun activities, which don't carry a hefty price tag. All are free or...

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Families outlay a lot of cash this season, from gifts to holiday outings. Parents can find some monetary relief in these fun activities, which don’t carry a hefty price tag. All are free or by donation.

Seattle ongoing activities

Teddy Bear Suite

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Visit the decorated suite with dozens of teddy bears, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily through Dec. 25, Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St., Seattle; donations accepted for Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, 206-621-1700.

Gingerbread Village

Come be amazed by the gingerbread houses and holiday creations cooked up by local architectural firms and Sheraton chefs, daily through Dec. 27 in the lobby of Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers, 1400 Sixth Ave., Seattle; donations for the Northwest Chapter of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation requested, 206-621-9000.

Holiday Trolley

Save those little legs and pick up the Wells Fargo Pony Express Trolley, which stops at Westlake Park, Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square and other downtown locations, with “elves” on board to guide visitors through the downtown area, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 19, Seattle, 206-623-0340 or www.downtownseattle.com.

Seattle Center

The Seattle Center House offers lots of free entertainment and activities this season. Kids always love watching the Holiday Train zip around its display, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily through Dec. 30. Special entertainment will include a Holiday Band Concert from Navy Brass Band and Choir, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday; Seattle’s Best Jazz, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 17; Kwanzaa: An African-American Holiday Celebration, 2-4 p.m. Dec. 26; and Sugar Snow: An Aerial Performance with Circus Contraption, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29 and 30.

At the International Fountain, join a winter solstice celebration with storytelling, crafts and art performances, 4 p.m. Dec. 18-19. 206-684-7200 or www.seattlecenter.com.

Volunteer Park Conservatory

The warm, humid conservatory hosts a holiday exhibit through Jan. 3, with a harpist performing holiday music from 1 to 2 p.m. Dec. 18, Volunteer Park, 1400 E. Galer St., Seattle, 206-684-4743.

Area events

Local libraries

A Santa visit, puppet shows, music and holiday-themed storytimes will entertain children. Call your local library, or for a listing of regional events, visit the King County Library System’s Web site at www.kcls.org/programs/newsprog.cfm.

Christmas Ship Festival

It costs to ride on the ships, but watching the decorated boats and listening to the choirs from shore is free. Some beach locations also host bonfires. Find the scheduled stops at 206-623-1445, www.argosycruises.com.

Green Lake Pathway Of Lights

More than 4,500 luminarias will line the 3-mile pathway around Green Lake, with caroling groups at various points, 6-9 tonight, 7201 East Green Lake Dr. N., Seattle, 206-684-0780.


Check your local church for free holiday performances, or visit one of these.

“And Then There Was Light” will play at 7:30 p.m. today, 3 and 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, Westminster Chapel, 13646 N.E. 24th St., Bellevue; free, but tickets required (425-460-3717).

The Seattle Lesbian and Gay Chorus will lead a singalong as part of a silent auction from 3-7 p.m. tomorrow, Stuart Hill All Pilgrims Christian Church, 500 Broadway E., Seattle, 206-860-7542.

Multiple choirs, soloists, ensembles and orchestras perform “A Joyful Celebration” at 6 p.m. tomorrow , Cedar Park Church, 16300 112th Ave. N.E., Bothell, 425-488-3600 or www.cedarpark.org.

The First Free Methodist Church will host a Christmas concert at 7 p.m. tomorrow, 3200 Third Ave. W., Seattle, 206-281-2240 or www.ffmc.org.

Bellevue activities

Design in Light

Families can stroll along the Northeast Sixth Street pedestrian corridor to see light sculptures designed by regional architect and engineering firms through Jan. 2. 425-451-2455 or www.magicseason.com.

Garden d’Lights

This botanical display made from thousands of lights runs 5-9:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 1, Bellevue Botanical Garden, 12001 Main St. Donations encouraged. 425-451-3755 or www.bellevuebotanical.org.

Bellevue Philharmonic

Come to a free family holiday concert at 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Wintergarden at Bellevue Place, 10500 N.E. Eighth St., Bellevue, 425-455-4171 or www.bellevuephil.org.

— Compiled by Stephanie Dunnewind, Times staff reporter