December 3, 3013 - Gulf Shores (GSA) and Orange Beach (OBA), AL – Bury the holiday blues and cruise to coastal Alabama for a sleigh full of family-friendly events through New Year’s Day. Check out the following list of holiday happenings.

Head to The Wharf for many ongoing holiday events. SPECTRA, the entertainment district’s sound and light spectacular, presents the Season of Joy Light Show at 6 and 7 p.m. nightly on Main Street. Wishing for a glimpse of a white Christmas? Ice skating will take place Monday through Friday from 4-10 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. through Jan. 12. Make and list and check it twice for pictures with Santa for $10 (includes photo and souvenir frame) during select dates and times through Dec. 22. Visit The Wharf for more information.

 

From Nov. 29 through Dec. 31 (with the exception of Dec. 25) from 5-9 p.m., experience the allure of more than three million twinkling lights within 835 custom set pieces in 12 scenes during Bellingrath’s Magic Christmas in Lights. Guests may also tour the holiday-decorated Bellingrath Home each day and grab photos with Santa on the weekends and during the week of Christmas. For more information, including prices, go to Bellingrath Gardens.

Soccer excitement will unfold for the 2013 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women’s Soccer National Championship from Dec. 2-7 at the Orange Beach Sportsplex. To get in on all the action, fans can purchase an adult all-tournament pass for $30, a youth all-tournament pass for $15, an adult day pass for $10 or a $5 day pass for children 10 and under. Tickets can also be purchased for the opening banquet on Sunday, Dec. 1 and the semi-finalist banquet on Thursday, Dec. 5 for $25 each. Both banquets will take place at the Orange Beach Events Center at The Wharf. Only cash and checks will be accepted for all events. For more information, visit NAIA Women’s Soccer.

Join the City of Orange Beach as it hosts the Tree Lighting at The Wharf on Dec. 3 from 5:30-7 p.m. This free event includes hot chocolate, arts and crafts, cookie decorating and a visit from Santa aboard a fire truck. Check out Orange Beach for more information.

The City of Gulf Shores will kick off its holiday festivities with A Christmas Musical Celebration starring Brian Gurl at Erie Meyer Civic Center on Dec. 3. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7 featuring the smooth sounds of pianist, vocalist and musical director, Brian Gurl. Mixing rock, jazz, Broadway and comedy, this show is sure to please. Free tickets will be given away on a first come, first serve basis at the Gulf Shores Activity Center box office. For more information, visit Gulf Shores.

Join South Baldwin Community Theatre as it presents Nuncrackers – The Nunsense Christmas Musical. The musical is filled with “Nunsense” humor and creative takes on traditional Christmas tunes. The show will take place on Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 8 and 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $18 for adults and $15 for students. Visit South Baldwin Community Theatre for more information.

Get creative with Light Up The Arts at The Coastal Arts Center on Dec. 6 from 5-8 p.m. During this open house, guests are invited to tour the arts center and watch glassblowing in The Hot Shop and ceramic demonstrations in The Clay Studio by the center’s resident artists. Special sale items created at both The Hot Shop and The Clay Studio will be available, and the Arts Center’s Holiday Market will be in full swing with local artists displaying gift and holiday items. The Coastal Arts Center gift shop will also be open for the event and a whimsical exhibit "Under the Sea" will be on display in the gallery. Check out Coastal Arts Center for more details.

Prance along with the City of Gulf Shores Lighted Christmas Parade & Beach Celebration on Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. Festive floats will make their way from Clubhouse Drive to the Gulf Shores Public Beach where the beach celebration will commence. Families may enjoy a lighting ceremony, pictures with Santa, live nativity, holiday treats, crafts and more. For more information, go to Gulf Shores.

On Dec. 12, locals and guests alike are encouraged to attend the City of Gulf Shores Christmas Open House and City of Orange Beach Coastal Christmas Stroll for a sneak peek at the wonderful facilities each beach community has to offer. Orange Beach’s event will take place from 4:30-7 p.m., and Gulf Shores’ event will take place from 6-8:30 p.m. Go to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach for more information.

Batter up for exciting youth baseball play during the 2013 USSSA Fall Alabama State Baseball Tournament from Dec. 13-14 at the Orange Beach Sportsplex. Visit alabamausssa.com for more information.

Still need to stuff the stockings? Head to Merry Market at The Wharf from Dec. 13-14 for booths galore of fine arts, arts and crafts and unique gifts. Admission is free, and the event is open to the public. For more information, visit Coastal Christmas.

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Celebrate the holidays in style on Dec. 14 from as LuLu’s at Homeport presents Billy Claus, based on the book about Santa’s brother, Billy, by Lucy Buffett. Children will be able to enjoy a day filled with art and crafts, live music, pictures with Billy Claus and his LuLubelles and more. Visit LuLu’s for more information.

Check out Santa Drop at the Flora-Bama on Dec. 14 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. when Santa will parachute down to the legendary beach bar and interact with the young and young-at-heart. Go to Flora-Bama for more information.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the 28th Annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade on the waters of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach on Dec. 14 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. as boats make their way from LuLu’s at Homeport Marina to Zeke’s Landing Marina. Head to Coastal Christmas for more details.

Shed those unwanted holiday pounds with Flora-Bama’s annual Make It To The Line 4-Mile Run/Walk and 1-Mile Fun Run on Dec. 28 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Participants have the opportunity to receive awards in various categories, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Innerarity Point and Orange Beach Fire Departments. For more information and to sign up, go to Flora-Bama for more information.

Get ready for an exciting family-friendly 9th Annual Noon Year’s Eve at LuLu’s from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with kid-safe fireworks, face painting, games, sand castle contest, clowns, live music and a beach ball drop at noon. Go to LuLu’s for more information.

Ring in the new year during Flora-Bama’s New Year’s Eve Bash beginning at 6:30 p.m. Live music, food, party favors and champagne will flow throughout the night. For pricing and more, visit Flora-Bama for more information.

Enjoy family-friendly New Year’s fun, including music, fireworks and the midnight marlin drop at “Reeling in the New Year” at The Wharf. Attendees may opt in for the VIP experience, including access to the VIP lounge area for unlimited hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and soft drinks as well as a cash bar for $75. Visit The Wharf for all the details.

Gulf State Park along with the Cities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach will ring in the new year with the New Year’s Eve Beach Bash at the Gulf State Park Pavilion from 8 p.m.-midnight. Festivities include a bonfire, campfires with s’mores, live DJ, live entertainment and fireworks displays at 10 p.m. and midnight from the Gulf State Park Pier. This event will serve as the kick-off to the statewide celebration of the 75th anniversary of Alabama State Parks. For more information, visit Gulf State Park.

Toast the new year with dinner at Coast along with a champagne toast and midnight fireworks during the New Year’s Eve Party at The Beach Club. Call 855-883-3785 or visit Spectrum Resorts for special rates and more information.

Off with the old and on with the new during the Flora-Bama Polar Bear Dip on New Year’s Day at high noon. The event will take place from 12-5 p.m., and Flora-Bama will provide a traditional feast for those who take the plunge. Go to Flora-Bama for more information.

Dates and times of events are subject to change. For updates and a full list of holiday events, see Gulf Shores calendar and Orange Beach Tourism calendar and Coastal Christmas Calendar.

Vacationing in Alabama’s beach communities during the holidays? Many restaurants in the area are open on Christmas and New Year’s. Here’s a restaurant listing of updated holiday openings.