What’s a South Florida transplant to do when the calendar flips to Dec. 1, and there’s not even the remote possibility of snow flurries flying while picking out the Christmas tree?
Don’t get me wrong. Like so many of you, I moved to get away from the snow. But can we just admit that it’s a little weird to wear shorts and flip-flops to the tree lot?
It turns out there are a lot of options in northern Palm Beach County for celebrating the holidays the old-fashioned way, even if you break a sweat hauling the tree into the house or waiting in line with the children to see Santa.
Here are a few:
Tree-lighting Festival in Palm Beach Gardens
6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Burns Road Recreation Center, 4404 Burns Road
Sure, every community has its own tree lighting, but this one features Santa’s Village along the walking trail. Families also can expect musical entertainment, children’s games and activities and a special visit from Santa.
Christmas Celebration and Carol Sing
4 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Burns Road Recreation Center, 4404 Burns Road
Musicians and choirs from local churches will lead singing and festivities at the 12th annual Christmas Carol Sing. Refreshments will be served, and all is free. Meet next to the lighted tree.
6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Dec. 15, leaving and returning from Veterans Memorial Park next to the North Palm Beach Library, 303 Anchorage Drive
Families — or people of all ages — can travel by trolley through the streets of North Palm Beach singing carols and seeing the houses decked out in holiday decor.
Afterward, Santa will be on hand to listen to children’s wishes and to pose for family photos. No reservations are required, and the 15-minute trolley rides are only $1 a person or $5 for the whole family.
Holiday Village Spectacular
11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 9 at Legacy Place Shops, 11290 Legacy Ave.
Families can expect to meet holiday characters, play on a giant slide, have children’s faces painted, listen to story time and indulge in hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies.
It’s free, but organizers ask that you bring a new, unwrapped toy for Little Smiles of Florida. The nonprofit gives children affected by severe illness, homelessness and tragedy the opportunity to do fun activities.
Nightly Light Shows
Hourly, 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 30 at Downtown at the Gardens, 11701 Lake Victoria Gardens Ave.
This one has more of a modern twist (think Trans-Siberian Orchestra), but it’s become somewhat of a tradition at the outdoor shopping mall. More than a quarter million LED lights are synchronized to holiday music. The show is at the top of the hour.
5 p.m., Dec.18 at the Burns Road Recreation Center, 4404 Burns Road
For those celebrating Hanukkah, this is a good way to start the Festival of Lights.