Here in Orlando, we understand that we may celebrate the holidays differently than in other parts of the country. Instead of getting out our mittens and hats, we can sometimes swim on Christmas Day, if the weather cooperates. Rather than snowy skies, we can enjoy the sunshine nearly year-round. Families from across the country flock to Orlando during the holiday season to escape the more wintery weather.
How We Celebrate the Holidays in Orlando
Although the weather outside is rarely frightful, we still find plenty of Christmas things to do in Orlando.
Giving Back During the Holidays
The holidays are a season for giving, and we are thankful there are many opportunities to give back to the Orlando community. Hands On Orlando is a great organization to find volunteer opportunities for individuals, as well as groups and families. Children as young as three can participate with a parent, and there is an easy online calendar which allows you to sign up for projects online.
Here are ABC Home & Commercial Services, giving is part of our company culture. With the help of our employee David Grimes, we have been feeding over 250 of our fellow Orlando residents at Thanksgiving at the Christian Service Center. This year is ABC’s third year to sponsor the event.
See the Lights
Kids of all ages can enjoy marveling at the twinkle of Christmas lights. Every December, Lake Eola Park is transformed for the season with a 72-foot tree with 88,000 lights. We love to walk around the lake and take children to visit Santa at the Eola House. Special holiday concerts and performances take place at the Park throughout the month of December and are a fun way to celebrate the season.
You can also load up the whole family to see lights displays in other parts of Central Florida. Check out this list of displays in Orlando, Kissimmee, Sanford, and Winter Park. If you pride yourself on your Christmas lights display, you can even add your home to News 13’s list of the best-trimmed holiday houses.
Enjoy a Holiday Performance
Celebrate the holidays with loved ones and out of town guests by attending a special holiday performance. Head to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater for a 90-minute family-friendly hilarious tribute to the season, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!). Fans of improv will enjoy Chain Letters to Santa, a Second City-style show featuring original sketch comedy and musical parodies. Everyone in the family will love the Garden Theatre’s version of A Charlie Brown Christmas, showing at the Florida Hospital Winter Garden through December 18th.
If you love holiday music, you have plenty of ways to listen to all of your favorite songs. Listen to the sounds of the season, courtesy of the Bach Festival Choir in the beautiful Knowles Memorial Chapel at A Classic Christmas. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra will perform at the Amway Center on December 17th. The Orlando Ballet brings The Nutcracker to its stage from December 8-11th.
Experience Snow and Ice
You don’t need to book a trip to the slopes to experience snow. Celebration Town Center hosts (multiple) nightly snowfalls daily through December 31st, as well as having an ice rink and other special seasonal events. University of Central Florida also has an 8,000-square-foot ice skating rink, just in time for the holidays and open until after the new year, along with rides and a free outdoor film festival. The Gaylord Palms Resort offers guests and the general public a true winter wonderland, including snow tubing and free holiday concerts and performances, along with displays carved out of two million pounds of ice. Winter Park has its own seasonal ice skating rink located in Central Park West Meadow.
Vacation in Your Own Town
If you avoid the area theme parks during other parts of the year, you may want to take advantage of all the special programming happening during the holiday. Epcot’s Holidays Around the World takes place three times daily until December 30th and features a celebrity narrator telling the Christmas story, along with a 50-piece orchestra and a choir. Visit Grinchmas at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure until January 1, 2017, which includes meet-and-greet opportunities with the one and only Grinch, festive decor, and a live show set to the music of Manheim Steamroller. Join in on the holiday fun with Mickey and friends at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, taking place at Magic Kingdom on select nights until December 22nd.
Enjoy Your Home For the Holidays
We love spending the holidays in Orlando. Whether it’s taking a watching an outdoor movie, checking out Christmas lights, or taking in a holiday performance, there is no place we’d rather be for the holidays.