7 Fun Christmas Traditions Unique to Florida

Florida Christmas traditions

Adapted from an article on SouthernLiving.com (read the full article here)

The Christmas season in Florida isn’t a traditional winter wonderland. Floridians gather ‘round the palm tree in shorts, drink ice-cold eggnog while opening presents, and toast candy cane martinis poolside before setting up a picnic on the beach. White sand beaches take the place of snowy landscapes. Nevertheless, we gathered up 8 Christmas traditions unique to Florida — ways Sunshine State natives celebrate the winter season in “Florida fashion.” 

Florida Christmas traditions

Decorations with Florida Beachy Style 

This Southern-most point appreciates a fresh pine-scented house just as much as anyone, but the decorations might feature turquoise and sand color scheme with starfish and seashells.  

Christmas Dinners with Florida Citrus 

Some Floridians might ditch the Christmas roast in favor of a full-on seafood feast. Others opt to add citrus—it’s in season in December—to holiday menu staples (like roasting a turkey with orange and lemon). Publix Key Lime Pie is a strong contender for the dessert menu. 

Taking to the Water in Boat Parades 

With more than 8,000 miles of shoreline, there are more boat parades than any other. From small-town events to big city extravaganzas, there’s always a floating light show nearby. For particularly scenic parades, check out one of the many Florida Keys lighted boat parades. 

Related: 3 Beautiful Places in Florida that Feel Like a Winter Wonderland

The 12 Days of Christmas (Florida Style)

Head to The Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas. Festivities include decorating gingerbread houses, holiday movies on the lawn, roasted chestnuts, eggnog, and the annual tree lighting.  

Underwater Spectacles (With Mermaids) 

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is home to one of Florida’s weirdest wonders: real-life mermaids. Come the holidays, in addition to the show’s regular roster of mermaids, visitors might catch a swimming Santa or his elves, too. 

Traveling Back in Time for A Festive Night or Two 

In Tampa, there’s the Victorian Christmas Stroll at the Henry B. Plant Museum, which brings visitors to the museum for a festive winter exhibit that brings to life an authentic Victorian-style Christmas celebration, complete with carolers, spiced cider, and trimmed trees. 

Making Snow (And Fun) 

At Snow Fest in Naples, over a thousand ice blocks are put through a chipper to create tons of powdery snow. It’s the perfect spot for throwing snowballs, making snow angels, and even tobogganing. After playing in the snow, make your way to the sands to warm up on a patch of classic white Florida sands.