Music, parades, trees and Santa top the list of things to do during December.
Breakfast with Santa
Hard Rock Café in Destin hosts breakfast with Santa from 8-10 a.m. Dec. 8 and 15 with reserved seating, breakfast and holiday gifts for kids to make for the family. Kids can have picture taken with Saint Nick. Cost is $9.95 and kids under 2 eat free. Call 654-3310 to make a reservation.
Santa Claws Pet Photos
Come out to Destin PetSmart between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 8 and 16 to have your pet’s photo with Santa taken by Easy Street Photography for a $10 donation to receive a 4 x 6 print in a Christmas frame. Proceeds benefit Feline Friends of Destin cat rescue. Call 837-3869.
Holiday bake sale
The Destin Area Chamber of Commerce's 2013 Destin Forward Class invites you to share in the holiday spirit from 12-4 p.m. Dec. 8 at HarborWalk Village as they sell baked goods to raise funds for the leadership group's annual project, the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance which is in need of equipment to carry on its mission of preserving the local waterways. Sweet treats are the name of the game, as cookies, pies, homemade breads and other goodies will be available.
Singing Christmas Tree
First Baptist Church of Niceville presents the 27th Singing Christmas Tree, “The Hope of Christmas,” at 7 p.m. Dec. 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
Candlelight Open House
Eden Gardens State Park’s annual Christmas Candlelight Open House will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. Dec. 15 in Point Washington. Enjoy the traditional luminary walk to the beautifully decorated rooms of the Wesley House and vote for yuour favorite room.
Admission fees are waived for the evening and the Friends of Eden will provide refreshments in the Pavilion. Donations to the Friends of Eden, a citizen support organization, are welcome.
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.
Enjoy a holiday family tradition in DeFuniak Springs as the Lakeyard lights up with the annual Christmas Reflections displays from 5-9 p.m. nightly through Dec. 31. A variety of Victorian, animal and toy soldier cutouts, Santa’s workshop, the grandfather clock ticking away, and the real reason for the season, the Nativity Scene all surrounded by more than 3 million twinkling trees.
Admission is $3 per person, children under 6 free. A season pass is available for $35 and is good for a vehicle with up to six people. Horse drawn carriage rides are available for an additional fee. Call 974-6774.
Feline Friends of Destin Christmas Party
The Feline Friends of Destin Christmas Party, a volunteer/supporter appreciation event, will be held from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 20 at Johnny O'Quigleys in Destin. Appetizers, soft drinks, and entertainment provided. Join fellow FFoD volunteers/supporters and celebrate what we have collectively accomplished for the rescue cats/kittens of the Destin area in 2012. RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org or to your FFoD coordinator/board member contact.
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.
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.