Christmas traditions vary all around the world. In Alabama, they vary from county to county. And they can even change from city to city. Here along the Alabama Gulf Coast, we have a few local traditions we love and we wanted to share some of them with you. For example, don’t be surprised if a Christmas Dinner includes some amazing Seafood Gumbo made with fresh Alabama Gulf Shrimp. Our pecan pies are usually made with Baldwin County Pecans we picked up and shelled ourselves earlier in the year. Most of us yell Roll Tide or War Eagle, even on days when our teams are not playing. We will hug you when we see you at church and we will hug you when we see you at the mall. And it is completely acceptable to wear flip-flops, even on Christmas Day around here, as long as your mother approves. We have some pretty great events open to the public going on, as well. If you’re our guest this holiday season, we want you to know: you’re invited! Here is a list of 10 Coastal Alabama holiday outings that make great family traditions:
- Get a picture with Santa at The Wharf
Santa arrives at The Wharf in Orange Beach on November 17 and he will be there every weekend until Christmas Eve for visits and pictures. Everyone has a Christmas List. So get your wishes together and bring your whole family to The Wharf to visit Santa and tell him what your heart desires.
- Watch the Lighted Boat Parade
The Nautical Night of Lights, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores’ annual Christmas lighted boat parade will be held on the evening of December 8th. The boats will depart Lulu’s in Gulf Shores around 5PM and travel our beautiful back bays around to the Flora-Bama. If you can’t make it to Lulu’s or the Flora-Bama, find yourself a nice spot along any of the bays. Bring a blanket and a snuggle buddy and prepare to watch one of the best nautical Christmas parades in all of Alabama.
- Come watch us perform at The South Baldwin Community Theatre
This holiday season, the local actors of The South Baldwin Community Theatre are performing “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on December 7-9 and 14-16. Show times vary and this is a ticketed event. A lot of rehearsing has gone into making this one of the best performances ever. Please come! Contact the nice folks at the theatre box office to reserve your seats.
- Ride through the Nights of Lights at The Hank
Each year, the good folks at Hank Aaron Stadium set up a drive-thru Christmas lights display called Nights of Lights. This is one of the few in our area. Fix yourself a thermos of hot chocolate. Pack some Christmas cookies and take a short trip to Mobile to experience this one-of-a-kind light display set to music. Kids and adults alike love this wonderland adventure!
- Have pancakes with Santa at Erie H. Meyer Center
What better way to start off a day than to have breakfast with Santa? This annual event will be held Saturday, December 15 at 8 AM at the Erie H. Meyer Civic Center in Gulf Shores. A full breakfast will be served and pictures with Santa will be available. The cost is $5.
- Ice Skate at The Wharf
A new island tradition is to go ice skating at The Wharf. This seasonal ice skating rink will be open from November 23- January 10. This is a family outing that no one should miss. After all, how many times can you say you can actually ice skate in a beach town?
- Visit a Merry Downtown Owa
Downtown Owa has been decorated for Christmas. Don’t miss a chance to walk through this merry little downtown located in Foley just off the Beach Express highway. We are so glad to have our own amusement park just a few short minutes from our beautiful sandy white beaches.
- See the Christmas lights at Bellingrath Gardens
Each year, Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile is all lit up with the Magic Christmas in Lights. With more than 3 million lights, this is one walking tour everyone should experience. Magic Christmas in Lights is open from November 23- December 31.
- Spend New Year’s Eve Day at Lulu’s
A family friendly New Year’s Eve day event is planned for Lulu’s in Gulf Shores. One of our favorite parts of the day is the beach ball drop. Hundreds of brightly colored beach balls will be dropped from the ceiling at Lulu’s. This is something kids of all ages love!
- Polar Bear Dip at the Flora-Bama
On New Year’s Day, plan to gather with several hundred folks and participate in the annual Polar Bear Dip at the Flora-Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar. This event is one your whole family will enjoy. Stay for a traditional New Year’s Day lunch following a chilly run in to The Gulf of Mexico.
At Sunset Properties, we are all about traditions because we know the importance of family. We are a family-owned, family-run rental management company. Our whole staff is one big family, kin or not. We also have several guests who have been grafted into our Sunset Properties Family. We love each of you!
We want to wish all of y’all, old friends and new, a very Merry Christmas and the happiest of holiday seasons. We appreciate the relationships we formed or continued 2018 and we are looking to seeing you again in 2019. Blessings and Peace!