Celebrate the Season with Holiday Events in Gainesville and Alachua County 2021

Stroll among twinkling lights, watch special holiday performances, find unique gifts at holiday markets. Plan your holidays with our list of festive upcoming events in Gainesville and Alachua County.

miracle on 34th street

Miracle on 34th Street Live Musical Radio Play at the Hippodrome Theatre
Friday, November 26 – Thursday, December 23

Get into the spirit of the holidays with this all-time favorite classic story. Based on the 1947 Lux Radio Hour broadcast, the all-time classic holiday story features a last-minute replacement Santa for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade claiming to be the real Kris Kringle. The belief of a little girl brings love, happiness, and the heart of the holiday spirit to all.

jane lunch a swingin little christmas

Ring in the Holidays with Jane Lynch’s A Swingin’ Little Christmas at UF Phillips Center
Monday, November 29, 7:30 p.m.

The performance of A Swingin’ Little Christmas features Jane Lynch (Glee), Kate Flannery (The Office), and Tim Davis (Glee) with lively, finger-snapping takes on classic holiday tunes as well as nostalgia-steeped originals. Content may not be suitable for children under 10. 

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in High Springs
Friday, November 26, 6 p.m. 

Enjoy music, games, giveaways and meet Santa and his elves.

holiday market at the auk market

Holiday Market with 25+ Vendors, Food Trucks and More at The AUK Market
Saturday, November 27, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Shop the holiday outdoor market on small business Saturday. Find a special gift and support local makers and brands. The market features over 25 vendors, fun activities, guest food trucks, food and coffee from Curia on the Drag and tasty drinks from Dad’s Bar.

light up tioga

Get Festive with the Annual Tree Lighting and Holiday Festival at Light Up Tioga in Tioga Town Center
Sunday, November 28, 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Bring out the whole family for festive fun including a visit from Santa and tree lighting, live entertainment and performances, food trucks, teddy bear mobile, train rides and more.

grand chanukah celebration

Downtown Gainesville Chanukah Family Festival at Bo Diddley Plaza
Wednesday, December 1, 5 p.m.
UF Jewish Student and Community Center present the lighting of the giant gratitude menorah. The festive evening features a ventriloquist puppet show, magic, balloon twisting, music, singing and more.

a christmas carol

A Christmas Carol at the Hippodrome Theatre
Thursday, December 2 – Thursday, December 23
The Hippodrome’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol returns to the mainstage. An exemplary cast of professional actors dazzles audiences with this cherished holiday tale. Ebenezer Scrooge is a selfish businessman who is taught a lesson by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future to become a better man and friend.

Take a Self-Guided Tour of the Local Art Scene at Artwalk Gainesville
Friday, December 3, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The holiday edition of Artwalk Gainesville provides an opportunity to meet local artists, browse art galleries and find an original holiday gift.

a good old fashioned redneck country christmas

A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas at High Springs Playhouse
Friday, December 3 – Sunday, December 19

What if the three wise men weren’t really all that wise? What if they were just three ordinary guys, avoiding conflicts at home, who happened upon the greatest story ever told? Set the entire story in modern-day America, sprinkle in a little redneck humor, and you have a country Christmas you’ll never forget.

sycamore lane vintage market

Vintage Christmas Market with Sycamore Lane in Downtown Newberry
Friday, December 3, 3 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday, December 4, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Browse over 30 vendors with vintage goods, crafts, soaps, plants, clothing and more. Friday night, enjoy the City of Newberry tree lighting and visit from Santa. Grab hot coffee and fresh donuts early on Saturday.

City of Newberry Annual Tree Lighting
Friday, December 3, 7 p.m.

Enjoy holiday cookies and hot cocoa paired with Christmas carolers and photos with Santa.

Light the Village at Haile Village Center
Friday, December 3, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Stroll through Haile Village Center for an evening of lights, holiday music, train rides, face painting and Santa. Enjoy cookies and hot cocoa, with food from Haile Village restaurants and food trucks.

Vintage Market Sale at Archer Community Center
Saturday, December 4, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Join a collection of vendors with a collection of vintage and homemade crafts, tools, antiques, toys, furniture and more.

LifeSouth’s Operation Santa Delivery at Santa Fe College North Field
Saturday, December 4, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
See Santa arrive by helicopter at the free event featuring games and activities for kids.

bears and lions band

City of Gainesville Holiday Kick-Off Concert with Bears and Lions at Bo Diddley Plaza
Saturday, December 4, 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Join Bears and Lions for a family-friendly, free concert as a holiday kick-off prior to the tree lighting event at the Thomas Center.

holiday lights at thomas center

Holiday Lights in the Thomas Center Gardens
Saturday, December 4, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
The Thomas Center Gardens transform into a wonderland of shimmering lights. Enjoy cider and cookies with live entertainment. Inside the Thomas Center, view the decorated tree soaring above the Spanish Court. Horse-drawn carriages are $5 and tour the surrounding Duckpond Neighborhood lit by hundreds of luminaries.

Fest Wrestling Pickle in the Tree at Knockin’ Boots Saloon
Saturday, December 4, 8 p.m.

Fest Wrestling returns with the wildest #1 contender, intergender, Christmas-themed ladder match, Pickle in the Tree 4.

History & Holidays Guided Tours at Historic Haile Homestead
Saturday, December 4 – Sunday, January 2

See the Homestead decorated for the holidays and learn more about the history of the 1856 Homestead, the enslaved people who lived and worked there as well as the Hailes.

The Largest Indoor Craft Festival in North Central Florida at the O’Connell Center
Saturday, December 4 – Sunday, December 5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The O’Connell Center’s annual Craft Festival is a showcase of crafts authentically made by talented artisans and crafters. With hundreds of vendors, it’s an opportunity to find something special for yourself or that hard-to-shop-for person in your life.

glam craft show

GLAM Craft Show at First Magnitude Brewing Company
Sunday, December 5, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The 13th annual winter edition of GLAM Craft Show features a well-curated selection of artisan gifts from makers here in Gainesville and beyond. Food trucks are back, and First Magnitude’s tap room serves beer, wine, and kombucha on tap.

UF Sounds of the Season: A Celebration of Healing and Harmony
Sunday, December 5, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
300 performers from the UF School of Music present the 73rd Sounds of the Season holiday concert. Tickets are free starting Monday, November 29 from the Phillips Center Box Office.

The Alachua Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 11, 2 p.m.
The annual parade winds down Main Street Alachua. Grab a seat early and enjoy the annual holiday celebration.

25th Annual UF Poinsettia Sale
Friday, December 10 – Saturday, December 11, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
The UF Environmental Horticulture Club presents the annual sale with 4,000 plants and over 40 unique cultivars. Early appointments are available for shopping inside the greenhouse on Thursday, December 9.

Danscompany Presents Cinderella at UF Phillips Center
Friday, December 10, 7 p.m., Saturday, December 11, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Enjoy the holiday ballet tradition featuring the story of Cinderella.

Christmas at Butler 4th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Butler Town Center
Friday, December 10, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Bring the family for photo ops, food, festivities, and a visit from Santa.

Believe, Experience and Dream at the Polar Express at Dudley Farm
Fridays and Saturdays, December 10 – 18, Wednesday, December 19 and Thursday December 30, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg takes its audience on a magical train ride on Christmas Eve. A young boy travels to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa. The evening’s presentation includes visits with Santa and complimentary hot cocoa and cookies.

Drive-Through Road to Bethlehem at Camp Kulaqua
Saturday, December 11 – Sunday, December 12, 5:45 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Drive through a live outdoor production of the Christmas story.

Holiday Victorian Home Tour with the Matheson Museum
Saturday, December 11, 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Tour four Victorian homes in Gainesville’s Bed and Breakfast District including the 1867 Matheson House, Sweetwater Branch Inn, Laurel Oak Inn and Magnolia Plantation Bed and Breakfast. Find more details and tickets online here.

story time on the green

Join a Jolly Outdoor Story Time for Little Ones at Library Green Spaces and Parks
Tuesday, December 14 – Saturday, December 18, 10 a.m.
Enjoy holiday stories and songs for kids at Story Time on the Green: Holiday Edition across Alachua County. Alachua County Library District teams will share seasonal tales and lead activities perfect for infants through 5-year-olds at library green spaces and parks from High Springs to Hawthorne. Visit for details and locations.

Alachua Conservation Trust Holiday Mingle at Prairie Creek Lodge
Saturday, December 18, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Join the outdoor celebration of nature and land conservation. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, refreshments and holiday cheer with live music from The Weeds of Eden.

5th Annual Christmas on the Square at CountryWay Town Square
Saturday, December 18, 5 p.m.

Enjoy family-friendly fun with Christmas music, Santa, bounce houses, crafts, photo booth, food, refreshments and hot chocolate.

The Nutcracker

Dance Alive National Ballet Presents The Nutcracker at UF Phillips Center
Saturday, December 18 – Sunday, December 19, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The holiday family favorite returns to the Philips Center main stage. See the story unfold with beautiful dancing, sets and costumes as Clara saves the Nutcracker prince.