Sometimes it feels good to get away for the holidays, Christmas included. No matter if it’s staying through Christmas Day, attending a holiday event or enjoying New Year’s Eve, Christmas in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach has much to offer the early winter traveler.
Everyday lives need a break from hurried and harried. The holidays are the perfect example. Shopping, parties, events, planning, catering, cooking, more shopping. . .the list is never ending. This year, why not leave gridlock behind and head to the beach for some rest and relaxation, and do the holiday season a little differently for a change. Eat out for Christmas dinner, deck the halls in a Gulf Shores condo or Fort Morgan beach house, see a boat parade and most of all, just enjoy the family. Here are some ideas to bring out the yuletide mood in your brood with Christmas in Gulf Shores
Tanger Outlet Center, 2601 S. McKenzie Ave. Suite 182, Foley
Nov. 9 – Dec. 23, 2018, Mon-Sat, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Come join the fun as the Foley Art Center kicks off the annual six-week holiday fine arts and crafts event on Friday Nov. 9 and continuing through Dec. 23. The event features creations from more than 200 artist and craftsmen from all over the Southeast. Juried vendors are all members of the Foley Art Center and offer a huge assortment of items for gifts and holiday decorative ideas including ornaments, florals, wood-carvings, stained glass, quilts, jewelry and so much more. Also, original art work will be available in a variety of mediums.
Fort Morgan, 110 Hwy 180, Gulf Shores
Nov. 18, 2018 from 1-4 p.m.
Jumpstart your holidays with the “Holidays at the Fort” tour. There will be a small arms demonstration, special holiday decorations and gifts on sale in the gift shop along with refreshments.
Bellingrath Gardens and Home, 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore
Nov. 23-Dec. 31, 2018 from 5-9 p.m. (Closed Christmas Day)
In its 23rd year, this annual event, Bellingrath Gardens and Home is a Gulf Coast holiday tradition where guests can stroll through a beautiful display featuring some three million lights and 15 scenes across the 65-acre garden estate. The Bellingrath Home will be in its holiday finest and enhanced with lovely poinsettias. Magic Christmas in Lights also features choral performances each evening on the south terrace of the home (Sunday – Thursday). This award-winning event allows opportunities for photos with Santa and shopping in the Bellingrath gift shop.
Cultural Arts Center, Gulf Shores
Dec. 4, 2018 from 7-9 p.m.
A traditional Christmas Concert by the Baldwin Pops that will get your whole family in the holiday spirit! Free admission and there will be a visitor all the way from the North Pole! The concert is one of the highlights of Christmas in Gulf Shores.
348 W 19th Ave. Gulf Shores
December 7, 2018 beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Spectators will enjoy the festive lighted floats, holiday characters and marching bands that make up the Lighted Christmas Parade during Christmas in Gulf Shores. The route will follow Highway 59 from Gulf Shores Public Beach to the Sims Park where the celebration will commence immediately following the parade. Families take note – there will be Santa pictures, holiday treats, crafts and a snowball drop (a man-made blizzard of sorts with a helicopter dropping some 4,000 ping pong balls, some of which might have a winning number for a prize).
Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s, 200 E. 25th Ave. Gulf Shores
Dec. 8, 2018 from 1-4 p.m.
Billy Claus is a free, family-friendly holiday event at LuLu’s Gulf Shores. Billy Claus is Santa’s brother from the Caribbean who comes in each year to help Santa with Christmas in Gulf Shores AL. The LuLuBelles are like elves, just Billy’s fun version. Billy is delighted to hear wish lists from children and then pass along to Santa as well as pose for photos with the young ones. The kids will love doing the arts and crafts and the reading of “Billy Claus and the Spirit of Christmas” written by Lucy Bufffett. Plan to stay after to watch the Nautical Night of Lights at dusk, as the Lighted Boat Parade passes down the canal.
Parade path (by water) from LuLu’s to Cobalt
Dec. 8, 2018 from 5-8 p.m.
Looking for a unique experience? This is it! More than 45 decorated vessels (sailboats, charters, kayaks even) make this the largest boat parade in the Southeast. The Intracoastal Waterway offers great viewing sites but groups looking to watch together will have the best luck at The Wharf in Orange Beach.
Erie H. Meyer Civic Center, 1930 W. 2nd Ave., Gulf Shores
Dec. 15 at 8 a.m.
Enjoy a full breakfast and pictures with Santa! Admission is $5 for adults and kids three and under are free.
17401 Perdido Key Drive, Pensacola, FL
Dec. 25, 12-4 p.m.
What a fun way to enjoy a Christmas meal at the Flora-Bama. Flora-Bama will provide the main dish and everyone else just brings a covered side dish or dessert to share. Enjoy live music beginning at 11 a.m. and food will be served at 1 p.m.
December is a fantastic time of year to visit Gulf Shores and Orange Beach with plenty of sunshine, fresh Gulf seafood and great lodging deals on condos and beach houses. As you can see, there’s plenty to do during Christmas in Gulf Shores, too. Check those final gifts off your list with a shopping trip to Tanger Outlets in nearby Foley and if plans allow for staying a bit longer, ring in the New Year on the Gulf Coast.