At this magazine, we love the holidays – we love the festivity and the fellowship with friends and family, the bundling up on chilly nights (sometimes) and the baking cookies. It’s a season imbued with magic and enchantment. But with our far-too-busy lives, it can be easy to let the holiday season pass by without really taking the time to savor it. Luckily, we live in a city that has plenty of magic of its own and it makes enjoying the holiday season pretty easy. So we’ve compiled a list of just a few ways that you can make the most of the holidays in St. Augustine.
SOAK UP THE SOUNDS OF THE SEASON AT A HOLIDAY CONCERT
Throughout the season, musical groups all over St. Augustine are donning their holiday best and warming up their voices and instruments to present the sounds of the season. There are a number of holiday concerts planned throughout December, so sit in style at the Lightner Museum for the St. Augustine Orchestra Holiday Concert or sink into a seat in Lewis Auditorium to enjoy the Gainesville Orchestra. Three award-winning bands from Bartram Trail High School will showcase their holiday favorites, and the St. Augustine Community Chorus will celebrate their 70th anniversary in holiday style.
SEE SOMETHING SPECTACULAR AT A HOLIDAY SHOW
Whether it’s a retelling of one of our favorite stories or a sparkling festivity of dance, the season is best rung in with a festive stage show. Catch The Winter Spectacular to see the world of holiday dance come to life; laugh along with Ralphie and his Red Ryder at A Christmas Story; even take in the beauty and skill of the cast of The Nutcracker. All around the city, you’ll find local performers using their artistic talents to make the season just a little brighter.
TAKE IN THE LIGHTS IN A NEW WAY
Nights of Lights has been a part of the St. Augustine holiday season for the past 25 years. But though you can certainly admire the illumination from a downtown sidewalk, why not see them in style? There’s hardly a better view than the bayfront lights from the deck of a tour boat on the Intracoastal, but if the land is more your speed, hop on a trolley or take a VIP walking tour. If those views just aren’t enough, take to the skies in a biplane. Click on the link above to explore the tours.
HEAD TO THE PARK FOR A HELICOPTER GELT DROP
Join Chabad of St. Augustine for a special Hanukkah celebration at Eddie Vickers Park on December 9. Not only will the event include chocolate gelt, but it will be raining down from a helicopter. You collect as much chocolate gelt as you can after you watch it fall from the sky. Take the little ones to the Chocolate Gelt Factory workshop so that they can make their own coins. If chocolate gelt isn’t what you’re looking for, take a trip to World Golf Village on December 6 for the Giant Menorah Lighting in front of Trophy Tower.
BRING YOUR WISHLIST TO MR. & MRS. CLAUS
If you’re celebrating Christmas, no celebration is complete without letting the big man himself know what you’re hoping to find under the tree. Luckily, you can catch Santa and the Mrs. downtown at City Gate Plaza every Friday and Saturday from 6-8pm until Christmas. Bring the little ones to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him all their Christmas wishes.
WORK OFF THE SEASONAL TREATS AT A HOLIDAY FUN RUN
Maybe you don’t associate the holiday season with running, but you will pretty soon after taking part in one of the local fun run. Strap on your running shoes and your Santa suit at the Santa Suits on the Loose 5K on December 8 in St. Augustine Beach. Or run for a good cause at the Christmas Compassion 5K on December 15. If you’re willing to take a ride just south of here, run over and back on the Flagler Bridge at the Starlight Bridge Run on December 22.
CELEBRATE THE SACRED AT A CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE
On Christmas Eve, places of worship all over the city will spend a moment in celebration and song. In the evening or even at midnight, many of the services will be candlelit and imbued with the enchantment of the season. It’s a perfect time to calm all the stresses of the holiday season and enter into Christmas day with peace and festivity.
GET YOUR FILL OF HOLIDAY LIGHTS
Though Nights of Lights is certainly spectacular, it isn’t the only spot to take in a holiday light display. Watch the festivity take to the water at the Regatta of Lights on December 8. The sailors of the city decorate their boats with holiday fanfare and sail along the bayfront. You can also see the lights in nature with the Holiday Lights at Ravine Gardens. On December 15, the state park will be aglow with celebration. And Palm Coast Central Park will be illuminated throughout the season if you feel like exploring a different city.