Thanksgiving is over, and that holiday magic is in the air as our little town becomes festooned with twinkling lights and holiday cheer. Christmas on a tropical island is an experience like no other, and the absence of snow and cold temperatures means there’s a lot more opportunities for holiday fun! We’ve compiled a list of some local holiday events, so grab some jingle bells and enjoy the most wonderful time of the year …
Christmas Boat Parade
The season kicks off this Saturday, December 5th as the Greater Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce’s 27th Annual Christmas Boat Parade casts off from Salty Sam’s Marina at 6pm. From there, the boats festooned with Christmas lights will go past Parrot Key Caribbean Grill and Bootlegger’s BBQ, head northwest rounding the corner in front of Doc Fords and Bonita Bill’s and under the skybridge before traveling in and out of two channels in Siesta Bay. After heading towards Bowditch Point, the boats will turn in front of Pink Shell Resort, passing Nervous Nellie’s and Matanzas on the Bay and finish back at Salty Sam’s for the Winner’s Circle Party at Bootlegger’s.
All About Christmas
Also on December 5th, the Friends of the Mound House are hosting a special luncheon at noon at South Beach Grill. Local author, playwright and actress Laurie Nienhaus will present ‘Moments to Remember’. Small, beautifully decorated artificial trees and wreaths will be for sale as well as mystery hat boxes and note cards, plus a raffle for a Beach Santa. $45 to benefit programs at the newly completed Mound House, call Ceel Spuhler for a reservation – 239-765-6472.
Christmas with C.S. Lewis
Christmas kicks off at the Shell Point Village Church when British actor, David Payne, brings C.S. Lewis to life in this 90-minute, one-man, dramatic Christmas presentation. Take a look back in time to December of 1962 as Lewis shares stories of family, friends and coming to faith. $10. 239-454-2147
Spirit of the Holidays Dinner Auction
The Beach Kids’ Foundation’s annual dinner auction will be held at the Sunset Beach Tropical Grill in Time Square this year. This campaign focuses on ensuring needy island kids have a great Christmas, with funds supporting 100+ children each year, as well as a Beach Easter Egg Hunt and scholarships for local kids. Cocktails 5-6pm; dinner and silent auction 6-7pm; live auction 7:15pm. Benefits Beach Kids Foundation. $35, tickets can be purchased at the Red Coconut RV Park and Century 21 TriPower.
Chapel By the Sea will host a Voices of Naples concert under the direction of Dr. Douglas Renfroe at 7pm. This holiday feast of music is free and open to the public, though free-will offerings will be accepted.
SWFL Symphonic Chorale Christmas Carol Fundraiser
Dine and donate all day long – from 11am to 10pm – at Matanzas on the Bay at this special daylong fundraiser for The Symphonic Chorale – our area’s only ‘Professional Core Chorus’. Raffle prizes, too!
Spirit of the Holidays Pancake Breakfast
Join Fort Myers Beach firefighters who will prepare breakfast for this popular holiday fundraiser for the Beach Kids Foundation. 7-11am, Clubhouse at Red Coconut RV Park.
Art Divine Holiday Art Sale
Looking for some great local art for under $150? The Fort Myers Beach Art Association’s annual holiday sale begins on December 12th at the FMBAA’s gallery on the corner of Shell Mound and Donora. There will be a variety of pieces available – both framed and unframed. What a great way to purchase original art at reasonable prices! Gallery is open daily from 10am-3pm and from noon to 3pm on Sundays. 239-463-3909.
Holiday Bake Sale
From 8-11am, check out all the baked goods and tasty treats at Bayside Estates’ Recreation Hall in Bayside Estates. The Bayside Socialites sponsors this event and is an organization that contributes to both time and money to charitable organizations in the community.
Christmas Poker Run
Sponsored by the Michael DeCarlo Foundation, the 20th Annual ‘We Ride for a Reason’ Christmas Poker Run will be held at Junkanoo, raising money for local kids. $20/bike, $10/additional rider, $30/seat on air-conditioned bus. 10am, sign-up; 11am, kickstands up.
The Tidings of Great Christmas Concert
The Fort Myers Beach Friends of the Arts kick off their 2016 concert series with a special free event for families. Head to the festival tent in Santini Plaza from 4-6pm, where Orlando brass band, ‘King Guys – The Cool Yule Band’ will present an interactive stage presentation along with Christmas treats and holiday themed items. Fun for the whole family!
Lessons & Carols
This Christmas worship service will include scripture readings, carol singing, and Christmas music performed by the 100 voices of The Village Church Choir and guest organist, Dr. Ronald Boud. Free and open to the public. 6:15pm, Shell Point Village Church. 239-454-2147
Gift Wrapping Party
Join members of Beach Baptist Church and the Michael DeCarlo Foundation as they wrap all the toys donated for local kids. The fun starts at Junkanoo at 6pm, where pizza will be served to all of Santa’s helpful elves. Please bring a marker and scissors to participate.
Candy Cane Hunt &
Ugly Sweater Christmas Party
Bring the whole family to this new event at Bay Oaks featuring Christmas cookie decorating, hot chocolate, Christmas crafts, a chance to meet Santa and a candy cane hunt. Raffle tickets will be placed on candy canes on the baseball fields that will be used to raffle off prizes. The Candy Cane Hunt will be for ages 17 and under with kids being split up into 4 separate age groups. New this year – an ugly sweater contest for the adults, with Best Buy gift cards for 1st and 2nd place. Free, 6:30-9:30pm.
All the toys donated and bought from the Beach Kids’ Foundation’s fundraisers will be wrapped at a special party that begins at 3pm and continues until all the gifts are wrapped. Meet at the Clubhouse at Red Coconut RV Park. Hot dogs and hamburgers provided by firefighters from the FMB Fire Control District
Holiday Inn Concert
Head to Beach United Methodist Church for this Irving Berlin-Inspired evening featuring all your favorite Christmas songs. Starring Paul Todd, Paul Todd, Jr. and the ‘Hayne’s Sisters’. The concert begins at 7pm at 155 Bay Road (behind the Beach Library). A free-will offering will be taken – suggested donation of $10-$20 per person – and Christmas refreshments will be served. 239-463-9656.
Toy Giveaway and Christmas Party
Bring the little ones to Beach Baptist at 7pm, where Santa, Mrs. Claus and all their elves will give presents to local kids – who also get to decorate Christmas cookies and ‘shop’ for a gift for their parents. Sponsored by the Michael DeCarlo Foundation.
The Southwest Florida Symphony’s much-anticipated Holiday Pops celebrates the joyous holidays of December. Maestro Nir Kabaretti conducts the symphony’s Holidays in Paradise, featuring beautiful pieces inspired by the festival of lights – Hanukkah, and sing-along tunes like “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” and other traditional seasonal favorites. $31. 7:30pm, Shell Point Village Church. 239-454-2067
Celebrate Christmas with Mother Nature by participating in this unique program that gives people a chance to experience Matanzas Pass Preserve in a whole different way. Beginning just before sunset at 5:15pm, participants will enter the Preserve as darkness descends and learn to sharpen their sense of smell, touch and hearing as the path is lit only by the light of the full moon. Adults only, limited to 12 participants so make your reservation early. 239-565-7437.
Keri Hendry Weeg
Christmas Worship Services
On The Beach
Chapel by the Sea Presbyterian
2500 Estero Blvd
Dec 24: 7:00pm and 9:00pm
Beach United Methodist
155 Bay Rd
Dec 24: 4:00pm and 7:00pm
130 Connecticut St.
Dec 24: 7:00pm
St. Peter Lutheran
3751 Estero Blvd
Dec 24: 6:30pm and 8:30pm
Dec 25: 10:30am
St. Raphael’s Episcopal
5601 Williams Dr
Dec 24: 8:00pm
6025 Estero Blvd
Dec 24: 7:00pm and 9:00pm
Dec 25: 8:00am and 10:00am