Ultimate Holiday Guide: County-by-county events 🎁

Tree lightings, holiday events and more in your community

Stunning laser light show highlights Basilica in Jacksonville’s Cathedral District

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With the calendar flipping to December, holiday events are in full swing. Before you know it we will usher in a new year.

No matter where you live around northeast Florida and southeast Georgia, gather your family and friends and head out to enjoy an event near you.

Here are events in Florida broken down by county:

Duval County

Deck The Chairs in Jacksonville Beach (11/24 - 1/1/2022) -- This event puts a unique twist on Christmas decorating! The display features over 20,000 pieces of waste that were all collected along the coast. The finished project will be on display from Nov. 24 to Jan. 1.

Choo! Choo! (12/28 - 12/30) The trains are running at the Beaches Branch Library. The Beaches Train Club’s trains are assisted in running by different local community organization volunteers including the Beaches Museum, Community Presbyterian Church Wednesday Morning Men’s Group, and Friends of the Beaches Library. There are only three days left for the running trains at the Beaches Branch Library.

Beaches Museum volunteers Heather Ketron (right) and Cindy White (left) running the Hogwarts Express and a Polar Express freight train at the Beaches Branch Library.

VyStar Credit Union Presents “Jason Woods’ A Christmas Carol” (12/22) -- VyStar presents “Jason Woods’ A Christmas Carol,” a one-man holiday storytelling experience on Wed., Dec. 22, outside of the VyStar Tower at 76 S. Laura St. in downtown Jacksonville. The performance will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs and hot chocolate will be provided while supplies lasts. For more information, please visit VyStar’s Facebook page.

‘A Night of Hope’ Christmas Eve Celebration (12/24) -- Marc Dickerson and the Amazing Life Church family invite the community to join in on the first annual Christmas Eve Celebration: “A Night of Hope.” There will be caroling, festive holiday drinks and treats, and a visit from a very special guest.

Wear your ugliest Christmas sweater for a chance to win the grand prize. Location: 600 King Street

A Night of Hope

‘Dazzling Nights’ at Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens (11/19 - 1/9/2022) -- The Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is lighting the town during “Dazzling Nights,” a three-quarter-mile interactive holiday experience. The family-friendly event begins Nov. 19 and will end on Jan. 9, 2022. Click here for more details.

ZOOLights (12/10-12, 17-19, 22-24 & 26) -- The 10th annual ZOOLights, a fantastical holiday light experience set to transform Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, will take guests on a magical journey of the artistry of lights, sound, and nature itself. During this nightly event, the animals settle down for their long winter’s nap, while the lights take center stage. (Click here to purchase tickets)

Basilica Light Show (until 12/26) -- The last weekend to watch Christmas in the Cathedral District: Let There Be Light is Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 23 – 26, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The free event will light up the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception with incredible light and sound art installation with music from the Jacksonville Symphony and the Children’s Choir. The presentation will repeat every 15 minutes.

Location: 121 Duval St. Click here for more information.

NYE with from RPDR Miz Cracker (12/31) -- Television star “Miz Cracker” from RuPaul’s Drag Race will be performing a New Year’s Eve show at Hamburger Marys. Tickets start at $15. Click here for more information. Location: 3333-1 Beach Boulevard - 3333-1 Beach Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL, USA

Winter Solstice Festival (Dec. 21 - 24) -- Join us for our Winter Solstice Festival - a family-friendly event spanning 4 days, December 21st-24th, with food, vendors crafts, music, bubble snow, and more!” Activities vary by day -- click here for more information.

Winter Solstice Festival

Christmas Eve Brunch at Wicked Barley (12/24) -- Eat, drink and be merry! Join Wicked Barley Brewing Company for a Christmas Eve Brunch at Wicked Barley on Friday, December 24t from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 4100 Baymeadows Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32217.

Silent Night 2021 (12/26 - Dec. 28) -- Jacksonville’s annual “Silent Night” program that aims to empty animal shelters for the holidays will soon be in full swing. Animal Care and Protective Services (ACPS) and the Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) are inviting everyone to foster a cat or dog. The goal is to empty the shelters by Christmas Eve. Pick-up will begin on Dec. 20 and will run until Dec. 24. All foster pets will be returned between Dec. 26 and Dec. 28, unless you choose to adopt your foster! Click here to read more.

Clay County

Mission of the Dirt Road Christmas Party (12/14) -- “This will be a time to celebrate as a community all the wonderful gifts we receive at Christmas time: family and friends, good food, fun, and, most importantly Jesus. We’ll play some games, we’ll eat some yummy food; and, of course, we’ll open some presents!” Click here for more information. Location: 7790 FL-100, Keystone Heights

Parade of Trees - Green Cove Springs (until Dec. 31) -- Walk through a holiday wonderland as Spring Park glows with 160 lit Christmas Trees every night until 10 p.m. throughout the month of December. Each tree is decorated by families, organizations, or local businesses, and many are dedicated to loved ones. Parade of Trees is free and open to the public. Click here for more information.

Where: Spring Park, 106 St. Johns Ave. When: Sunset until 10 p.m.

Holiday Light Contest (12/23) -- This year we are asking that our neighbors join us and light up Eagle Harbor with a friendly Holiday Light Contest.” Residents can vote for their favorite homes by submitting their votes to corik@eagleharbor.info.”

Location: Eagle Harbor Waterfront Park at 1685 Lakeshore Dr, Fleming Island, FL 32003

Nassau County

2021 New Year’s Eve Shrimp Drop (12/31) -- Vendors, Party Hats, Fireworks and a Shrimp that drops from the sky! Come out and enjoy the festivities this New Year’s Eve! Location: Fernandina Beach | Centre Street-Downtown

The Salvation Army Hope House Red Kettle Campaign (until 12/24) -- The Salvation Army Hope House’s Red Kettle Campaign is our annual fundraiser and public awareness campaign designed to help the less fortunate citizens in Nassau County. Location: Downtown Fernandina Beach 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

St. Johns County

Night of Lights in St. Augustine (now until (1/31/2022) -- The award-winning display lit up for the 27th season at dusk Saturday and will run each night through Jan. 31.

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum to host first annual Lighthouse Illuminations event (now - 1/21/2022) -- Discover twenty-one uniquely decorated trees, each with a distinct theme. Available on select days between November 22 and January 21.

‘Tree-cycling’ encouraged in St. Johns County to produce mulch for parks (12/28 - 1/4/2022) -- The St. Johns County Government and St. Johns County Parks and Recreation want your Christmas tree after you’re ready to scrap it. Residents are encouraged to bring their real trees to any of the six designated county sites for recycling into mulch for local parks. Click here for a list of drop-off locations.

Here are events in Georgia broken down by county:

Camden County

Christmas Bows and Arrows at Crooked River State Park (12/23, 25) -- Archery Program at the Nature Center. Shoot through Wreaths to collect points and win prizes! Location: Crooked River State Park, 6222 Charlie Smith Sr Hwy, St Marys, GA 31558, USA

Arts and Crafts -Teen Art League at Coastal Camden Art League (12/30) -- This is an ongoing class every Thursday night. The league is for teens 13yrs and up. Cost is $55 for the year. All supplies provided. Click here for more information.

Glynn County

Christmas at Sea Island (12/22 - 12/26) -- This event has it all! “From storytime with Santa’s elves to our life-size Gingerbread Advent Cottage in the Solarium to a Reindeer Dash fun run, we have every reason for you to join us this Christmas holiday.” Click here for more information.

Click here to find the best Christmas light displays around Jacksonville.

About the Author:

Carianne Luter is an Award-Winning Digital Media and Engagement Manager for News4Jax and has worked at Channel 4 since December 2015. She won "Best Social Media Engagement Strategy" during the Local Media Association 2022 Digital Innovation Awards. She graduated from the University of North Florida with a communication degree.