The joys of the holiday season are upon us. For parents, Christmas is a time of joy, surprises, and sentimentality. It can also feel like a time of complete exhausting chaos that seems overwhelming and potentially impossible. There are so many traditions to continue, so many memories to be made, so many thoughtful gifts to be purchased, hidden, and wrapped. School and community events are plentiful, traffic is terrible, and it is easy to feel pulled in a million different directions when managing life and Christmas at the same time. Relax this Christmas; the following five Southwest Florida events will help you kill 12 partridges in a pear tree with one stone:
n One of the greatest holiday challenges is finding the privacy to shop and wrap gifts when many moms and dads can barely steal enough time for a solo bathroom break. Bala Vinyasa Yoga of Naples (6200 Trail Boulevard N., Naples) is offering parents the chance to drop and shop with a complimentary kids’ movie night and glow-in-the-dark dance party on Dec. 7 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for ages 4 through 10. Healthy snacks will be provided for a viewing of the animated holiday comedy, “Rise of the Guardians,” which will be followed up with fun dance moves led by kids’ yoga teacher, Heather Pilling. Register online at www.bvyoga.com/workshops or call (239) 598-1938.
n Christmas carols are a lovely way to kick off holiday fun, but there’s really only so many times one can hear, “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells,” in all of its variations before going crazy. Enjoy actual caroling, stories with Mrs. Claus, free photos with Santa, live entertainment, and a sprinkling of faux snow at Village on Venetian Bay (4200 Gulf Shore Boulevard N., Naples) on December 14th. Enjoy strolling, shopping or dining as you take in the sights and sounds of the holiday. The snow show begins at 7 p.m. and events take place throughout the evening.
n Are you looking for the bright, warm twinkle of Christmas lights without needing to drag out the ladder, untangle last year’s mess, and cross your fingers while waiting to see which bulbs still work? Flesher Farms of Bonita Springs understands. The Flesher family spends months preparing their Christmas light display which includes 3.5 million lights, and then they open their property to the public free of charge, accepting voluntary donations to benefit a medically-needy child. Flesher Farms (27865 Bonita Grande Drive, Bonita Springs) will be open Dec. 6 to Jan. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and 6 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
n Since Southwest Florida lacks the seasonal changes that help inspire holiday spirit, families may have to set out in search of it themselves. Once a year, snow is within easy driving distance at the annual Snowfest at Golden Gate Community Park (3300 Santa Barbara Boulevard, Naples) on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Kids can enjoy real snow hills, toboggan rides, “glice” skating, and carnival rides and games. Admission is $2 per person, with kids 3 and under free. Visit www.snowfestnaples.com for additional details.
n A memorable moment with Santa is the holiday dream of many parents, but all too often the reality is a confused and crying little kid, resulting in a photo opportunity that most likely won’t grace the cover of your Christmas card. Make the situation more comfortable with the Santa Pajama Party at Coastland Center mall on Dec. 10 and 17 starting at 6 p.m. Bring a blanket or stuffed animal along with your child’s Christmas list and capture a future memory on film. New, unwrapped toys are being accepted for Toys for Tots if you would like to spread some cheer through charity.
Organized holiday plans with reasonable expectations are the key to accomplishing everything on your Christmas to-do list while still enjoying yourself. By doing the above, you can check shopping, caroling, holidays lights, snow and Santa off the list! Wouldn’t that feel great? Stop worrying about how you will get it all done and have a merry (and easy) Christmas season.
Ashley McCann is a Naples resident and freelance writer who spends her time writing and enjoying southwest Florida with her two sons. She has never accomplished a Christmas to-do list.