Santa’s arrival



Don’t miss the arrival of Santa at Silver Sands from 12-2 p.m. Dec. 1. Children are invited to greet Santa as he arrives and join in a fun parade to the courtyard by Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th for refreshments and complimentary photos.



Christmas Tour of Homes



Partners in Progress presents its 2012 Annual Christmas Tour of Homes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 1 in DeFuniak Springs. The tour features five homes and includes a narrated tour aboard the Lil' Trolley which emphasizes Historic Circle Drive and the area around Lake DeFuniak that served as the campus of the original Florida Chautauqua.



Tickets sold day of tour from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at DeFuniak Springs Visitors Center, 1162 Circle Drive. Adults are $18.75+tax; children under 12 are $7.50+tax; babes in arms, free. Call 892-2448.



Christmas Open House



The City of Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center will hold its annual Christmas Open House from 12-4 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum. Included are a free admission day, children’s games and crafts, home-baked goodies and other refreshments, local history, and the decorated Camp Walton Schoolhouse which turned 100 years old this year. The Garnier Post Office Museum and Civil War Exhibit building will also be decorated for an old-fashioned celebration. Call 833-9595.



Handel’s Messiah



The Choral Society of Pensacola will perform the holiday classic, Handel’s “Messiah at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at St. Paul Catholic Church, 3131 Hyde Park Road in Pensacola, and at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at Gulf Shores United Methodist Church, 1900 Gulf Shores Parkway.



Tickets are $20/reserved seating and $15/general admission. Student tickets are available only for the concert at St. Paul Catholic Church and are $5. Tickets will be available at the door one hour prior to performance time for both concerts. To purchase tickets, call 484-1806.



FWB Christmas Parade



With a theme of My Favorite Christmas Movie, the annual Christmas parade in Fort Walton Beach begins at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3 along Eglin Parkway.



santafest



Belk’s first-ever santafest will be held from 12-3 p.m. Dec. 3. Customers are invited to bring the kids to their local participating Belk store where they can meet Santa, create a wish list and enter a drawing to win a $50 kids wardrobe with three winners per store. The festive event will feature holiday crafts and other activities designed especially for kids. Refreshments will be served, including beverages by Keurig, MoonPies and candy canes.



Wednesday Night Concerts



Enjoy a special holiday edition of the Concert Series from 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays in December in the Events Plaza at the Village of Baytowne Wharf.



Christmas Floral Arrangement Class



The YMCA Christmas Floral Arrangement Class will be held from 1-4 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Fort Walton Family YMCA, 1127 Hospital Road.
Class will cover Christmas table centerpiece, swag and fresh bowl decorations. Class requires glue gun, sheers, and ribbon for silk arrangements. For an additional fee of $20 instructor will provide supplies. Call 863-9622 or 368-6508 or email betty.armour@ecymca.org.



Sounds of the Season



The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation will present their annual Christmas concert, Sounds of the Season, at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Village Baptist Church.



Admission is a donation of an unwrapped child’s toy to be distributed among the participating church’s outreach ministries. A love offering at intermission will benefit the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s “All Kinds of Art” program, a children’s educational outreach for the literary, performing and visual arts.



Call 650-2226 or visit www.mattiekellyartsfoundation.org.



Christmas Open House



The Arts and Design Society hosts its annual Christmas Party from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 7 at 17 First Street, SE, in Fort Walton Beach. All are invited. There will be a variety of festive activities, including an auction of holiday decorations made by members and a potluck dinner. Call 244-1271.



Festival of Trees



More than a dozen decorated Christmas trees will be on public display during the Festival of Trees from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Dec. 25 at Grand Park in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. The kick-off begins at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 20 as all the trees are turned on.



Non-profit organizations vie to win cash prizes for Best of Show and People’s Choice awards during the contest. Vote once a day at the Visitor Services Kiosk at Grand Park. At 2 p.m. Dec. 15, contest winners will be announced with hot chocolate and cookies served.



Singing Christmas Tree



First Baptist Church of Niceville presents the 27th Singing Christmas Tree, “The Hope of Christmas,” at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 9.



Tickets are for a $1 donation per ticket. Tickets may be obtained at the church office or by mail. Please include your 1st and 2nd choice of presentation, ticket money and a self-addressed stamped envelope when ordering by mail at 622 Bayshore Drive, Niceville, FL 32578. Call 678-4621.



Destin Christmas Parade



The City of Destin hosts its 27th Annual Christmas Parade beginning at 10 a.m. Dec. 8 at Downtown Destin Shopping Center at U.S. 98 and Main Street. It will proceed down Harbor Boulevard to Stahlman Avenue. The theme this year is Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Call 654-5184.



Christmas Tour of Homes



The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation and Trustmark Bank present a Christmas Tour of Homes from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 8. Kick off the holiday season with a festive tour of selected, beautifully decorated homes in Destin’s gated community of Kelly Plantation off U.S. 98.



The tour begins at the Kelly Plantation Owners’ Clubhouse with light refreshments, Christmas carols sung by the Opus One Choir of Niceville High School and tour map distribution. Patrons can then travel leisurely to enjoy the holiday décor showcased in these homes on tour.



Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event and can be purchased at www.MattieKellyArtsFoundation.org/tickets.htm or in Destin at Today's Boutique, Kitchenique, Risa's Interiors, McCaskill and Company, Sarah Carolyn; in Fort Walton Beach at PS Gifts; in Niceville at Bayou Books; or at Trustmark Bank branches (Destin, Miramar Beach, Gulf Place and Seagrove Beach). Call 650-2226.

Destin Boat Parade



The 26th Holiday on the Harbor Boat Parade begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 9. Boats line up between 5 and 5:30 p.m. Festivities will be held that afternoon all along the harbor. The parade can be viewed from docks and restaurants from HarborWalk Village. A fireworks show will light up the sky at the end of the boat parade. Call 837-6611.



Elf Ride



The Fifth Annual South Walton Elf Ride begins at 2 p.m. Dec. 9 as participants bike, walk or skateboard from the Seaside Post Office in Seaside to the S.W.F.D. Watercolor Fire Station. Adults and children meet at 1:30 p.m. Each family is asked to bring at least one gift to benefit the South Walton Fire District’s Angel Tree.



There will be a bike decorating contest, fire truck tours, Santa and refreshments. Bruno’s Pizza will donate pizza to the participants at the WaterColor Fire Station on CR395. Call 502–0017 or email southwaltonelfride@yahoo.com.



A Victorian Christmas



A festive night of Victorian holiday traditions with Christmas carols, jolly dancing, decadent desserts, heavenly wassail and a special visit from Father Christmas will be held at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 in the McIlroy Gallery of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville. A Victorian Christmas features the college’s Madrigals Singers, Belle Voci and the NWFSC Dance Ensemble.



Seating is limited. Tickets are $25 each and may be purchased in-person or by phone from the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Box Office at 729-6000. All proceeds go to the NWFSC Fine Arts Scholarship fund. Online ticket sales are not available for this event.



Santa at the Harbor



Children can visit with Santa Claus from 12-4 p.m. Dec. 15, 16, 22, and 23 at HarborWalk Village. Pictures are available through HD Action Photography.



Holiday Lantern Parade



The Third annual Baytowne Holiday Lantern Parade will take place at 6 p.m. Dec. 15 with paper lanterns in the shapes of iconic symbols of the holiday season. Individuals and groups are invited to participate by making their own paper lanterns. Sandestin Homeowners will light up their golf carts and join in the fun as they pass by with parade treats. Call 267-8186.



Holiday crafts



The Walton County Extension Office will host a holiday craft event from 3-5 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Coastal Branch Library in Santa Rosa Beach. Bring the entire family for an afternoon of fun decoration making. RSVP by Dec. 12 at 892-8172.



Santa at Sandestin



Celebrate the magic of Christmas with a Skype call to Santa or a personal tuck-in from Santa at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort through Dec. 21.



Santa will be available for free Skype conversations from 4-5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Families can simply call him at Skype location name, SandestinResort.



Sandestin will also continue its innovative Santa Tuck-In Program.



Resort guests will receive a special visit from Santa, a personalized gift for each child and hear a bedtime story for a small fee every Friday and Saturday through Dec. 22. Proceeds go to Toys for Tots. To make reservations, call 866-657-7271 or email Santa@sandestin.com.



The Nutcracker



Ballet Conservatory and Destin School of Music and Dance present the annual production of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker, at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 and 2 p.m. Dec. 22 in the South Walton Beach High School Auditorium, 645 Green Trail in Santa Rosa Beach. The program features more than 80 local dancers.



Order tickets early at www.FloridaBalletConservatory.com or call 837-1133. Tickets are $15/reserved seating and $20/cash only at the door.

A Classic Christmas



Bass Pro Shops’ Santa’s Wonderland, A Classic Christmas, returns for its fifth year with a more than 3,500-square foot Christmas village full of games, activities and crafts for the whole family through Dec. 24.



With both animated and live elves, nutcrackers, reindeer and more, the village offers an old-time model train area, remote control trucks, a laser arcade, a soft gun range and slot car racing. Activity tables give children opportunity to write a letter to Santa, color and do fun crafts every day of the week — all free.



Santa will be in residence from 3-8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 12-5 p.m. Sundays.