19 Orlando Holiday Events to Kick-Off the Festive Season

Orlando Holiday Events

As the famed Christmas carol declares: “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year!” It’s time to celebrate with holiday-themed date nights. Here are some festive activities to ignite your seasonal spirit:

Festival of Trees
Orlando Museum of Art
November 12-20

This annual event, now in its thirtieth year, transforms the OMA into a glittering wonderland filled with sparkling trees, vignettes and stunning décor. Trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses, decorative accessories and gifts are available for purchase (because sometimes you need to simplify your holiday to-do list) but just wandering through the museum admiring the incredible holiday talent is more than enough reason to visit. Pssst… Orlando Date Night Guide will be a judge this year!

 Orlando Holiday Events
Festival of Trees

Light Up UCF “50 Nights of Music, Lights & Ice”
CFE Arena, University of Central Florida
Nov 18-Jan 7

Back for a ninth season, Light Up UCF provides festive Central Floridians with an affordable place to celebrate the holidays with an 8,000-square-foot ice skating rink, rides, holiday attractions and a free outdoor holiday film festival.

 Orlando Holiday Events
Light Up UCF

Winter in the Park ─ Ice Skating
Corner of Morse Boulevard & New York Avenue
Nov 18-Jan 8

Turn date night up a notch with twirls and whirls around Winter Park’s seasonal ice skating rink! All day admission is $12 including skates.

ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas
Gaylord Palms Resort, Kissimmee
Nov 18-Jan 1

Wanna take your hottie to something cool? Everything at this display is hand-carved from 2 million pounds of ice! Watch Charlie Brown rediscover the true meaning of Christmas as the beloved classic story unfolds through interactive ice sculptures and displays. You’ll also enjoy snow tubing, the On the Blocks ICE! Bar and free holiday concerts and performances in the hotel’s beautifully decorated atrium.

Florida Residents Offer (ICE! tickets only): Save an additional $4 per ticket for advance tickets, and save $3 on regular ticket sales. Use promo code FLR16 when you book your online tickets here.

Holiday Events Orlando
Christmas at Gaylord Palms

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree
Oviedo Choose & Cut Christmas Trees or Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest
Seasonal Weekends (after Thanksgiving)

Nothing beats the seasonal scent of fresh evergreen. Head to Oviedo Choose & Cut Christmas Trees or Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest (Eustis) for the ultimate opportunity to personalize the centerpiece of your holiday décor! There’s lots to do there besides tree picking so be sure to set aside a few hours.

holiday events in orlando
Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Eustis By shmzqth

Cannonball Christmas Express
Tavares
Nov 25-27, Dec 2-4, 9-11 & 16-24

All aboard this festive (love) train for a unique holiday experience. Sip hot chocolate and nibble cookies on the station platform before boarding the century old train for entertainment by carolers and storytellers.

Candlelight Processional
Epcot Theme Park
Nov 25-Dec 30, select dates

A special guest narrator takes the stage at the America Gardens Theatre to tell the biblical story of Christmas, interweaving it with the rich sounds of a full orchestra and a variety of choirs that inspire with songs of hope and joy. The lineup of celebrities lending their talents to this year’s production includes Neil Patrick Harris and Whoopi Goldberg.

candlelight processional
Candlelight Processional at Epcot. Photo Credit: Walt Disney World

Now Snowing
Celebration Town Center
Nov 26-Dec 31

If you haven’t explored the quaint town of Celebration yet, this time of year is the perfect opportunity to do so. You can treat your love to a winter white experience at Central Florida’s original and premier “snowing” event, featuring an ice rink, strolling Charles Dickens carolers, community performers, horse drawn carriage rides, the Celebration Express train and nightly snowfall on the hour. Needs some additional date ideas? Read Five Ways to do Date Night in Celebration.

38th Annual Christmas in the Park
Central Park
Dec 1 | 6:15-8 pm

Each year, on the first Thursday of December, the Morse Museum helps launch the holiday season when it lights up glorious Tiffany windows in Central Park and presents the Bach Festival Choir, Youth Choir and Brass Ensemble in concert.

orlando holiday events
Photo credit: Bach Festival Society

Movie Night: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Leu Gardens
Dec 2 | 7:30 pm

Gates open at 6 pm to enjoy the lush garden grounds. Bring a blanket or chairs to relish a dinner picnic (BYOB) as you watch this classic outdoor movie (7:30 pm show time). Curbie’s Sidewalk Cafe and Peak Season Pops will have refreshments available for purchase.

outdoor movies in orlando

Winter on the Avenue
Central Park
Dec 2 | 5-10

Begin the evening at the 27th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting in Central Park just north of the Rose Garden. Local children’s choirs will perform beginning at 5 pm. Then, Popcorn Flicks in the Park, presented by Enzian Theater and the Community Redevelopment Agency, will show the animated classic “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at 7 pm, followed by the feature film “The Santa Clause.” Plus, diners and shoppers along Park Avenue can enjoy the smooth sounds of holiday jazz from 7–10 pm.

Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert
Bok Tower Gardens
Dec 3 | 6 pm

Enjoy the sounds of the season with the Orlando Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra and the Singing Tower carillon as they perform together during one of Central Florida’s favorite outdoor concerts. Flaming torches will illuminate the Olmsted-designed pathways leading up to the 205-foot Singing Tower, housing one of the world’s great carillons and featuring Gardens’ carillonneur, Geert D’hollander. Prepare a themed picnic and experience a magical evening as the sun sets atop Iron Mountain.

Sounds of the Season
The Grove at Mead Botanical Gardens
Dec 4 | 3 pm

Savor another special afternoon picnic accompanied by an array of holiday classical pieces. The performance, led by FSYO’s Symphonic Orchestra, will feature guest artist American operatic tenor Ben Gulley as well as a partnership with Orlando Ballet, Central Florida Vocal Arts and Montverde Academy.

7th Annual Holiday Concert
Lake Eola Band Shell
Dec 6 | 6 pm

Your date night can brighten the holiday season for kids around Central Florida. This holiday concert, featuring all four of the FSYO orchestras, is performed to aid the Salvation Army Red Kettle donations. After the show, wander over to World of Beer to try specialty winter brews. Keep an eye out for MoviEola to return in November/December, too!

Lake Eola Bandshell painted with rainbow theme in honor of Pulse victims. Photo credit: Orlando Weekly
The Lake Eola Bandshell was recently painted with a rainbow theme in honor of Pulse victims. Photo credit: Orlando Weekly

The Singing Christmas Trees
First Baptist Orlando
Dec 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18

From its beginning over three decades ago, “The Trees” have become one of Central Florida’s most uniquely spectacular traditions. Featuring a huge choir, full orchestra, worshipful dance, powerful drama and a beautiful display of 250,000 lights, “The Singing Christmas Trees” is a presentation of Christmas classics and the pageantry of two 40-foot-tall Christmas trees.

A Classic Christmas
Knowles Memorial Chapel
Dec 10

Another opportunity to tune into holiday tunes… Take part in a true Winter Park holiday tradition featuring favorite Christmas works performed by the Bach Festival Choir, Youth Choir and Orchestra in the beautiful Knowles Memorial Chapel.

Sanford’s Annual Illuminated Christmas Parade
Downtown Sanford
Dec 10 | 6-8 pm

The brightest and biggest holiday parade in Central Florida takes place in Historic Downtown Sanford. Daytime parades are fun but this nighttime option adds unique festive flair to the experience.

The 3rd Annual Great Latke Cook-Off
Rosen JCC
Dec 15 | 1-2 pm

This yummy fun-filled gathering features a menorah-lighting and, of course, latkes! Watch contestants fry up a batch and then judge the entries to help crown the People’s Choice Latke Champion.

Chanukah on the Park
Central Park
Dec 25 | 5:30 pm

This free event features a grand menorah lighting, singing performances, live Jewish rock music, dreidels, chocolate Chanukah gelt, Chassidic dancers, a comedian ventriloquist and a $1,000 grand raffle drawing.

Pretty soon the Coco Cola Orlando Eye will set the night aglow with holiday colors.
Pretty soon the Coco Cola Orlando Eye will set the night aglow with holiday colors.

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