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How to Add a Little Chill to your Christmas Season!

Photo by Spencer Pugh on Unsplash

It’s December again! 

We may not have white Christmases in Ocala, but our town knows how to celebrate the holidays in style. Just peek at the Events listed at the end of this blog, and remember that it’s just a handful of what was announced by mid-November, and you’ll know there’s no end to the joyful events planned for this month. 

Christmas Belongs to Everyone

Christmas is so much fun for everyone. There’s the spiritual component of the birth of Jesus and celebrating that with other believers, and then there’s the more secular charms of Santa Claus, reindeer, elves at the North Pole, and magical snowmen. There’s room for all kinds of love and celebration at Christmas, and we should let everyone enjoy Christmas in their own way. The secret to a happier Christmas is finding joy in how other people share their love of Christmas with us– whether as a nativity manger or a jolly St. Nick!

 

While the Holidays are fun, they can also be stressful. Expectations bring pressure and can pressure everyday folks into trying to be what they aren’t to keep up appearances. Also, if you’re a parent, you’re most likely trying to fulfill the dreams of people you love the most– on a budget. 

Take Care of Yourself

Generosity begins at home, and self-care is vital to caring for others. Take time for yourself this holiday! Learn to enjoy a cup of cocoa and a cookie to reward yourself for hard work. This year, the pundits seem to be gunning for Mariah Carey and her annual classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” If you want to listen to it, don’t let it be a guilty pleasure– let yourself enjoy the fun of that song, or Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” if you like it. Don’t let the expectations of others hamper your Christmas cheer this year– and try not to let anyone else step on the things your loved ones enjoy most about Christmas.

Happy Holidays and a Merry Christmas from PALS Ocala!

If you’re looking for a charity to give to this year, may we recommend The Boys and Girls Club of Marion County? They do so much good for the youth of Ocala, and we love helping them out as much as we possibly can! We haven’t seen a newsletter from them since COVID-19 hit, as there’s been a shortage of workers and volunteers. More than just volunteering funds, if you have time to give this organization, they could really use it! Visit Pals Ocala Auto Repair at 2821 SW College Road, Ocala, FL, 34474, and schedule an appointment online to keep your vehicle safe on the road!

 

Events

December 1st - 5th

Ocala Cup International

World Equestrian Center, 1390 NW 80th Ave., Ocala, Florida 34482

Join us December 1-4th at the Ocala Cup International Paso Fino show at the World Equestrian Center. You won’t want to miss it!! Much excitement and beautiful horses is sure to entertain. Entry is FREE! Come see youth, amateur and professional riders show this beautiful breed of horses

 

December 1st - 4th

The Ocala Christmas Light Spectacular

Florida Horse Park, 11851 Southwest 16th Avenue, Ocala, Florida 34473

6:00 p.m.

Bundle up in the car and tune into 88.1 JOY-FM or K Country 93.7 to enjoy Christmas Music as you travel through the more than 1.8 mile route through the holiday light show!  ICE SKATING, FOOD TRUCKS, AND WALK-THRU AREAS ARE OPEN EVERY NIGHT!!

SANTA LAND WILL BE OPEN EVERY FRIDAY, SATURDAY, AND SUNDAY FROM  NOV 25 THROUGH DEC 23 PLUS THE ENTIRE WEEK LEADING UP TO CHRISTMAS - INCLUDED IN YOUR CARLOAD ADMISSION TICKET: Free visit with Santa, Train ride, Slides, Inflatable activities, kids activities, live music, walk around area. Food available for purchase from local food trucks AND ICE SKATING FOR $7 PER PERSON!! The event is open evenings beginning at 6 pm sharp, select dates beginning November 25th 2022 (closed Dec 24 and 25th). The Ocala Christmas Light Spectacular is the only drive-through holiday light spectacular in all of North Central Florida! Featuring dozens of dazzling, larger-than-life holiday themed displays to delight the entire family! Visitors are welcomed through December 30 2022, and tickets can be purchased online through the "buy tickets" button on our website or at the gate! Any tickets purchased online are valid for a single admission PER CARLOAD, valid only on the date listed on your ticket.  Opens at 6:00pm, last car in at 9:30pm, closes at 10:00pm  

December 2nd

First Friday Art Walk

Ocala Historic Downtown Square, 1 SE Broadway St., Ocala, Florida 34471

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM

The First Friday Art Walk takes place the first Friday of each month, September through May from 6 to 9 p.m. First Friday Art Walk is a free event located within Ocala’s historic downtown. Event festivities include over 30 artist displays, monthly live entertainment, free family art activities provided by local arts organizations and extended shopping hours. The public is invited to enjoy an evening of art, live performances, and downtown shops and restaurants. Pick up your map on the square and take a self-guided tour of local artists displaying their works for sale in front of our downtown business. Stop to take in the performing artists stationed along the way. In the event of inclement weather, the First Friday Art Walk will move to the Ocala Downtown Market, 310 SE Third St.

 

December 3rd

A Dickens Christmas: The Urban Family Holiday Exhibition: Community Day

Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, Florida 34470

We invite the community for a day of holiday magic! Admission is free all day to see “A Dickens Christmas,” the permanent collection galleries, and special exhibitions of cut-paper art by Hiromi Mizugai Moneyhun and collages by Debora Gregor. Visit the Artspace for holiday crafts. Closer to the event date, additional activities will be announced. Immerse yourself in the spirit of the holidays in the annual “A Dickens Christmas: The Urban Family’s Holiday Exhibition.” This beloved display adorns the first floor of the museum with themed trees from the collection of Ocala cardiologist Dr. Paul Urban, his wife, Joyce, and daughters, Katie, Kristie, Kassie and Karlie. In addition to ornately decorated trees, see the architecture, customs and history of Victorian England come alive in the popular Dickens Village miniature. Also on display, an extensive collection of nutcrackers from all around the world features handmade Byers’ Choice caroler dolls. The display is different every year. We encourage you to visit even if you’ve enjoyed this display in the past, and to bring your holiday guests.

Holiday Extravaganza at Marion Oaks Community Center

Marion Oaks Community Center, 294 Marion Oaks Ln, Ocala, Florida 34473

9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

It's Christmas time in Marion Oaks. Our annual Holiday Extravaganza includes dozens of booths filled with arts & crafts, businesses, direct sales representatives, organizations, clubs and food trucks. Special visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus, Elves, the Grinch, Snowman and entertainers. Holiday music will fill the grounds along with many free games and crafts for the kids.

Light Up Lake Lillian

Lake Lillian Park, SE Robinson Road, Belleview, Florida 34420

2:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Held the first Saturday in December, citizens from all over South Marion County come to participate in Lake Lillian’s first lighting for the holiday season. Attendees can enjoy a visit from Santa as well as free arts and crafts and children's activities. Vendors offer a wide variety of food and merchandise. For event information, contact Mikaela Strope: [email protected] or 352-245-7021 ext. 2122

December 4th

Tea with Santa at Sweeties Cafe

Sweeties’ Cafe and Bakery, 20789 Walnut Street. Dunnellon, Florida 34431, (352) 216-2510

11:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Come visit from 11-2 on Sunday, November 20 or Sunday, December 4 for tea and pastries with Santa himself! $20 per person, each person will receive tea & pastries and time with Santa along with a photo taken with Santa.  Proceeds benefit the Believe in Santa Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to serving all children in need.

Belleview Christmas Parade

2:00 PM

Welcome to the Belleview Christmas Parade! This year's parade route is reversed. It starts at Lake Lillian and Robinson Road and ends at 110th Street.

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Program

Marion County BCC Auditorium, 601 SE 25th Ave., Ocala, Florida 34471

2:00 PM

Marion County Veterans Services invite you to join us for the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Program. For more information, please contact Veterans Services at 352-671-8422.

December 6th

Santa on the Square

828 NE 8th Avenue, Ocala, Florida

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Santa's made his list and checked it twice, now he's coming to Ocala where all the children are nice. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for socially distanced photos in the Downtown Square gazebo on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Parents should bring their own phone or camera for pictures.

December 7th

National Pearl Harbor Day of Remembrance

A day that shall live in infamy. What do you make of the rumor that FDR deliberately delayed the Japanese ambassador from announcing the war to change the circumstances of Pearl Harbor to be a surprise attack?

Hero Horse: A Magical True Story

Marion Theatre, 50 S Magnolia Avenue, Ocala, Florida 34471

6:30 PM

Hero Horse: A Magical True Story will premiere at The Marion Theatre before it heads to film festivals across the United States in 2023. The documentary film event is a fundraiser to help support Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses elementary school reading programs. Gentle Carousel reading programs are held in partnership with The Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP) and Marion County Public Schools. The star of Hero Horse will arrive at The Marion Theatre in a limousine wearing a tuxedo to walk the red carpet. You can dress up red carpet style or dress casually for the event. Tickets include the film, soft drinks, popcorn, candy and an appearance by the film star. Showtime is at 7:30 PM. Hero Horse merchandise will be available in the lobby. VIP Tickets include the film, pre-show party at 6:30 PM with soft drinks, wine, beer or try a “Remember the Magic” specialty cocktail, treats, photo and meet and greet with the film star, movie premiere swag bag and more. If you are not able to attend the premiere but would like to make a donation to support the therapy horse programs visit  www.gentlecarouseltherapyhorses.com or call 352-226-9009

December 8th

Santa on the Square

828 NE 8th Avenue, Ocala, Florida

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Santa's made his list and checked it twice, now he's coming to Ocala where all the children are nice. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for socially distanced photos in the Downtown Square gazebo on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Parents should bring their own phone or camera for pictures.

December 10th

Pancakes with Santa at Cottom Farm's Christmas Village

Cottom Farms, 4250 Marion County Road, Weirsdale, Florida 32195

9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Your ticket includes a hayride to and from the Merry Market, where Santa and his Elves will prepare a breakfast of Sausage, Pancakes, Fruit, and Orange Juice for you to enjoy. There will be a time for pictures and visiting with Santa, and a craft time with the Elves! We will have 3 seatings to choose from this year!

December 11th

Master Choir Winter 2022 Concert

Countryside Presbyterian Church, 20641 Chestnut Street, Dunnellon, FL 34431  

3 p.m.

The program will feature Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria” in D major, RV 589, which he composed around 1715. The score disappeared after he died in 1741 but was rediscovered in the late 1920s. It has been adored by audiences ever since then. The concert also will include some classic seasonal songs and an instrumental version of “Sing We Now of Christmas" played by our accompanist, GayLyn Capitano, and the New Moon String Ensemble. The concert then closes with “Worthy Is The Lamb and Amen,” the final two choruses of Handel’s unparalleled “Messiah,” one of the greatest musical scores of all time.

Phantasmagoria: Christmas Carol & Canterville Ghost

Reilly Arts Center, 500 NE 9th Street, Ocala, Florida

3:00 PM to 12:00 AM

Celebrate the holidays with critically acclaimed Victorian Horror Troupe PHANTASMAGORIA as they celebrate not one but TWO-holiday traditions! A double bill of our adaptations of classic ghost stories – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, alongside Oscar Wilde’s rollicking “The Canterville Ghost”- all celebrated in Phantasmagoria’s unique performance style! A whimsical evening of Ghost Stories and Christmas cheer for the whole family to bring us into the 2022 holiday season.

December 13th & 15th

Santa on the Square

828 NE 8th Avenue, Ocala, Florida

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Santa's made his list and checked it twice, now he's coming to Ocala where all the children are nice. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be available for socially distanced photos in the Downtown Square gazebo on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Parents should bring their own phone or camera for pictures.

December 16th

After Dark in the Park: The Santa Clause

Tuscawilla Park - 500 NE 9th St., Ocala, Florida 34470

7:00 PM

It's movie time! Join us for FREE movies throughout the year at different City of Ocala parks. Be sure to bring a blanket or chairs to sit on. We will have concessions available for purchase like snacks, popcorn and soda. No registration is required to attend our movies, simply show up, get comfortable and enjoy the show! 

December 17th

Saturnalia

Enjoy some winter solstice fun on the longest night of the year!

 

 

 

 

 

Assisted Living: The Home for the Holidays

Reilly Arts Center, 500 NE 9th Street

7:00 PM

Are You Dreaming Of A White-Haired Christmas? Assisted Living: The Home For The Holidays® is a 75-minute vaudeville-esque revue. The show focuses on the crazy antics that happen at the Pelican Roost Assisted Living “Home”, an active, full-service retirement community, during the holiday season. The holidays can be crazy but it is even more greatly celebrated when you don’t know if you will be here for the next one. The many characters at Pelican Roost sing and dance, revel and kvetch, celebrate and bloviate their way through Christmas and Hanukkah. Well, you get the idea, each one is living his and her life — in the moment — to the max. There are no sad songs, no Depends® jokes and no f-bombs in Assisted Living: The Home For The Holidays® everyone there is having way too much fun for that!

December 18th - 26th

Hanukkah

The Jewish festival of lights honors a miracle where lamp oil lasted longer than expected for a people under siege! Spin a dreidel, enjoy Challah, and celebrate the triumph of faith over fear!

December 24th

Christmas Eve

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas night. Please be safe and look out for each other!

December 25th

Christmas

A Merry Christmas from PALS Ocala to you and yours!

December 26th

Kwanzaa

A celebration of community and love, Kwanzaa is worth your time, if only for the Hoppin’ John!

 

Boxing Day

It’s a bit muddled what Boxing Day is about, but if you take a traditional view of the holidays, be sure to reward the people 

 

December 31st

New Year's Eve

It’s a dangerous night for driving. Please be safe!

 

Ocala First Night - New Year's Eve Celebration

Ocala Main Street Inc.

5:00 PM – Late

Join us in Downtown Ocala for a Family-Friendly New Year's Eve!  Access 10+ locations throughout the evening from 5pm-midnight with the purchase of an event button.

Activities, performances and exhibits take place around Tuscawilla Park and Historic Downtown Ocala.

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