Here Comes Santa Claus
Greet Santa as he arrives on a fire truck from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in the courtyard in front of Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th at Silver Sands Premium Outlets. Children can enjoy face painting, a holiday craft project and a performance of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some)” by the Seaside Repertory Theatre. Be sure to bring a camera for photos with Santa.
A Victorian Christmas
The NWFSC Madrigals and Belle Voci will present “A Victorian Christmas” concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Mattie Kelly Arts Center McIlroy Gallery in Niceville. Enjoy period music, dance and costumes, augmented by delicious desserts and holiday wassail. Tickets are $25 each at 729-6000 or www.mattiekellyartscenter.org
Wildlife Winter Wonderland
December's First Saturday event at the Biophilia Center is Wildlife Winter Wonderland from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 7 with live penguins at noon, a visit from Santa, Santa’s art and crafts workshop, story time with hot chocolate and cookies and Christmas tree decorating. Nature presentations with live animals will be held throughout the day and there will be a silent auction for adults.
Jingle Bell Run
Wear a holiday costume and tie jingle bells to your shoelaces for the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk Dec. 7 at The Landing in Fort Walton Beach. Register with your team members for a 10K Run, 5K or 1 mile Walk or Run. Dogs welcome in the 1 mile event only. Call 797-1449.
Christmas Gift & Farmers Market
In conjunction with the Jingle Bell Run, visit the Christmas Gift & Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 7 at The Landing.
There will be music by the Emerald Coast Community Band, Christmas caroling, Santa Clause, a free children's ornament making craft area, vendors selling Christmas wreaths, ornaments, and gifts and farmers selling seasonal produce and fresh jams, jellies and baked goods.
The Junior Orchestra, an ensemble of young string students in grades 4 to 8, performs in concert at 11 a.m. Dec. 7 in Tyler Recital Hall in the Music Wing of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center complex in Niceville.
The Northwest Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra performs at 3 p.m. Dec. 8 in the mainstage theater. In the second half of the concert, the young musicians will be joined by the Emerald Coast Symphonic Pops musical group for additional holiday themed music selections.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told
The Seaside Repertory Theatre brings back “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!)” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 11-14, 18-21 and 2 p.m. Dec. 14 and 21 in the Seaside Meeting Hall Theatre.
Tickets are $25 (discounts for students, seniors, and military) and can be purchased at www.seasiderep.org, Amavida in Seaside and Rosemary Beach, or call 231-0733.
The Giving Trees
The harbor will shine with a wonderland of designer Christmas trees and wreaths from 12-7 p.m. Dec. 7. Children will enjoy Santa, crafts and train rides. Bid on your favorite trees to decorate your home for the holidays, with donations benefiting the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center and Horizons of Okaloosa County. The event is free and open to the public. At 5 p.m. there will be a cocktail reception with food and music.
Open House at Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum
The City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center will hold its annual Christmas Open House at the Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum from 12-4 p.m. Dec. 7. A free admission day includes children’s games and crafts, home-baked goodies, refreshments, local history and the beautifully decorated Camp Walton Schoolhouse which turned 100 years old last year. Call 833-9595 or email email@example.com.
The Abrakadoodle Art Studio in Destin Commons hosts the following Christmas classes.
• Make an angel topper for the Christmas tree from 4-5:30 p.m. Dec. 7. This is a drop-off class for ages 4-12. Tuition is $25.
•Ages 3-12 can create a gingerbread house from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Dec. 14. Under 4 must be accompanied by parent. Tuition is $30 and includes all supplies.
Christmas in the Village Craft Show will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Destin Community Center. Cost is $40/residents and $50/non-residents. Visit cityofdestin.com for an application.
Meet for the Sixth Annual Elf Ride at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Seaside Post Office. From there, participants will bike, walk, run, skateboard, etc. to the WaterColor Fire Station, where upon arrival there will be 98 BBQ, face painting, Santa and station and fire truck tours. Each family please bring a gift to support the South Walton Fire District’s Angel Tree program. Parents must accompany children. Decorate and dress up for the ride.
Enjoy a holiday family tradition as Christmas Reflections light up the Lakeyard in DeFuniak Springs through Dec. 31. More than three million lights reflect on to the lake glowing in holiday splendor. Admission is $3/person, children under 6 free. A season pass is available for $35 and is good for a vehicle with up to 6 people. Horse drawn carriage rides are available for an additional fee. Call 974-6774.
Dozens of boats of all sizes will illuminate the Destin harbor boardwalk during A Very Emerald Christmas through Dec. 31.
Create new traditions and lasting memories at Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland through Dec. 24. In addition to games, kids can visit one of the activity tables where they can write a letter to Santa, color, make holiday ornaments, a stuffed Christmas owl and Santa, a candy cane reindeer, and even decorate Christmas cookies from 3-5 p.m. Dec. 24, all for free. Also receive a free 4x6 photo with Santa.
Santa will be in residence until Dec. 8 from 3-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 12-5 p.m. Sunday. Beginning Dec. 9 hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays andnm12-5 p.m. Sundays.
Charity Gift Wrap
Sinfonia Gulf Coast and Shelter House have been chosen as the recipients of the Silver Sands Premium Outlets Annual Charity Gift Wrap Dec. 11-24. Sinfonia and Shelter House volunteers will wrap holiday gifts while you wait or you can drop them off and pick them up later. Donations for wrapping range from $2-$15, depending on the size or items wrapped. Hours are 12-6 p.m. Dec. 11-18; 12-9 p.m. Dec. 19-23; and 12-6 p.m. Dec. 24.
Children’s Volunteer Health Network celebrates the accomplishments from the 2013 year from 6-10 p.m. Dec. 13 at La Cocina Mexican Grill & Bar on 30A in Seacrest Beach. Tickets are $60 through Dec. 12 and $75 at the door. Purchase at http://www.xorbia.com/e/cvhn/feliznavidad.
Marie’s Bistro will have a Christmas Show with Kaci Bolls, Buddy Mullins, Tim Jackson and Ike Bartley at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at 2260 W County Hwy. 30A in Santa Rosa Beach. Tickets are $20/advance and $30/door and bring an unwrapped new toy for a free dessert. Call 278-6856 for reservations.
The City of DeFuniak Springs Economic Development and Tourism Committee will host a Scottish Christmas Festival. The honored clan this year is Clan Macleod. Kick off with a traditional Ceilidh (Kaylee) party at 4-C’s BBQ from 6-11 p.m. Dec. 13 with a Scottish band, open microphone for storytelling and poetry and traditional Scottish grub. Be sure to wear your tartan as kilts will abound.
Fun continues at 10 a.m. Dec. 14 on Baldwin Avenue between 8th and 10th Streets with children’s games, pipes and drums and Irish dancing. Entertainment moves to Circle Drive at 1 p.m. to view the traditional DeFuniak Springs Women’s Club Christmas Parade. Call 892-8500.
A Peter White Christmas
A unique show blending contemporary smooth jazz with traditional holiday music, A Peter White Christmas featuring Rick Braun and Mindi Abair, makes its annual return with shows at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Fort Walton Beach Civic Municipal Auditorium on U.S. 98. All seats are reserved with tickets ranging from $40 general admission to $80 front section seating.
Order tickets at 800-595-4849 or www.seabreeze.fm. In addition, tickets are available at Playground Music Center at Uptown Station in Fort Walton Beach. Presented by The Seabreeze WSBZ Radio 106.3 FM, the proceeds benefit Music In the Schools providing music scholarships to Northwest Florida high school seniors.
Southern Christmas Humor
Bestselling author, speaker and humorist Melinda Rainey Thompson will speak at a Southern Christmas Humor luncheon to benefit the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 13 at Northwest Florida State College’s Costa Leadership Room. Sponsored by Gulf Power, the limited seating luncheon is $20 per person. Call 833-9237, ext. 222, for reservations.
Holiday Pops Concert
Celebrate the holiday season with performances of light classics, pops selections and the ever-popular carol sing-a-longs when the Northwest Florida Symphony Chorale joins the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra for the annual Holiday Pops concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, Mainstage Theater, at NWFSC in Niceville. Tickets are $22.50/adults, and $16/Active Duty Military and youth age 18 and younger. Purchase tickets at 729-6000 or www.mattiekellyartscenter.org.
Festival of Trees - Freeport
The Freeport Town Planters’ Festival of Trees will be held from 3-7 p.m. Dec. 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 and 1-5 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Freeport Community Center. The trees, decorated by individuals, organizations and business, are competing for the People’s Choice award to be presented at the end of the show on Sunday. Admission is $5 and refreshments will be served. Call 588-9945.
The City of Destin’s 28th Annual Christmas Parade, “A Fantasy Christmas,” will be held at 10 a.m. Dec. 14. The floats will start at Downtown Destin Shopping Center and travel west down Harbor Boulevard (U.S. 98) to Stahlman Avenue. Stand on the north side of Harbor Boulevard to watch the floats. For those who wish to put a float in the parade, applications are free and available at the Destin Community Center. Applications must be turned in no later than Nov. 29. Call 654-5184.
Yule of Yesteryear
Enjoy the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida’s annual Yule of Yesteryear — A Traditional Christmas Celebration from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at 115 Westview Ave. in Valparaiso. There will choirs, ornament making for children, a visit from Santa, a bake sale, craft demonstrations and gifts. Witness a Civil War Christmas of 1861 with the Walton Guard. A Victorian Tea will be held at 2 p.m. Registration required at www.heritage-museum.org, 678-2615, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candlelight Open House
The annual Eden Gardens State Park Christmas Candlelight Open House will be held from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 14 in historic Point Washington. Enjoy the traditional walk through the luminaries, to the Historic Wesley House and its beautifully seasonally decorated rooms. Refreshments will be served in the Pavilion by the Friends of Eden. House tour and Park admission fees will be waived. Call 267-8320.
Jingle Bell Jog
The fourth annual Baytowne Holiday Lantern Parade begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. This community event will feature commissioned paper lanterns in the shapes of iconic symbols of the holiday season. Individuals and groups can participate by making their own paper lanterns.
Tuba Christmas Concert
A free music concert held in cities worldwide brings together musicians who play instruments in the tuba family at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 in the Events Plaza at Baytowne Wharf.
Cruisin’ with Santa
SunQuest Cruises will host its inaugural Cruisin’ with Santa charity luncheon from 12-2 p.m. Dec. 14 aboard the Solaris Yacht moored at the Baytowne Marine at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach. Guests will enjoy music, two-course chef-prepared luncheon and a photo with Santa.
Tickets are $40/adults, $22/children ages 10-2 and $10/children one and under. Bring an unwrapped toy to be donated to local children in need. Proceeds will benefit The Sandestin Foundation for Kids. Make reservations at www.sunquestcruises.com or call 650-2519.
The harbor will be dancing with holiday lights and cheer during the 27th Annual Destin Boat Parade at 6 p.m. Dec. 15. Boats will line up between 5 and 5:30. The parade can be viewed from docks and restaurants west of Grand Harbor Condominiums on Destin harbor. Enjoy live music, children’s arts and crafts and hot chocolate. Visit with Santa Claus from 12-4 p.m. A fireworks finale follows the parade. Rain date is Dec. 22.
Sinfonia Gulf Coast presents the Orchestral Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at Destiny Worship Center. The concert features holiday orchestral favorites and excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s classic, “The Nutcracker,” featuring dancers from the Northwest Florida Ballet. To purchase tickets, $29.50 to $42.50, visit www.SinfoniaGulfCoast.org or call 850-269-7129.
Homemade Holiday Treat Exchange
Enjoy a festive evening of music, revelryand an assortment of delicious treats tobe exchanged from 7-8 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Walton County Coastal Library, 437 Greenway Trail in Santa Rosa Beach. Holiday attire encouraged. Seating limited to 10 participants. Registration at email@example.com ends Dec. 12. Admission is homemade goodies. All treats must be homemade; cookies, brownies, candies: 5 dozen; mini cakes/breads: 20.
Holiday Extravaganza: The Volunteer Guild at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast’s annual holiday sale takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Dec. 20. Call 278-3032.
Nutcracker: Ballet Conservatory and Destin School of Music and Dance present The Nutcracker at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 and 3 p.m. Dec. 21 at South Walton Beach High School Auditorium, 645 Greenway Trail, in Santa Rosa Beach. Reserved seating is $15 and available at www.FloridaBalletConservatory.com. Tickets are door are $20 cash. Call 837-1133.
Holiday Baking Class
Chef Jim Shirah will hold a baking class from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Destin Community Center for children ages 8-14. The fee is $40/residents and $45/non-residents. Each student will learn how to bake and will take home several holiday cookies, treats and more. Pre-registration is required at 654-5184.
United for a Good Cause Inc. will host its second annual free Emerald Coast Christmas Miracle Children’s Fiesta from 2-7 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Christian Life Center of First Baptist Church, 21 First Street SE in Fort Walton Beach. The event will be a fun-filled “Latin-Flavored” party open to needy children/families regardless of race, ethnicity or creed.
There will be food, games, DJs, singers, church choirs, clowns, magicians, dance contests for bikes and more. Santa and his elves will arrive aboard powerful Harley Davidson motorcycles courtesy of the Bikers Against Child Abuse Hurricane Alley Chapter. From 2-3 p.m. is only for families with special needs children.
Monetary donations and volunteers welcomed. Also, business sponsorships, donations of new toys, clothing and gifts. Visit www.unitedforagoodcause.org for information on our sponsor levels. Call 850-305-3686 or 850-368-3505, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for information.
Holy Kidz winter camps
His Greatest Gift camps, for those entering kindergarten through fifth grade in 2014, will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 21 at Coastline Calvary Church on Mountain Drive in Destin and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 23 at Good News United Methodist Church in Santa Rosa Beach.
Children make gifts to give to family members and friends for Christmas. Then we end the day by having a birthday party for Jesus. Call 586-8264.
Christmas Art Market: The Arts & Design Society’s members host the annual Christmas Art Market through Dec. 21 at The Gallery, 17 First Street, SE, in Fort Walton Beach. Works are all under $200, with most considerably less. Call 244-1271.
Running of the Elves/Christmas Gift & Farmers Market
The first Running of the Elves for the whole family from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Fort Walton Beach Landing. Dress like your favorite elf and have a ball as Roller Derby Santas with candy canes find out who's naughty or nice while jogging along a one mile course through downtown Fort Walton Beach. Also includes kids activities and a costume contest. Register online by Dec. 19. After party includes live music, food and drinks for all registered elves. Visit www.downtownfwb.com for registration info.
Festival of Trees
Grand Boulevard’s fourth annual Festival of Trees showcases a dozen uniquely decorated Christmas trees from area non-profit organizations through Dec. 25 in Grand Park. The tree with the most votes will win the People’s Choice award, which will be announced by Santa Claus at 2 p.m. Dec. 21 in Grand Park.
New Years Eve Celebration
Dine, drink and dance into the New Year throughout HarborWalk Village on Dec. 31. Enjoy live music in the restaurants as well as the HarborWalk Village Main Stage. Fireworks begin at 8 p.m. and midnight. The sixth annual Ball Drop descends over the harbor to make this celebration Destin’s most exciting place to be on New Year’s Eve.
Dance the night away and enjoy live bands and breathtaking fireworks as they light up the sky over the lagoon at midnight during Baytowne Countdown at 8 p.m. Dec. 31 in the Events Plaza at The Village of Baytowne Wharf. Event is free.
Kids’ Night Out
A Kids’ Night Out New Year’s Eve Bash will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at WaterColor Inn & Resort. Cost is $75/child; reservations required at 534-5975.
Polar Bear Plunge
The annual Polar Bear Plunge takes place at 9 a.m. Jan. 1 on WaterColor’s Beach. T-shirts available for purchase.
Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
The largest ice skating rink of its kind in Northwest Florida will line the Village Events Plaza through January, transforming the Village into a tropical winter wonderland