It’s the most wonderful time of the year—enjoy a curated selection of spirited events and performances across Florida’s Cultural Capital this holiday season.
Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Palm Beach
The Gilded-Age glamour of Whitehall is always at its most spectacular during the Christmas season. Attend the lighting of the 16-foot Christmas tree on December 5 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (free with museum admission; lighting takes place at 1 p.m.) then stay for the festivities to follow—there will be music played on the Odell organ and Steinway piano, choir performances, holiday shopping in the Museum Store, and even an appearance from Santa Claus. Come back all month long to marvel at the ornate historically accurate decor, or take a Holiday Evening Tour to see the home lit by the original 1902 light fixtures while hearing docents’ tales of holiday traditions from the Gilded Age. Holiday Evening Tours are offered nightly from December 18 to December 22 at 6:45 p.m. ($25 per non-member adult; advance purchase required). Also adding to the Christmas magic during Holiday Evening Tours are strolling carolers in the Cocoanut Grove.
Spady Cultural Heritage Museum, Delray Beach
Honor the “first fruits” and learn the Nguzo Saba (seven principles in Swahili) with Spady Cultural Heritage Museum’s Kwanzaa Celebration, held in partnership with the Delray Beach Zeta Phi Beta Sorority and the Sankofa Study Group. On December 26 at 2:30 p.m., families will gather outside on the Spady’s museum grounds to celebrate the first day of Kwanzaa. Expect songs, dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, demonstrations, and a large meal, all in celebration of the traditional African holiday of Kwanzaa.
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum, Jupiter
Want a prime seat for this year’s Holiday Boat Parade without having to purchase a waterfront home? Head to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse on December 4 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. to enjoy a festive night among neighbors and friends. There will be food trucks, music, and booths from local shops on the lighthouse grounds, and attendees will also be able to participate in evening lighthouse climbs for unforgettable starlit views of the Intracoastal Waterway. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket, and bring a toy to donate to Little Smiles to receive a $5 gift certificate to the Lighthouse Gift Shop. Advance tickets are $20 per adult ($25 at the door).
Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach
Gift with a Japanese flair this season by attending special programs at the Morikami. On December 11 (10:30am to 12 p.m. or 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.), attend a hands-on workshop called The Art of Japanese Gift Presentation to learn to wrap with washi (Japanese traditional handmade paper), create uniquely designed boxes, and more ($35; advance registration required). Then, come back between December 18 and December 30 for a bit of family fun with creating Japanese New Year’s cards called nengajō (free; offered at 10 a.m. every day).
Mounts Botanical Garden, West Palm Beach
From December 1 to 23, Mounts Botanical Garden will stage the magical Garden of Lights event, illuminating all 14 acres of its “living plant museum” in twinkling holiday colors. As you stroll through the various areas of this not-so-wintry wonderland, you’ll see the Garden’s lush tropical foliage and trees lit up in spectacular celebration of the most wonderful time of the year. Entry costs $15 per (non-member) adult.
The Square, West Palm Beach
Enjoy a free Hanukkah celebration from the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County at The Square on December 5 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Prior to the candle lighting ceremony to conclude the afternoon event, there will be entertainment from local TikTok dance star Sean Green, a DJ from Bash Entertainment, and photo ops with Hanukkah “characters” and a balloon arch. Plus, attendees can give back by assembling toiletry kits for Dignity Grows at an activity station led by the Federation’s Jewish Volunteer Center and Women’s Philanthropy.
The Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach
Enjoy three holiday-themed programs from The Society of the Four Arts in December. On December 5 at 3 p.m., celebrated trumpeter Wynton Marsalis will present “Big Band Holidays” along with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in the Walter S. Gubelmann Auditorium ($30 per ticket). Come back on December 12 for back-to-back free events: there will be a special screening of the New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker at 2 p.m. followed immediately by “Carols on the Lawn” from the Palm Beach Atlantic University Chamber Choir at 4 p.m.
Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, West Palm Beach
Nothing makes spirits bright quite like a glittering evening at the theatre—luckily, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts has holiday programming all season long, beginning with Cirque Dreams Holidaze November 26 to 28. This family-friendly show is a Broadway musical and mind-blowing Cirque extravaganza in one. The Hip Hop Nutcracker (December 10) and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical (December 23) round out the merry offerings, with Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation there to lift your post-Christmas blues with hilarious musical spoofs December 27 to 31. Then, start your new year right: be dazzled by the music and dancing of the Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert on January 1, 2022. Ticket prices vary.
Looking for more arts and culture to enjoy during your holiday stay? Check out our online events calendar to see the full spread of cultural experiences going on here in The Palm Beaches. Happy holidays!
Skye Sherman is a freelance travel writer based in South Florida. She is also a private pilot, scuba diver, bookworm, and world traveler whose curiosity and eagerness to explore send her all over the globe.