It’s Christmas Week, Are You Looking For Something To Do?

The children are out of school, the house is decorated, cookies are baked… now what?  If you are looking for a way to spend your vacation time with your family, we have a few options for you!

Jingle Bell Swing Benefit Concert- Noah’s Ark

December 22nd, 7:00pm

For $8 a person, you can join the Cloud 9 Orchestra for concert to benefit Noah’s Ark! Noah’s Ark has a mission to make God’s presence known to visitors of Panama City Beach.  Tickets are available online.

A Very Elvis Christmas Dinner and Show- Breakers

December 23rd

Dinner specials will be available for those who choose to come early to watch the sunset from Breakers.  Starting at 8:30pm, you’ll hear “A Very Elvis Christmas” from Todd Allen Herendeen.  The tribute includes songs from Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, The King himself – Elvis Presley, and more!

Don’t forget that Fun for the Holidays continues to run at Shipwreck Island Water Park, at the City Pier, and on Alf Coleman!

Christmas Around the World

Depending on where you go or where you were raised, there are subtle and drastic differences in how Christmas is celebrated around the world and in our own country.

Here is a short list of traditional variations, perhaps you’d like to accomodate some into your own this year!

  • In France, instead of stockings hanging on the fireplace mantel children leave their shoes beside the fire for Papa Noel to leave candy, fruits, and nuts in.
  • In Alaska, the traditional Christmas dinner involves fish and maple dusted doughnuts.
  • In Mexico the Christmas celebrations start on December 12th (The Virgin of Guadalupe) and end on January 6th (Epiphany).  Children leave their wish list in their shoes and wake up to their gifts and statues of the Three Wise Men, who are thought to bring the toys.  Most receive gifts on Epiphany and not on Christmas.
  • Citizens of Bethlehem celebrate Christmas on several different days, depending on what faith they observe.  Crosses are painted on the door of every Christian home and each house has their own nativity scene.
  • In Japan, Christmas is mostly a commercial holiday since less than 1% of the population is Christian.  The holiday is celebrated on Christmas Eve and instead of Christmas cookies, the Japanese traditional dessert is a cake.  On Christmas day the most commonly eaten food is fried chicken.
  • Brazilians, enjoy the folk play Los Pastores (The Shepherds) which includes shepherdesses and a gypsy who attempts to kidnap the Christ Child.  Father Noel brings gifts from Greenland, but upon arrival in Brazil, changes into silk clothing due to the heat.
  • In India, Christians will decorate mango or banana trees.  They will also decorate their houses with mango leaves or small clay oil-burning lamps. Churches are decorated for Christmas services with poinsettias and candles.
  • The Polish celebrate with a tradition called Wigilia.  This tradition involves a 24-hour fast on Christmas Eve and ends with the Christmas feast.  The meal cannot begin until the first star of the night appears, honoring the star of Bethlehem.
  • In Nicaragua, many customs of old Spain are retained.  Children carry bouquets to the alter of the Virgin and sing carols in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
  • In Romania, children sing carols and read poetry while the leader carries a large decorated wooden star attached to a pole or broomstick. There is a picture of the Holy Family in the center of the decorated star.
  • Russians, fast until after the first church service on Christmas Eve.  Their Christmas Eve dinner is meatless, but includes a porridge called kutya.  Kutya is eaten from a common dish to symbolize unity.
  • Greeks rarely use Christmas trees, but symbolize the season with a shallow wooden bowl.  This bowl has a wire suspended across the rim and holds a hanging wooden cross wrapped in a sprig of basil.  Water is kept in the bowl to keep the basil alive and fresh.  The mother (typically) dips the cross and basil to holy water each day and uses it to sprinkle water in each room of the house.

Does your family have any unique traditions?  What are some traditions you’ve heard about?

On The Third Week of Christmas My True Love and I….

Looking for something to do this third week of December?  You won’t be bored!  There are plenty of holiday events to entertain you as well as boost your holiday spirit!

A Very Elvis Christmas Dinner and Show

December 16th and 17th- Breakers

Breakers will be hosting a dinner and show weekend!  Every table has a gulf view and a view of “the world’s most beautiful sunset.”  They have dinner specials starting at $15.95, and starting at 8:30pm, Todd Allen Herendeen will be staring in “A Very Elvis Christmas.”  The show will tribute Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, and more!

Santa Cruise

December 17th- Lady Anderson

Book a dinner aboard the Lady Anderson for the telling of the Christmas Story, caroling, and a surprise visit from Santa Claus!  The cruise will last from 2:00pm-4:00pm and will host the children from Anchorage Children, Rescue Mission, and Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center.

The Classic Russian Nutcracker

December 17th- Marina Civic Center
A Christmas tradition, seeing the Nutcracker Ballet!  The Marina Civic Center will host the Gold Medal Winning Company from Saint-Petersburg Classic Ballet Theatre of Marina Medvetskaya.  Known for precision dancing, incredible scenary, and intricate costume design- Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker isn’t a show to miss during the holiday season.  Acclaimed for the unique setting of Act II, with new characters and larger than life puppets, makes this version of The Nutcracker one to see!  Tickets are available online for $44, $34, $24, $14.

Have a great weekend and a boost of holiday cheer!

An Attempt to Salvage “Fun for the Holidays”

While “Fun for the Holidays” looked like something that everyone was going to be excited about, the reality was not what anyone had pictured.  The amount of lights was wan in comparison to what was described prior to the events opening, although the forest of Christmas Trees was as plentiful and in tune with music as had been promised.  Many were expecting the pier to be lit up with lights showing the story of “Christmas Under the Sea,” and not a film projected onto the sand.  You wouldn’t know there was a video being projected onto the sand until you were on the pier, but once there you’d see the creative devices showing the film on either side.

However, many children seemed to have fun at the event.  Several comments had been heard about the “ice skating” rink which was setup, even being compared with ‘plastic covered in baby oil.’  No one seemed impressed with the attempt to create an ice skating environment by the beach. Shortly after Thanksgiving the entry price was lowered, most likely due to lack of community participation.

It seems that the event has still been found lacking in the eyes of the community.  The event has added extended dates- lasting till December 30th now and has extended the ‘ice skating’ hours, Thursday- Saturday from 10am-5pm and 6pm-10pm and Sunday from 12pm-4pm.  They have also added more light displays; a Snowmen Cove with 6-foot snowmen, Santas Galore in Action, a Nativity Scene, and more!  They will be rotating out vendors each night, as well as having carolers and a fire pit (with complimentary s’mores supplies).  From December 15th-17th and 22nd-23rd, Mike Jones will be selling and signing his book, Salvaged Santa.  He will also be accepting donations for the Salvage Toy Program.

New Additions for Children:

  • Visit with Santa including a gift bag sponsored by Gulf World Marine Park
  • Photograph with Santa and photo download
  • Holiday face painting
  • Caricature drawings
  • Christmas sand art project (Children 18 and under)
  • Flip, Flop and Snowflake coloring station
  • Reindeer food recipe-making station
  • One additional free item each night.  Always a surprise!

 

Will these changes and new additions be enough to salvage “Fun for the Holidays” or is it too little too late?

During the Second Week of Christmas…

There have been tons of holiday and Christmas activities already, and it’s only the second week of December.  This second week of Christmas there are several more events to count on for increasing your holiday cheer!

5K Reindeer Run and 1-mile Santa Shuffle

Looking to stretch your legs before settling in for a long winter’s nap?  The Junior Service League will be hosting the 5K Reindeer Race and a 1-mile Santa Shuffle in St. Andrews State Park on December 10th at 3pm.  The cost to register is $20 and proceeds will benefit the youth programs of the Junior Service League of Panama City Beach.  Physically-challenged participants and those who will be pushing strollers are welcome to enter.  All 5K finishers under age 12 will receive a reindeer medal and trophies will be awarded to top finishers in numerous age groups.

Parade on the Beach

Starting at 5pm on Saturday December 10th, floats will wind their way through the streets of Pier Park. The parade will feature floats from businesses and community organizations, local marching bands, and car clubs.  The parade will find it’s way through Pier Park to Front Beach Road.

Miracle on 34th Street

A true classic when it comes to Christmas stories!  Visit the Marina Civic Center on December 11th at 5:00pm to watch Miracle on 34th Street in it’s musical format written by Valentine Davies.  This is the story of Kris Kringle on trial, Macy’s becoming the store to shop in, two lost souls finding each other, and a little girl discovering her childhood through Santa Claus.  This musical will be brought to you by Virginia’s Barter Theatre, which is America’s oldest resident equity theater company.  Tickets are on sale for $45, $39, $32.50, and $23 depending on seating.  You can also save $10 for children 18 and under!  Tickets are on sale now!

 

Laketown Wharf’s Christmas Events

Laketown Wharf is hosting a weekend of Christmas fun December 9th-11th.  Complete with live entertainment, children’s activities, photo’s with Santa, local vendors, food and beverage, silent auction, and holiday themed laser light show.  All proceeds from the events will go to the Anchorage Children’s Home and National Military Family Association.

December 9th, 2011

The event will last from 4:00pm-10:00pm.

4:00pm-6:00pm, Live music from Travis Dean featuring Half Past 10

4:00pm- 8:00pm, Children’s activities and photo’s with Santa

6:00pm- 7:00pm, Live Music from Kevin Jacobs

8:00pm, Christmas Light Show

December 10th, 1011

Laketown’s Christmas event will be held from 12:00pm-10:00pm.

12:00pm-8:00pm, Silent Auction

12:00pm-8:00pm, Children’s activities and photo’s with Santa

1:00pm, Santa will arrive in a fire truck

2:00pm-4:00pm, Live Music from Kevin Jacobs

4:00pm-7:00pm, Life Music from Travis Dean featuring Half Past 10

6:30pm, Tree Lighting

8:00pm, Christmas Light Show

Winners from the Silent Auction will be announced immediately following the light show.

December 11th, 2011

The final day of Christmas at Laketown will be held from 12:00pm-4:00pm.

12:00pm-8:00pm, Children’s activities and photo’s with Santa

12:00pm-1:00pm, Live Music from Kevin Jacobs

1:00pm-3:00pm, Life Music from Travis Dean featuring Half Past 10

8:00pm, Christmas Light Show

 

Have a great weekend a Laketown Wharf and celebrating the Christmas season!

 

Get Your Christmas Spirit Up

Looking for more holiday events to help get the Christmas Spirit flowing?  There are plenty more events to attend!

Santa’s Beach House

November 26th -December 24th

Want to tell Santa what you want and get a picture taken with him?  He will be at his Pier Park house ready to take pictures Monday’s- Thursday’s 11:00am – 8:00pm, Friday’s – Saturday’s 10:00am – 8:00pm, Sunday’s 11:00 am – 6:00pm, and on December 24 from 9:00am – 6:00pm.

Christmas Parade

December 3rd

Downtown on Harrison Ave, at 5pm keep your eyes open for the Christmas parade to come by!  There will be floats themed “White Christmas” from local businesses, schools, entertainment and community groups, individuals, marching bands, and car clubs.  The parade will start at the marina and continue to 13th Street. For the 3rd year, the Panama City Parrot Head Club will be collecting donations and blankets for the local Jaycees group.

Christmas Boat Parade

December 3rd

Departing from Bay Point Marina and looping to the west end of Grand Lagoon, boats will pass in front of the Boatyard, Captain Anderson’s Lighthouse Marina, Treasure Island Marina, Pirates Cove Marina, Tacky Jacks, and 30 Degree Blue.  There will be a panel of judges at the Boatyard, with prizes being awarded in various categories including: Best Sailboat, Best Boat Under 30 feet, Most Outlandish, and Best Overall.  The awards will be presented at Bay Point Mariana and the after party will be held at 30 Degree Blue.

Christmas Tree Lighting

December 5th

At 6:30pm, the City of Panama City Beach will keep in the holiday tradition of lighting their Christmas Tree in Frank Brown Park.  Refreshments and music will be provided by local school, church, and civic groups.

We hope you have a blast looking at the lights, parades, and of course- telling Santa what you want for Christmas!

Downtown’s Dickens of a Christmas

Downtown Panama City is hosting a series of events to put any Scrooge in the holiday season!  You’ll find the schedule of events below!  Visit Panama City Downtown’s website for all of the details.  Join Panama City in lighting up the spirit of Christmas downtown!

December 2nd, 2011 4:45pm-9:00pm

4:45pm- The official tree lighting at city hall

5:00pm-9:00pm- Horse drawn carriage rides, Ice skating*, free kid’s zone and craft village, and Photo’s with Santa (for people and pets)

6:00pm- Bay County Christian Youth Choir on the Knology Stage

6:00pm- Decorate at Gingerbread Man at Sugar Boogers

6:00pm- 8:00pm- Wine Crawl, at participating restaurants downtown.  Tickets are $25.00.

7:00pm- The Pyramid Players from The Pyramid School on the Knology Stage

8:00pm- The Singing Commodores from Gulf Coast State College on the Knology Stage

December 9th, 2011 5:00pm-9:00pm

5:00pm-9:00pm- Horse drawn carriage rides, Ice skating*, free kid’s zone and craft village, and Photo’s with Santa (for people and pets)

6:00pm- Woodlawn Community Arts Center on the Knology Stage

6:00pm- Decorate at Gingerbread Man at Sugar Boogers

7:00pm- Oakland Terrace Christmas Program on the Knology Stage

8:00pm- The Pyramid Players from the Pyramid School on the Knology Stage

December 16th, 2011 5:00pm-9:00pm

5:00pm-9:00pm- Horse drawn carriage rides, Ice skating*, free kid’s zone, craft village, and Photo’s with Santa (for people and pets)

6:00pm- Sandbox Singers from The Early Education and Care, Inc. on the Knology Stage

6:00pm- Decorate at Gingerbread Man at Sugar Boogers

7:00pm- Oakland Terrace Christmas Program on the Knology Stage

8:00pm-Baywind Community Band directed by Fred Bozwell on the Knology Stage

 

*The ice skating rink will be open Saturday December 3rd, 10th, and 17th with free admission with proof of purchase from any downtown restaurant or merchant*

 

Have fun Downtown celebrating a “Dicken’s of a Christmas!”

 

Festival of Trees

From November 29th till December 2nd, the Panama City Rescue Mission will be hosting the 8th Annual Festival of Trees: The Greatest Gift of All.  The festival will be held at the Marina Civic Center.

This event enables local artists and designers to decorate beautiful Christmas items for charity, which are judged in a competition and then sold at auction.  All proceeds help Bethel Village, the Rescue Mission’s home for recovering homeless women and families.

The event will be open admission on Friday December 2nd from 10am-9pm, but the gala on December 1st will be $50 per person or $1,500 a table. Tickets and more information are available online.

Enjoy some Christmas fun while giving back to the community!

Here are some past trees from the Festival of Trees:

 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Looking to shed the Scrooge-like funk before the holidays hit?  Panama City Beach is full of events and activities to get you singing “Jingle Bells” in no time!

Santa’s Arrival and Breakfast

November 25th, 2011

At 9:00am, Santa will be arriving at Pier Park for cookies, hot chocolate and pictures with all of the boys and girls who come to see him!  Pictures will be taking place at the Santa House on the boardwalk.

Annual Mayor’s Tree Lighting

November 25th, 2011

The age old tradition of the Christmas tree lighting will take place from 6:00pm-7:00pm.  Listen to holiday carolers as the Mayor lights the 20ft tree in Pier Park and starts the holiday season!

25th Annual Christmas Boat Parade

November 26th, 2011

This year’s boat parade will mark the 25th Anniversary of the parade in Panama City.  From 4pm- 9pm in Historic St. Andrews you can watch the “Silver Anniversary”-themed parade tour the St. Andrews Marina.  For more information, please visit the website.

Schooners Last Local Beach Party

November 26th, 2011

Celebrate the holiday season with Schooners!  Starting at 7pm, Schooners would like to thank those who have supported them all year long.  They will have live entertainment from Smoke N Mirrors.  There will also be food and drink specials, holiday gifts, and VIP card giveaways.  The event will benefit the Children’s Home Society.  Schooners asks you to bring a new unwrapped toy to benefit an underprivileged child in the community.

8th Annual Festival of Trees

November 29th- December 2nd, 2011

The Panama City Rescue Mission is hosting the 8th Annual Festival of Trees: The Greatest Gift of All at the Marina Civic Center.  This event enables local artists and designers to decorate beautiful Christmas items for charity, which are judged in a competition and then sold at auction.  All proceeds help Bethel Village, the Rescue Mission’s home for recovering homeless women and families.

The Rescue Mission will also be hosting a “Lunch with Santa,” which will be a field trip for our school’s homeless children allowing them to enjoy beautiful trees, learn the history of Christmas, meet Santa, and receive presents.

Tickets and more information are available online.