How many days to Christmas? Ultimate countdown guide to best holiday season around Florida (2024)

It's the most wonderful time of the year and we fill it with lights, music, good food and plenty of fun with family.

And then we give it a distinctive Florida spin with surfing Santas, boat parades, and a giant sand sculpture of a Christmas tree. It just goes to show you don't necessarily need cold and snow to enjoy the season.

So sit back, turn down the air conditioning, grab a glass of eggnog or hot chocolate, and take a peek at your guide to Christmas around the Sunshine State. Yes, this peeking is allowed.

How many days until Christmas?

Let's count the days!

NORAD tracks Santa Claus on Christmas Eve

Where is Santa? Right now, he's still at the North Pole checking those lists — so you have time to get on the nice list — unless he popped down to Florida to blend in with the Surfing Santas in Cocoa Beach.

Keep watch on Christmas Eve as we livestream Santa's location from NORAD, which has been tracking Santa's travels on Dec. 24 since 1955.

Christmas 2023 shipping deadlines: You're running out of time

The latest date you can possibly send a package to arrive on Christmas is Dec. 21, which only applies to Priority Mail Express shipping and if the package is going somewhere in the contiguous United States.

Here are important holiday shipping dates listed on the USPS website:

  • USPS Ground Advantage
    • 3-day shipping, send by Dec. 19 (there's time but you better get a moving)
    • 2-day shipping, send by Dec. 20
  • Priority Mail
    • 3-day shipping, send by Dec. 20
    • 2-day shipping, send by Dec. 21
  • Priority Mail Express
    • 2-day shipping, send by Dec. 20
    • 1-day shipping, send by Dec. 21

What's the weather forecast in Florida for Christmas?

While a cold front dropped temperatures into the 30s, 40s and 50s across Florida a week before Christmas, don't expect the weather outside to stay "frightful."

By Christmas Eve, temperatures should head back up into 60s with Southwest and South Florida creeping back up into the 70s.

But what about Christmas? Will we see a repeat of last year, when Florida saw itscoldest Christmas in over three decades?

As of Dec. 18, according toAccuWeather monthly forecasts, there's around a 60-75% chance of rain and a small chance of thunderstorms across the entire state on Christmas Day and a 25% chance on Christmas Eve. Southwest and South Florida may see more rain on Dec. 24.

Florida Christmas forecast:Christmastime is (nearly) here. Will it be cold or rainy in Florida for Christmas?

Bottom line: If you're looking for snow for Christmas, you'll have to head out of the state since Florida has a 0.0% chance of seeing snow on Christmas, according to’s data.

Traveling for Christmas? Here's what to expect

According to AAA,115.2 million travelerswill be heading 50 miles or more from home over the 10-day holiday period covering Christmas and New Year's, a 2.2% increase over last year and the second-highest year-end travel forecast since the organization began tracking holiday travel 23 years ago. Nearly 104 million travelers will be on the road, AAA said.

Florida may break its own record from last year, AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins said. An estimated 6.6 million Floridians are expected to travel for the holidays, a 3.4% increase over last year's 6.4 million.

AAA predicts that airports will be the busiest they have ever been over the holidays, with 7.5 million air travelers.

Best and worst times to travel for Christmas

According to transportation data site INRIX, Saturday, Dec. 23, Thursday, Dec. 28, and Saturday, Dec. 30 will be the most congested days on the road.

  • Saturday, Dec. 23:Worst travel time: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. | Best travel time: Before 10 a.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 24:Minimal travel expected
  • Monday, Dec. 25:Minimal travel expected
  • Tuesday, Dec. 26:Worst travel time: 1-5 p.m. | Best travel time: Before noon.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 27:Worst travel time: 1-7 p.m. | Best travel time: Before noon
  • Thursday, Dec. 28:Worst travel time: 2-8 p.m. | Best travel time: Before noon
  • Friday, Dec. 29:Worst travel time: 2-8 p.m. | Best travel time: Before noon
  • Saturday, Dec. 30:Worst travel time: 5-7 p.m. | Best travel time: Before noon
  • Sunday, Dec. 31: Minimal travel expected
  • Monday, Jan. 1:Minimal travel expected

Flying? Here are the days anticipated to be the busiest for airports this Christmas season, according to a study by The Vacationer:

  • Thursday, Dec. 21
  • Friday, Dec. 22
  • Saturday, Dec. 23
  • Tuesday, Dec. 26
  • Wednesday, Dec. 27

Here are the days that are anticipated to be the best/least busy for airports this Christmas season:

  • Monday, Dec. 18
  • Tuesday, Dec. 19
  • Wednesday, Dec. 20
  • Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (flights on both days are usually cheaper)
  • Thursday, Dec. 28
  • Friday, Dec. 29

Expect to pay about the same as last year for gas

Gas pricesare helping the boost in holiday traffic.

"As 2023 comes to a close, drivers can expect to pay about the same or less for a gallon of gas than they did last holiday season, when the Florida average on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day was $2.99 and $3.24, respectively," said AAA spokesman David Jenkins.

Stop by a Florida Christmas tree farm

Don't have a tree yet? There are several Christmas tree farms in Florida for a family-fun experience.

Who knows, a new tradition may be created, minus the frostbite.

What restaurants, grocery stores are open and closed in Florida for Christmas Day 2023

Want to avoid the kitchen on Christmas Day and concentrate on family and those gifts under the tree?

Here are restaurants, fast food locations and quick service spots in Florida that will be open on Christmas Day, as well as grocery stores and drug stores for those who need to run out for a forgotten item.

Best places to go for Christmas

Looking for someplace to help get you in the holiday spirit since shorts and T-shirt just aren't doing it?

HGTV released its list of thebest small "Christmas towns" in every state and St. Johns County's St. Augustine was one of the featured holiday hotspots.

The city's"Nights of Lights," is one of the most breathtaking displays of holiday lighting in the world, according to HGTV.

Really, really want to see snow but don't want to face the traffic? Think about visiting Snowcat Ridge, Florida's only "alpine snow park." The park features a 60-foot-tall and 400-foot-long snow tubing hill, a 16,000-square-foot ice skating ribbon and an igloo filled with real snow. Snowcat Ridge is located in Dade City, northeast of Tampa.

And everything always looks bright at Florida's theme parks. From Orlando to Tampa Bay, the Sunshine State's theme parks are ringing in the holidays with special shows, treats and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Or check out Florida's first Great Wolf Lodge in Naples. The family-friendly resort features an indoor water park and other activities for all ages, including several holiday experiences that range from seasonal games to visits with Santa Claus.

Want even more ideas? Check out these suggestions, which range from a 700-ton sand sculpture of a Christmas tree to a visit to Christmas, Florida.

Holiday lights maps for Florida

No matter where you're heading for the holiday, these holiday lights stories and maps will help make the season bright:

  • Naples, Bonita Springs, Marco Island
  • Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs
  • Palm Beach County
  • Jacksonville, St. Johns, the beaches
  • Melbourne, Viera, Cocoa
  • Tallahassee
  • Pensacola
  • Sarasota
  • Treasure Coast

Enjoy December's Cold Moon

It won't just be the holiday lights and decorations making Christmas brighter this year.

Sharing the week with the winter solstice,December's full moon — aptly named the Cold Moon will add some extra glow to the holiday season on Tuesday, Dec. 26.

As an enthusiast well-versed in the intricate details of Christmas celebrations, particularly those in the vibrant state of Florida, let's delve into the concepts embedded in the provided article.

  1. Surfing Santas and Unique Florida Traditions: The article highlights Florida's distinctive take on Christmas, featuring surfing Santas, boat parades, and even a giant sand sculpture of a Christmas tree. This showcases the state's unique traditions, emphasizing that one doesn't need cold and snow to enjoy the festive season in Florida.

  2. NORAD Santa Tracking: The mention of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) tracking Santa Claus on Christmas Eve adds a touch of technological fascination to the holiday season. NORAD has been tracking Santa's travels since 1955, providing real-time updates on Santa's location.

  3. Christmas Shipping Deadlines: The article includes crucial information about shipping deadlines for Christmas, emphasizing the urgency for those who are sending packages. It outlines the last possible dates for various shipping methods to ensure timely delivery before Christmas.

  4. Florida Weather Forecast: Detailed information about the weather forecast in Florida for Christmas is provided. Despite a cold front a week before Christmas, the temperatures are expected to rise, with rain and a small chance of thunderstorms predicted on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

  5. Holiday Travel Predictions: The article discusses holiday travel statistics, particularly in Florida. AAA predicts a significant increase in travelers compared to the previous year, with airports expected to be the busiest. It provides insights into the best and worst times to travel on the road and in the air during the Christmas season.

  6. Gas Prices and Their Impact on Travel: Gas prices are mentioned as a contributing factor to increased holiday traffic. The expectation is that drivers will pay about the same or less for a gallon of gas compared to the previous holiday season.

  7. Christmas Tree Farms in Florida: A suggestion to stop by a Christmas tree farm in Florida is included, encouraging a family-fun experience and the creation of new traditions. This adds a touch of warmth and festivity to the holiday season.

  8. Holiday Dining and Grocery Options: The article provides information about restaurants, fast-food locations, and grocery stores in Florida that will be open on Christmas Day. This is particularly useful for those looking to avoid the kitchen and focus on family and gifts.

  9. Christmas Towns and Unique Attractions: Florida's featured holiday hotspots, such as St. Augustine with its "Nights of Lights" display and Snowcat Ridge, Florida's only "alpine snow park," are highlighted. Additionally, the article mentions holiday experiences at Florida's theme parks and the Great Wolf Lodge in Naples.

  10. Holiday Lights Maps: The article directs readers to holiday lights stories and maps for various regions in Florida, helping them find the most dazzling and festive light displays.

  11. December's Cold Moon: The article concludes by mentioning December's full moon, known as the Cold Moon, adding an astronomical touch to the holiday season, coinciding with the winter solstice on December 26.

In summary, this comprehensive guide covers a wide array of topics, from unique Florida traditions to travel predictions, weather forecasts, and festive attractions, providing readers with a holistic overview of Christmas celebrations in the Sunshine State.

How many days to Christmas? Ultimate countdown guide to best holiday season around Florida (2024)
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