Home for the Holidays

Posted on: November 4th, 2019

Find fresh inspiration and your festive spirit at these local holiday home tours and special events.  

Festival of Trees
November 16 – 24, 10am – 5pm, daily 

Inspiration abounds at the annual Festival of Trees, presented by Council of 101, at the Orlando Museum of Art. Now in its 33rd year, this holiday favorite features sparkling trees, vignettes and stunning décor, and all are available for purchase.  

Each year more than 20,000 residents and visitors start the holiday season by visiting this annual event where each day is filled with special performances that offer something for everyone. Festival attendees can stroll through the museum admiring the beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses and vignettes designed by local artists, designers, businesses and community groups. Enjoy on-going live entertainment by local singers, dancers, bands and orchestras complemented with holiday shopping, raffle items, and activities for children. 

All funds raised during the 10-day event go toward supporting Lifelong Learning at the museum, and exhibitions and programs it offers year-round to Central Floridians. 

The Festival of Trees has become a family-oriented holiday tradition featuring the following:  

Trees and Vignettes: Galleries filled with elaborately decorated themed trees from 6-feet to 9-feet tall and decorator vignettes created by local artists, businesses and designers. Designers not only create works of art but procure donations of gifts and services to serve as presents under the trees. 

Santa Claus Lane: A children’s wonderland filled with creative crafts, stockings, fun games and activities where Santa greets children all of ages. 

Deck the Halls: An area filled with uniquely designed trees from 3-feet to 4-feet tall, centerpieces, wreaths and garlands, which are all for sale. 

Entertaining by Design: An area showcasing elegant one-of-a-kind table settings and sponsor-related items which are raffled off and may become a festive addition for your holiday entertaining. 

Festival Café: Relax and enjoy a light lunch or dessert. 

Gingerbread Village: Explore this area of mouth-watering creations presented by local professional bakers. Buy one to add to your holiday décor. 

The Holiday Boutique: A magical shopping place where merchants showcase ornaments, unique holiday items and furnishings, making it the perfect place to begin and end your holiday shopping. 

Toyland: A unique shopping experience filled to the brim with ornaments, gifts for all ages and décor items, all under $30. 

For a complete calendar of events and/or tickets, visit orlandofestivaloftrees.com, call 407-672-3838 or email councilof101@omart.org.  

Stetson Mansion 9th Annual “Christmas Spectacular!”
November 15 – January 15, 10:30am, 1:30pm and 5pm, daily 

The annual Stetson Mansion “Christmas Spectacular!” Holiday Home Tour showcases the privately-owned Victorian home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, decked out in decorations befitting its Gilded Age origins. This extravagant homage to Christmas draws thousands of visitors from around the world who tour and gawk in awe at the handiwork of its creative mastermind JT Thompson. JT and renovation expert Michael Solari own the historic home, built by Stetson Hat Company founder John B. Stetson as his winter retreat in the city of DeLand.  

It was named one of USA Today’s 2018 10 Best Holiday Home Tours in America. This year’s theme is “Come Home for Christmas.” Lively guides lead all tours at this popular holiday tradition. Tours last 75 minutes and are offered several times of day ($27/$15+tax). Reservations are required at stetsonmansion.com/christmas-tours. 

IMAGES Holiday Tour of Homes 
December 7, 9am – 3pm 

The IMAGES Holiday Tour of Homes will present unique homes decorated for the holidays, while showcasing the charm of New Smyrna Beach. This is a favorite event of the Central Florida community, and groups of friends attend year after year as a kick-off to the holiday season.  

Shop for creative gifts at the popular IMAGES Boutique, featuring an array of beautiful handcrafted items by local artists and Atlantic Center for the Arts Volunteer League Members. The Boutique will be at Atlantic Center for the Arts Downtown, Arts on Douglas, 123 Douglas Street, New Smyrna Beach. 

The IMAGES Holiday Tour of Homes is the main fundraiser for IMAGES: A Festival of the Arts. More than 1,000 people attended the Tour in 2018, raising nearly $25,000 in prize monies for the Festival.  

This year a Friday night cocktail party has been added at a private NSB riverfront home. The party will include live music, cocktails and delectable hors d’oeuvres – included with your $50 ticket (Friday party, Saturday tour and boutique access). Saturday tour and boutique tickets are available for $25. For full details and ticket information, visit imagesartfestival.org/tour-of-homes/, call 386-423-4733, or email images@imagesartfestival.org

Sanford Historic Trust Holiday Tour of Homes
December 7, 3 – 9pm  

The 31st Annual Holiday Tour of Homes showcases Sanford’s historic charm and an abundance of holiday décor. The self-guided walking tour will feature 10 homes on Magnolia Avenue and Park Avenue, two of Sanford’s many charming brick-lined streets. 

Experience historic living as residences showcase their beautiful interiors complemented by live entertainment and light refreshments along the way. As the sun sets, luminaries will guide you along as you sip hot cocoa or apple cider. These elegant 19th-century homes are sure to inspire your holiday décor and get you in a festive mood.  

New this year is the Sanford Historic Trust Holiday Tour of Homes VIP Experience in partnership with Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café and Wayne Densch, Inc. This special experience includes the following additional benefits: Exclusive access to the VIP lounge at Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, complimentary beer provided by Wayne Densch, Inc.; complimentary wine and food provided by Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Café; expedited admission to tour homes.  

Check-in will be at Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, 201 S. Magnolia Ave., Sanford. General admission tickets are $30 and VIP tickets are $80. Visit facebook.com/sanfordholidaytourofhomes/ for additional information or to purchase tickets.   

Winter Wonderland at Rosen Shingle Creek
December 7, 14 and 21, 6:30 – 9:30pm

Enjoy the luxurious Rosen Shingle Creek as it transforms into a Winter Wonderland featuring holiday activities that delight travelers and locals alike. Children can write out and share their Christmas wish lists with Santa, hear fanciful stories lovingly told by Mrs. Claus, pose with the family in a holiday photo booth and receive a festive face painting and fun balloon art to take home. There’s also holiday karaoke where the whole family can try their hand at “All I Want For Christmas is You,” “Jingle Bells,” and other holiday favorites.  

While guests enjoy the Winter Wonderland activities, they also may explore more than 30 Christmas trees decorated by local nonprofit organizations, each crafted in their own unique style. Each year Rosen Hotels & Resorts invites its charity partners to decorate a tree to be placed in the lobby of Rosen Shingle Creek. The trees not only provide festive décor but help spread awareness for each nonprofit.  

The festivities are free if dining at the resort. Otherwise, wristbands are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10; $5 self-parking. For more information, visit rosenshinglecreek.com, call 407-996-9939, or email sales@rosenshinglecreek.com.