An informal poll of pre-holiday revelers elicits this interesting fact: receiving seven swans a-swimming would not add cheer to the average Christmas season. Neither would unwrapping six geese a-laying.
Eggs are all well and good, those polled informed me, but they’re easy to purchase at grocery stores or farmers’ markets — and where would you stash six geese or seven swans in a typical contemporary home anyway?
The holidays are celebrated with great enthusiasm in the Keys — and even the feline population can get into the act!
No, our informal poll makes it quite clear that most of the imaginative gifts suggested in that traditional musical favorite, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” would be wildly impractical in this enlightened age.
So instead of celebrating the lead-up to Santa’s Dec. 25 arrival by bestowing daily gifts, consider celebrating with experiences. Florida Keys experiences, to be exact — because the island chain’s December calendar is packed with creative, colorful and heartwarming events designed to spark smiles and lasting cheer.
For example …
Dec. 8 and 15: Holiday Historic Inn Tours (Key West). Discover the festive spirit, and Key West’s architecture and history, by touring several beautifully decorated inns each evening. Coordinated by the Lodging Association of the Florida Keys and Key West, the tours include treats and libations at each inn. Plus, trolley transportation is provided between the featured properties.
Dec. 8-10: I Love Stock Island (Stock Island). The family-friendly pre-holiday festival blends culinary events, live music, history and art studio tours and other activities that showcase the island and its eclectic working waterfront. A lighted boat parade, “Taste of Stock Island,” “Discover Stock Island” excursions, the Stock Rock & Roll Bike Ride and more highlight the area’s seafaring tradition, culinary riches and vibrant creative enterprises.
Holiday decorations in the Keys, like this tree along the “Harbor Walk of Lights,” often blend seasonal and seafaring elements. (Photo by Rob O’Neal)
Dec. 15 and 16: A Holiday Concert at Marathon Community Theatre (Marathon). Shows are slated to ring in the holiday cheer at 7 p.m. both evenings at the theater, located at 5101 Overseas Highway. Each show includes a variety of skits, dancing and holiday sing-a-longs. Admission to both productions is offered for a donation at the door, on a first-come first-served basis with no reserved seating.
Dec. 21: Third Thursday Art Walk (Islamorada). Spotlighting the area’s fine arts, music and culinary nuances, the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District features national and local artisans in galleries at Morada Way (between mile markers 81 and 82), as well as beer tastings and live music, from 6-9 p.m. Admission is free to this great pre-holiday celebration — and it’s a perfect place to find one-of-a-kind gifts. If you can’t make the December event, don’t worry; this artistic extravaganza is held on the third Thursday of each month.
Dec. 21: Custom House Holiday Concert & Bazaar (Key West). The Key West Art & Historical Society hosts a wonderfully creative gathering at the landmark red-brick Custom House Museum at 281 Front St. Highlights of the evening include performances by musicians and choirs, local artisans showcasing their wares (this too is a great place to get unique, lovingly crafted gifts), a light show and even “selfies” with Santa.
No doubt your friends and family, like the discriminating gift-getters polled in our informal survey, will agree: the experiences described above are far more appealing than six geese a-laying, seven swans a-swimming, or even 12 drummers drumming.
Check out the full calendar of Florida Keys events here. And whether you choose experiences, gifts or both, may you find everything you seek to celebrate a meaningful holiday.