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West Palm Beach: Two Ways to Enjoy the Christmas Spirit

By on December 16, 2014 in Christmas, South Florida Travel with 1 Comment

Ann Norton Festival of Trees Massachusetts“Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” – The Grinch

I grew up in a tiny town 20 minutes north of Boston, Massachusetts, where there are four distinctive seasons. In the Fall, the leaves turn beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow, and we would go apple picking with our cousins. Thanksgiving would soon be upon us, and the scent of homemade pumpkin pie, turkey, and spanakopita (a.k.a spinach pie) would linger in the air. Snowflakes would start to fall, leaving a light dusting of white on the trees. The picturesque scene would soon be replaced by massive, dirty snowbanks and icy roads. Our fireplace would crackle, as we sipped hot chocolate and wrote letters to Santa. The Christmas spirit would linger in the air, filling me with excitement.

I now live in Florida, where the seasons are marked by a sAnn Norton Festival of Trees Angellight change in the temperature. While friends and family up north are shoveling snow, I am still sunbathing on my rooftop. There is a huge Christmas tree in downtown Delray Beach, but the Christmas decorations are much less than what I experienced as a child. Sure, there are amazing boat parades, but there is no chill in the air to remind me Christmas is near. The holidays in warm-weathered locations are just not the same.

If you are in South Florida, here are two ways to experience the Christmas spirit:

1. Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens’ Festival of Trees

Last weekend, my friend, Elaine, showed me a side of West Palm Beach I had never seen before. Elaine, myself, and Elaine’s mother, Elizabeth, went to the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens’ 8th Annual Festival of Trees. Inside the home, there were holiday gifts for purchase to raise funds for education programs at the gardens. Outside, the magic of Christmas awaited us.

On the night I went, the West Boca High School choir serenaded us with Christmas carols. Even though I was wearing a light parker instead of a winter coat, hat, and mittens, my soul was engulfed by the Christmas spirit.

Ann Norton Festival of Trees Georgia     Ann Norton Festival of Trees

We walked the gardens to view the Festival of Trees, which honored our 50 States. Each tree was decorated to signify what the state represents. Here is a sampling of what some of the trees included:

  • Florida Tree: Flamingos and sunglasses
  • Georgia Tree: A white teepee
  • Hawaii Tree: A hula skirt
  • Massachusetts Tree: A boat with a “Tea Party” sign
  • New York Tree: A Broadway sign and New York-themed ornaments
  • Tennessee Tree: Pictures of country singers’ faces

Ann Norton Festival of Trees Hawaii     Ann Norton Festival of Trees New York

The trees brought back fond memories of the places I have lived and visited during my travels. We had fun examining the various, symbolic ornaments that were so thoughtfully placed on each tree.

We heard more music and saw a speckling of lights dancing with the Christmas tunes through the tress. Our curiosity was piqued, and we moved forward. We were delighted when we reached our destination. Before our eyes, was a Christmas tree covered in lights that was synchronized with the music. We sat for awhile to enjoy the show. I was happy. 🙂

2. Sandi Land

After the Festival of Trees, Elaine took us to West Palm Beach’s Sand & Sea-Sun’s Greetings, Sandi Land. The 600 ton sand tree had sand ornaments of all things relating to the sea, such as crabs, dolphins and sea shells. The tree also lit up with lights and danced to the Christmas music. You can enjoy the sand tree with your family for free, then check out the sand sculptures. There are also holiday games for the children, including mini golf.

I had a fantastic evening checking out these two Christmas treats in West Palm Beach. For a few hours, I forgot I was in sunny South Florida. The Christmas spirit was in the air and inside of me.

West Palm Beach Christmas Sand Tree     West Palm Beach Sand Sculpture

Check out my blog about the Delray Beach Christmas Tree lighting.

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