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While I am a bit sad that the year is already over and my kids have “aged” a bit more I am also eagerly awaiting my new favorite time of the year. Below are all the Christmas and holiday events I could find in Sanford. Most of them are free or at least very affordable and family friendly. If you are looking for fun things to do this is the list to check this season!

Please feel free to add your events to this list by commenting below or posting on the Sanford365 Facebook page. I will then add your event to the list 😉 Most events seem to be happening on the first weekends this holiday season but there aren’t too many on the weekend before Christmas. If you know of any events or things to do (with or without the family) let us all know.

On my personal top 3 holiday events list this year are:

  1. the Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes (read my post about the 2012 tour here)
  2. Sanford’s Parade of Lights and
  3. the Winter Sky Festival

So without further ado, here are the best Holiday Events in Sanford for 2013… I wish you all a wonderful holiday season 🙂

Santa at the Sanford Mall 2013 HoursSmile for Santa

  • Date: through December 24th, 2013
  • Time: Monday – Thursday: 11am-8pm | Friday/Saturday: 10am-8am | Sunday: 12pm-6pm
  • Where: Seminole Town Center Mall, 200 Towne Center Circle, Sanford, FL 32771
  • Cost: Photo prices will vary depending on selected print. Children will also receive a FREE gift with each visit, while supplies last.
  • About: Visit with Santa at the Center Court in the mall and have beautiful pictures taken.
  • More info: For additional information about Santa photos and visits, please stop by the Santa booth in Center Court.

Claus & Paws at Simon Mall Sanford FLClaus & Paws – Pet Photos with Santa

  • Date: December 1st & 8th, 2013
  • Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm
  • Where: Seminole Town Center Mall, 200 Towne Center Circle, Sanford, FL 32771 Cost: Photo prices will vary depending on selected print and pets will receive a special treat after each visit. Pets may enter through the Food Court entrance or Dock #6, near Burlington. Traditional pets only please.
  • About: What could be more memorable than a photo of Santa with your favorite family member, Fido or Fluffy? Seminole Towne Center invites all pet lovers out for a special photo opportunity, Sunday, December 1 and Sunday, December 8. Get your pet’s photo taken with Santa from 6:30 pm.-8:30 p.m. at the Santa set located in the mall’s Center Court.
  • More info:–pet-photos-with-santa-918446

Christmas in the Square SanfordChristmas in the Square

  • Date: December 6th, 2013
  • Time: 6pm
  • Where: Magnolia Square & First Street, Downtown Sanford
  • Cost: Free
  • About: Annual “Light Up Sanford” ceremony with live entertainment, face painters, balloon artists and a visit with Santa! Fun for the whole family – don’t miss this beautiful holiday event. You can combine this event with the annual Candlelight Tour of Homes (see below) to give yourself a “head start” into the holiday season 😉
  • More info: 407-688-5120

Nikolaus at Hollerbach's Willow TreeNikolaus and Christmas Music at the Willow Tree

  • Date: December 6th, 2013
  • Time: 6pm
  • Where: Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe, 205 East First Street, Sanford, FL 32771
  • About: If you would like to enjoy some real German Christmas music (along with great German food as usual!) this would be a great night to experience it at the Willow Tree Cafe. St Nikolaus will be present at the restaurant but also at Magnolia Square Market where he will pass out candy from his throne. This will be great for the kids! While at Magnolia Square Market stock up on all the good German Christmas treats like Christstollen, Gluehwein and Lebkuchen – I am sure I will 😉
  • More info: Call the restaurant for reservations at (407) 321-2204

Sanford Christmas Tour of HomesFriday Candlelight Tour of Homes

  • Date: December 6th, 2013
  • Time: 6pm-9:30pm
  • Where: Sanford historic district, starting Point is 8th Street & Oak Avenue
  • Cost: $25 with a $2 discount, online, by Dec 5th. $30 with a $2 discount after Dec 5th online.
  • About: Tour 9 beautifully decorated historic homes and 2 decorated historic buildings in the Old Sanford Historic District. Stroll Sanford’s candlelit streets and enjoy holiday themed live music including a saxophone, piano, and choir. Be inspired by the “Around the World” themed Tablescapes showcase.There will even be food and drink samples provided by some of the best local restaurants.
  • More info: Read my post about the 2012 tour here or visit

Star of Bethlehem

  • Date: December 6, 7, 13, 20, and 21
  • Time: 7pm and 8:30pm
  • Where: Seminole State College Planetarium, 100 Weldon Boulevard, Sanford FL 32771
  • Cost: $4 – $6
  • About: Star of Bethlehem is a popular seasonal presentation of planetariums all over the world, and praised by both secular and religious audiences alike for the last decade. “Star of Bethlehem” looks into the issue of the Christmas star from a scientific standpoint, breaking down the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, the story of the Magi, and the astronomical events that may help to explain the Star. With cutting-edge research that is both scientifically and historically accurate, “The Star of Bethlehem” deftly explores the fine line between faith and science. Ages 9 and up.
  • More or Michael McConville at 407.708.2421

Trunk Show with Melissa Menzer

  • Date: December 7th
  • Time: 10am-4pm
  • Where: Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery, 211 East 1st Street, Sanford, FL
  • Cost: Free
  • About: Just in time for that someone special on your shopping list (maybe even you!), Melissa will be unpacking her trunks with oodles of new work themed for the Winter season and Christmas. If you appreciate the patina of old things and enjoy the nostalgia of antiques, Melissa’s inspired creations will strike a chord. The Trunk Show is the perfect time to enjoy the festive feeling in the air as downtown Sanford celebrates The Historic Tour of Homes on December 7.
  • More info

Saturday Day Tour of Homes and Gardens

  • Date: December 7th, 2013
  • Time: 11am-4pm
  • Where: Sanford historic district Cost: $15 About: Get inspired by decorating and gardening ideas at 8 historic homes dressed up for the holidays. Complimentary refreshments will be offered at 2 historic buildings in Downtown Sanford. Enjoy live music and look for “Around the World” themed Tablescapes at the Bettye D. Smith Cultural Arts Center (119 West 5th Street)
  • More info

Sanford Tour of Gnomes Pub Crawl3rd Annual Hysterical Tour of Gnomes

  • Date: December 7th, 2013
  • Time: 3pm-9pm
  • Where: Downtown Sanford (Participating Bars: Bad Monkey Tavern, The Breezeway, Sanford Wine Bar, The Vine of Sanford, Little Fish Huge Pond)
  • Cost: $10
  • About: A fun themed pub crawl with costume contest through some of Sanford’s most popular bars. 5 participating bars; your ticket will have 5 drinks vouchers. One call drink (liquor bars only) or premium beer or glass of wine up to $5 value at each stop.
  • More info:

polar-expressKidgits Outdoor Holiday Movie Event

  • Date: December 13th, 2013
  • Time: 6pm-9pm
  • Where: Mall Exterior between Macy’s and Burlington, 200 Towne Center Circle, Sanford, FL 32771
  • Cost: $2 Kidgits Members (1 year membership is $5 and can be purchased at Simon Guest Service Booth at Center Court in the mall), $7 for non-members; proceeds benefit Kid’s House of Seminole and Simon Youth Foundation. Tickets can be purchased November 15 through December 13 (inside sales ending at 5:30 p.m. on December 13) at Simon Guest Services and at the event beginning at 5:30pm
  • About: Enjoy giveaways, refreshments, entertainment and a special viewing of the holiday hit “Polar Express”!
  • More info:

A Christmas Carol

  • Date: December 13th and December 14th, 2013
  • Time: 7pm on both days and Dec 14 also at 2pm
  • Where: Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, 201 S Magnolia Ave, Sanford
  • Cost: $15
  • About: A Broadway musical presented by Master’s Academy.
  • More info: Get tickets at

Sanford Parade of LightsParade of Lights

  • Date: December 14th, 2013
  • Time: 6pm
  • Where: Downtown Sanford
  • Cost: Free
  • About: Sanford’s Annual Illuminated Christmas Parade brings fun for the whole family! Celebrate the holiday season as illuminated floats light up the night.
  • More info: 407-688-5120

Breakfast/Brunch with Santa

  • Date: December 14th, 2013
  • Time: 9am-10:30am (Breakfast) or 11am-12:30pm (brunch)
  • Where: Central Florida Zoo, 3755 U.S. 17, Sanford
  • Cost: $27 adults, $22 children (3-12 years), $12 per 2 year old. Annual Pass Holders: $22 adults, $17 children (3-12 years), $10 per 2 year old. Children under 2 are free and must be registered to attend. Limit 2 free children per family.
  • About: Meet Santa at the Zoo! There will be lots of fun holiday cheer and activities for the whole family. Share your holiday wishes with Santa and enjoy up-close animal encounters. After breakfast/brunch, everyone can enjoy creating a special animal treat and then watch as the zoo keepers give the animals these special holiday gifts.
  • More

Winter Sky Festival

  • Date: December 14th, 2013
  • Time: 5pm-10pm
  • Where: Seminole State College, faculty and staff parking lot adjacent to building B and the planetarium, just off College Drive on Sanford Campus (100 Weldon Boulevard)
  • Cost: Free
  • About: Food trucks, science presentations (telescope viewings of the planets Venus and Jupiter, the moon, galaxies, star clusters and nebulae, as well as several planetarium presentations outside in the star party area), Christmas carolers and much more! Bring chairs, blankets and hot beverages!
  • More info:

The Sanford Shuffle – Ugly Christmas Sweater Night

  • Date: December 20th, 2013
  • Time: 7pm-9pm
  • Where: Sanford Senior Center, 401 E. Seminole Blvd., Sanford FL 32771
  • Cost: Free
  • About: Get your shuffle on by the riverfront in downtown Sanford. The theme is “Ugly Christmas Sweater” night. Wear your festive sweater and join the retro fun.
  • More

Lake Monroe Illuminated Lights ParadeLake Monroe’s Illuminated Christmas Parade

  • Date: December 21st, 2013
  • Time: 5pm
  • Where: Memorial Park to Ft. Mellon Park in Sanford
  • Cost: Registration Fee for Boats $25
  • About: Come down to Sanford’s Riverwalk and watch or join the lighted parade of sailboats and powerboats in celebration of the holiday season. Cash prizes for participants in a number of catagories… Viewing locations: Veterans Memorial Park, Wolfys, The Port, Fort Mellon Park and all along the Riverwalk in Sanford. Check in will be at The Port, Steak & Seafood Restaurant on Marina Island.
  • More info: Call U-Sail at (407) 330-0633

Christmas Carols Sanford

Noel – The Carols of Christmas

  • Date: December 21st, 2013
  • Time: 6:30pm and 8pm
  • Where: The Princess Theater, 115 W First Street, Sanford
  • Cost: $10
  • About: Central Florida Community Arts presents a concert featuring the Central Florida Community Choir to benefit the Princess Theater.
  • More info: Visit for more information or to purchase tickets or call 407.314.6750.