Is it just us or does the holiday season seem to just speed by? It can be so busy and so hectic that we forget to slow down and enjoy the moments that are unique to this time of year. So in the spirit of slowing down and enjoying things, we’ve put together so some of the activities and events in St. Augustine that we’re most looking forward to. Whether you’re into crafting or baking, watching the lights or taking in a concert, your holiday spirit is sure to soar. Clear your calendar and start checking items off your St. Augustine Holiday Bucket List.
Learn to Cook and Bake
‘Tis the season of kitchen delights! If you’re a little helpless in the kitchen or you just want to expand your culinary skills, you can try out a baking or cooking class with the fam. Shops like Creme de la Cocoa or A. Chef’s Cooking Studio will let you get hands on in the kitchen and come out with some delicious dishes to wow the holiday crowd.
There’s nothing like a good DIY this time of year, whether it’s to decorate your cozy home or to give someone a unique gift. While you can always plan out the crafting yourself (and make a trip or two or three to the local craft stores), there’s also the option to turn to the experts. Declaration & Co.’s newly-opened Homeroom has lots of options for fun arts and crafts all year long.
Go on a Hunt for the Best Decorations
The 3 million white lights scattered throughout downtown tend to overshadow all else when it comes to holiday decor. But if you wander just a bit, you’ll be able to find homes, businesses, inns, and more that are decked out with all sorts of seasonal cheer. So grab the family for a stroll through the neighborhoods of downtown to hunt for lush wreaths, bright poinsettias, ribbons and bows, inflatable snowmen, and loads more.
Take in the Lights on a Tour
It’s easy to see Nights of Lights anytime you drive through the hustle and bustle of downtown (and the plethora of headlights and brake lights of surrounding traffic only add to the glow, right?). But if you want to see it all in a new and more peaceful way, you can try one of the many local tours that give you a view of the twinkling lights from on board a boat, in a carriage, or from the trolley.
Visit a Christmas Eve Service
There’s nothing quite like gathering in the beautiful and sacred halls of the local churches to ring in Christmas Day with candlelight and song. Whether you’re looking for a midnight mass or a evening with the family, you’ll be able to find services of all kinds and all different denominations.
Spread Some Cheer by Volunteering
We tend to focus on the perfect gifts and idyllic holiday activities so much this time of year that it can be easy to forget those in need. Any non-profit or charity in the area can benefit from just a few hours of your time spend giving back to those whose holiday may not be so merry. If you want to explore 100s of volunteer opportunities in the area, visit St. Johns Volunteers.
Sip on Some Holiday Libations
You may have to wait until after the sun goes down to start craving anything cozy, but it’s worth the wait to wrap your hands around a warm mug. Seasonal drinks are on menus all around town, so try something like the Peppermint Mocha from The Kookaburra or the Turtle Dove Latte from City Perks. And if you’re searching for something a little stronger, take a sip of a Hot Toddy (like the one above from Ice Plant) or Mulled Wine from San Sebastian Winery.
Go Ice Skating
Ice skating? In Florida? (You might be saying.) Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s possible. So dig your coat and scarf out of the closet and try your hand at this traditional winter pastime – traditional, at least, according to many movies I’ve seen. You can drive a little north to the public skating at Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex or a little further south to Daytona Ice Arena.
Settle in for a Holiday Concert
Buddy the Elf once said, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” I, for one, believe in the veracity of that statement. Luckily, there’s no shortage of incredible Christmas and holiday concerts to enjoy throughout the season. Check out the schedules of the St. Augustine Orchestra, the St. Augustine Community Chorus, the St. Augustine Concert Band, the Emma Concert Series, and even the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall and The Amp to get your fill of holiday music.
Shop Local for the Season
Trust us, we know how easy it is to sit down and your computer, click your mouse a few times, and be done with Christmas shopping for the year. But there are so many awesome local retailers that you can support! So instead of relying on Amazon, plan a shopping day and explore the stores of St. Augustine. And if you don’t know where to begin, turn to our list of local retailers.
Featured image by Brian Miller