During this heavily commercialized time of the year, it’s helpful to remember that most of the very best memories cost nothing. Especially creative family activities. No events in this week’s list (below) cost more than $10—and most are free. Make heartfelt homemade faerie gifts, travel back in time and experience the holidays pioneer style, or join fellow Portlanders in our downtown “living room” to hear what it sounds like when more than 225 tubas make beautiful music together.  Here’s a hint: it’s much louder than jingle bells. 

West Side

21st Annual Tuba Christmas (pictured)
Downtown will pulse with the melodic sounds of big brass led by Chuck Bolton as over 225 tubas play in unison at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Sat. 1:30. Free. All ages. Event details. 

East Side

Spielwerk Gift Werkshop
Make handmade felt and wooden faeries full of magic nestled into a little matchbox bed. Give to your friends or make a special friend for yourself! Made of simple materials–we’ll cut them out, glue them up and sew them up right here together! Sweet little felt bodies and natural wooden faces. Registration required. Fri. 4:00 pm. $5.00 per fairy. 5 and up. Event details.

American Indian Mask Making
Learn about Northwest Coast Native American culture through masks. Create your own masks while artist Maranee Sanders tells stories and shares symbolism. Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program. Sat. 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Albina Library. Free. All. Event details.

Winter Nature Crafts Workshop
Join Portland Parks and Recreation for a hands-on Winter Nature Crafts workshop for the whole family. You’ll learn how to identify some of the evergreens that can be found locally, create your own tabletop arrangement with fresh evergreens, and decorate your own tree cookie or sweetgum mini-wreath ornament for the holidays. Sun. 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Mt. Tabor Yard. $5/child, $8/family. 6-11 without parents; younger kids with parents. Event details. 

Suburbs

Santa Brunch
Get into the holiday spirit by attending the 9th annual Santa Brunch. This family event is filled with fun activities, kids crafts (targeted to ages 3-8), a silent auction (fantastic items!), dance and music performances, coffee, brunch buffet, photos with Santa and more! Sun. 10:30 – 2:00 pm. West Linn High School. $10. (Children 2 and under are free). Event details. 

Out of town

Country Christmas at Foster Farm
Enjoy a quiet Victorian Christmas, Oregon style! Santa’s in the parlor, free hot cider in the dining room, live music and hosts in period clothing give you the authentic Pioneer Christmas experience. Trees, wreaths, books, games and toys for sale in the store. Sat-Sun. 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Free. All. Event details.

— Cheyenne Terbrueggen