Anyone who has the chance to spend the holiday season on Sanibel Island is in for a treat. Like so much of the island, the celebrations are local and have traditions that date way back into the island’s history. There’s a mix of fun and faith, some at the water’s edge and others on the water itself.

Live Music

Enjoy the traditional concert by the BIG ARTS Community Chorus at Schein Hall on December 12 at 7 PM. On the 8th of December, join the BIG ARTS Band in this traditionally sold-out local performance. Be sure to plan ahead to take part of this beloved local event.

On the Water

For a unique holiday experience, spend Christmas Eve watching for dolphins and wildlife on a cruise in San Carlos Bay from late afternoon to early evening. Even better, refreshments and cookies will be provided.

Religious Observances

A Walk Through Bethlehem held at the Historic Chapel on the Sanibel Community Church Campus takes you on a tour of Bethlehem at the birth of Jesus. You’ll pass by the typical people of that time like shopkeepers, guards and beggars, along with a stable. It’s being reenacted by locals and the event is free.


Participate with the residents and business owners on the Luminary Festival Stroll that takes place on Sanibel and Captiva. Held on December 7 and 8, the celebration promotes community spirit and the goodwill of the season. You’ll find plenty of places to take photos with Santa, see live nativity scenes and enjoy music.

Go to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates to see and experience their holiday shows that include lights, visits from Santa, crafts and home tours. They start at 5:30 PM and run through 9 and run from November 23 through the 23rd of December. They’ve added a new event to the celebrations called Liquid Fireworks by Waltzing Waters.

If you’re new to the area, these are the places where Henry Ford and Thomas Edison spent winters with their families seeking out warmer weather. If you go during the daylight, you can get a sense of the potential for mature landscaping you might be able to recreate for your own home

Family Fun

If model trains remind you of the holidays, head over to the local All Aboard! Model Train Attraction at the Creativity Center on The Island. The exhibit is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons between 1:30 and 3:30 PM. As always, it’s free for everyone. The train exhibit measures 41 feet x 43 feet and has about 750 feet of track.

On the afternoon of December 8, visit South Sea Island Resort to watch the Captiva Island Golf Cart Parade. The participants deck their carts out with all kinds of decorations and proceeds go to the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation.

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Spending the holidays in Sanibel is truly a unique experience. As proud community members Alair Homes Sanibel would like to encourage you to take advantage of all the winter festivities your community has to offer.