JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's the most wonderful time of the year! Are you already in the holiday spirit? First Coast News has put together a list of holiday events that will delight even The Grinch himself.
From stunning light displays, to themed events and photo-ops with Santa, we think yule love these events a latke.
Have an event you'd like to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now through Jan. 9 - "Dazzling Nights" at Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens - Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens will transform into a magical wonderland this holiday season featuring a million dazzling lights, shining forests, magical displays and beautiful sculptures during “Dazzling Nights,” a family-friendly adventure that gives guests the opportunity to embark on a three-quarter-mile interactive holiday experience. The 120-acre Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens will be transformed into a stunning holiday wonderland with lights, music and interactive elements. Tickets are $22 for weekdays or $25 for weekends. Timed entry takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For tickets and information, visit www.dazzlingjax.com.
Now through Jan. 31, 2022 - The 28th Annual Nights of Lights dazzles with more than 3 million lights adorning every corner of the historic district for two months. This award-winning holiday lights display runs from November 20, 2021, to January 31, 2022, in historic St. Augustine. During the seasonal display, businesses downtown stay open later, letting you dine in view of the lights and browse the shops of the decorated buildings. The trains and trolleys offer special seasonal tours that take you through the best areas, and there are also a variety of specialty tours — everything from walking to electric cart tours, and even tours to see the lights from the water and from the air. Check out our complete list of Nights of Lights tours and all the other holiday events happening in St. Augustine.
Now - Jan 1 - Deck the Chairs in Jax Beach - Deck The Chairs was founded in 2013 to serve the Beaches community by providing a free, six-week holiday event promoting art in public space and creating opportunity for children’s arts education and outreach. Visitors from all over the world walk through the beautiful seaside park space and enjoy 40 decorated chairs, nightly light shows, weekend stage programming as well as several major art installations including Beaches Go Green Octopus Garden.
Now - Jan. 2, 2022 - Jekyll Island’s Holly Jolly holiday season runs from Nov. 26 to Jan. 2. With over half a million light bulbs, 35,000+ lights on the Great Tree, 712 firework shells, 15 Santa sightings and so much more… this little island will be transformed into the brightest isle on the coast. Attractions include Peppermint Land, Holidays in History, Mailbox on Main and Fireworks displays. This year, guests can enjoy seeing all of the lights through an open-air trolley tour on select nights throughout the season. More info here: jekyllisland.com/holiday.
Now until after Christmas - Girvin Road Light Display - Bumper-to-bumper traffic in the Blackhawk Bluff neighborhood off of Girvin Road around the holidays is nothing new. For about the last couple of decades, the community in Jacksonville's East Arlington area boasts some of the best holiday lights displays in the state attracting families from all over the First Coast.
Now to Jan. 31. - Nights of Lights - The city of St. Augustine will turn into a dazzling holiday display on Nov. 20, and stay lit until Jan. 31, 2022. More than 3 million lights will be strung on every corner of the historic district for two months. More info here.
Now to Dec. 22 - 19th Annual Gingerbread Extravaganza - The 19th Annual Gingerbread Extravaganza kicked off Saturday, December 4. The event is a fundraiser for the Jacksonville Historical Society.
The event includes a display of handmade gingerbread creations; trees lavishly decorated by the Junior League of Jacksonville; a holiday shop with baked goods, books, and gift items; a scavenger hunt, a silent auction, and an online contest to vote for the People’s Choice award.
The display is open Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. for school groups, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. for seniors and those with compromised health conditions and 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. for the general public. On Saturday, the display is open between 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. on Sundays. You can reserve a ticket here.
Dec 1, 2. - Light the Way Home Festival of Trees - Lightner Museum, 75 King Street, St Augustine. A festive wonderland of themed trees and wreaths decorated by local churches, individuals, groups and businesses will be on display in the entrance foyer of The Lightner Museum. This is sure to be a magical event for the whole family, featuring visits from Santa, a Letters to Santa mailbox and holiday music. More here.
Dec. 2 - FSCJ Artist Series presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts - Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the stage in this popular and dazzling family holiday spectacular. The annual tradition wraps a whimsical, Broadway-style musical infused with contemporary circus artistry into the ultimate holiday gift for the entire family! As lights dim and music plays, a fantastical cast of holiday storybook characters come to life presenting an elaborate wonderland, invoking the stories behind a child’s eye as they dream on the most magical of nights. Ballerinas, nutcrackers, snowmen, penguins, reindeer, ethereal aerialists, gingerbread people, carolers and colossal ornaments fly, balance, juggle and stretch imaginations. Accomplished artists and circus acts will be gift-wrapped in over 300 imaginative and one-of-a-kind costume designs. Broadway singers perform original music along with new twists on seasonal favorites such as “Deck the Halls,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Jingle Bell Rock." The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.
Dec. 3 - JaxParks presents "Elf" at Boone Park - The City of Jacksonville's JaxParks team is hosting a free screening of "Elf" in Boone Park, 3700 Park St. The movie starts at 5:30 p.m. Bring your chairs, blankets and the whole family to enjoy free popcorn and cocoa!
Dec. 3 - The Christmas Classics, Movie Night in the Park featuring "The Grinch" (2018) - Enjoy complimentary popcorn and hot chocolate and purchase additional food or drinks from food trucks on site at Southside United Methodist Church, 3120 Hendricks Ave. in Jacksonville, from 6 to 9 p.m. with the movie starting at 6:30 p.m. The event is free to the public and hosted by Brightway Insurance Agency. Attendees should bring their own seating and blankets. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will be on site to provide security, with safety fencing around the event.
Dec. 4 - Green Cove Springs Christmas Parade - The largest nighttime Christmas parade in North Florida is taking place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, along US-17. The grand marshal this year is 2021 Florida Principal of the Year Jen Halter. There are more than 60 parade entries so far, with more expected, including marching bands, decorated floats, car clubs, fire trucks and more. The parade's theme is 12 Days of Christmas. For more information, including entering the parade, click here.
Dec. 4 - The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island Holiday Breakfast with Santa 2021 at Jacksonville - 8:30 AM - Sat Dec 4, 7:00 PM. The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, Amelia City. More info here.
Dec. 10 - The Christmas Classics, Movie Night in the Park featuring "Elf" - Enjoy complimentary popcorn and hot chocolate and purchase additional food or drinks from food trucks on site at Southside United Methodist Church, 3120 Hendricks Ave. in Jacksonville, from 6 to 9 p.m. with the movie starting at 6:30 p.m. The event is free to the public and hosted by Brightway Insurance Agency. Attendees should bring their own seating and blankets. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will be on site to provide security, with safety fencing around the event.
Dec. 10-12, 17-19 and 22-24 & 26 - ZOOLights returns bringing holiday cheer to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens - The event is known for transforming Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens into a magical holiday light experience. During this event, the animals get to relax for the winter break, while the lights take center stage. Tickets must be purchased online, in advance. The event sells out every year, so organizers encourage those interested to secure their tickets ahead of time. Click here to learn more about ZOOLights or to purchase tickets.
Dec. 11 - Kids Christmas Party, sponsored by the Jacksonville Beach Police Department - Kids can enjoy free Christmas photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, free hot dogs thanks to American Legion Post 129, crafts, games, Chris the Balloon Guy, music, fingerpainting and displays including firetrucks, SWAT van with tools, ATVs and a police car. There will also be a boy's and girl's bicycle raffle, donated by Target. The party is at Turner Ace Hardware, 784 Marsh Landing Parkway, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dec. 11 - Latkes and Vodkas 2021 - Latkes, desserts, casino games and an open bar! (For ages 21+ only.) Outside in the Portico & Front Parking Lot. $36 for Adults $25 for Young Professionals (21-30) $50 at the door. Sponsor a casino table for $500 (includes 4 admissions) Sponsor a specialty drink (i.e. dizzy dreidel or chocolate gelt) $360. More information here.
Dec. 11 - Very Shrimpy Christmas - The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are inviting families to kick off the holiday season with the fourth annual Very Shrimpy Christmas event presented by The Law Offices of Ron Sholes P.A. from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 11 at 121 Financial Ballpark. Fans can enjoy free pictures with Santa Claus, holiday crafts, vendor tables as 121 Financial Ballpark screens holiday movie classics. Concessions, holiday treats and refreshments will be available for purchase. Admission is only $5 per person.
Dec. 15 - Holiday Pops Concert by the Gainesville Orchestra at Flagler College - The Gainesville Orchestra will perform favorite holiday music from 7:30 to 9 p.m. in Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College, 14 Granada St., in downtown St. Augustine. Tickets include free parking at the St. Johns City Council on Aging, with a complimentary trolley to and from the venue. The event is held during Nights of Lights, a perfect way to view some of the lights downtown while riding the shuttle. Guests are invited to sing along to well loved tunes, including Strauss' "Die Fledermaus" overture, Disney's "Aladdin," selections from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite," Rimsky-Korsakov's "Christmas Eve" and exciting holiday music from around the world like "Sleigh Ride" and "White Christmas." Pre-show entertainment includes an acrobat/juggler circus performer. Tickets are $55 per guest or $10 for student and children's tickets. For tickets and information, click here.
Dec. 18 - The Cool Side of Yuletide: Drive-In Holiday Concert by the Jacksonville Children's Chorus - The JCC is hosting its annual holiday concert with a special twist for the second year in a row! Last year, the concert transitioned to a drive-in format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and audiences expressed that it was a favorite, so the chorus is bringing back the drive-in experience for another year. The show will take place at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds on Saturday, Dec. 18. Gates open at 6 p.m. for guests to enjoy food trucks, a beautiful holiday light display and photos with Santa Claus before the performance begins at 7:30 p.m. The choirs will perform all your holiday favorites, and there will be sing-alongs for the family. Tickets are $60 per vehicle, no matter the number of individuals, so pack up the van and bring the whole family! Click here to purchase tickets.
Dec. 18 - City of Lake City Holiday Market - The City of Lake City will have its Annual Holiday Market in Downtown Olustee Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be vendors selling local honey, arts and crafts, soaps, candles and holiday gifts, along with food trucks and holiday goodies. Start your holiday season with this downtown community event right in the heart of Lake City! Address: 169 North Marion Avenue, Lake City, FL 32055
Dec. 19 - How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Presented by the Florida Theatre and CSX - The Florida Theatre and CSX present How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), to benefit Feeding Northeast Florida. Admission is FREE for every adult and child with a gift of canned or nonperishable food. How the Grinch Stole Christmas begins at 2 p.m. Runtime is 104 min. The food will be received by Feeding Northeast Florida, our community’s food bank and a partner of Feeding America. For more information, click here.