Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? In the lane, snow is ... well, at least we got a cold snap this year. The holidays in Central Florida may not have all the natural accoutrements of late fall/early winter as other regions, but Jesus Christ (pun intended), do we make up for it by throwing festive lights on literally anything.
In our annual preview of the holiday season, you'll find lights on trees, lights on boats, lights on bikes, and lights on the remains of prehistoric bird-lizards. Along with the lights, there are plenty of reasons to dress up like a jolly old elf, drink hot cocoa (or something stronger), give back to the community and just generally make merry. Even the Scroogiest secularists among us have to admit that it's the most wonderful time of the year.
Through Nov. 24
Festival of Trees The museum is transformed into a glittering wonderland filled with sparkling trees, vignettes and decor. 10 am-5 pm; Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N. Mills Ave.; $15; 407-896-4231; omart.org.
Through Dec. 20
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Festive after-hours event featuring a Christmas-themed parade, free cookies and refreshment stops, holiday fireworks, snow on Main Street and more. Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays, 7 pm-midnight; Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista; $99-$139; 407-824-4321; disneyworld.disney.go.com.
Through Dec. 29
Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail Make your way through a winding path lined with beautifully decorated trees inspired by some of your Disney favorites. Disney Springs, 1486 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista; free; disneysprings.com.
Through Jan. 5, 2020
Grinchmas During the holiday season, Seuss Landing is decorated with the holiday charm and cheer of Dr. Seuss's Who-ville. Universal's Islands of Adventure, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza; included with admission; universalorlando.com.
Universal's Holiday Parade Featuring Macy's The Minions join Santa Claus for Universal's Holiday Parade featuring Macy's, a holiday favorite that also features characters from Madagascar and Shrek. Universal Studios, 6000 Universal Blvd.; included with admission; 407-363-8000; universalorlando.com.
Friday, Nov. 22
Florida Blue Battle of the Bands Get ready for crowd-pleasing dance teams, high-stepping drum majors, precision drumlines and roaring brass sections from the top high school marching bands in the country. 7 pm; Amway Center, 400 W. Church St.; $16; 800-745-3000; amwaycenter.com.
Friday-Saturday, Nov. 22-23
The Broadway Nutcracker A new adaptation of the timeless winter fairy tale. 6:30 pm; Rosen JCC: Jewish Community Center of Southwest Orlando, 11184 S. Apopka-Vineland Road; $10-$15; 407-644-7593; cfcarts.com.
A One-Man A Christmas Carol David McElroy plays all 37 characters in his one-man presentation of Dickens' classic. 2:30 pm; Penguin Point Productions, 1220 Oviedo Mall Blvd., Oviedo; $20; penguinpointproductions.com.
Nov. 22-Dec. 15
A Christmas Carol Stage adaptation of Charles Dickens' tale of Christmas ghosts. Historic State Theatre, 109 N. Bay St., Eustis; $11-$21; 352-357-7777; baystreetplayers.org.
A Christmas Story This musical follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker and his quest for the most coveted of Christmas gifts, a Red Ryder BB Gun. 7:30 pm; Central Florida Community Arts, 250 SW Ivanhoe Blvd.; $18-$25; 407-937-1800; cfcarts.com.
Nov. 22-Dec. 22
A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas A swirling chorus of ghosts weave through this uplifting holiday story of redemption, magic and hope as the greedy Scrooge learns the error of his ways. Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden; $25-$37; 407-877-4736.
Nov. 22-Jan. 5, 2020
Light Up UCF Winter carnival outside UCF's Addition Financial Arena, featuring an ice slide, Ferris wheel, ice skating, a carousel and more. Addition Financial Arena, 12777 N. Gemini Blvd.; $4.25-$75; 407-823-6006; lightupucf.com.
- Photo courtesy Universal Studios
- Universal Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s
Saturday, Nov. 23
Dog Night: Holiday Edition Snap holiday photos with your pet in front of a variety of backdrops. 4:30-7:30 pm; Wall Crawl, 1016 W. Church St.; $22.50-$25; 321-209-0432; wallcrawl.com
Holiday Photo Shoot Fundraiser Get a holiday photo taken while supporting the Adult Literacy League's programs. 10 am-2 pm; Adult Literacy League, 345 W. Michigan St., Suite 100; $35-$60; 407-422-1540; adultliteracyleague.org.
Nov. 23-Dec. 31
SeaWorld Christmas Celebration The park transforms into a winter wonderland with sparkling lights, special shows, a live Nativity and more. SeaWorld, 7007 SeaWorld Drive; included with admission; 407-363-2613; seaworld.com.
Nov. 23-Jan. 7, 2020
Dinos in Lights Stan the T-Rex and his skeletal pals get dressed up in holiday lights that flash along to a musical program every 30 minutes. Noon-4 pm; Orlando Science Center, 777 E. Princeton St.; $20.95; 407-514-2000; osc.org.
Sunday, Nov. 24
Corsets & Cuties Holiday Kick-Off Show Start the season with a little teasin'. 7 pm; Theater West End, 115 W. First St., Sanford; $18; 407-548-6285; theaterwestend.com.
Disney Junior Holiday Party Mickey, Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, Elena of Avalor and more create a musical wonderland where children and families can sing and dance to their favorite holiday and Disney Junior songs. 3 pm; Walt Disney Theater, Dr. Phillips Center, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.; $29.50-$188.84; 844-513-2014; drphillipscenter.org.
Holiday Family Celebration Enjoy holiday treats, an exclusive multi-item chance drawing, photos with Santa, and a private performance of Miracle in Bedford Falls. 3:30-7 pm; Orlando Repertory Theatre, 1001 E. Princeton St.; $35-$70; 407-896-7365; orlandorep.com.
Vintage Holiday Market Holiday market with great vintage and handmade goods, presented by GC Vintage Shop. 2-6 pm; The Abbey, 100 S. Eola Drive; free; 407-704-6261; abbeyorlando.com.
Monday, Nov. 25
Skyra Foundation: The Nutcracker Suspend belief as this holiday spectacle transports you to a dazzling winter wonderland with a snowfall on stage in this new production. 7:30 pm; Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Dr. Phillips Center, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.; $29-$35; drphillipscenter.org.
Nov. 25-Jan. 5, 2020
Christmas at Gaylord Palms Winter wonderland with festive decorations, snow tubing, activities and both free and ticketed events. Gaylord Palms Resort, 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee; various prices; 407-586-2000; gaylordpalms.com.
ICE!: The Polar Express Walk-through attraction that tells the story of The Polar Express using more than 2 million pounds of carved and dyed ice. Gaylord Palms Resort, 6000 W. Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee; $28.99-$112.11; 407-586-2000; gaylordpalms.com.
Wednesday, Nov. 27
Drinksgiving: An Orlando House Party Vibes by b8ta, Dennis Mero, DizzlePhunk and Kenny J on the sax. Featuring artists, a food truck, and more. 9 pm; Grape & the Grain, 1110 Virginia Drive; free; 407-674-6156; grapeandthegrain.com.
Drinksgiving at Hourglass Make this year's holiday visit fun at Hourglass' Drinksgiving celebration. Thursday is for stuffing, but Wednesday is for beer. 11 am-midnight; The Hourglass Brewery, 480 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood; free; 407-262-0056.
The Night Before Thanksgiving Block Party Block party with a turkey bowling competition and live music. 8 pm; Wall Street Plaza, Wall and Court streets; free; 407-849-0471; wallstplaza.net.
Thanksgiving Eve Celebrate early with happy hour all night, live entertainment and DJ Joanie spinning. 4 pm; Savoy Orlando, 1913 N. Orange Ave.; free; savoyorlando.com.
Thankskilling Screening and Game Screening of the low-budget black comedy with an optional drinking game. 7 pm; Vault 5421, 5421 International Drive; free; godmonsters.com.
Thursday, Nov. 28
Avalon Park Turkey Trot Fun run on Thanksgiving morning. 7-10 am; Avalon Park Town Center, 13001 Founders Square Drive; $20; 407-658-6565; avalonparkfoundation.org.
Number of the Feast Thanksgiving-night celebration of heavy metal and pumpkin pie pudding shots. 9 pm; Will's Dirty Laundry, 1036 N. Mills Ave.; free.
Thanksgiving Day Buffet at Rosen Centre's Café Gauguin 11 am-7 pm; Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive; $50.95; 407-996-3969; rosencentre.com.
- Photo courtesy Light Up UCF
- Light Up UCF
Friday, Nov. 29
Photos With Santa Snap your holiday photos in front of a variety of backdrops and get a free 4x6 print of your photo with Santa. 10 am-7 pm; Wall Crawl, 1016 W. Church St.; $25; 321-209-0432; wallcrawl.com.
Record Store Day Black Friday Pick up special vinyl releases on Black Friday. 9 am; Park Ave CDs, 2916 Corrine Drive; free; 407-447-7275.
Friday-Saturday, Nov. 29-30
Folk Yeah: A Celebration of Song Annual post-Thanksgiving multi-stage folk, country and Americana festival. 5 pm; Will's Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave.; $20-$35; willspub.org.
Friday-Sunday, Nov. 29-Dec. 1
Morse Museum Thanksgiving Weekend Open House Admission to the Morse is free during Thanksgiving weekend. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, 445 N. Park Ave., Winter Park; free; 407-645-5311.
Nov. 29-Jan. 1, 2020
Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland This fun family event will have a real snow slide and snow flurries every day, as well as thousands of holiday lights, with appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, 8 am-11 pm; Wekiva Island, 1014 Miami Springs Road, Longwood; $3-$11; 407-339-0879; wekivaisland.com.
Nov. 29-Dec. 30
Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Discover a festival like no other, featuring the joyous holiday traditions of the 11 World Showcase nations. Epcot, 200 Epcot Center Drive, Lake Buena Vista; included with admission; 407-824-4321; disneyworld.disney.go.com.
Saturday, Nov. 30
Ballet Magnificat: Light Has Come A two-part production featuring upbeat Christmas carols set to dance, followed by a powerful depiction of the story of Jesus from the unique perspective of the angels. 7 pm; Walt Disney Theater, Dr. Phillips Center, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.; $20-$65; 844-513-2014; drphillipscenter.org.
Holiday Movie Night: The Polar Express Outdoor screening with plenty of snacks, including hot chocolate. 7 pm; Wekiva Island, 1014 Miami Springs Road, Longwood; free; 407-339-0879; wekivaisland.com.
LGBT+ Holiday Pop-Up Shop Market with 15 community vendors offering homemade products, pride merchandise, artwork and more. 11 am-4 pm; The Center, 946 N. Mills Ave.; free; 407-228-8272; thecenterorlando.org.
Light Up Mount Dora Lighting ceremony with holiday songs, dancers and more. 4:30-8:30 pm; Donnelly Park, N. Baker Street and E. Fifth Avenue, Mount Dora; free.
Milk Mart: Lazy Saturgays Small Biz Market Market and sale at small businesses in the Milk District, along with queer community resources like the OnePulse Foundation. Noon-6 pm; The Milk District Pavilion, 2432 E. Robinson St.; free.
Opera Orlando: Amahl and the Night Visitors Classic tale of a precocious crippled shepherd boy who happens to be visited by the Three Kings on their mission to behold the Christ-child. 2 pm; Broadway United Methodist Church, 406 E. Amelia St.; $25; 407-512-1900; operaorlando.org.
Orlando Philharmonic: Home for the Holidays The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra returns to celebrate the sounds of the season in Central Florida's festive holiday concert tradition. 2 & 8 pm; Bob Carr Theater, 401 W. Livingston St.; $27-$90; 407-246-4262; orlandophil.org.
Orlando Pottery Festival & Holiday Arts Market The annual holiday festival and arts market includes more than 30 talented local artists selling unique handmade ceramic gifts. 9 am-5 pm; Florida National Guard Armory, 2809 S. Ferncreek Ave.; free; 407-234-4691; orlandopotteryfestival.org.
Shop Small Sip & Stroll Enjoy wine, cider and craft beer throughout the district at several different small businesses. 2-5 pm; Audubon Park Garden District, East Winter Park Road and Corrine Drive; $20; audubonparkgardens.com.
- Photo courtesy Wall Crawl
- Wall Crawl
Sunday, Dec. 1
A Big Band Christmas The Jazz Orchestra at Dr. Phillips Center is joined by the Bethune-Cookman University Concert Chorale and special guest Lisa Fischer. 7 pm; Walt Disney Theater, Dr. Phillips Center, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.; $25-$65; 844-513-2014; drphillipscenter.org.
Downtown Orlando Indoor Farmers Market Shop for locally grown and produced foods like honey, pickles, pasta, mushrooms, dairy and more. Noon-4 pm; Celine Orlando, 22 S. Magnolia Ave.; free; thedailycity.com.
Ginger Minj's Super Spectacular Low Budget Christmas Extravaganza Holiday spectacular from the local celebrity. 7:30 pm; Footlight Theatre, The Parliament House, 410 N. Orange Blossom Trail; $20-$35; 407-425-7571; parliamenthouse.com.
Handel's Messiah The Messiah Choral Society presents its 47th annual free concert performance of Handel's Messiah. 2:15 pm; Bob Carr Theater, 401 W. Livingston St.; free; 407-473-3603; messiahchoralsociety.org.
Holiday Makers Market Windermere One-of-a-kind creations and great holiday gifts, food trucks, make-and-take workshops and a holiday photo station. 11 am-4 pm; The Pines at Windermere, 3409 Maguire Road, Windermere; free; 407-538-1355; holidaymakersmarket.com.
Light Up SoDo Family- and pet-friendly holiday block party with activities for kids, live performances, food trucks and more. 4-8 pm; SoDo, 120 W. Grant St.; free.
A Magical Christmas Standing Ovation Talent Group takes you on an exciting journey of dance and music to celebrate joy and the holiday spirit. 6 pm; Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Dr. Phillips Center, 445 S. Magnolia Ave.; $25; drphillipscenter.org.
Opera Orlando: Amahl and the Night Visitors Classic tale of a precocious crippled shepherd boy and his mother who are visited by the Three Kings on their mission to behold the Christ child. 2 pm; St. John Lutheran Church, 1600 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park; $25; 407-512-1900; operaorlando.org.
Sanford Jazz Ensemble Christmas Concert Holiday jazz concert. 3 pm; Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, 201 S. Magnolia Ave., Sanford; $15; 407-321-8111; wdpac.com.
Sparkle Market Holiday market featuring unique gifts, treasures, ocarinas, crystals, macrame and similar goods. 10 am-5 pm; Dandelion Communitea Cafe, 618 N. Thornton Ave.; free; 407-362-1864; dandelion communitea.com.
Will's A Faire Holiday Market Outdoor holiday market with 80 vendors selling locally made goods, live music, food trucks and more. 1 pm; Will's Pub, 1042 N. Mills Ave.; free; willspub.org.