Seeing the magic of the holiday season through the eyes of your child, or children, is so special. And thankfully there are plenty of FREE Christmas events and holiday celebrations all around Orlando. We’ve narrowed down the long list of events to our top 25 that are the best for kids and families.
From Christmas light displays to cheerful parades, and more, there are lots of free holiday events in Orlando to make spirits bright.
FREE Christmas and Holiday Events Near Orlando’s Theme Parks
Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Decorations
November 12, 2023 through January 1, 2024
Multiple Walt Disney World Resorts
Each Walt Disney World Resort is decorated for the holidays. Families will LOVE hopping aboard the monorail for a DIY tour of the decorations. Or head to Disney’s Boardwalk to tour gingerbread displays and decorations in multiple hotels.
Note: Parking at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels is for the exclusive use of guests with confirmed rooms, dining and recreation reservations.
However, bus transportation is available from each of the four parks and Disney Springs. Guests may also park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and visit Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort via the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail.
Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs
November 10, 2023 through January 1, 2024
The Christmas Tree Stroll has each tree at its own individual location. Maps for the Stroll can be obtained at House of Blues, 12 Days of Christmas Store, The Marketplace Co-Op, and The Welcome Center.
Each tree is inspired by a Disney character or theme. Kids will surely find a favorite, and maybe you will too.
FREE Orlando Holiday Events Happening This Weekend
Holiday Light Displays at Cranes Roost Park
November 25, 2023 - January 1, 2024
Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs
Enjoy over 200,000 lights on more than 100 holiday displays powered by Duke Energy. Displays can be viewed all around Cranes Roost Park nightly until January 1, 2024. The lights are turned on each night at dusk. Be sure to check the City of Altamonte’s calendar as some nights have appearances of Santa Claus, snow fairies, and more.
Snow Falling Nightly in Celebration
November 25, 2023 – December 31, 2023
Nightly snowfall hourly from 6- 9pm
Celebration Town Center
Celebration Town Center offers “Now Snowing-Celebration’s Winter Wonderland”, a family-friendly holiday experience with some of the best “snow” you can find in Central Florida. Festive music, decorations, and adorable shops make this a great holiday tradition.
“Holinights Celebration” at Promenade – Sunset Walk
Select nights from Friday, November 17 to Monday, December 25, 2023, 6pm
Promenade at Sunset Walk
Live Music & Tree Lighting Nightly, Snow Ball Fights with the Mischievous Elves, Holinights Craft & Street Markets, Car Show and More
Orlando Area Tree Lighting Ceremonies
The Christmas and holiday season in Orlando shines bright as these tree lighting ceremonies light up the night.
Light Up DeLand
December 1, 2023
Santa will ride in on a fire engine to light the beautiful DeLand City Hall (120 S Florida Ave., DeLand) Christmas tree at 5:30. He will continue on to Pioneer Park (corner of E. Rich Ave. & N. Woodland Blvd.) at 6pm to light the Downtown wreath.
Light Up Winter Garden
December 1, 2023, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Winter Garden City Hall
The lighting will take place at 6:15 pm at City Hall followed by various activities. Kids and parents alike will love all there is to do during the holidays in Winter Garden.
A Merry Winter Garden Light Show at City Hall
December 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, and 23, 2023, 6-9pm
Winter Garden City Hall
Enjoy a very merry light show at Winter Garden’s City Hall. Plus, there will be a Winter Wonderland area for children at City Hall on the nights of the light show. The entire downtown Winter Garden area will be festive and decorated.
Discover more: 15 Orlando’s Best Christmas Lights
City of Orlando Tree Lighting Celebration
December 1, 2023, 5-9pm
Ring in the holiday season with Mayor Buddy Dyer at the City of Orlando’s Tree Lighting Celebration. The event will include holiday performances at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, food trucks, a holiday market, and an opportunity to meet Santa until 9pm at the Eola House.
This event can get crowded. So if you’d rather have more space for your kids to enjoy then visit Lake Eola Park throughout the month of December to enjoy the Christmas lights and holiday decorations.
Casselberry Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 2, 2023
Lights and decorations November 10, 2023 through December 26, 2023
Lake Concord Park, Casselberry
Stroll through Lake Concord Park to enjoy charming vignettes of holiday displays and brilliant lights.
This small community park is perfect for a simple evening of enjoying light displays where kids have lots of space.
December 2, 2023, parade at 3pm Fireworks at 9pm
Avalon Park Town Center
Gather together to enjoy loads of holiday fun in Avalon Park. Activities include a bounce park, food truck, special performance, a parade, and fireworks.
Winter Wonderland – Parade and Tree Lighting
December 2, 2023, 4-8pm
Winter Springs Town Center
Enjoy an annual Christmas parade starting at Keeth Elementary. Then enjoy entertainment by local youth groups and Winter Springs Dancers with Class, and the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Things do get a little complicated with shuttle buses running at 3 p.m. at Winter Springs Elementary. The last shuttle will depart from the Winter Springs Town Center at 8:30pm. But it is all part of the fun of this charming holiday celebration.
Light Up the Holidays
December 2, 2023, 5-9pm – fireworks at 6:30pm
Cranes Roost Park
Watch as the park comes alive with spectacular holiday displays featuring 200,000 lights and a 60-foot tree decorated with thousands of ornaments and over a mile of garland. Plus, fireworks, ice skating, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
The Christmas lights and holiday displays are Cranes Roost Park are an absolute MUST-DO for families in Orlando – and visitors too! There is lots of space and it makes for a great 30 minute stroll around the park seeing all the displays. Just note, there is only one restroom.
Parking is available at Uptown Altamonte Shopping Plaza and nearby office parks, but check for parking restriction signage. You can also park at the Altamonte Mall and use the Cranes shuttle during certain hours.
FREE HOLIDAY PARADES
Annual Winter Park “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade
December 2, 2023, starts at 9am
Central Park Park Avenue, Winter Park
The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the 70th annual Winter Park Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade. The event has been held each December for more than 60 years, making it the oldest continuous holiday parade in Central Florida.
Longwood Christmas Parade
December 2, 2023, 3-5pm
Ronald Reagan Boulevard, Longwood
The City of Longwood will host the 7th annual Christmas Parade through Longwood by way of Ronald Reagan Blvd., north of SR 434. The parade will kick off at 3:00 pm on Saturday, December 4th, and will feature stunning cars, seasonal characters, bands, and much more.
Annual Christmas Parade
December 3, 2023, Starts at 10am –
Downtown Mount Dora
Enjoy this annual parade through the streets of downtown Mount Dora. Pets are not allowed.
Sanford Parade of Lights
December 9, 2023, 6-7:30pm
A favorite annual tradition in historic downtown Sanford returns! This parade is special since it is held at night and most parade floats are illuminated. Grab an early dinner at one of the many wonderful restaurants or head to one of the breweries for a cup of Christmas cheer after the parade.
DeLand Christmas Boat Parade
December 9, 2023, 6pm
Celebrate Christmas in true Florida style! The festive boats will start at the Whitehair Bridge (State Road 44) and travel south on the St. Johns River to Lake Beresford.
FREE HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS
Light Up Sanford
December 1, 2023, 7pm – 8pm
Winter on the Avenue
December 1, 2023, 5-9pm
Central Park on Park Avenue, Winter Park
An annual tree-lighting, strolling carolers, and jazz on Park Avenue, the announcement of holiday art contest winners and Santa Claus.
Wekiva Island’s Winter Wonderland
December 1 – December 25, 2023
Nightly snow flurries plus extra entertainment and activities are offered on select days and evenings, including outdoor movies and visits from Santa Claus.
A $5 admission fee applies on most days, so this is not exactly a free holiday event, but it is still worth mentioning in our list. Anyone who loves the unique mash-up of tropical Florida vibes with the holidays will love Wekiva Island’s Winter Wonderland.
Maitland Season of Light
December 2, 5pm – 8:30pm
Lake Lily Park
Bring the family for snow sledding, carnival games, fireworks, vendors, a tree lighting ceremony, and a visit from Santa.
Music and entertainment will be provided by the Maitland Symphony Orchestra, Maitland Middle School, Lake Sybelia Elementary School, Dommerich Elementary School and Chance 2 Dance.
Oh, What Fun! Holiday Festival
Select nights December 7 – 23, 2023
Lake Nona Town Center
This year’s winter wonderland features photos with Santa, holiday movies, a Christmas tree lot, live entertainment, special holiday events and more. Nightly snowfall too!
2023 St. Lucia Festival
December 9, 2023, 12pm – 5pm
Museum of Seminole County History
Food, fun, music, and a good time for the entire family! Free and open to the public. Donations for the museum are accepted
For more information, please visit: www.sanfordstlucia.com
Jingle Jam Community Holiday Party
Saturday, December 16, 4pm – 10pm
Four stages of live music, food trucks, carnival games, holiday artisanal vendors, drink specials and more!
This is one of the biggest free Christmas events in the Orlando area. See Santa himself and take some pictures with him and enjoy storytime
Hanukkah Celebration of Lights
Thursday, December 7, 2023, 5:30 to 10:00 p.m.
Lake Nona Town Center
The first of the eight nights of Hanukkah as the menorah is blessed and lit in a special ceremony featuring traditional songs to celebrate the festival of lights. Additional entertainment includes a live DJ, stilt walker, children’s performers, face painters, and more. Enjoy traditional foods while the kids make dreidels and learn the story of the holiday.
BONUS IDEA – Peanut Butter Matinee at The Enzian, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS – December 17 (kids 12 and under free)