Friday, April 12, 2024

7 South Florida Holiday Events to Get You in the Festive Spirit

The holidays are almost here! Although it won’t and never will be a “White Christmas” for us Floridians in terms of snow, there are still plenty of ways to get in the holiday spirit. Here are seven sparkling happenings taking place in Boca and its neighboring towns this gorgeous month of November. 

1. Holiday tree lighting

The crowd at the Mizner Tree Lighting. Photo courtesy of the City of Boca Raton.
The crowd at the Mizner Tree Lighting. Photo courtesy of the City of Boca Raton.

On Wednesday, Nov. 22—the evening before you enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with your family—the Mizner Park Amphitheater will become aglow with festive lights. Be sure to bring a light sweater—it may get as nippy as 70 degrees! You’ll want to be cozied up as you watch the tree lighting ceremony while sipping hot cocoa. The festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will last until 8:30 p.m., although the magical feeling will endure all night long. To learn more about the event, which will take place at 590 Plaza Real, you can reach out to the park’s supervisors at 561/544-8600.

2. Grateful for Thanksgiving camp


If you’re looking for ways to entertain your kids during Thanksgiving break, you may be interested in checking out Camp Boca, hosted by Boca Raton Community Centers. From Nov. 20 to 22 and 24 kids will be a part of the camp’s jam-packed days consisting of field trips and outdoor activities. Camp Boca will be open daily (except on Thanksgiving day, of course) from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at 150 Crawford Blvd. To learn more, call the camp’s organizers at 561/393-7888. 

3. Quintessential holiday play


What’s the holiday season without The Nutcracker? We all need a bit of Tchaikovsky to help get us into those special feels that come but once a year. Look no further than 20101 Lyons Road to get your Tchaikovsky fix because it’s there, at the Boca Ballet Theatre, where The Nutcracker will be shown on Friday and Saturday, November 24 and 25, starting promptly at 7:30 p.m. One thing is for sure, watching our local talent traipse and swirl across the stage as Sugar Plum fairies is sure to put a spring in your own step! To reserve your places, you can buy your Groupon tix here. 

4. It’s not Rockefeller Center, but it’s close!


Yes, you can ice skate in South Florida—thanks to the Florida Panthers, who will be opening two outdoor rinks this holiday season for locals to glide upon hand in hand. “The Florida Panthers are very excited to be a part of the Hoffman’s Chocolate Winter Wonderland in Greenacres this year,” Sean McCaffrey, the Florida Panthers chief of staff, tells Boca. “We’re looking forward to having the Palm Beach community get the unique opportunity to ice skate outdoors during this holiday season.”

One of the rinks will open November 18 at 6 p.m. by sweet-smelling Hoffman’s Chocolates at Greenacres; the other will be open at 10 a.m. on November 26 at Bubier Park by Los Olas. Be sure to rehearse your lines, too—Santa will be present to hear yours and your kids’ Christmas pleas.

5. Sparkle Night


Carolers will sing holiday favorites at Delray Marketplace on Saturday, November 18, when the shopping plaza presents Sparkle Night.

From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m, the marketplace will be a scene to behold, with street performers, local dignitaries, crafts activities, and, of course, the tree lighting ceremony at dusk. There will also be hot cocoa and samples from select local restaurants, but only while supplies last. Since hundreds of locals will be going, you’ll want to get there early to whet your palate.

Sparkle Night will also include a special holiday color guard tribute to the veterans and first responders who protect us.

6. Basket brigade


It’s not Thanksgiving unless everyone has a place at the table. If you feel charitable this holiday season, then be sure to be donate a basket filled with holiday yummies to Shawna’s Basket Brigade. The food will be distributed to families in need, including single mothers and veterans. Last year the effort fed more than 1,200 locals, and this year the brigade’s organizers hope to beat that.

The drop off for donations is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Nov. 17 and is located at Matrix Consulting—55 NE 5th Ave., Suite 502—here in Boca. Drop offs will take place Nov. 19 and 20, so get your baskets in early!

7. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!


Neighboring Fort Lauderdale will be hosting two spectacular wintertime events: One of them is Winterfest Family Fun Day, on Nov. 26, at Huizenga Plaza, where one of the Panthers’ ice skating rinks will be installed, and the other is the Chinese Lantern Festival at Central Broward Regional Park, which will run from Nov. 21 to Jan. 15.

At Family Fun Day, which is free for all to attend, there will be a Fair Superslide, face painting booths, bounce houses and coloring stations for children. For kidults, who just need a moment to relax, there will be massaging booths as well. We all need some downtime. The event will also include a pet rescue area where you can adopt the next member of your family, as well as performances by Classic Rock Therapy, Hip Hop Kidz, South Florida Cloggers, and Julia Dale.

At the lantern show, presented by Hanart Culture, you and your friends and family can feast your eyes upon many of the frabjous animal lanterns on display. There will be authentic Chinese food available for sale as well as handmade tchotchkes. “History, prehistory and myth blend in a nighttime dreamscape of electrically-lit scenes,” says Gretchen Roberts, the operations manager for the lantern event. “Enter a world of illuminated panda bears, cheetahs, and towering buildings.” Sounds pretty sweet. To buy your tickets to the festival, click here.

Jonathan Kendall
Jonathan Kendall
Jonathan Kendall is an editor and writer based in South Florida. He writes for several award-winning publications, and is a 2016 graduate of Harvard University, where he studied journalism under several Nieman fellows. His byline appears in Atlas Obscura, Bal Harbour Magazine,, Cultured, Miami New Times, New Times Broward-Palm Beach and more.

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