Then we’re here to help. Here’s our curated list of the holiday parades, shows, lighted boats and whatnot that will be popping up around the Bay in the next several weeks for your seasonal pleasure. Plus, scroll down beyond the holiday fare to read what’s going on in classical and jazz events, museums and more.
Miracle on Cleveland Street, 12/1, 5-10 p.m. Downtown Clearwater’s Cleveland Street District will be transformed into a holiday wonderland complete with falling snow, an ice rink, that nice Claus couple — and, best of all, a free concert by New Orleans favorites the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Lighted Boat Parade, 12/8, 8 p.m. Boats cruise past Coachman Park under the Memorial Causeway Bridge.
Boat Parade & Tree Lighting: 12/1, 7 p.m. Enjoy holiday music and s’mores while waiting for Santa to arrive by boat and lead the countdown in the lighting of the City’s Christmas tree in Dunedin Marina / Edgewater Park.
Annual Holiday Hoopla, 12/8, 10-5 p.m. Arts, crafts, foods, live music and roving holiday characters set in a waterfront atmosphere amid bright, twinkling, colorful lights. Stay late to view Boca Ciega Yacht Club’s 32nd Annual Lighted Boat Parade.
Holiday Lights in the Garden, 11/ 23-12/30, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Over 1 million LED lights shine throughout the Florida Botanical Gardens in nature- or holiday-themed light displays. $4 suggested donation. Annual Holiday Stroll: Let it Snow, 12/15, 6:30-9 p.m. Holiday gift market, a snow slide, and Santa, of course, in Largo Central Park.
Tree Lighting, 12/7, 6 p.m. Choirs will warm up the crowd for the lighting of Safety Harbor’s giant Christmas tree and a visit from you-know-who at the John Wilson Park Gazebo. Holiday Parade, 12/15, 1 p.m. Floats, old-fashioned cars and a visit from Santa on Safety Harbor’s Main Street.
ST. PETE BEACH
Christmas Parade, 12/8, 11 a.m. The parade starts at St Pete Beach City Hall (155 Corey Ave) and heads west down Corey Ave, south on Blind Pass Rd, east on 73rd to Bay Street and back to City Hall. Lighted Boat Parade, 12/7, 6 p.m. Boat parade and viewing party in Horan Park.
Santa Parade & Tree Lighting, 11/24, 5:30 p.m. Kick off the holidays in the Sunshine City with the Santa Parade beginning at Albert Whitted Park, followed by Mayor Kriseman lighting the tree at 8 p.m. in North Straub Park. Snowfest, 12/1 (10 a.m.-3 p.m.)in North Straub Park. Activities include a big and kiddie toboggan slide, art tent, karaoke, moonwalk, giant slide and a Kiddyland area designed especially for preschoolers with inflatable train and more. Wristbands are $5 and include all activities.
Winter Village, 11/16-1/5. An outdoor ice rink, waterfront cafe, pop-up holiday shops and more in Curtis Hixon Park. Tree Lighting Ceremony, 11/30, 6 p.m. Festivities begin in Curtis Hixon with a countdown to the tree lighting led by Mayor Buckhorn. Snow On 7thParade, 12/8, 6-9 p.m. Santa and snow come to Ybor City.
There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs, 12/7, 5-10 p.m. Snow play area, music, children’s activities and a visit with Santa along Tarpon Avenue. Lighted Boat Parade at 8 p.m. Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade, 12/15, 10 a.m. This annual parade weaves through downtown Tarpon Springs from Manatee Plaza to Spring Bayou. A Candy Cane Hunt follows at Craig Park for children up to age 12.
Lighted Boat Parade, 12/14, 6:20 p.m. Billed as “Las Vegas on the water,” this year’s nautical spectacle features boats of all kinds, making it the biggest lighted boat parade in Tampa Bay. Boats will depart from The Club at Treasure Island at 6:20 p.m., sail past the Treasure Island Causeway Bridge at 7 p.m. and end at 8:15 p.m. at John’s Pass.
HOLIDAY SHOWS & SPECTACLES
Brian Setzer Orchestra: Christmas Rocks!
Rockin’ big-band horn arrangements of holiday favorites from the Grammy-winning Stray Cat vocalist and guitarist.12/5, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater, rutheckerdhall.com.
Chris Isaak Holiday Tour
The “Wicked Game” crooner comes to town. Watch for our spotlight in dR Daily. 12/12. Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, rutheckerdhall.com.
Cirque du Soleil: Crystal
Cirque’s first show on ice combines breathtaking acrobatics with the thrills and chills of professional ice-skating to tell the story of a young writer’s search for her true voice. Watch for the dR profile of Sarasota-based skating — and now Cirque — stars Robin Johnstone and Andy Buchanan. 12/19-23, Amalie Arena, Tampa, cirquedusoleil.com/crystal
Damon Fowler’s Holiday Blues Bash
Palladium favorite Fowler gathers some musical friends for a special pre-holiday blues show in Hough Hall. 11/21, The Palladium, St. Petersburg, mypalladium.org.
Dave Koz and Friends Christmas
The silver-foxy saxophonist brings along jazz superstars Mindi Abair, Jonathan Butler andJapanese keyboardist Keiko Matsuifor his 21stanniversary Christmas tour. 11/24, Ruth Eckerd.
Deck the Halls at Ca’ d’Zan
All decked out for the holidays, Ca’ d’Zan (aka the Ringling mansion) will be open during special extended hours for a self-guided walk-through of the first floor. 11/29, 12/ 13, 20, 27 & 1/ 3, 5-8 p.m.Ca’ d’Zan, Ringling Museum, ringling.org.
A Drag Queen Christmas: The Naughty Tour
Contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race perform live on stage and rock the catwalk. It’s an evening of holiday songs and outstanding drag performances with your favorite queens. 12/28, Straz Center, Tampa, strazcenter.org.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told
When an actor cringes at the thought of doing yet another production of A Christmas Carol, he pairs up with two pals to create a mishmash of every Christmas story ever told, tapping into holiday traditions, seasonal icons, pop culture and every carol ever sung. 11/30-12/30, freeFall Theatre Company, St. Petersburg, freefalltheatre.com
Florida Orchestra: Holiday Pops
Pure holiday magic you can’t buy at the mall, featuring the velvet voice of American Idol star and St. Pete native Michael Lynche. 12/14, Straz; 12/15, Mahaffey; 12/16, Ruth Eckerd Hall. floridaorchestra.org.
Florida Orchestra: Home Alone In Concert
Immortal mischief by Macaulay Culkin on screen as The Florida Orchestra plays John Williams’s charming score live. 12/21, Ruth Eckerd Hall, floridaorchestra.org
Betty Buckley takes on the title role in the hit Broadway revival of Jerry Herman’s musical about a merry matchmaker. Watch for the spotlight in dR Daily. 12/4-9, Straz Center.
Jane Lynch: A Swingin’ Little Christmas
Emmy®– and Golden Globe-winning comedian extraordinaire Jane Lynch (Hollywood Game Night, Glee) delivers a big, shiny sack of Christmas cheer in this delightfully kitschy concert of swing- and big band-style renditions of holiday classics. 12/8-9, Straz Center.
Kenny G: The Miracles Holidays & Hits Tour
The curly-haired godfather of smooth jazz saxes it up for the holidays. 12/14, Ruth Eckerd.
The Manhattan Transfer & Herb Alpert and Lani Hall Holiday Show
People have been wrapping presents to Manhattan Transfer’s Christmas album for decades now (“Snowfall” is a guaranteed “aaahhhh”-producer) and Herb Alpert’s been a fave since we first tasted “A Taste of Honey.” So this should be a particularly pleasing holiday treat. 12/8, Capitol Theatre.
Michael McDonald Season of Peace Holiday & Hits Tour
That inimitable Doobie Bros tenor ought to sound right pretty when applied to “White Christmas” and other holiday tunes. Yah Mo B There! 11/23, Capitol Theatre.
Miss Bennet: Christmas At Pemberley
So what happened after Elizabeth Bennet married Mr. Darcy? What about her “bookish” sister Mary? And how do they celebrate Christmas at splendiferous country estates in 1815 England? This comic “sequel” to Pride and Prejudice poses answers to these questions and more. 11/28-12/30, American Stage, St. Petersburg, americanstage.com
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
Trust the Russians to do right by Tchaikovsky in a performance of The Nutcracker by the Moscow Ballet. 12/26-27, The Mahaffey, St. Petersburg, themahaffey.com.
Nate Najar’s Jazz Holiday 2018
Nate appears with John Lamb on bass and Mark Feinman on drums, plus some very special guests: St. Pete’s own James Suggs and trumpet and NYC jazz star Adrian Cunningham on sax, clarinet and flute. 12/13, The Palladium.
Radio Theatre Project Holiday Shows
The company’s tenth season of live radio theatre continues, complete with microphones, sound effects, a motley crew of actors playing multiple roles, and a special holiday treat or two. 11/26 and 12/17, Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg, studio620.org
St. Petersburg Opera: Seasonal Sparkle 2018
A holiday hit parade starring SPO’s Sparkle Chorus, orchestra, and soloists, featuring excerpts from “The Nutcracker,” a tribute to classic Christmas pop songs and a special operatic set inspired by the stars, the moon, and the heavens. 12/18-19, The Palladium, stpeteopera.org.
The Winter Wonderettes
Those tuneful gals who crooned tunes from the ’50s and ’60s in last year’s Stageworks hit, The Marvelous Wonderettes, return for Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party — but where’s Santa? 12/7-23, Stageworks Theatre, Tampa, stageworkstheatre.org
The Chopin Project: Arthur Greene
The Chopin Project® Music Series presents Arthur Greene in a solo performance of Chopin rareties and favorites. 12/6, The Palladium.
Fridays at the Straz, Saturdays at the Mahaffey. Sundays at Ruth Eckerd Hall (unless otherwise noted), floridaorchestra.org
11/17-18: Vaughan Williams’s A London Symphony. Michael Francis takes you to his homeland with a gorgeous aural tapestry of London. The program also introduces TFO audiences to the brilliant American-Korean violinist Esther Yoo, playing Mendelssohn’s popular Violin Concerto.
12/1, Ruth Eckerd Hall: Star Wars: A New Hope In Concert. Fans will be able to experience the scope and grandeur of this beloved Star Wars film in a live symphonic concert experience.
12/7, Straz; 12/8-9, Palladium: Mozart & Sibelius.In his short life, Mozart wrote hundreds of pieces, but few stand out as so achingly beautiful as his Sinfonia Concertante. Featuring TFO soloists Nancy Chang on violin and Derek Mosloff on viola.
Palladium Chamber Players
An exquisitely talented trio — violinist (and TFO Concertmaster) Jeffrey Multer; cellist Edward Arron; and pianist Jeewon Park — play a program of Bach, Turina and Schubert. 12/12, The Palladium.
Helios Jazz Orchestra: License To Thrill
Guilty musical pleasures of the international espionage variety, including themes from the James Bond movies, Mission Impossible, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Austin Powers, The Prisoner and more, directed by arranger/conductor David Manson. 11/20, The Palladium.
Jason Marsalis and the 21stCentury Trad Band
New Orleans drummer Jason Marsalis, a member of one of jazz’s great families, brings his take on traditional and swing jazz with his 21st Century Trad Band. 12/7, The Palladium.
Jobsite Rocks! 20thAnniversary Show
The scrappy, ground-breaking and now 20-year-old (!) resident professional theater at the Straz celebrates its milestone anniversary with “The Mother of All Variety Shows” — an all-star cast performing “live music, comedy, stupid human tricks, and not-so-stupid human tricks.” 12/1:Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center. VIP (begins at 7 p.m.) $75. GA (begins 8:30) $20. jobsitetheater.org
Studio Honors 2018: A Celebration of Art and Architecture
The Studio@620’s signatureevent raises funds to support its mission: To cultivate emerging talent and foster a thriving creative community. Honorees this year are artist Ya La’Ford and architect Tim Clemmons as part of The Studio’s year-long focus on art and architecture. Alex Jones will receive the Ola Mae Jones Award as an emerging artist in dance, and there will be a special tribute to Studio co-founder G. David Ellis. 12/1, 6:20 p.m., Openhouse, 1113 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, $125, studio620.org
Dunedin Fine Art Center
Through 12/23: Starry, Starry Delights. DFAC’s annual national invitational of fine art, craft + design offers a fusion of gallery elegance with a marketplace of cool, affordable hand-made goods. Through Dec. 23: Botanamoeba: Anne Byal Felshue + Candace Knapp and Insatiable. dfac.org.
11/17-18: CraftArt Festival 2018. A juried contemporary craft festival in its 21st year that attracts more than 10,000 visitors each year, held in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. floridacraftart.org.
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts
Through 1/11: North and South: Berenice Abbott’s U.S. Route 1. A visual record of everyday life along the historic East Coast in the summer of 1954 in photos by the great American photographer Berenice Abbott. fmopa.org
Galleria Misto @ The Mahaffey
12/5: Inception of Creation Opening Reception. The inaugural showing at the Mahaffey of a selection of artworks from Galleria Misto Fine Art Gallery of Belleair Bluffs. galleriamisto.com
James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art
11/17- 3/3: James Michaels: An American Pop Life. A special exhibition devoted to the vibrant pop expressionism and painterly realism of the unique Palm Harbor-based artist. thejamesmuseum.org
Museum of Fine Arts
12/15-3/31: Jewels of the Imagination: Radiant Masterworks by Jean Schlumberger from the Mellon Collection. Extraordinary works by the master mid-century Tiffany & Co. jeweler whose innovative designs graced the likes of Jackie Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. 12/15-3/10: Drawn to Beauty: The Art and Atelier of Jean Schlumberger. A complementary exhibit tracing the evolution of the Schlumberger style. Through 11/25: This Is Not A Selfie. Don’t miss this thoroughly engrossing survey of photographic self-portraits. mfastpete.org
Tampa Museum of Art
Through 1/6: Patricia Cronin Responds to Classical Antiquity: Conversations with the Collection.A profoundly beautiful meditation on classical imagery as viewed through a 21st-century sensibility via sculpture, photography and layered, evocative paintings. Through 2/14: Yayoi Kusama: LOVE IS CALLING. You’ll only have a few moments inside Kusama’s mind-blowing Infinity Mirror Room installation, but you likely won’t forget it. Through 3/17: Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective. He’s most famous, of course, for his bold, graphic LOVE sculptures, but this retrospective reveals much more about this seminal artist’s wide-ranging oeuvre over his five-decade career.