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Ho, ho, ho! Holiday events in Tampa Bay area

We made a list of all the holiday happenings through December, but like Santa's list, it is overwhelmingly long. So, unlike the guy wearing red, we've whittled it down to some select items you might consider doing. Unwrap a more complete list on our Things To Do page.


Twinkle in Tampa Bay: This parade cruises Garrison and Sparkman channels around Davis Islands and Harbour Island; 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21; Channelside District

Dunedin Boat Parade and Tree Lighting: Decorated and lighted boats will leave Marker 1 Marina at 6 p.m. and proceed south through the intra-coastal waterway to Marker 2, turn around and arrive at the Dunedin Marina at approximately 7:30 p.m., with Santa arriving on the last boat to preside over the tree lighting; 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7; free (bring lawn chairs); (727) 812-4531

Hillsborough River Boat Parade: Boaters, canoers, kayakers, light up the night with their decorated vessels; meet at Lowry Park Boat ramp and go upriver past Sulphur Springs Tower and end at Sulphur Springs Park City Pool; fest with carolers and Santa follows immediately; 6 p.m. Dec. 8; free; 701 E. Bird St., Tampa

St. Petersburg Boat Parade: The 27th Annual Illuminated Boat Parade presented by the Rotary Club of St. Petersburg; 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14; grandstand seating available for $5; Bayshore Drive along North Straub Park, downtown St. Petersburg; (727) 822-3277 and www.stpeteboatparade.org

Treasure Island Holiday Lighted Boat Parade: Described as Las Vegas on the water, the parade leaves The Club on Treasure Island at 6:20 p.m., arrives at Causeway Bridge at 7 p.m. and ends at John's Pass at 8:15 p.m.; rain date Dec. 22; www.mytreasureisland.org

Tarpon Springs Boat Parade: includes a holiday fest with snow and Santa; 8 p.m. Dec. 6; Ring Avenue to Spring Bayou; www.ctsfl.us

Alafia Lighted Boat Parade and Chili Cook Off: 30th annual event with proceeds benefiting the FishHawk Riverview Rotary Club; 5 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7; free; International Showmen's Club, 6915 Riverview Drive; (813) 716-5341

2013 Lighted Boat Parade for Indian Shores, Redington Beach, Redington Shores and North Redington Beach: 6 p.m. Dec. 15; Welch Causeway Bridge; (727) 391-3875

Indian Rocks Beach Lighted Boat Parade: decorated boats take to the waters; 7 p.m. Dec. 21; Holiday Inn Harbourside, 401 Second St., Indian Rocks Beach; www.indian-rocks-beach.com



Seminole Heights Tree Lighting: The lighting of a 12-foot Christmas tree and the singing of Christmas carols are scheduled for Sunday at the Seminole Heights United Methodist Church in Tampa; 6 p.m. Sunday; 6111 North Central Ave., Seminole Heights; (813) 236-5931

Tampa Tree Lighting: Along with a tree lighting, scheduled events include a countdown to light the tree with Mayor Buckhorn, a Christmas market and a free showing of the movie, “National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation”; 6 p.m. Dec. 6; free (but everyone is asked to bring a Teddy bear to be donated to children in local hospitals); Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Sahley Drive, Tampa; (813) 274-8677

Gulfport Tree Lighting: Along with a visit from Santa, the tree lighting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Clymer Park (corner of Gulfport Blvd and Beach Blvd ; (727) 893-1118 and www.my.gulfport.us

St. Petersburg Tree Lighting: Christmas tree lighting along with a make-and-take craft station for kids, music, a bounce house, refreshments and more; 5 p.m. today; free; North Straub Park, 400 Bayshore Drive N.E., St. Petersburg

Indian Rocks Beach Tree Lighting: Chocolate, cookies and more will be served and carolers will sing at the annual tree lighting; 7 p.m. Dec. 6; 12th Avenue Park on Gulf Boulevard; www.indian-rocks-beach.com



Tampa Bay Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”: 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and 3 p.m. Dec. 15; $25 adults, $15 children; James B. White Performing Arts Center, 2750 Haines Bayshore Road, Clearwater; (813) 814-0587 and www.tampabayballet.com

“The Nutcracker Twist”: Originally called the “Chocolate Nutcracker,” the new production is called the “Nutcracker Twist,” which puts a “twist,” on the Tchaikovsky classic, infusing it with ballet, African Dance, hip hop and more; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21; $17, $27 and $37; Mahaffey Theater 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg; (727) 216-3519 or (727) 893-7832 and www.lifeforceculturalarts.com

Next Generation Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”: Guest artists from the Boston Ballet dance with more than 100 from the Next Generation Ballet in the holiday favorite; 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7 and 2 p.m. Dec. 8.; Straz Center, 1010 MacInnes Place, Tampa; $20.50-$65.60; www.strazcenter.org

Dance Theatre of Tampa: Snow, dazzling costumes, ornates sets and, of course, Clara and her Nutcracker Prince; featuring guest performers Crystal Wellman, Samuel Shapiro and Justin Kahan; 7 p.m. Dec. 20, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 21 and 2 p.m. Dec. 22; University of South Florida Theatre 1, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa; $23-$26; www.ticketmaster.com

Tampa City Ballet's “The Nutcracker”: This whimsical holiday classic combines the talents of Tampa City Ballet with students from the USF Dance Department and Americas Ballet School; 7 p.m. Dec. 15; USF Theatre 1, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa; $20; www.ticketmaster.com

Triple Threat Theatre's “Nutcracker Ballet”: Classic Ballet of Tampa and young dancers from the area will share the stage with guest artists from the Alabama Ballet and Orlando Ballet; 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7; $20 to $28; USF Theatre 1, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa; www.ticketmaster.com

JDP “Nutcracker”: The Collective Soles Arts Group performs the holiday favorite; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14; $25; USF Theatre 1, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa; www.ticketmaster.com

“A Christmas Carol — A new Musical: Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley return to Tampa Bay in the Charles Dickens classic, with an inspirational score and incarnations of all the memorable characters; 8 p.m. Monday through Dec. 24 (call for times and prices); $16 to $44; freeFall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727) 498-5205 and www.freefalltheatre.com

“It's a Wonderful Life:” The Carrollwood Players will present the holiday classic as a live radio play as George Bailey considers ending his life one fateful Christmas Eve; 8 p.m. today and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 21; $18 ($15 seniors and students); Carrollwood Playhouse , 4335 Gunn Highway, Tampa; (813) 265-4000 and www.carrollwoodplayers.org

Morning Musicale: Along with piano duets and a sing-a-long, the Friday Morning Musicale chorus, directed by Lynda Goetz, will sing several Christmas Songs, followed by a buffet lunch ($7); 10 a.m., Friday, Dec. 6; Musicale Building, 809 Horatio St., Tampa (Hyde Park); (813) 251-8201

“Holiday Party of One”: Follows three over-worked, out of touch people who get caught up in the rush of the holidays, with the second half of the production featuring a cabaret of holiday favorites; 8 p.m. Thursday to Dec. 8, Dec. 12 to 15 and Dec. 19 and 20; $25.88; New Stage Theatre, 11650 131st St. N., Largo (inside Country Day World School; (813) 817-2585

“White Christmas”: Based on Irving Berlin's 1954 romantic musical comedy; now through Dec. 25; call for times, dates and tickets; The Show Palace Dinner Theatre,16128 U.S. 19, Hudson; (727) 863-7949 and www.showpalace.net

“Dreaming of a White Christmas”: Award-winning actress Katherine Mitchell Tanner and pianist Viktor Nikolov share the sounds of the holidays; 8 p.m., Dec. 6; $20 in advance, $25 at the door; Gorilla Theater and Unity of Tampa, 3302 W. Horatio St., Tampa; (813) 870-0731 and www.gorillatheatre.com

“Joy Story”: A Christmas musical set in an ultimate toy store; 7 p.m. Dec. 14 and 10 a.m. Dec. 15; free; Heritage Church, 1854 Oak Grove Blvd., Lutz; (813) 909-4080 and www.yesheritage.com

“Christmas Spectacular”: Village Players present traditional Christmas music and songs including original Christmas skits; 7 p.m., Dec. 6 (opening night premiere with tickets at $20); and 8 p.m. Dec. 7, 14, 15, 20, 21 and 3 p.m. matinee Dec. 16; $14; James McCabe Theater,506 Fifth St., Valrico; (813) 643-8292 or (813) 240-3700

The Scott and Patti Holiday Special: A mother and son cabaret act that includes glittering gowns, special guests, Christmas songs and audience participation; 7 p.m., Dec. 22; $18; freeFall Theatre, 6099 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727) 498-5205 and www.freefalltheatre.com

Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour 2013 with Kaiko Matsui, Oleta Adams and Jonathan Butler: 8 p.m. Saturday, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; $100, $85, $50, $35; www.rutheckerhall.com

Trans-Siberian Orchestra's “The Lost Christmas Eve”: 3 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, The Forum, Tampa; $70.75, $60.75, $50.75, $40.75 and $32.75; www.ticketmaster.com

Happy Holidays Concert with Opera Tampa Singers: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, TECO Theater, Straz Center, Tampa; $10; www.opertampa.org

Donny & Marie (Osmond) Christmas Show: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, The Forum, Tampa; $122,25, $76.75, $56/75, $45.75; www.ticketmaster.com

Gaither Christmas Homecoming: 6 p.m. Dec. 7, Lakeland Center, Lakeland; $26.50, $36.50, $74.50;

St. Petersburg College Madrigalians: The Madrigalians, who have appeared at New York City's Carnegie Hall, will perform in the auditorium of the St. Petersburg Main Library, 3745 Ninth Ave., N., St. Petersburg; 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7; free; (727) 827-0110

Happy Holidays Concert with Opera Tampa Singers: 2:30 p.m. Dec. 8, TECO Theater, Straz Center, Tampa; $10; www.strazcenter.org

Vocal and Instrumental Music Holiday Concert: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10, Straz Center, Tampa; $10-$12; www.strazcenter.org

Happy Holidays Concert with Opera Tampa Singers: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg; $10

Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes: varying times Dec. 12-29, Straz Center, Tampa; $42.50 to 105; www.strazcenter.org

Acoustic Christmas with Goo Goo Dolls, The Fray, Colbie Callat, ZZ Ward and Michael Franti: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13, The Mahaffey, St. Petersburg; $141.50, $61.50, $41.50

The Florida Orchestra — Holiday Pops: 8 p.m. Dec. 13, Straz Center, Tampa; 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 14, Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; www.floridaorchestra.org

A Peter White Christmas with Mindi Abair and Rick Braun: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; $60, $42; www.rutheckerdhall.com

“Michael Londra's Celtic Yuletide”: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17, Lakeland Center, Lakeland; $120, $65, $44, $36

The Christmas Show Tour with Trace Adkins: 8 p.m. Dec. 18, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater; $87.50, $61.50 and $47.50; www.rutheckerdhall.com

A Russian Christmas performed by the State Choir of Russia: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17, Largo Cultural Center, Largo; $26.50 to $39.50; (727) 587-6793 and LargoArts.com

Michael McDonald — “This Christmas: An Evening of Holiday and Hits: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, Capitol Theatre, $98, $82; www.AtTheCap.com

Seasonal Sparkle with St. Petersburg Opera Chorus and Orchestra: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, $21.50 to $64.50; (727) 823-2040 and www.stpeteopera.org



Holiday Lights at Botanical Gardens: Along with 500,000 twinkling lights, the Florida Botanical Garden Foundation's garden glows with tropical plants, roses, fruits, herbs, hibiscus bromeliads and more; 5:30 p.m. today through Jan. 1; free ($2 donation encouraged); 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo; (727) 582-2100 and www.flbg.org

“Nights of Shimmering Lights”: Experience Tampa Bay's drive-through holiday light show, a 1˝-mile lighted trail featuring countless twinkling lights; opens Saturday; 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, through Dec. 29; $15 to $20 per car; Hillsborough County Fairgrounds, 217 Sydney Washer Road, Dover; (813) 389-6858 and www.nightsofshimmeringlights.com

Symphony in Lights at the Shops at Wiregrass: Running now through Dec. 31, the holiday celebration includes 250,000 Christmas lights on a 55-foot Christmas tree with music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Along with strolling carolers and a visit by Santa, the event includes live music and snow flurries, shows beginning on the hour from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Suite 100, Wesley Chapel; (813) 994-2242 and www.theshopsatwiregrass.com



Holiday Classics: Tampa Theatre presents holiday classics every Sunday in December to keep your holiday glow; movies are “Elf” (3 p.m. Sunday), “Miracle on 34th Street (3 p.m. Dec. 8), “White Christmas” (3 p.m. Dec. 15) and “It's A Wonderful Life” (7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and 22); $10 general admission, $8 Tampa Theatre members; Tampa Theatre, 711 N. Franklin St., Tampa; tampatheatre.org

Santa Fest and Rough Riders Holiday Parade: Downtown Tampa will be transformed into a winter wonderland for this day-long event that includes free photos with Santa, make-and-take holiday crafts, Christmas market, and life entertainment; also Rough Riders, floats and bands take to Morgan and Madison streets for the annual parade; parade starts at 11 a.m.; Santa Fest runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa; tampagov.net

Florida Aquarium's Breakfast with Santa: Enjoy a buffet breakfast, photo opportunities with Santa, special animal guests and free parking and admission all-day at the park; Dec. 21; $35.95 and $29.95 (children); Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside Drive 273-4000 and www.flaquarium.org

Wild Wonderland: Meet real-life reindeer, see a million twinkling Christmas lights and experience a 100-foot arctic freeze slide on selected days in December at the Lowry Park Zoo, which will close at 5 p.m. daily and reopen for this event; 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Dec. 7, 13-15, 17-23 and 26-30; $14 and $11 (children); Lowry Park Zoo, 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa; (813) 935-8552 and www.lowryparkzoo.com

GaYbor Holiday Party: The 14th annual party includes complimentary cocktails and hors d' oeuvres for Ybor businesses, residents and friends; 6:30 p.m., Dec. 6; free; The Honey Pot, 1507 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa; (813) 247-6233 and www.gaybor.com

Breakfast with Santa: Offers an all-you-can-eat breakfast with Santa featuring music and holiday activities; 9 a.m. Dec. 14; $13 adults, $10 per child (in advance), $15 and $12 at the door; Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa; (813) 987-6000 and www.mosi.org

Busch Gardens Christmas Town: Includes live music, Christmas entertainment, SnowWorld, local choirs, ice-skating angels and more than a million twinkling Christmas lights; $60 to $10 (advance ticket for children ages 3 to 9); 6 p.m. today, Saturday and Sunday (selected days through Dec. 23); (888) 800-5447 and www.seaworldparks.com

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party: Live entertainment, fireworks and a holiday parade celebrate Mickey's Christmas; 7 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday (through Dec. 20); $62 to $71; Magic Kingdom Park, 7 Seas Drive, Bay Lake; (407) 939-5277

Santa's Workshop: Kids get the opportunity to create something special for their parents and grandparents starting today when MOSI's Idea Zone is transformed into Santa's satellite toy workshop. Kids of all ages can design and create stocking stuffers in preparation for the big day; 8 a.m. today through Dec. 31; MOSI, 4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa; (813) 987-6000

Santa Speedo Run: Wear a Speedo swimsuit or dress up like Santa for this fourth annual one-mile run benefitting the AIDS Service Association's Pediatric programs; 1 p.m. Sunday; $35; Centennial Park, 1800 E. Eighth Ave., Tampa; (727) 328-3260

Old-fashioned Christmas: Activities for kids include horse-drawn carriage rides, train rides, crafts and games, live entertainment and more; 4 p.m. Dec. 14; free; downtown Dunedin; (727) 812-4530

Jingle Bell Bar Crawl: Following the Santa Speedo Run, this GaYbor bar crawl cruises through eight venues with a free shot at each stop; 5 p.m. Sunday; Gaspar's Grotto, 1805 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa; (813) 248-5900

Henry Plant Museum's Victorian Christmas Stroll: Beneath towering silver minarets, an extravagantly adorned former Tampa Bay Hotel captures the spirit of the season, Victorian style; 10 a.m. Sunday through Dec. 23; $13 adults, $11 seniors, $7 youths (4-18 years); Henry B. Plant Museum, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa; (813) 254-1891

Snow on Seventh: Holiday music, horse-drawn carriages, marching bands, live performers, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Santa and snow on Seventh Avenue are all part of the family-friendly Snow on Seventh Holiday Parade; 6 p.m. Dec. 14; free; Seventh Avenue from 20th Street to 14th Street, Tampa; (813) 274-7936

Tour of Homes: Self-guided tour of homes with Christmas music and food available at each stop; 4 p.m. Dec. 7; $12 to $15; Start at First United Methodist Church, 5901 Indiana Ave., New Port Richey; (727) 514-5220

Music Showcase Christmas Festival: Along with a chance to meet Santa, the festival will include live music, kids' activities with a bounce house, more than 60 vendors and performances by several singing groups; 9 a.m. Dec. 14; free; 402 Oakfield Drive, Brandon; (813) 685-5998 and www.musicshowcaseonline.com

There's Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs: The Christmas festival will include real reindeer, a snow play area for kids, horse-drawn carriage rides, outdoor Christmas movies, carolers and more; 4 p.m. Dec. 6; Tarpon Avenue from Spring Bayou to Ring Street and Safford Avenue from Tarpon Avenue to Orange Street; (727) 938-3711 and www.ctsfl.us

Candlelight Tour of Homes: Visitors will be allowed to tour inside eight decorated homes in Old Northeast, one of St. Petersburg's historic neighborhoods, with musical performances on the tour and an artist who will be painting a ceiling mural during the tour; 3 p.m. Dec. 8; $25 ($20 in advance); programs at 939 Beach Drive, N.E.; www.honna.org

Largo Central Park Stroll: More than a million LED lights and a different holiday theme at each park shelter highlight the stroll, which includes a visit from Santa, a toboggan snow slide, a 7 p.m. tree-lighting and more; 5 p.m. Dec. 7; free ($5 for parking); Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, Largo; (727) 587-6775 and www.largoevents.com

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