Jacksonville December 2011 : Page 69

SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE TIME… Such is the dilemma of the holiday season. We rush from store to store, school to school, party to party, forever worried we may be missing something. Worry no more. Jax Mag is here to help, with a Christmastime compendi-um of First Coast holiday happenings, delicious eats, crafty creations and much, much more. ‘ tis the BRADLEY STOOKEY DECEMBER 2011 JACKSONVILLEMAG.COM | 69

Christmas Spectacular

SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE TIME… <br /> <br /> Such is the dilemma of the holiday season. We rush from store to store, school to school, party to party, forever worried we may be missing something. Worry no more. Jax Mag is here to help, with a Christmastime compendium of First Coast holiday happenings, delicious eats, crafty creations and much, much more.<br /> <br /> ASSEMBLING THE wreath<br /> <br /> Hot glue and insert the branches at angles that move clockwise on the wreath.<br /> <br /> Place fruit on newspaper and lightly spray the prettiest side with adhesive; sprinkle glitter to desired effect.<br /> <br /> Group the fruit together and decide where to place on the wreath; a triangle arrangement at clock positions 2, 5 and 10 works well.<br /> <br /> Hot glue and insert picks partially into fruit; place glue on the other end of the stick and insert into wreath.<br /> <br /> To make the bow, loop ribbon and pinch with your thumb and index finger; repeat five times, leaving ends to trail at the end. Loops should vary in size. Secure the bow in the center with floral wire, then hot glue the end of the wire and place asymmetrically on the wreath.<br /> <br /> Affix pine cones in groups where needed.<br /> <br /> Drape garland strands in various positions on the wreath.<br /> <br /> Attach a strong wire to the back of the wreath, hang and enjoy.<br /> <br /> A token of warm welcome is the perfect addition to any home. Liz Stewart, owner of Liz Stewart Floral Design, shares her own personal tips.<br /> <br /> MATERIALS<br /> <br /> 1 plain evergreen wreath (pictured: 22” wreath made of native Florida greens) <br /> <br /> 1 branch of sandblasted Manzanita or other cool branches, such as river birch or sycamore, cut into smaller pieces <br /> <br /> 5 pieces of fresh seasonal fruit (pictured: Bosc and baby Bartlett pears) <br /> <br /> 3-5 dried okra pods <br /> <br /> 7-10 small pinecones <br /> <br /> 1 can of spray adhesive <br /> <br /> 1 hot glue gun <br /> <br /> Silver or gold glitter <br /> <br /> 3 yards of wired ribbon <br /> <br /> Wooden picks with wire or small sturdy sticks (to attach fruit to wreath) <br /> <br /> Floral wire (to attach bow) <br /> <br /> Glittery garland strands or stems<br /> <br /> Lets Dance<br /> <br /> Five versions of a holiday classic staged in town<br /> <br /> THE FIRST COAST NUTCRACKER <br /> <br /> Dec. 16-18 • Moran Theatre • $18-$43 <br /> <br /> The First Coast Nutcracker allows more than 180 young community dance students the opportunity to be a part of the longest running performance of the holiday ballet in Jax.More than 7,000 dancers have participated in this annual performance over it’s 39-year history, accompanied by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.<br /> <br /> THE COMMUNITY NUTCRACKER <br /> <br /> Dec. 8-10 • Florida Theatre • $21-$33.50 <br /> <br /> The Community Nutcracker ’s 20th Anniversary performance has 245 River City dancers prancing across the stage. Each year, a portion of ticket proceeds is given to local charities. In fact, the Community Nutcracker has donated approximately $350,000 since its first run, with proceeds benefiting Dreams Come True for the past seven years.<br /> <br /> THE NUTCRACKER PRINCE, PRESENTED BY EAST COAST BALLET <br /> <br /> Dec. 15-17 • Wilson Center for the Arts • $15-$60 <br /> <br /> The East Coast Ballet Foundation’s twist on the traditional version of The Nutcracker celebrates its 10-year anniversary this season. Approximately 100 dancers participate in a performance that blends the beloved Nutcracker story with a spiritual message that reminds viewers of the true meaning of Christmas.<br /> <br /> THE NUTCRACKER, PRESENTED BY THE FLORIDA BALLET <br /> <br /> Dec. 16-18 • Florida Theatre • $19-$28 <br /> <br /> The Florida Ballet is Jacksonville’s first professional dance company and has been performing in the River City for 32 years. A cast of 82 dancers brings to life this season’s 25th anniversary showcase that follows the storyline and time period of the original story “The Nutcracker and King of Mice” by E. T. A. Hoffman.<br /> <br /> ST. AUGUSTINE COMMUNITY BALLET’S NUTCRACKER <br /> <br /> Dec. 16-18 • Flagler College Auditorium • $15-$30 <br /> <br /> The St. Augustine Community Ballet kicks off its second season with a cast of 63 dancers including students from 16 different St. Johns County Schools dancing alongside professionals.<br /> <br /> Giving Back<br /> <br /> There’s no better time of the year to be charitable than during the holidays.<br /> <br /> From dropping your spare change into a Red Kettle outside of the grocery store to buying gifts for kids in need, it really is better to give than receive. For example, COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS of Jacksonville gathers holiday gifts for homeless and low-income children up to age 17. Last year, the organization provided Christmas presents to more than 2,000 local kids. To do it again in 2011, they need your help. • The CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS PARTY OF JACKSONVILLE is an annual tradition where kids 12 and under are presented with free gifts, all donated by caring River City residents. The tradition renews December 10 at the Prime Osborn Convention Center. Prior to that date, TV decor and style guru Nate Berkus comes to town to host his NATE’S CRATE TOY DRIVE, December 2, 7 AM-7 PM, at WJXT-TV 4. Toys donated that day will be handed out at the Children’s Party. • More toys!Concertgoers are invited to spread season cheer by bringing new, unwrapped toys to any JACKSONVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA performance between December 3 and 12. All gifts will be included in the Salvation Army Toy Drive. • The CHILDREN’S HOME SOCIETY, an organization that offers foster care, adoption and parenting services, is accepting monetary donations, gift certificates and volunteer help during the holiday. • Don’t feel like donating toys?How about some blood? The JAGUARS GIFT OF LIFE BLOOD DRIVE is set for December 13, 7 AM-8 PM at EverBank Field. • The CITY RESCUE MISSION will take the coat off your back. Well, out of your closet, at least. Winter clothes and jackets are in great demand at this time of year. Giving a little warmth to someone less fortunate couldn’t be easier. Of course, there are numerous other organizations seeking volunteers and donations.THE NONPROFIT CENTER is a great local resource to learn how you can get involved and give back.<br /> <br /> Holiday Cheer<br /> <br /> Gifts represent only part of the fun of the holidays.<br /> <br /> Parties and get-togethers of all kinds punctuate the season, helping make December anything but an ordinary month. This year, put a little sparkle in your merriment with a few new cocktail twists. Morton's Steakhouse and Van Gogh Vodka offer the following recipes, all but guaranteed to add some blush to your cheeks.<br /> <br /> SPARKLING CINNAMON APPLE <br /> <br /> 4 oz. Lunetta Prosecco<br /> <br /> 2 oz. Lindemans Pomme (Green Apple) Lambic <br /> <br /> ½ oz. Monin honey syrup <br /> <br /> 2 oz. Hand shaken whipped cream <br /> <br /> Dip rim of champagne flute into honey syrup and then into cinnamon sugar to rim the glass. Pour honey syrup, Prosecco and lambic into a shaker over ice. Stir with spoon 10 times. Strain into champagne flute. Top with 2 spoonfuls of whipped cream. Dust with cinnamon sugar.<br /> <br /> Homemade Whipped Cream <br /> <br /> Makes six toppings <br /> <br /> 4 oz. Heavy whipping cream <br /> <br /> 1 tsp. Sugar <br /> <br /> 1 dash vanilla <br /> <br /> Pour all ingredients into shaker. Shake vigorously 25 times. Dollop 2 spoonfuls of whipped cream on top of cocktail.Refrigerate and re-shake as needed.Not interested in doing the mixology yourself?No worry, the special holiday cocktail, $14, is available at Morton's through the end of the year.<br /> <br /> CANDY CANE LANE <br /> <br /> 2-1/2 oz Van Gogh Blue Vodka <br /> <br /> 1 oz white crème de menthe <br /> <br /> 1/2 oz peppermint schnapps <br /> <br /> Cream Splash of grenadine Peppermint candy for garnish Add a dash of grenadine into the bottom of a chilled martini glass and set aside. Pour the rest of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into the glass with grenadine to create a “swirl” effect. Garnish with peppermint candy.<br /> <br /> DUTCH TEA <br /> <br /> 4 oz. Numi Chocolate Puerh Tea <br /> <br /> 2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate Vodka <br /> <br /> 1 oz. Heavy cream <br /> <br /> Sugar <br /> <br /> Powdered cocoa Steep <br /> <br /> 1 Numi Chocolate Puerh tea bag at normal strength with freshly boiled water for 3 minutes, then remove bag. Add vodka and stir. Whip cream with a little sugar and float on top. Dust with powdered cocoa to garnish.<br /> <br /> Yule Love It<br /> <br /> Desserts that bring fun back to the table <br /> <br /> This imaginative holiday cake from Edgewood Bakery is as much a treat for the eyes as it is for the taste buds. Best of all, though, the whimsical elements of this edible winter wonderland can all be recreated in your own kitchen.<br /> Really, they can.<br /> <br /> Okay, chances are you can’t duplicate a holiday-themed creation exactly like this, at least not until you know some baking trade secrets. To start this one, form an igloo using two 9-inch round cakes, stacked together and sculpted to shape, then frost with white icing. Use edible glitter for an eye-catching finish on the icy abode. Hand-shape a few evergreen trees with your favorite Rice Krispie treat recipe, and trim with an array of colored icing. Pre-made fondant from a craft store can be used to make a small army of penguins, and piping gel mixed with blue food coloring yields a blue lake. Yes, it’s more difficult than it sounds, but with a little practice, anything is possible.<br /> <br /> Your world even say a glow<br /> <br /> Take a cue from Rudolph this Christmas by embracing bold red.<br /> <br /> WORDS BY NATALIE WEARSTLER • PHOTO BY NATALIE McCRAY MAKEUP BY KIMTASHA ARMSTRONG<br /> <br /> LIPS & NAILS <br /> <br /> Nails coated in a cheery hue add an instant dash of color, while matte lipstick beckons for a closer look under the mistletoe.<br /> <br /> HAIR <br /> <br /> Ditch the labor-intensive updo’s in favor of loose waves. To pull off this effortless look, braid hair while damp; once dry, separate waves with fingers and use a curling iron to amp up the volume.<br /> <br /> EYES <br /> <br /> No amount of tinsel can out-shine the right eyeshadows.Start with a shimmery bronze, brushed over the entire lid, then blend a peachy gold powder into the crease. Black eyeliner adds instant drama; use a soft pencil on bottom lids and a liquid liner on top. Set the look with false eyelashes.<br /> <br /> SKIN <br /> <br /> Dewy, healthy-looking skin is at the top of our wish list this year. Achieve the look by brushing a highlighting powder over the forehead and nose, with a touch of shine to bring out cheekbones.<br /> <br /> A Christmas story<br /> <br /> Come December, a small army of Jax television and radio reporters tirelessly track down an array of heartwarming tales to share with their viewers and listeners. In this breaking story, we turn the camera and the microphone on a few of Jacksonville’s media personalities to share favorite childhood Christmas memories.And we have the pictures to prove it.<br /> <br /> Amanda Warford, reporter, Action News FOX30/CBS 47: This went down as the year of NKOTB concert tickets. I immediately dumped my stocking as usual, but they didn’t fall out. My dad tossed the stocking to me and said, “I think you missed something.”<br /> <br /> Karen Feagins, Morning Edition host and executive content producer, WJCT:Content producer at WJCT: The year that everyone wanted a Cabbage Patch Doll, that’s what I wanted! My par<br /> <br /> Rebecca Barry, meteorologist, WJXT-TV 4: That year I asked Santa for a cassette player to play my Lee Greenwood tape. My poor parents, I wailed “God Bless The USA” for at least the next year. Santa brought me an amethyst bracelet, too.<br /> <br /> Jeremy Ratliff, co-anchor of Jacksonville’s Morning News, weekend co-host, WOKV 690 AM: My mom told me that I wanted shirts like Ernie wore on Sesame Street. She also says “little plastic zoo animals” were always at the top of my list.<br /> <br /> DJ Chill Will, official DJ of the Jacksonville Jaguars: I honestly have no idea what I was thinking or wanted... Actually, I was just happy to see Santa.Mike (far left) and Tera Barz: anchors, Action News This Morning: I wanted a race car track and an Atari, says Mike. • All I wanted as a kid were Cabbage Patch dolls and a Bette Midler cassette tape. I loved to hear her sing, says Tera.<br /> <br /> Nikki Kimbleton, anchor/reporter WJXTTV 4: Seriously, my parents are evil.<br /> <br /> Tiffany Griffith, afternoon news anchor, WOKV 690 AM: My little one-year-old heart wanted nothing more than huggable dolls, like Cabbage Patch Kids and Strawberry Shortcake.I still get a bit nostalgic when I see the modern versions of my favorite old toys.<br /> <br /> Mark Spain, anchor and reporter at Action News FOX 30/CBS 47: At six years old, I was obviously caught up in the good guy/bad guy theme, probably thanks to the Cartwrights of the Ponderosa on Bonanza.<br /> <br /> Bruce Hamilton, co-anchor of The Morning Show on WJXT-TV 4: That year, I wanted to be Maverick from the television show. So I got this killer cowboy outfit.<br /> <br /> Nights of lights<br /> <br /> Candles add a romantic, dreamy atmosphere at any time of year. During the holidays, they seem to shine a little brighter.<br /> <br /> Few can deny the simple beauty of luminary ceremonies, with long lines of white paper bags glowing on a chilly winter night. This year, instead of the throwaway sandwich bags with scoops of sand at the bottom, let’s get crafty and make a collection of glass luminary jars that are ideal for using over and over again.<br /> <br /> To start, you’ll need a few glass jars.The total number is up to you. Mason canning jars work great; however, in a pinch, spaghetti sauce, jelly or salsa jars are just fine. You will need to remove the labels in warm soapy water, so keep that in mind when selecting your containers.<br /> <br /> Once your glass jars are clean and dry, find a large outdoor space where you can line up the jars on a flat surface (maybe covered in a old towel), leaving a few inches of space between each one. Shake up a can of white spray paint and then start painting; the white shouldn’t be completely opaque, but enough to allow candlelight to filter out with a warm glow.<br /> <br /> After the paint dries, attach wire around the rim to create a handle. That way, you can carry the light around or hang from tree limbs and fences. Most any wire will do, though a thin gauge is easier to work with. Wire with a dull finish has an appropriate shabby-chic appearance.<br /> <br /> Dropping the tea light candles into the glass can be a tricky maneuver, and it takes some practice to get them to land upright. Light the candles once inside the jar. A reusable lighter with an extended flame or long fireplace matches work best.<br /> <br /> Furry Friends<br /> <br /> Jacksonville is practically crawling with special events and happenings for pets and critters of all shapes and sizes this holiday season.<br /> <br /> The 12th annual PARADE FOR PAWS takes place December 3, 11 AM, at Central Park on Amelia Island. The one-mile walk leads dogs and owners up and down Centre Street in Fernandina. Stick around for activities in the park after the parade. Registration is $10 per dog and proceeds benefit the Nassau Humane Society. • The Jacksonville Humane Society gets in the holiday spirit with its PAW-PARAZZI PHOTO CONTEST. Take a picture of your pet, send it into the Society and then ask your friends and family to vote.Photos must be submitted by December 13 and voting ends on the 16th. Votes are $1 apiece and all the money raised goes to help the Society. Jaxhumane.org. • Pets (and kids) are invited to MEET SANTA AT THE HISTORIC TRAIN DEPOT on Amelia Island December 3, 10 and 17, noon-3 PM. Photos are $5 each. Asking Santa for gifts is priceless.<br /> • Regency Square Mall hosts two PET NIGHTS WITH SANTA December 5 and 12, 4-7 PM. Dogs and cats are welcome to have their picture taken with St. Nick; however, other pets may attend with prior approval from the mall. Across town, The Avenues Mall hosts a night of PET PHOTOS WITH SANTA December 11, 6-8 PM. • First Coast No More Homeless Pets partners with the city’s Animal Care & Protective Services for the HOME FOR EVERY HOLIDAY PET ADOPTION December 10, 9 AM-4 PM, at 2020 Forest St. in Riverside. All adoptions for cats and dogs are $20, and each animal is spayed or neutered and ready to have a new home for the holidays. Have a picture with Santa and your new pet, 10 AM-1 PM. • Whitey’s Fish Camp hosts a LIGHTED BOAT PARADE the night of December 17. Festivities kick off at 6:30 PM and the event benefits the Safe Animal Shelter in Middleburg and the American Cancer Society. Boaters and spectators welcome. • Urban Jacksonville’s MEALS ON WHEELS (MOW) program serves nearly 1,000 hot meals each day. In addition, the organization provides eats to more than 200 local pets cared for by MOW clients. A donation to the group helps provide food, litter, flea collars, vitamins, ID tags and more.<br /> <br /> As a wonderful mouth<br /> <br /> Counting down the days till Christmas is an age-old tradition. Keeping track of the days is a fun way to build the excitement of the holidays. It also allows one to stay on top of all the seasonal happenings. The good news is you don’t need to worry about that. We’ve already done it for you.<br /> <br /> COMPILED BY JESSICA MALDONADO<br /> <br /> CHRISTMAS CAROLE <br /> <br /> Through Dec. 24, Alhambra <br /> <br /> Theatre Musical version of the classic tale about the old miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge pays his clerk Bob Cratchit only fifteen shillings a week, is rude to his nephew and refuses to take part in the Christmas spirit. Soon, the ghost of his former business partner (Jacob Marley), Christmas Past, Present and Future all pay visits to Scrooge. They teach him to value Christmas and to be a better person overall.<br /> <br /> $35-$59. 641-1212.<br /> <br /> HIGH TEA WITH AN OCEAN VIEW Through <br /> <br /> Dec. 22, 3-5 PM, One Ocean Resort & Spa <br /> <br /> Traditional holiday afternoon tea is held daily in the Azurea Lounge. 249-7402.<br /> <br /> THE S.S. AMELIA PIRATE GINGERBREAD SHIP ARRIVES <br /> <br /> Through Dec. 28, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island <br /> <br /> The 17-foot gingerbread pirate ship docked for the holiday season is sure to be a memorable backdrop for your holiday photos. 277-1100.<br /> <br /> LAVILLA SCHOOL OF THE ARTS CONCERT SERIES <br /> <br /> Select dates from Dec. 1 through 16 Orchestra, Jazz and Symphonic Band Concerts, Vocal Ensemble <br /> <br /> Concert and others will be happening around town this month. You can catch the LaVilla students at the Jacksonville Landing on December 6, or at the San Marco Holiday Festival on December 10 if you can’t make one of the performances held at LaVilla. Visit duvalschools.org/lavilla for a full list of events. 633-6069.<br /> <br /> PUBLIX APRON COOKING SCHOOL Holiday Desserts: <br /> <br /> Dec 1 & 23; Gingerbread Houses: Dec. 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 21; Holiday Party: Dec. 3 & 16; Holiday Cookies: Dec. 17, 20, 22; Holiday Bread Baking: 19 & 24 <br /> <br /> Seasonal cooking classes held at the Publix Jacksonville Cooking School (10500 San Jose Blvd.) This month so you can impress your guests this season. For more visit publix.com/aprons. 262-4187.<br /> <br /> A CHRISTMAS STORY <br /> <br /> Dec. 1-3, 8-11, 15-17, <br /> <br /> The Amelia Community Theatre Based upon the classic motion picture, this play is a holiday treat everyone can enjoy. The only thing little Ralphie Parker hopes to find under the tree is a Daisy Brand Red Ryder BB rifle. Looming in the way are alleyway bullies, freezing flagpoles, and unsympathetic authorities who insist, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” $20 for adults, $10 for students. 261-<br /> <br /> 6749. <br /> <br /> THE MESSIAH <br /> <br /> Dec. 1, 7:30 PM, JU <br /> <br /> Terry Concert Hall Come start your holiday celebrations with an evening of orchestral and choral music of the holiday season, including a performance of the Christmas portion of George F. Handel’s immortal masterwork, The Messiah, featuring the JU Orchestra, University Singers and the Men’s and Women’s Choruses. Free admission.<br /> <br /> HOLLY BALL <br /> <br /> Dec. 2, 7 PM cocktails, 8 PM dinner, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club <br /> <br /> Start your holiday celebrations with this black-tie, fun and festive event to help raise money for charity. A live and silent auction will be among the night’s events with entertainment by Cloud 9. For reservations, call (469) 644-3632. $125 per person.<br /> <br /> HOLIDAY HOME TOUR IN HISTORIC FERNANDINA BEACH <br /> <br /> Dec. 2-3,10 AM-4 PM <br /> <br /> Tour five of Amelia Island’s loveliest private homes in Fernandina Beach’s historic district during the Amelia Island Museum of History’s fifth annual celebration of the holiday season. For more, visit ameliamuseum.org. 261-7378.<br /> <br /> FRIDAY MUSICALE CHRISTMAS CONCERT <br /> <br /> Dec. 2, 11 AM, Friday Musicale <br /> <br /> The Friday Musicale Chorus only performs twice a year and their Christmas performance is one you won’t want to spend the next year wishing you had attended. Visit fridaymusicale.com for more, free admission. 355-7584.<br /> <br /> CHRISTMAS IN AVONDALE <br /> <br /> Dec. 2, 6 PM <br /> <br /> The holiday pet-friendly festivities including live music, food, prizes and a kids’ craft area are on the corner of St. Johns Ave. And Dancy St. 240-4869.<br /> <br /> ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH SURF ILLUMINATION <br /> <br /> Dec. 2, St. Johns County Fishing Pier & Pavillion <br /> <br /> Featuring a tree lighting ceremony, carolers, arts and craft vendors, refreshments and Santa. 347-8007.<br /> <br /> ST. JOHN’S COUNTY FESTIVAL OF TREES <br /> <br /> Dec. 2-11, St. Johns County Convention Center <br /> <br /> Over 50 trees, wreaths and other holiday items will be decked out in Christmas cheer at the World Golf Village for its 7th year to benefit local charities. Bring your $1 bills (no, not for that) and cast your votes on your favorite decorated trees.<br /> <br /> Free admission. 940-4015.<br /> <br /> SOUNDS OF THE SEASON <br /> <br /> Dec. 2, 7:30 PM, JU <br /> <br /> Terry Concert Hall Celebrate the season with the First Coast Wind Ensemble and the Don Thompson Chorale in this popular annual concert of holiday favorites.<br /> <br /> SAN MARCO CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING <br /> <br /> Dec. 2, 6 PM, San Marco Square <br /> <br /> Official tree lighting ceremony featuring the Hendricks Avenue Chorus and the kickoff of the holiday window display contest. Free.<br /> <br /> TASTE OF AMELIA ISLAND <br /> <br /> Dec. 2, 6:30-9 PM, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort <br /> <br /> 20th annual event features food and wine from 20 area restaurants, live music and a silent auction. $40 per person.<br /> <br /> 491-4646.<br /> <br /> MISTLETOE TOUR <br /> <br /> Dec. 2, 8 PM, Times-Union Center <br /> <br /> Grammy award-winner Anthony Hamilton performs along with comedian and national radio host Rickey Smiley at this year’s Mistletoe Tour. Hamilton is, without a doubt, one of the best voices in contemporary soul and R&B music.Tickets can be purchased on ticketmaster.Com. $35-$75. 633-6110.<br /> <br /> THE REINDEER RUN <br /> <br /> Dec. 3, 8 AM, Main Beach Park, Fernandina <br /> <br /> The Reindeer Run is adding a halfmarathon this year. The 5K registration fee is $25 and the half-marathon registration fee is $55. Runners who complete the half-marathon will receive a reindeer finisher’s medal. Visit ameiliaislandrunners.com for more.<br /> <br /> BREAKFAST WITH SANTA <br /> <br /> Dec. 3, 8:15-10 AM, World Golf Hall of Fame <br /> <br /> MAX Theater Bring a camera for a special appearance of Santa during breakfast. Registration required. Choose from the “Monkey Pack” or the “Penguin Pack” for your choice of IMAX movie after breakfast— Born to Be Wild or Happy Feet 2. $12-$16.<br /> <br /> 940-4133.<br /> <br /> 57TH ANNUAL ST. AUGUSTINE CHRISTMAS PARADE <br /> <br /> Dec. 3, 10 AM, Mission of Nombre de Dios <br /> <br /> Marching bands, floats, cars, horses and Santa come to the beach.<br /> <br /> PHOTOS WITH SANTA <br /> <br /> Dec. 3, Noon-3 PM, <br /> <br /> Historic Train Depot, Fernandina Beach.<br /> <br /> SANTA’S STORYBOOK TEA PARTY <br /> <br /> Dec. 3, 10 and 17, Noon, The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island <br /> <br /> A holiday storybook performance by Santa adds an exciting twist to the traditional afternoon tea, featuring sandwiches, sweets, and a souvenir photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus. $45 per person.Reservations can be made by calling 277-1100.<br /> <br /> FEAST OF CAROLS <br /> <br /> Dec. 3, 2 PM, UNF Lazzara Performance <br /> <br /> Hall UNF’s annual holiday choral event shares holiday music, audience sing-alongs, and a performance together in a collaborative chorus finale to celebration the holiday season. The holiday performance features the UNF Chorale, Orchestra, and Brass Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Cara Tasher, along with featured guests from local singing organizations and UNF ensembles. 620-1000.<br /> <br /> CHRISTMAS ON THE CREEK <br /> <br /> Dec. 3, 6:30 PM, Julington Creek Bridge <br /> <br /> Featuring around 40 boats decorated in holiday regalia on the west side of the Julington Creek bridge at the marina, 12807 San Jose Blvd.<br /> <br /> HANDEL’S MESSIAH <br /> <br /> Dec. 3, 8 PM, Times-Union Center <br /> <br /> The Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra performs Handel’s masterpiece that is, to this day, one of the most famous oratorios ever written. $16-$70. 354-5547.<br /> <br /> SAN MARCO HOLIDAY TOUR OF HOMES <br /> <br /> Dec. 3, 4-8 PM; Dec. 4, 2-6 PM, San Marco <br /> <br /> Annual neighborhood tradition features nine attractions including an entertainment area in Davis Park, five homes, the historic Swaim Memorial Church and a live Nativity scene. $20 in advance, $25 the day of the event. Smpsjax.com. <br /> <br /> BRUNCH WITH SANTA—TPC SAWGRASS <br /> <br /> Dec. 4, 10 AM- 2 PM <br /> <br /> Bring the children as Kris Kringle visits TPC Sawgrass all the way from the North Pole. $39, $9.75 (6-12 yrs.)273-3238.<br /> <br /> THE ST. AUGUSTINE GARDEN CLUB CHRISTMAS TOUR OF HOMES <br /> <br /> Dec. 4, Noon-5 PM Visit six private homes in <br /> <br /> Historic Downtown dating from the 1800’s on a leisurely walk through the historic streets of St. Augustine. Your ticket will include afternoon tea. For more, visit gardenclubofstaugustine.org. $25.<br /> <br /> 826-0024.<br /> <br /> THE GIFT OF THE MAGI <br /> <br /> Dec. 4, 8 PM, Jax Symphony <br /> <br /> Jim and Della are a young married couple, very much in love but facing difficult financial times. (Sound familiar?) At Christmas, each makes a truly generous sacrifice to give the other a very special gift. $6-$16. 354-5547.<br /> <br /> A HOLIDAY EVENING WITH GARRISON KEILLOR <br /> <br /> Dec. 6, 7:30 PM, Times Union Center <br /> <br /> With a wonderful, dry sense of humor, Keillor will once again visit Lake Wobegon with his words of wisdom, class, charisma and holiday humor.$36-$74. 630-3900.<br /> <br /> TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA <br /> <br /> Dec. 8, 7:30 PM, Veterans Memorial Arena <br /> <br /> Combining the musical experience of an orchestra with the energy of a hard rock group, the members of Trans-Siberian Orchestra have redefined rock opera and transcended musical boundaries sure to delight this holiday season, ticketmaster.Com. $29-$58.75. 353-3309.<br /> <br /> BOSTON BRASS <br /> <br /> Dec. 9, 8 PM, Church of Good Shepherd <br /> <br /> 2011 marks the 25th Anniversary of Boston Brass and will be celebrated with the “25 Fanfares Project,” wherein 25 fanfares will be premiered by composers from all over the country. More at riversidefinearts.Org. $25. 389-6222.<br /> <br /> HOLIDAY POPS <br /> <br /> Dec. 9-11, Times Union Center <br /> <br /> Share the spirit of the season with family and friends and be a part of Jacksonville’s great holiday celebration. Enjoy sparkling holiday favorites with the orchestra, chorus and dancers. $16-$70. 354-5547.<br /> <br /> HOLIDAY MAGIC IN SAN MARCO <br /> <br /> Dec. 10, 6-9 PM, San Marco Square <br /> <br /> Neighborhood festival celebrates the season with horse-drawn hay rides, a petting zoo, hot chocolate and cider, pictures with Santa, carolers, luminaries along the streets and more.<br /> <br /> SOUNDS OF CHRISTMAS 2011 <br /> <br /> Dec. 10, 7:30 PM, UNF Lazzara Performance Theatre <br /> <br /> An evening of holiday harmony featuring Big Orange Chorus (Get it? Florida… Orange… too clever) and special worldclass musical guests The Liberty Voices and MaxQ, $25; $18 for groups of 6 or more.<br /> <br /> ST. AUGUSTINE’S HOLIDAY TOUR OF BED AND BREAKFAST INNS <br /> <br /> Dec. 10 & 11, 1-5 PM The two-day event that tours 25 historic <br /> <br /> B&B’s decorated for the Christmas season in St. Augustine welcomes their 18th annual tour this year. Visitors will visit 13 B&B’s the first day, and finish off the last 12 on the second day. Tours include treats and sweets provided by the city’s top restaurants and candy makers. $25 ticket price includes both days. For more info, visit staugustinebandbtour.com. <br /> <br /> FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS 5K <br /> <br /> Dec. 10, San Marco Square <br /> <br /> More than 2,000 runners are expected to participate in the 1-mile fun run that starts at 5:30 PM, 5K starts at 6 PM.Registration costs for the 5K are $25-$35, fun run registration is $12. To register or for more information, visit 1stplacesports.com. 399-8880.<br /> <br /> ST. AUGUSTINE’S HOLIDAY REGATTA OF LIGHTS <br /> <br /> Dec. 10, 6 PM, Bridge of Lions.<br /> <br /> This colorful boat parade of shrimp boats, sailboats and yachts decked out in holiday lights sets sail on the Matanzas Bay in St. Augustine celebrating it’s 31st anniversary this year. 824-9725.<br /> <br /> CHRISTMAS CANDLELIGHT TOUR OF HOMES <br /> <br /> Dec.10, 1-4 PM, St. Marys, Georgia <br /> <br /> This year’s Candlelight Tour of Homes in St. Marys features 20 of the town’s most revered historic sites, homes, and attractions, with musical presentations and caroling. $12 per person. Visit stmaryswelcome.com for more. (800) 868-8687.<br /> <br /> LIGHTED HOLIDAY PARADE <br /> <br /> Dec. 10, 6 PM, Downtown Fernandina Beach <br /> <br /> A parade of holiday-themed, decked-out floats will be making its way through Downtown Fernandina Beach to celebrate the holiday season. 206-0756.<br /> <br /> HOLIDAY SOUL CONCERT <br /> <br /> Dec. 11, 6 PM, Times-Union Center <br /> <br /> Featuring 3-time Grammy Award-winner and 2-time American Music Awardwinner Richard Street, former lead singer for the Temptations in 1971-1995, $30-$90. Visit ticketmaster.com for more.<br /> <br /> LIVE NATIVITY IN DOWNTOWN ST. MARYS, GEORGIA <br /> <br /> Dec. 13, 6 PM-8 PM, Orange Hall Actors in costume and live <br /> <br /> Nativity animals will present Jesus’ birth alongside the sounds of local choirs on the grounds of Orange Hall in St. Marys.(912) 882-8111.<br /> <br /> HAPPY HOUR CHRISTMAS MIXER & SHOPPING SPREE <br /> <br /> Dec. 14, 5 PM, New Orleans Café (12760 San Jose Blvd.)<br /> <br /> Attendants will receive a free drink and appetizers, play games and mingle while browsing products and services offered in Jacksonville. 880-5155.<br /> <br /> PETER WHITE CHRISTMAS FEATURING MINDI ABAIR & KIRK WHALUM <br /> <br /> Dec. 14, 8 PM, Florida Theatre <br /> <br /> Peter White’s world-renowned acoustic guitar skills paired with Mindi Abair on the saxophone and Kirk Whalum’s Grammy-winning sound will bring the spirit of the holidays to the stage with style. Tickets for sale at ticketmaster.com, $27.50-$36.50. 355-5661.<br /> <br /> HOLIDAY COOKING SCHOOL AT SALT <br /> <br /> Dec. 15-16, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island <br /> <br /> Holiday favorites with a modern twist are sure to surprise your guests when they are over for dinner during the holidays.The 2011 SALT Cooking School package includes incredible accommodations for the 2-day cooking school. More information can be found at ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland. <br /> <br /> ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS <br /> <br /> Dec. 16 and 17, 7 PM; Dec. 18, 2 PM, St. Marys Little Theatre, St. Marys, <br /> <br /> Georgia An original script written just for St. Marys Theatre, interwoven with traditional and contemporary music. $10 for adults, $6 for children under 12.More info at stmaryslittletheatre.com. <br /> <br /> CLAY COUNTY CHRISTMAS <br /> <br /> Dec. 16, 7:30 PM, Thrasher Horne <br /> <br /> Center for the Arts Continuing this annual holiday tradition, Clay County Christmas features festive performances by The Clay County Community Band, Diane Combs directing the Orange Park United Methodist Church Inspirations, and others. $8-$18.<br /> <br /> 276-6750.<br /> <br /> THE COOL SIDE OF YULETIDE CONCERT <br /> <br /> Dec. 17, 2 PM, Jacksonville’s Children’s Chorus <br /> <br /> Jacksonville’s Children’s Chorus performs holiday favorites at the Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church. $18. 353-1636.<br /> <br /> HOLIDAY LUMINARIA FESTIVAL <br /> <br /> Dec. 18, Riverside Avondale <br /> <br /> This year marks the 28th anniversary of Riverside Avondale’s beloved Luminaria celebration. The popular Luminaria Bike Ride will begin at 6 PM from Cycle City on Park St. and a live Nativity will be at the celebration, as well as multiple musical performances.<br /> <br /> ANTHONY & BEARD HOLIDAY PROGRAM <br /> <br /> Dec. 18, 4 PM, St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal <br /> <br /> Church Beaches Fine Arts presents trumpeter Ryan Anthony and organist Gary Beard who have performed classical music and jazz together since 1993. Free admission.<br /> <br /> 270-1771.<br /> <br /> MOTHER-DAUGHTER HOLIDAY BRUNCH <br /> <br /> Dec. 18, 11 AM-2 PM, TPC <br /> <br /> Sawgrass Relax and catch up with moms, daughters, grandmas and girlfriends for a holiday brunch. $25, $6.25 (6-12 yrs.)<br /> <br /> 273-3238.<br /> <br /> MICHAEL W. SMITH: IT’S A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS <br /> <br /> Dec. 20, 8 PM, Moran <br /> <br /> Theater One of today’s most acclaimed contemporary Christian artists, Michael W. Smith’s heartwarming holiday concert is sure to delight the whole family. $27-$70.<br /> <br /> 354-5547.<br /> <br /> CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER “FESTIVAL OF THE SEVEN FISHES” <br /> <br /> Dec. 24, TPC Sawgrass <br /> <br /> Enjoy this traditional Italian dinner full of the bounty of the sea. $54 adults, $13.50 (6-12 yrs.) 273-3238.<br /> <br /> CHRISTMAS BRUNCH <br /> <br /> Dec. 25, 12-3 PM, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island Savor a lavish Christmas brunch with prime rib, seafood, eggs Benedict, traditional favorites and delectable desserts.<br /> <br /> $69 per adult, $25 per child, ages 5-12.<br /> <br /> 277-1100.<br /> <br /> KIDS MAD SCIENTIST NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION <br /> <br /> Dec. 31, 8 PM-1 AM, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island <br /> <br /> Children ages 5-12 will enjoy a Mad Scientist themed evening, including a dinner buffet. Reservations required.$125. 277-1100.<br /> <br /> NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER <br /> <br /> Dec. 31, 5 PM-9 PM, TPC Sawgrass <br /> <br /> Enjoy a memorable dinner complete with Chef’s Specials, your favorite champagne and live music. 273-3238.<br /> <br /> TOAST! TO THE NEW YEAR <br /> <br /> Dec. 31, 8:30 PM, Jacoby Hall <br /> <br /> Ring in the New Year with your Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Last year’s inaugural bash was such a hit, we’re on our way to starting a new tradition.$46-$121. 354-5547.<br /> <br /> FLAGLER COLLEGE NEW YEARS EVE BALL <br /> <br /> Dec. 31, 8 PM-1 AM, Ponce de Leon Dining Hall – Flagler College<br /> <br /> If your New Year’s resolutions for 2012 include giving more to charity, attending the Flagler College New Year’s Eve Ball might be the first step. The $365 ticket per couple helps raise money for the Flagler College Scholarship Fund, which helps offset tuition costs for students with financial needs. 829-6481.<br /> <br /> RING IN 2012<br /> <br /> Dec. 31, 5 PM, One Ocean Resort & Spa <br /> <br /> Five-course menu – $90 per person with wine flight of $40 per person.After enjoying the five-course meal, partygoers enjoy New Year’s Eve Under the Stars with live entertainment, champagne toast and beach view of fireworks.For more, call 249-7402.<br /> <br /> NEW YEAR’S EVE BLACK & WHITE MASQUERADE BALL <br /> <br /> Dec. 31, 9 PM-1 AM. The Ritz-Carlton <br /> <br /> Amelia Island Ring in the New Year with lavish food, live music, dancing, open bar and fireworks!A fun masquerade ball where an evening of excitement and style awaits.Black and white attire is encouraged.Masks provided or bring your own. $185 per couple. 277-1100.<br /> <br /> NEW YEAR’S EVE DINNER <br /> <br /> Dec. 31, 5-9 PM. TPC Sawgrass Stop by TPC <br /> <br /> Sawgrass before you count down the New Year and enjoy complimentary champagne and live music. $100 per person. For more information call the TPC Sawgrass social events coordinator at 273-3235 or visit tpc.com/sawgrass.<br /> <br /> Oh christmas pree<br /> <br /> Trimming the tree is work, but fun. So is the experience of picking the perfect evergreen, then chopping it down with your own hands. And you don't need to live high on a mountaintop to be your own Xmas tree lumberjack. Here are a few places to do just that on the First Coast.<br /> <br /> Ho,Ho,Ho<br /> <br /> For both the professional Father Christmas and the partygoer full of holiday cheer, looking the part is at the heart of being Santa.<br /> <br /> Here in Jacksonville, you don’t need to be an official resident of the North Pole to find a quality costume for the season. Kandy Keane, owner of Three Muses Clothing, creates handmade Santa and Mrs. Claus costumes (pictured) that start at $200. And, with a name reminiscent of everyone’s favorite striped treat, she’s an expert in tailoring functional and fashionable Claus-worthy clothes.<br /> <br /> Mr. Claus sports a suit made of microsuede, and Keane’s Mrs. Claus dress is made of stretch satin and trimmed with faux fur. “We custom design pretty much anything clothing related,” Keane says.Her designs start at $200, with prices based on materials and level of complexity.<br /> <br /> Costume parties aside, the most popular Santa in Jacksonville is quite possibly the man in red at the St. Johns Town Center.That particular Mr. Claus has been listening to children from his post on the Southside for two years now, and Noerr Programs—the company that hires, trains and expertly outfits each Simon Mall Santa—couldn’t be happier with his performance.<br /> <br /> “We really try to focus all of our efforts on the heart of Santa,” says Ruth Rosenquist, a spokesperson for Noerr. “It’s all about sharing and caring, and the spirit of generosity which Santa represents.” <br /> <br /> A bowl full of jelly isn’t a requirement for hire (“We don’t measure their waist; we measure their heart,” Rosenquist says), but a natural beard is a non-negotiable qualification.Each Santa is required to submit a photo with his resumé, and the hiring process includes phone and in-person interviews as well as a background check.Once hired, Mr. Claus is sent to Santa University in Arvada, Colorado—affectionately called the “Noerr Pole” by the company’s employees.<br /> <br /> Of course, sporting the right costume is a major part of the job. Each Noerr Santa wears a cotton double velvet shawl collared faux fur-trimmed robe, black leather pull-on boots, white gloves and gold wire glasses, among a few other accoutrements.According to Linda Wilson, Noerr’s costume designer, it takes 20 hours to assemble each Santa costume from start to finish.

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