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While most people picture snow-covered trees, twinkling with lights during the holidays, we do things a little differently in Florida. Christmas Celebrations in Florida offer a unique advantage to enjoy warm-weather activities mixed with over-the-top decorations. Where else will you see palm trees with lights and ornaments after all?
If you want traditional holiday activities while visiting Florida, there are several ways to get your Christmas-y fix. Here are 8 ways to have a Christmas Celebration in Florida.
Theme Park Events
Perhaps the best way to experience Christmas celebrations in Florida, especially on a grand scale, is to be at the theme parks. Walt Disney World, Universal and Sea World offer several holiday events sure to put you in the Christmas Spirit.
Universal has two big events going on during December. The first is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Select floats and balloons from the 90-year-old parade are brought from New York to Orlando and make their way through Universal Studios daily. The second big event is Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure. Visit the Grinch in Whoville as well as watch a spectacular show based on How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It is beautifully done.
Walt Disney World
A whole post could be dedicated to what you can do in the Disney theme parks during the holidays. Each park has it’s own Christmas themed events. My favorites are the Stories around the World at Epcot and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (a separate ticket event) at the Magic Kingdom. Another popular favorite is the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.
Walt Disney World Hotels
Even if you’re not going to the Disney Theme Parks, you can visit any of the hotel displays for free. See the life-size gingerbread house and Victorian-style Christmas tree at the Grand Floridian, the chocolate carousel at the BoardWalk or the intricate Christmas village trains at the Yacht and Beach Club resorts. One hidden gem favorite, visit the Fort Wilderness Campground and wander through the camping lots. “Residents” go all out in decorating their RVs and campsites with lights and inflatable figures.
Sea World also has a few Christmas celebrations for the season. One of my favorites is the Sea of Trees light show that takes place across the lagoon. Sea World also has an ice skating show… outside…for the holidays. Impressive considering what it must take to keep the ice frozen! O Wondrous Night is their shining event telling the tale of Jesus’ birth, complete with exquisite puppetry and song.
St. Augustine Lights
The St. Augustine Night of Lights takes place from mid-November to the end of January in a twinkling spectacle of over 3 million lights spread throughout the historic city. This is an event you’ll want to spend the night in to fully explore and soak up not just the lights, but the extraordinary culture. I would highly recommend a stay at a BNB for the most authentic experience, and Casa De Suenos fits that bill perfectly with the convenient downtown location and Spanish architecture.
What I notice more about the holidays in Florida is the number of boat parades. With expansive shoreline and thousands of inland waterways and lakes, there’s plenty of boats to go around. Simply search for light up boat parade and whatever city you’re in or wish to be in and you’ll find a unique parade you can take part in.
Ice at Gaylord Palms
If you’re really in the mood for cold, head on over to Ice at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee. This winter wonderland is a frozen oasis filled with hand-carved ice sculptures, ice slides and the best part Charlie Brown characters. The room is kept at a chilled 9 degrees and to keep the two million pounds of ice frozen. There’s a host of events and special pricing that makes this an all-day destination.
More Christmas Celebrations in Florida
You’re in Florida after all… which makes enjoying the holidays easy on your travels. No matter where or what you do, there’s sure to be something to make the holidays special. Be sure to check out the local visitor’s bureaus for ideas on both their Instagram and website event pages for even more Christmas celebrations in Florida.
Need even more? Read More Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Florida