Shows and Special Events to enjoy this December in and around Orlando.
Sunday, Dec. 1:
The Messiah Chorale Society’s 41st annual presentation of Handel’s “Messiah” will be at 3 p.m. at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., Orlando. The concert is free – no tickets are required. Doors open at 2:15 p.m., and concertgoers are asked to bring a nonperishable food item to be donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
Tuesday, Dec. 3:
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: The after-hours, extra-ticket holiday event at Magic Kingdom includes a special parade, fireworks, shows, hot chocolate and Disney characters in festive attire. Tickets range from $57 to $71, depending on date. Details: Disneyworld.com or 407-824-4321.
Wednesday, Dec. 4:
The Letterman: The classic pop harmony trio performs a Christmas concert to benefit Catholic Charities of Central Florida at 7 p.m. at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 526 N. Park Ave., Winter Park. Tickets are $25-$45. For details, call 407-998-5662.
Thursday, Dec. 5:
Christmas in the Park: Each year, the Morse Museum helps launch the holiday season in Winter Park when it displays stained-glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany in Central Park. Entertainment is provided by the Bach Festival Choir, Youth Choir and Brass Ensemble. This year marks the 35th annual Christmas in the Park; it’s free and runs from 6:15-8 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 6:
Candlelight Processional: Epcot’s telling of the Christmas story via mass choir, orchestra and celebrity narrator withWhoopi Goldberg. Performances are three times nightly through Dec. 30. It’s included in regular Epcot admission of $90 ($84 for ages 3-9). More info: Disneyworld.com or 407-824-4321.
Saturday, Dec. 7:
Annual Lighted Parade of Boats: The boat parade at dusk on the St. Johns River caps a day of activities in the Lake County community of Astor, starting with a 10 a.m. Christmas street parade. 407-290-9244
Sunday, Dec. 8:
See (and hear) the 40-foot-tall Singing Christmas Trees at First Baptist Orlando, 3000 S. John Young Parkway, Orlando. Tickets are $5-$18 for today’s 5 p.m. performance. Other dates are Dec. 13, 14, 15. Details: 888-461-9824, singingtrees.org.
Monday, Dec. 9:
John Mayer, with Phillip Phillips: Mayer’s singing, songwriting and guitar work have earned him seven Grammy Awards and inclusion on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential contemporary thinkers, leaders, artists and entertainers. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. at Orlando’sAmway Center. Tickets are $46.75-$88.10. Details: amwaycenter.com
Tuesday, Dec. 10:
ICE! at Gaylord Palms: The Kissimmee resort presents elaborate ice carvings with a Frosty the Snowman theme this year. This year, a member of the ice-carving team will be there for first-hand demonstrations called “Artisans in Action.” ICE! runs through Jan. 5. Admission ranges from $10.99 to $29.99, depending on date. More info: gaylordpalms.com or 407-586-0000.
Wednesday, Dec. 11:
“Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular”: Islands of Adventure puts on a live stage musical based on Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” classic. It’s performed multiple times daily through Jan. 4, and is included in regular IOA admission of $92 ($86 for ages 3-9). More info: universalorlando.com or 407-363-8000.
Thursday, Dec. 12:
“It’s a Wonderful Life”: Orlando Shakespeare Theater tells the classic story of George Bailey, immortalized in the Jimmy Stewart film. The Shakes’ version is in the style of a radio play, full of nostalgic fun. The show runs through Dec. 29. The theater is at 812 E. Rollins St., Orlando. Tickets are $17-$40; call 407-447-1700 or go to orlandoshakes.org.
Friday, Dec. 13:
Apopka Gingerbread House Competition and Christmas Concert: Michael Andrew & The Swingerhead Atomic Big Band are headliners at the Apopka Amphitheater, 3710 Jason Dwelley Parkway. Gates open at 6 p.m., concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets – $10, free for children under 5 – are available at The Apopka Chief & Planter and Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce or by phone at 877-725-8849.
“A Classic Christmas”: The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park presents its annual concert of holiday classics featuring its choir and orchestra. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 2 p.m. Dec. 15. The concerts take place at Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins Collegecampus, 1000 Holt Ave., Orlando. Tickets are $25-$55; call 407-646-2182 or go to bachfestivalflorida.org.
Sunday, Dec. 15:
The Red Christmas Barn at Green Meadows Petting Farm hosts “an old-fashioned Christmas.” Children ages 1-12 get a free toy from Santa’s bag. Green Meadows is at 1368 S. Poinciana Blvd. in Kissimmee. Details: 407-846-0770
Monday, Dec. 16:
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration: Nightly activities include a figure-skating show, the Polar Express Experience, “O Wondrous Night” stage show, seasonal versions of the sea lion show and killer-whale show and a fireworks-plus-fountains extravaganza. These extras are included in regular SeaWorld admission of $92 ($84 for ages 3-9) and run through Dec. 31.
Tuesday, Dec. 17:
Macy’s Holiday Parade: Universal Studios brings out the big balloons for daily parades through Jan. 4. Could be a Santa sighting as well. It’s included in regular park admission of $92 ($86 for ages 3-9). More info: universalorlando.com or 407-363-8000.
Wednesday, Dec. 18:
“The Holy Art of Imperial Russia”: Exhibition at the Polasek Museum features Russian religious icons from the 17th century through the early 20th century. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday, through April 13. Tickets are $4 seniors, $3 students, free age 12 and younger. Details: 407-647-6294, polasek.org
Thursday, Dec. 19:
Justin Timberlake: The former boy-band star returns to the home of teen-pop on his successful solo tour behind his latest studio project, “The 20/20 Experience.” Show starts at 8 p.m. at Orlando’s Amway Center. Tickets are $57.50-$191.75. Details: amwaycenter.com
Friday, Dec. 20:
“The Nutcracker”: The Orlando Ballet is joined by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra for its annual production of the children’s favorite. In the ballet, little Clara goes on a Christmas adventure with a magical nutcracker, a gift from a mysterious toy maker. The show will be performed at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, 401 W. Livingston St., Orlando, through Dec. 22. Tickets are $30-$90; call 407-426-1739 or go to orlandoballet.org
Saturday, Dec. 21:
All aboard: Cannonball Christmas Express Steam Train departs the Tavares Train Station for four (50-minute) trips. Santa will board the train at the North Pole to visit with kids and present each child with a gift. Trips today are at 4 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are $27 adults; $20 for children 3-12. Details: orangeblossomcannonball.com.
Sunday, Dec. 22:
Christmas Bricktacular at Legoland Florida: It’s the final day to catch the Winter Haven theme park’s holiday programming that includes a Miniland scavenger hunt and encounters with Lego-ized life-size versions of Santa and a toy soldier. There’s also a 30-foot tree made of green Lego bricks. Bricktacular is included in regular park admission of $81 ($74 for ages 3-12).
Monday, Dec. 23:
“FX-Mas Bash”: Christmas-themed dress is encouraged at FX Orlando’s teen dance party from 9 p.m.-1 a.m. at the House of Blues, 1490 E. Buena Vista Drive at Downtown Disney, Lake Buena Vista. Tickets are $20 (ages 21 or under only). Details: fx.nightlifegroup.com.
Tuesday, Dec. 24:
Winter in the Park: Daily ice skating on a holiday rink through Jan. 5. at the West Meadow of Central Park along Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park. Hours are 3-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 3-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday. All-day tickets are $10 (skates included). Details: cityofwinterpark.org.
Wednesday, Dec. 25:
Movies at the multiplex: Three ideas are “Saving Mr. Banks,” with Tom Hanks as Walt Disney; “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” with Ben Stiller and Kristen Wiig; and “The Wolf of Wall Street” with Leonardo DiCaprio directed by Martin Scorsese.
Thursday, Dec. 26:
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Even after Christmas has passed, streets with zillions of flickering lights choreographed to holiday music continue to entertain. The lights shine nightly through Jan. 5 and are included in regular park admission of $90 ($84 for ages 3-9). More info: Disneyworld.com or 407-824-4321.
Friday, Dec. 27:
“The Little Drummer Boy”: Pinocchio’s Marionette Theater presents a 40-minute retelling of the traditional Christmas tale. The string-puppet musical is designed especially for little ones. Showtimes are 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. today; 12:30, 2:45 and 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1, 3 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $6; call 407-834-8757 or emailBoxOffice@Pinocchios.net. The theater is inside Altamonte Mall, 451 E. Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs.
Saturday, Dec. 28:
Russell Athletic Bowl parade of bands: Representing both bowl teams, the bands are slated to march down Park Avenue in Winter Park from 11 a.m. to noon. Details: http://www.floridacitrussports.com/events.aspx. After the parade you can watch teams from the ACC and American Athletic Conference play in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Kickoff is at 6:45 p.m. at Florida’s Citrus Bowl.
Sunday, Dec. 29:
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”: It’s last call for Orlando Repertory Theatre’s production of “Rudolph.” The staged musical is based on the ever-popular television special that expands upon the story line of the familiar holiday song. Showtimes are 2 and 5:30 p.m. at the theater, 1001 E. Princeton St., Orlando. Tickets are $12-$18; call 407-896-7365 or go to orlandorep.com.