The holiday season is a wonderful time to visit West Volusia, Florida – a picturesque part of the Sunshine State nestled between Orlando and Daytona Beach. Charming areas like Downtown DeLand (voted America’s Best Main Street), top-notch restaurants, and natural beauty are always an attraction. But come November and December, West Volusia really knows how to throw a good holiday bash. Brimming with lively events, craft fairs, parades, and a warm, welcoming community spirit, it’s a fantastic place to celebrate the season. So, corral the family, pack the car, and spend a few days experiencing what makes this part of Florida so special.
The Christmas Mansion Holiday Home Tour (Nov 1st – Jan 20th)
From November to January, the luxurious 1886 Stetson Mansion, Florida’s most historic home, transforms into a dazzling display of over-the-top designer decorations sourced from all around the world for its annual “Christmas Spectacular!” Ten new room themes showcase intricate vignettes and luxurious accents with elegance and reverence for the season. This is a popular Florida tradition for families and friends and has been named “Top 10 Attractions in the USA” by TripAdvisor.
Twelve Days of Christmas in Bloom (Nov 14th – Dec 2nd)
Celebrate the holiday season with the West Volusia Historical Society’s “Christmas in Bloom: The Twelve Days of Christmas” from November 14 to December 2 at the WVHS Conrad Research Center, DeLand. Shop handcrafted gifts, indulge in homemade treats, vote in decoration contests, and enjoy a host of festive events including themed shopping nights and gift-wrapping services.
CoolCraft Christmas (Nov 24th – Dec 17th)
Embark on a flavorful adventure through West Volusia’s eclectic mix of breweries, coffee shops, wineries, and bars, each offering their unique take on a White Christmas-inspired beverage. Collect signatures on your special Christmas card, provided at each location, and with five or more, you’ll earn a charming Christmas ornament to commemorate your journey. Get into the joy and community spirit that only this special time of year can bring, and make your holiday season one to remember.
Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’ at the Historic Athens Theater (Nov 25th – Dec 17th)
There’s so much to love with every performance in this historic gem, but none compares to seeing the live performance of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.” It’s time to get merry and bright and enjoy this delightful experience with the entire family
Light Up DeLand (Dec 1st)
Get ready to light up your holiday spirit with a reimagined twist on a beloved DeLand tradition! As part of the City of DeLand’s enchanting Winter Wonder DeLand festivities, MainStreet DeLand invites you to join in a season-long celebration that’s sure to dazzle and delight. Picture this: cozy carriage rides through the twinkling streets, a unique shopping experience, festive food and drinks warming your hands and heart, and an ice-skating rink that beckons with laughter and fun. But that’s not all – live entertainment will fill the air with joyous melodies, Santa’s Workshop will open its doors for magical memories, and Santa himself will be making a grand entrance by skydiving into the festivities! Mark your calendars to start this season in an unforgettable way in DeLand!”!
Christmas Chaos (Dec 1st – 3rd, 8th – 10th, 15th – 17th)
Gadzooks! The anticipated arrival of the Royal Shakespeare Company to perform “A Christmas Carol” has fallen through, leaving the spirited but inexperienced group at Shoestring Theatre to scramble and put together their own production in a mere seven hours. Despite their earnest efforts, they’re comically ill-equipped for the task. The ensuing production is an uproarious encounter with backstage pandemonium, featuring squabbles over the role of Tiny Tim, an actor lost in the wrong play, an overbearing lead, and dual-role dilemmas. Add to that a director on the brink, hastily assembled props and costumes, laughable set designs, and a whirlwind of blunders — this play is a heartfelt nod to the dedication of these plucky performers amidst the inevitable chaos.
Take a Ride on the Butler Express (Dec 1st – Dec 23rd)
Embark on a magical journey through Lake Helen’s festive charm aboard the Butler Express trolley. As “The Gem of Florida” lights up for the holiday season, the trolley ride offers a unique view of the town’s sparkling Christmas decorations and historic homes. Join in on the festive cheer every Friday and Saturday from December 1st to December 23rd, between 6 pm and 9 pm. Additionally, enjoy two bonus nights of holiday splendor on Wednesday, December 20th, and Thursday, December 21st. Don’t miss this enchanting ride through Lake Helen’s holiday wonderland!
Lake Helen Christmas Home Tour (Dec 2nd – 3rd)
Celebrate the history and architecture of Lake Helen with this architectural-style tour aboard the Butler Express.
DeBary Hall Holiday Candlelight Tours (Dec 8th and Dec 9th)
Explore DeBary Hall Historic Site during holiday evenings when candlelight will fill the 19th century mansion with a warm glow, accentuating its historic treasures and Christmas decorations. Refreshments will be served. Advance tickets must be purchased; admission is $10. Tickets are non-refundable. Call 386-668-3840 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your tickets.
A Florida Christmas Remembered (Dec 9th)
Visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus; make-and-take Christmas crafts; vintage decorations; Christmas music; living-history demonstrations; arts and crafts vendors; food and cookies; tour 19 historic buildings; and meet the resident animals.
The 58th Annual DeLand Christmas Boat Parade (Dec 9th)
Join the festive spirit at the spectacular DeLand Christmas Boat Parade on Saturday, December 9, at 6:00 pm, journeying from Whitehair Bridge to Lake Beresford. Celebrate a Florida holiday tradition on the St. Johns River, where imaginative and brilliantly lit boats embody the heart of holiday celebrations. Enjoy the parade from prime viewing locations like Ed Stone Park and Lake Beresford Yacht Club. This leisurely, weather-dependent procession of dazzling lights has been a cherished event every second Saturday of December for over half a century!
… And Parades-A-Plenty!
Kicking off parade season is the DeLand Christmas Parade on December 2, 2023, along Woodland Blvd. in Downtown DeLand, where the community gathers to enjoy a night of vibrant floats and festive music. Not far behind, on December 9, are the Orange City Christmas Parade on Volusia Ave and the whimsical Deltona Whoville Parade at 1200 Deltona Blvd, both offering a delightful display of holiday spirit. The festive spirit continues on December 10 with the City of DeBary Christmas Parade, starting from Spring Vista Dr. to N U.S. Hwy 17/92, ending at Poinsettia Dr., and promises an afternoon filled with joy and community spirit, starting at 3 pm. Finally, the Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Holiday Bazaar on December 16 brings the season’s festivities to a close at Blake Park, Lake Helen, from 4 pm to 9 pm, where the community can enjoy not just the parade but also a holiday bazaar, perfect for some seasonal shopping and fun.
Holiday Stress Buster 5k & Fun Run
Close out the holidays by working off the stress that comes with the hustle and bustle with a 5k in ‘The Gem of Florida!’ Consisting of a Kids Run/Fun Run and 5K (with an optional virtual 5K), the route takes you around a beautiful, historic 3.10-mile route in Lake Helen. Races start at 8 am on Sunday, December 24. Funds raised support the City of Lake Helen’s Parks and playgrounds.