Here's a look at some of the fun Christmas stuff that's coming up in the weeks ahead. To add an event to the list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
"A Victorian Christmas" at The Crosley: Powel Crosley Estate, 8374 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Enjoy an evening of festive holiday carols and tales at the Crosley's "A Victorian Christmas," featuring interactive theater including "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens in the Great Room, "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry in the Bayfront room, "The Little Matchstick Girl" by Hans Christian Anderson and other holiday stories in the library and a children's story "The Tailor of Gloucester" by Beatrix Potter and other holiday delights in Gwendolyn's room. Performances will be on select dates through Dec. 21. Tickets: $15-$25. Information: 941-722-3244.
Artful Holiday party and sale: ArtCenter Manatee, 209 Ninth St., Bradenton
ArtCenter Manatee will host an Artful Holiday party and sale 5-7 p.m. Dec. 11 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 12-13 featuring hand-crafted art and holiday items. Information: 941-746-2862.
Christmas on Main Street: Main Street, Lakewood Ranch
Celebrate the Christmas season with the sights and sounds of the season 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18 featuring carriage rides, carolers, lighting displays and Santa strolling the street. The event is free and open to the public. Information: lakewoodranch.com/mainstreet.
Ho! Ho! Ho! North Pole Express: Florida Railroad Museum, 12210 83rd St. E., Parrish
Sing along with carolers on the North Pole Express on your way to the North Pole where you can pay a visit to Santa and enjoy a toy activity tent, a model railroad display, listen to storytelling, make reindeer food, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies around a cozy bonfire with a multitude of lighted displays. North Pole departure times are 5:30 and 7 p.m. Dec. 11-14, and 18-22. Tickets: $24-$59 adults, $20-$52 children ages 1-11, children younger than 1 are admitted free. Private caboose is available for up to 16 travelers. Information: 941-776-0906 or frrm.org.
Holidays Around The Ranch: Main Street, Lakewood Ranch
Watch the lighting of the tree, work on crafts in Santa's workshop, ice skate on an acrylic ice rink with skates provided, watch children's dance and music groups and welcome Santa's arrival along with other festive activities 6-9 p.m. Dec. 12. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission is free. Information: lakewoodranch.com/mainstreet.
Bradenton Jingle Bell Run/Walk: 408 12th St. W., Bradenton
Get in the spirit this holiday season at the Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run/Walk, beginning with registration at 5 p.m. Dec. 12. The 5K starts at 7 p.m., the 1-mile at 7:10 p.m. The event will feature entertainment, many kid's activities, a holiday-themed costume contest, a silent auction and much more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. All participants will receive an official long-sleeve Jingle Bell T-shirt, goodie bag and jingle bells. Information: 941-708-3901 or email@example.com.
Anna Maria Island Privateers Christmas Parade: Bayfront Park to Bradenton Beach
The Anna Maria Island Privateers' Christmas Parade will kick off 10 a.m. Dec. 13 at the north end of the island and will travel down the length of the island to Coquina Beach Park where, in keeping with tradition, Santa will be on the Pirate's ship to hear each child's "wish list." Each child will receive a handful of fun pirate goodies and free hotdogs and sodas for all. Information: amiprivateers.org.
Annual Cortez Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade: various locations, Bradenton Beach
The 11th annual Cortez Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade will be Dec. 13 beginning with a lights on countdown between 6:15-6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at Moore's Stone Crab restaurant after which the boats will sail the intercoastal water to finish at the Seafood Shack Marina. The event featuring multiple boats decorated with Christmas lights and other decorations. A mandatory skippers' meeting will be 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Bridge Tender Inn, 135 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach. There will be prizes for the best decorated boat in each category. Registration fee is a toy or a donation to Toys for Tots. Information on start time and registration: thecortezyachtclub.org.
Annual Christmas on Bridge Street: Historic Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Bridge Street will change into a Winter Wonderland 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 13 featuring live holiday music, special performances, kids activities and children's craft and cookies bazaar, lighted boat parade, Christmas crafts and baked goods, hot chocolate bar, live music by Russ and Brandi, Savannah Brady and Friends, and much more. Children interested in having a booth at the craft and cookies bazaar will be charged a nominal fee based on their grade level, but will be allowed to keep all the money they earn. Space is limited. Information: 941-713-3105.
Annual Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade: Manatee River, Bradenton
Boats of all sizes will be lit up with Christmas lights and other holiday decorations at the 17th annual Bradenton Yacht Club's Manatee River Holiday Boat Parade starting with "Lights On" 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 and a judging at the Bradenton Yacht Club, then sailing the Manatee River, passing the downtown Bradenton area, returning to the BYC for the awards ceremony. Public viewing is free from many areas, including Pier 22 and alongside the Green Bridge in Bradenton, and the Regatta Point Marina and Riverhouse Reef and Grill in Palmetto. There will be a mandatory boat captain meeting for participating boats 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Riverhouse Reef and Grill, 995 Riverside Drive, Palmetto. Information: bradentonyachtclub.com.
"Sounds of the Season": Old Main Street, Bradenton
Join the City of Bradenton and the Del Couch Music Education Foundation as they present the "Sounds of the Season," 5-10 p.m. Dec. 13, an old-fashioned family friendly, community-wide event celebrating the holiday season. There will be carolers, performances by local musicians, real snow and a showing of the movie "Frozen" at 6 p.m. Bring chairs or blankets. The event is free. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: cityofbradenton.com.
Holmes Beach annual Festival of Fine Arts and Fine Crafts: City Hall Field, 5801 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach
Anna Maria Island Art League's 27th Annual Winterfest Festival of fine Arts and Fine Crafts will be 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dec. 13-14 featuring local, regional, national and international artists and crafters offering a wide variety of media. There will be "A Young at Art" exhibit with submissions from Elementary and Middle School students, live music, face painting and more. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: 941-778-2099 or islandartleague.com.
Ballet "The Nutcracker": Manatee High School, Davis Center for the Performing Arts, 902 33rd St. Ct. W., Bradenton
The Bradenton Ballet Repertory, Dance Theatre of Bradenton, will perform the full "Nutcracker" ballet at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and 2 p.m. Dec. 14. Tickets: $18-$25. Information: 941-840-0863 or dancetheatreofbradenton.org.
"Miracle in the Maze": Dakin Dairy, 30771 Betts Road, Myakka City
Follow the star and let the shepherds help you find the new born Jesus and a special message from Joseph and Mary to the "Miracle in the Maze" 5-9 p.m. Dec. 6, 13 and 20. Visitors can experience a taste of Bethlehem at the Inn serving a biblical dinner for $8 or order from the Farm Market Café, or shop for unique gifts in the Bethlehem market. The market and nativity scene can also be visited 5-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays through Dec. 20. Admission: $15, free to children ages 1 and younger. A part of the proceeds will benefit Harvest House Centers. Information: 941-322-2802 or dakindairyfarms.com.
"Plantation Christmas": Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, 3708 Patten Ave., Ellenton
The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Florida Division, and the Florida Park Service will host the Plantation Christmas Open House 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 14 featuring lifestyle demonstrations with volunteers wearing costumes reminiscent of the 1840-1870 era and the 4th Florida Volunteer Infantry dressed in military uniforms re-enacting a Confederate encampment. The mansion will be lavishly decorated and there will be music, crafts and fun for everyone. Admission is free. Information: 941-723-4536.
A "1914 Florida Cracker Christmas": Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Ave. E., Bradenton
Experience the charm of a holiday festival at "A 1914 Florida Cracker Christmas," 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 14 featuring family-friendly entertainment, heritage artisans, make-and-take crafts for adults and youth, arts and crafts vendors, seasonal exhibits, vintage silent films and a Victorian Santa "Father Christmas." Musical entertainment includes Southeast High School Chamber Orchestra, Bashaw Elementary School Chorus, Bella Danza Ballroom and Dance Academy, Gulf Coast Sandpiper Barbershop Chorus EZ Keys Quarter, Peace Lutheran School Junior Chimes, and the Palm View First Baptist Church Choir. The park will be decorated in seasonal colors and exquisite Victorian accents. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission: $5 adults, free to children ages 12 and younger. Information: 941-741-4076 or manateeclerk.com/historical/manateevillage.
Canine Christmas Festival and Adoptathon: Bishop Animal Shelter, 5781 21st Ave. W., Bradenton
The 16th annual Canine Christmas Festival will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 15 featuring a doggy fun zone, food trucks, vendors, pet photos with Santa an a dog fashion show and costume contest. Live music will be provided by Kim Betts and the Gamble Creek Band. Admission: $3 adults, children ages 12 and younger are admitted free. Information: caninechristmas.com.
"Star of Bethlehem": South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Palmetto
The "Star of Bethlehem" planetarium presentation will be 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18. The presentation allows the public to explore the question "What was the Star of Bethlehem?" Was the star a comet, a supernova or something entirely else? Howard Hochhalter, one of South Florida Museum's staff astronomers, will lead attendees on a journey to Jerusalem of some 2,000 years ago using the Planetarium's ability to travel through time and space. Tickets: $5 members, $8 nonmembers. Information: 941
Breakfast with Santa: Polo Grill, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch
Join Santa for breakfast 8:30-10:30 a.m. Dec. 20 featuring a hearty breakfast buffet, music, face painting and photos with the jolly old elf himself. Cost: $17.50 adults, $12 children ages 3-12, $20 at the door. Information: 941-782-0899 or pologrillandbar.com.
Main Street Live New Year's Eve: along Old Main Street, Bradenton
Ring in the new year at downtown's most popular street party "Main Street Live," beginning at 4 p.m.-midnight Dec. 31 featuring live music, street vendors and more. Street closes to traffic at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Food and beverages will be available for sale. Information: realizebradenton.com.
Annual Shamrock Shiver Charity Plunge: Gulf Drive and 12th Street South, Bradenton Beach
Clancy's Irish Pub will host the seventh annual Shamrock Shiver Charity Plunge at noon Jan. 1 followed by a Post Plunge Party at Clancy's Irish Pub, 6218 Cortez Road, Bradenton. There will be door prizes and live music by the Jack Tamburin Band. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Proceeds will benefit Caring for Children Charities. Information: (41-952-1109 or 941-794-2489.
Holiday Nights at Ca'd'Zan: John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
Explore Ca'd'Zan during Holiday Nights at Ca'd'Zan 5-8 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18. Dressed for the holidays, the Ca'd'Zan will feature festooning fireplace mantels, balconies, doors and a 10-foot tall Christmas tree in the Grand Court. The event is included with Art After 5 admission, free to museum members. Information: 941-359-5700 or ringling.org.
"HD at the Opera House: White Christmas": Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota
The Sarasota Opera will host "HD at the Opera House" featuring the 1954 Christmas movie classic "White Christmas" 7 p.m. Dec. 12 and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 13. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students. Information; 941-366-8450 or sarasotaopera.org.
Jungle Gardens Holiday Lights Spectacular Celebration: Sarasota Jungle Gardens, 3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
Get into the spirit of the season 6-9 p.m. Dec. 12-13, 19-24, 26-28 for fun family friendly holiday activities, a visit by Santa Claus, a "Candy Cane Lane," and one million lights decorating the pathways and surroundings of the gardens. Enjoy music and live entertainment, roast marshmallows, s'mores and hot dogs. Live entertainment takes place at 7 and 8 p.m. nightly and include magician-comedian Nathan Coe Marsh other others. A special holiday menu is available for $7.95 a person, child size meals are $5.95. Admission: $11 adults, $6 children ages 3-12, free for children ages 2 and younger. Information: 941-355-1112 or sarasotajunglegardens.com.
Annual Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade of Lights: Bayfront, Sarasota
The 29th annual Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade will be 6 p.m. Dec. 13 starting at City Island. The event features boats and vessels decorated with Christmas lights and holiday decorations. Best areas for viewing are Marina Jack Restaurant, Bayfront Park, City Island and Centennial Park. The Parade route has been expanded by an additional turn marker at the southwest side of Bayfront Park. All boats must now pass approximately one-third of the Sarasota Bay side of Bayfront Park within a few yards, to be considered for judging. The Bayfront Park spectator viewing area has been expanded to include the entire Northern tip of island near the fountain. Information: sarasotachristmasboatparade.com.
Hanukkah Story Time: Bookstore 1, 1359 Main St., Sarasota
Bookstore staffers will read aloud to children ages 3-6 year during this special Breakfast Serial Story Time, featuring Hanukkah tales and activities, 10:30 a.m. Dec. 13. Admission is free. Information: 941-365-7900
Red, White and Blue Christmas Fair: First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1031 S. Euclid, Sarasota
Shop at over 25 tables of gifts, paintings, jewelry, baked goods and more and have your picture taken with an original Tuskegee Airman, Dr. Marion "Wick" West, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 13. Admission is free. Information: 941-953-7044
Winterfest at the Mansion and the Sarasota Arts, Craft and Unique Gifts Show: Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
The annual Winterfest at the Mansion and the Sarasota Arts, Craft and Unique Gifts Show will be 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Dec. 13-14 featuring unique holiday arts and crafts by local, regional and national artists. Admission and parking are free. Information: sunsetboulevardpromotions.com.
Live Nativity Scene at Big Cat Habitat: 7107 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota
Enjoy the spirit of Christmas at the Big Cat Habitat hosting a full live nativity scene 12:30-4 p.m. Dec. 13-14 and 20-21. See animals in a close encounter of the exotic kind and browse the facility to learn about our exotic and endangered Siberian tigers, Royal Bengal tigers, African lions and rare white tigers. Admission: $15 adults, $7 children ages 3-12. Information: 941-371-6377 or bigcathabitat.org.
Santa Jaws at Mote Aquarium: 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota
Bring your camera and take photos with Santa's helper shark "Santa Jaws" noon-2 p.m. Dec. 13 and 20, featuring Mote Mascot Gilly the shark dressed up for the holidays. Visiting Santa Jaws is included with admission. Tickets: $19.75 adults, $18.75 seniors ages 65 and older, $14.75 children ages 4-12, free to children ages 0-3, free to Mote members. Information: 941-388-4441 or mote.org.
"Once Upon A Starry Christmas Night" annual Christmas concert: First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota
Enjoy the music of the season and the 23rd annual Christmas concert and community carol sing 7-9 p.m. Dec. 14. Admission: free will donation. Information: 941-955-0935.
Fourth annual "Snow Fest Sarasota": Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 Tamiami Trail S., Sarasota
"Snow Fest Sarasota" will be noon-10 p.m. Dec. 19-23 featuring giant snow slides, reindeer rides, skating rink, pictures with Santa, snowman building, giant snow globe, Live Santa's extravaganza shows, caroling, carnival, petting zoo, bounce house, pony rides, snow mountain with 100 tons of snow falling at the "Winter Wonderland" and music by DJ Grinch. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Admission is free. Parking: $5.
"Lights in Bloom": Marie Selby Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota
Sip on hot chocolate while enjoying life-size garden-themed holiday light displays, transforming Marie Selby Gardens into a tropical wonderland 6-9 p.m. nightly Dec. 19-23 and continues Dec. 26-29. Kids and kids-at-heart can harken back simpler times with the vintage-style wooden toys and games and other festive family-friendly activities. Admission: $17 adults, $6 children ages 6-11, free to members. Information: 941-366-5731 or selby.org.
"Greet the Light Winter Solstice Celebration:" The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota
Enjoy live entertainment and dancing during "Greet the Light Winter Solstice Celebration" in the fabulous courtyard at the Ringling Art Museum 7-11 p.m. Dec. 20. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Tickets: $10 members, $15 nonmembers. Information: 941-359-5700 or ringling.org.
Variety show "Tis The Magic Season": Sarasota Classic Car Museum, 5500 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Gypsy Allure, the Mistress of Magic, will present a unique Vegas style show "Tis The Magic Season" 8 p.m. Dec. 20, sprinkled with laughter, audience participation, illusions that will blow you away, and rare variety acts just in time for the Holidays. There will be a special vocal performance by Miss Mayven and a carnival executed by the most dangerous man in show business, Will Rotten. Tickets: $15-$25. Information: 941-351-2548 or gypsyallure.com.
Sailor Circus Holiday Spectacular: Sailor Circus, 2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota
Be transported as the world's longest running youth circus unleashes the power of The Enchanted Wand and leads a spectacular journey of circus arts entertainment guaranteed to captivate the entire family 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 27-28 and 30 and 7 p.m. Dec. 29. Travel through mystical lands and encounter magical creatures as the talented Sailor Circus Academy students perform amazing aerial acts, skilled unicycle stunts, incredible juggling feats, and so much more. The one-of-a-kind performance weaves an inspiring holiday story overflowing with all the magic of the season. Tickets: $18 adults, $12 children ages 12 and younger. Information: 941-366-0156 or circusarts.org.
St. Petersburg Holidays of the Arts: South Straub Park, 198 Bayshore Dr. NE., St. Petersburg
Enjoy purchasing art at The St. Petersburg Holiday of the Arts 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 20-21 featuring exquisite handmade and original artwork from local, regional and national artisans offering a variety of mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, metalwork, digital art, jewelry, glass, ceramics, woodworking and more. Admission is free. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Information: paragonartevents.com/stpete.
First Night St. Petersburg: various locations downtown, St. Petersburg
First Night is a family oriented New Year's Eve Celebration of the Arts bringing music, art and entertainment 4 p.m.-midnight Dec. 31. Participants can walk from venue to venue along St. Petersburg's busy, charming sidewalks, shops and over a hundred restaurants and bars for patrons to enjoy throughout the evening. Festivities include a FirstKids 4-7 p.m. with hat and mask making, the Second Time Arounders Musical Petting Zoo and Chihuly Noisemakers with the Morean Arts Center, the St. Pete Makers will host a LED light making station, puppet shows, fire and ice shows, science fun station, street performers and live music by various bands, a dragon procession at 11 p.m. and fireworks at midnight and much more. Admission buttons are available online at various sites of the event. Admission buttons are $10-$15 adults, $5-$10 children ages 6-12, admission for children ages 5 and younger is free. Information: 727-823-8906 or firstnightstpete.com.
Busch Gardens "Christmas Town": Christmas Town, the ultimate Christmastime experience for families will be open through Dec. 31 featuring special entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and over a million twinkling lights. Guest can experience the event throughout the day, and park closing times will range from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the event. Christmas Town is included with any annual pass, Fun Card or daily admission. For dates, times and special events information, call 888-800-5447 or visit buschgardens.com. The park is at 10165 N. Malcolm McKinley Drive, Tampa.
Lowry Park Zoo "Wild Wonderland": Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo will transform into a world of wintry wonder for Wild Wonderland, Dec. 12-14, 18-23 and 26-30 as for 15 delightful nights, the forecast calls for 100 percent chance of snowfall with "Florida flurries" and more than a million twinkling lights. Guests can enjoy animated displays, enchanting light shows choreographed to joyful tunes, and dazzling decorations and radiant lights throughout the Zoo's pathways. Santa and his merry real reindeer will join their best-dressed friends, a charismatic colony of African penguins, and will stay up late along with spectacular African animals like elephants and giraffes under the starry night sky. There will be family favorites like free Zoo rides, reindeer games, fun inflatables, tasty holiday treats, festive music and wild gifts at the holiday shop. Other activities are "drop and shop" offered on Dec. 13, 14, 20 and 21 as parent can enroll their children ages 3-12 in this fun day program 9:30-3 p.m. Camp is $30 for one child and $10 for each additional child, per date. The Zoo School offers holiday camps for students in grades K-8 Dec. 22-23 and Dec. 29-31. Special birthday parties are available for those born in December on select event nights and include a private birthday party room. Admission: $15 adults, $13 children ages 3-11, admission is free for children ages 2 and younger. For more details and information: 813-935-8552 or lowryparkzoo.com. The park is at 1101 W. Sligh Ave, Tampa.
"Holiday Movie Classics": Tampa Theatre, 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa
Come with family and friends and enjoy beloved holiday favorites on the big screen, including "White Christmas" Dec. 14, "It's a Wonderful Life" 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21.D "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" Dec. 28. Unless otherwise noted, all movie times are 3 p.m. Tickets: $10 adults, $8 children and members. Information: 813-274-8981 or tampatheatre.org.
"ICE!" Christmas at Gaylord Palms: The magic of the Christmas season "ICE!" will be at Gaylord Palms Resort through Jan. 4 where guests can indulge in holiday merriment where the Dreams of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Mouse King will come to life in a full-on frozen wonderland and scenes from everyone's favorite ballet, The Nutcracker, will be reimagined in nearly two million pounds of hand-carved vibrant ice sculptures. The event will feature four slippery ice slides and live carving stations inside the Artisans in Action Frostbite Factory and Alpine Rush Snow Tubing on a giant snow hill created with 1.5 million pounds of real Florida snow. For ticket prices, opening hours and information visit christmasatgaylordpalms.com. The park is at 6000 W. Osceola Pkwy., Kissimmee.
"Tis Is The Season" at Universal Orlando: Families can create lifelong memories during Universal Orlando's Holiday celebrations Dec. 6-Jan. 3 featuring the Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Studios with larger-than-life balloons, holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats and a tree-lighting ceremony with Santa himself Dec. 6, followed by acclaimed musical group Mannheim Steamroller Dec. 13-14, 20-21. At Universal's Islands of Adventure, guests will smile during the heartwarming live show "Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular," and on select dates a special breakfast with the characters. All theme park holiday entertainment, including Mannheim Steamroller concerts, is included as part of park-to-park or multi-day admission to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. A separate ticketed event is "EVE 2014," the New Year's Eve at Universal City Walk Dec. 31, featuring Orlando's largest dance floor, six unique party zones, access to CityWalk's high-energy nightclubs, live music, and more. For detailed information, location, opening hours and ticket prices visit UniversalOrlando.com/holidays.