Counting down the days till Christmas is an age-old tradition. Keeping track of the days is a fun way to build the excitement of the holidays. It also allows one to stay on top of all the seasonal happenings. The good news is you don’t need to worry about that. We’ve already done it for you.
Through Dec. 24, Alhambra Theatre
Musical version of the classic tale about the old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge pays his clerk Bob Cratchit only fifteen shillings a week, is rude to his nephew and refuses to take part in the Christmas spirit. Soon, the ghost of his former business partner (Jacob Marley), Christmas Past, Present and Future all pay visits to Scrooge. They teach him to value Christmas and to be a better person overall. $35-$59. 641-1212.
High Tea with an Ocean View
Through Dec. 22, 3-5 PM, One Ocean Resort & Spa
Traditional holiday afternoon tea is held daily in the Azurea Lounge. 249-7402.
The S.S. Amelia Pirate Gingerbread Ship Arrives
Through Dec. 28, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
The 17-foot gingerbread pirate ship docked for the holiday season is sure
to be a memorable backdrop for your holiday photos. 277-1100.
LaVilla School of the Arts Concert Series
Select dates from Dec. 1 through 16
Orchestra, Jazz and Symphonic Band Concerts, Vocal Ensemble Concert and others will be happening around town this month. You can catch the LaVilla students at the Jacksonville Landing on December 6, or at the San Marco Holiday Festival on December 10 if you can’t make one of the performances held at LaVilla. Visit duvalschools.org/lavilla for a full list of events. 633-6069.
Publix Apron Cooking School
Holiday Desserts: Dec 1 & 23; Gingerbread Houses: Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 21; Holiday Party: Dec. 3 & 16;
Holiday Cookies: Dec. 17, 20, 22; Holiday Bread Baking: 19 & 24
Seasonal cooking classes held at the Publix Jacksonville Cooking School (10500 San Jose Blvd.) this month so you can impress your guests this season. For more visit publix.com/aprons. 262-4187.
A Christmas Story
Dec. 1-3, 8-11, 15-17, The Amelia Community Theatre
Based upon the classic motion picture, this play is a holiday treat everyone can enjoy. The only thing little Ralphie Parker hopes to find under the tree is a Daisy Brand Red Ryder BB rifle. Looming in the way are alleyway bullies, freezing flagpoles, and unsympathetic authorities who insist, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” $20 for adults, $10 for students. 261-6749.
Dec. 1, 7:30 PM, JU Terry Concert Hall
Come start your holiday celebrations with an evening of orchestral and choral music of the holiday season, including a performance of the Christmas portion of George F. Handel’s immortal masterwork, The Messiah, featuring the JU Orchestra, University Singers and the Men’s and Women’s Choruses. Free admission.
Dec. 2, 7 PM cocktails, 8 PM dinner, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club
Start your holiday celebrations with this black-tie, fun and festive event to help raise money for charity. A live and silent auction will be among the night’s events with entertainment by Cloud 9. For
reservations, call (469) 644-3632. $125
Holiday Home Tour in Historic Fernandina Beach
Dec. 2-3,10 AM-4 PM
Tour five of Amelia Island’s loveliest private homes in Fernandina Beach’s historic district during the Amelia Island Museum of History’s fifth annual celebration of the holiday season. For more, visit ameliamuseum.org. 261-7378.
Friday Musicale Christmas Concert
Dec. 2, 11 AM, Friday Musicale
The Friday Musicale Chorus only performs twice a year and their Christmas performance is one you won’t want to spend the next year wishing you had attended. Visit fridaymusicale.com for more, free admission. 355-7584.
Christmas in Avondale
Dec. 2, 6 PM
The holiday pet-friendly festivities including live music, food, prizes and a kids’ craft area are on the corner of St. Johns Ave. and Dancy St. 240-4869.
St. Augustine Beach Surf Illumination
Dec. 2, St. Johns County Fishing Pier & Pavillion
Featuring a tree lighting ceremony, carolers, arts and craft vendors, refreshments and Santa. 347-8007.
St. John’s County Festival of Trees
Dec. 2-11, St. Johns County Convention Center
Over 50 trees, wreaths and other holiday items will be decked out in Christmas cheer at the World Golf Village for its 7th year to benefit local charities. Bring your $1 bills (no, not for that) and cast your votes on your favorite decorated trees. Free admission. 940-4015.
Sounds of the Season
Dec. 2, 7:30 PM, JU Terry Concert Hall
Celebrate the season with the First Coast Wind Ensemble and the Don Thompson Chorale in this popular annual concert of holiday favorites.
San Marco Christmas Tree Lighting
Dec. 2, 6 PM, San Marco Square
Official tree lighting ceremony featuring the Hendricks Avenue Chorus and the kickoff of the holiday window display contest. Free.
Taste of Amelia Island
Dec. 2, 6:30-9 PM, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
20th annual event features food and wine from 20 area restaurants, live music and a silent auction. $40 per person. 491-4646.
Dec. 2, 8 PM, Times-Union Center
Grammy award-winner Anthony Hamilton performs along with comedian and national radio host Rickey Smiley at this year’s Mistletoe Tour. Hamilton is, without a doubt, one of the best voices in contemporary soul and R&B music. Tickets can be purchased on ticketmaster.com. $35-$75. 633-6110.
The Reindeer Run
Dec. 3, 8 AM, Main Beach Park, Fernandina
The Reindeer Run is adding a half-marathon this year. The 5K registration fee is $25 and the half-marathon
registration fee is $55. Runners who complete the half-marathon will receive a reindeer finisher’s medal. Visit
ameiliaislandrunners.com for more.
Breakfast with Santa
Dec. 3, 8:15-10 AM, World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX Theater
Bring a camera for a special appearance of Santa during breakfast. Registration required. Choose from the “Monkey Pack” or the “Penguin Pack” for your choice of IMAX movie after breakfast—Born to Be Wild or Happy Feet 2. $12-$16. 940-4133.
57th Annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade
Dec. 3, 10 AM, Mission of Nombre de Dios
Marching bands, floats, cars, horses and Santa come to the beach.
Photos with Santa
Dec. 3, Noon-3 PM, Historic Train Depot, Fernandina Beach.
Santa’s Storybook Tea Party
Dec. 3, 10 and 17, Noon, The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island
A holiday storybook performance by Santa adds an exciting twist to the traditional afternoon tea, featuring sandwiches, sweets, and a souvenir photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus. $45 per person. Reservations can be made by calling 277-1100.
Feast of Carols
Dec. 3, 2 PM, UNF Lazzara Performance Hall
UNF’s annual holiday choral event shares holiday music, audience sing-a-longs, and a performance together in a collaborative chorus finale to celebration the holiday season. The holiday performance features the UNF Chorale, Orchestra, and Brass Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Cara Tasher, along with featured guests from local singing organizations and UNF ensembles. 620-1000.
Christmas on the Creek
Dec. 3, 6:30 PM, Julington Creek Bridge
Featuring around 40 boats decorated in holiday regalia on the west side of the Julington Creek bridge at the marina, 12807 San Jose Blvd.
Dec. 3, 8 PM, Times-Union Center
The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra performs Handel’s masterpiece that is, to this day, one of the most famous oratorios ever written. $16-$70. 354-5547.
San Marco Holiday Tour of Homes
Dec. 3, 4-8 PM; Dec. 4, 2-6 PM, San Marco
Annual neighborhood tradition features nine attractions including an entertainment area in Davis Park, five homes, the historic Swaim Memorial Church and a live Nativity scene. $20 in advance, $25 the day of the event. smpsjax.com.
Brunch with Santa—TPC Sawgrass
Dec. 4, 10 AM- 2 PM
Bring the children as Kris Kringle visits TPC Sawgrass all the way from the North Pole. $39, $9.75 (6-12 yrs.)
The St. Augustine Garden Club Christmas Tour of Homes
Dec. 4, Noon-5 PM
Visit six private homes in Historic Downtown dating from the 1800’s on a leisurely walk through the historic streets of St. Augustine. Your ticket will include afternoon tea. For more, visit gardenclubofstaugustine.org. $25.
The Gift of the Magi
Dec. 4, 8 PM, Jax Symphony
Jim and Della are a young married couple, very much in love but facing difficult financial times. (Sound familiar?) At Christmas, each makes a truly generous sacrifice to give the other a very special gift. $6-$16. 354-5547.
A Holiday Evening with Garrison Keillor
Dec. 6, 7:30 PM, Times Union Center
With a wonderful, dry sense of humor, Keillor will once again visit Lake Wobegon with his words of wisdom, class, charisma and holiday humor.
Dec. 8, 7:30 PM, Veterans Memorial Arena
Combining the musical experience of an orchestra with the energy of a hard rock group, the members of Trans-Siberian Orchestra have redefined rock opera and transcended musical boundaries sure to delight this holiday season, ticketmaster.com. $29-$58.75. 353-3309.
Dec. 9, 8 PM, Church of Good Shepherd
2011 marks the 25th Anniversary of Boston Brass and will be celebrated with the “25 Fanfares Project,” wherein 25 fanfares will be premiered by composers from all over the country. More at riversidefinearts.org. $25. 389-6222.
Dec. 9-11, Times Union Center
Share the spirit of the season with family and friends and be a part of Jacksonville’s great holiday celebration. Enjoy sparkling holiday favorites with the orchestra, chorus and dancers. $16-$70. 354-5547.
Holiday Magic in San Marco
Dec. 10, 6-9 PM, San Marco Square
Neighborhood festival celebrates the
season with horse-drawn hay rides, a petting zoo, hot chocolate and cider, pictures with Santa, carolers, luminaries along the streets and more.
Sounds of Christmas 2011
Dec. 10, 7:30 PM, UNF Lazzara Performance Theatre
An evening of holiday harmony featuring Big Orange Chorus (Get it? Florida… Orange… too clever) and special world-class musical guests The Liberty Voices and MaxQ, $25; $18 for groups of 6 or more.
St. Augustine’s Holiday Tour of Bed and Breakfast Inns
Dec. 10 & 11, 1-5 PM
The two-day event that tours 25 historic B&B’s decorated for the Christmas season in St. Augustine welcomes their 18th annual tour this year. Visitors will visit 13 B&B’s the first day, and finish off the last 12 on the second day. Tours include treats and sweets provided by the city’s top restaurants and candy makers. $25
ticket price includes both days. For more info, visit staugustinebandbtour.com.
Festival of Lights 5K
Dec. 10, San Marco Square
More than 2,000 runners are expected to participate in the 1-mile fun run that starts at 5:30 PM, 5K starts at 6 PM.
Registration costs for the 5K are
$25-$35, fun run registration is $12. To register or for more information, visit 1stplacesports.com. 399-8880.
St. Augustine’s Holiday Regatta of Lights
Dec. 10, 6 PM, Bridge of Lions.
This colorful boat parade of shrimp boats, sailboats and yachts decked out in holiday lights sets sail on the Matanzas Bay in St. Augustine celebrating it’s 31st anniversary this year. 824-9725.
Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes
Dec.10, 1-4 PM, St. Marys, Georgia
This year’s Candlelight Tour of Homes in St. Marys features 20 of the town’s most revered historic sites, homes, and
attractions, with musical presentations and caroling. $12 per person. Visit stmaryswelcome.com for more. (800) 868-8687.
Lighted Holiday Parade
Dec. 10, 6 PM, Downtown Fernandina Beach
A parade of holiday-themed, decked-out floats will be making its way through Downtown Fernandina Beach to celebrate the holiday season. 206-0756.
Holiday Soul Concert
Dec. 11, 6 PM, Times-Union Center
Featuring 3-time Grammy Award-winner and 2-time American Music Award-
winner Richard Street, former lead
singer for the Temptations in 1971-1995, $30-$90. Visit ticketmaster.com for
Live Nativity in Downtown St. Marys, Georgia
Dec. 13, 6 PM-8 PM, Orange Hall
Actors in costume and live Nativity animals will present Jesus’ birth alongside the sounds of local choirs on the grounds of Orange Hall in St. Marys. (912) 882-8111.
Happy Hour Christmas Mixer & Shopping Spree
Dec. 14, 5 PM, New Orleans Café (12760 San Jose Blvd.)
Attendants will receive a free drink and appetizers, play games and mingle while browsing products and services offered in Jacksonville. 880-5155.
Peter White Christmas Featuring Mindi Abair & Kirk Whalum
Dec. 14, 8 PM, Florida Theatre
Peter White’s world-renowned acoustic guitar skills paired with Mindi Abair on the saxophone and Kirk Whalum’s Grammy-winning sound will bring the spirit of the holidays to the stage with style. Tickets for sale at ticketmaster.com, $27.50-$36.50. 355-5661.
Holiday Cooking School at SALT
Dec. 15-16, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
Holiday favorites with a modern twist are sure to surprise your guests when they are over for dinner during the holidays. The 2011 SALT Cooking School package includes incredible accommodations for the 2-day cooking school. More information can be found at ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland.
‘Twas the Night before Christmas
Dec. 16 and 17, 7 PM; Dec. 18, 2 PM, St. Marys Little Theatre, St. Marys, Georgia
An original script written just for St. Marys Theatre, interwoven with traditional and contemporary music. $10 for adults, $6 for children under 12.
More info at stmaryslittletheatre.com.
Clay County Christmas
Dec. 16, 7:30 PM, Thrasher Horne Center for the Arts
Continuing this annual holiday tradition, Clay County Christmas features festive performances by The Clay County Community Band, Diane Combs directing the Orange Park United Methodist Church Inspirations, and others. $8-$18. 276-6750.
The Cool Side of Yuletide Concert
Dec. 17, 2 PM, Jacksonville’s Children’s Chorus
Jacksonville’s Children’s Chorus performs holiday favorites at the Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church. $18. 353-1636.
Holiday Luminaria Festival
Dec. 18, Riverside Avondale
This year marks the 28th anniversary of Riverside Avondale’s beloved Luminaria celebration. The popular Luminaria Bike Ride will begin at 6 PM from Cycle City on Park St. and a live Nativity will be at the celebration, as well as multiple musical performances.
Anthony & Beard Holiday Program
Dec. 18, 4 PM, St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal Church
Beaches Fine Arts presents trumpeter Ryan Anthony and organist Gary Beard who have performed classical music and jazz together since 1993. Free admission. 270-1771.
Mother-Daughter Holiday Brunch
Dec. 18, 11 AM-2 PM, TPC Sawgrass
Relax and catch up with moms, daughters, grandmas and girlfriends for a
holiday brunch. $25, $6.25 (6-12 yrs.)
Michael W. Smith: It’s a Wonderful Christmas
Dec. 20, 8 PM, Moran Theater
One of today’s most acclaimed contemporary Christian artists, Michael W. Smith’s heartwarming holiday concert is sure to delight the whole family. $27-$70. 354-5547.
Christmas Eve Dinner “Festival of the Seven Fishes”
Dec. 24, TPC Sawgrass
Enjoy this traditional Italian dinner full of the bounty of the sea. $54 adults, $13.50 (6-12 yrs.) 273-3238.
Dec. 25, 12-3 PM, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
Savor a lavish Christmas brunch with prime rib, seafood, eggs Benedict, traditional favorites and delectable desserts. $69 per adult, $25 per child, ages 5-12. 277-1100.
Kids Mad Scientist New Year’s Eve Celebration
Dec. 31, 8 PM-1 AM, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
Children ages 5-12 will enjoy a Mad Scientist themed evening, including a dinner buffet. Reservations required. $125. 277-1100.
New Year’s Eve Dinner
Dec. 31, 5 PM-9 PM, TPC Sawgrass
Enjoy a memorable dinner complete with Chef’s Specials, your favorite champagne and live music. 273-3238.
Toast! To the New Year
Dec. 31, 8:30 PM, Jacoby Hall
Ring in the New Year with your Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Last year’s inaugural bash was such a hit, we’re on our way to starting a new tradition. $46-$121. 354-5547.
Flagler College New Years Eve Ball
Dec. 31, 8 PM-1 AM, Ponce de Leon Dining Hall – Flagler College
If your New Year’s resolutions for 2012 include giving more to charity, attending the Flagler College New Year’s Eve Ball might be the first step. The $365 ticket per couple helps raise money for the Flagler College Scholarship Fund, which helps offset tuition costs for students with financial needs. 829-6481.
Ring in 2012
Dec. 31, 5 PM, One Ocean Resort
Five-course menu – $90 per person with wine flight of $40 per person.
After enjoying the five-course meal, partygoers enjoy New Year’s Eve Under the Stars with live entertainment, champagne toast and beach view of fireworks. For more, call 249-7402.
New Year’s Eve Black & White Masquerade Ball
Dec. 31, 9 PM-1 AM. The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
Ring in the New Year with lavish food, live music, dancing, open bar and fireworks! A fun masquerade ball where an evening of excitement and style awaits. Black and white attire is encouraged. Masks provided or bring your own. $185 per couple. 277-1100.
New Year’s Eve Dinner
Dec. 31, 5-9 PM. TPC Sawgrass
Stop by TPC Sawgrass before you count down the New Year and enjoy complimentary champagne and live music. $100 per person. For more information call the TPC Sawgrass social events coordinator at 273-3235 or visit tpc.com/sawgrass.