Finding Faith: Ten festive picks for celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah

There’s always a full house at the Spontaneous Christmas Pageant at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church. Photo provided

By Janis Fontaine

Five for Christmas

• Carols by Candlelight: at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Old School Square, 51 N Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, featuring young people from Banyan Creek Elementary School, Dimensional Harmonies, Achievement Centers, Milagro Center and Village Academy.
Every one of them will be able to brag, “I once opened for Gloria Gaynor.”

Two other special guests will perform: Mary Gaines Bernard, who is Donna Summer’s sister, and the Holiday Voices, a traveling cast that has played at Disney, SeaWorld and Universal parks.

Tickets are $20 adults, $10 age 12 and younger, $50 premium and $100 VIP adults, $25 VIP age 12 and younger. VIP tickets include three drink tickets, access to a private lounge area with bar, complimentary light bites and assigned reserved seating.
561-243-7922, ext. 1;

• Nativity viewing: St. Lucy Catholic Church is constructing a new outdoor nativity at the church at 3510 S. Ocean Blvd., Highland Beach. The church will celebrate the feast day of St. Lucy, for whom the church is named, with a special Mass at 6 p.m. Dec. 13.

Afterward, everyone will move outside, where the priests will bless the new nativity. A welcome-home dinner will follow in the Parish Center. Tickets are $10, available in the church office Monday through Friday. 561-278-1280;

• Christmas at Boca Raton Community Church: Show your spirit and faith a few days early with a Christmas observation Dec. 18 at Boca Raton Community Church, 470 NW Fourth Ave. The church will celebrate with song, scripture and candlelight from 7 to 8:15 p.m. 561-395-2400;

• The Spontaneous Christmas Pageant: A delightfully chaotic presentation with no assigned actors or roles. Kids who want to participate do, and those who don’t still enjoy the fun-loving event.

It takes place at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church, 3300 S. Seacrest Blvd., Boynton Beach, and there’s always a full house. 561-732-3060;

• Separate celebrations for adults, families: Christmas is about children. Then again, it’s not. It’s about the birth of Jesus, a child, yet never a child. For many, Christmas is the most important — and joyous — religious holiday, and all the glitter and over-the-top parties and gift-giving make heads spin. Plus, everyone’s spiritual needs are different.

Maybe this year, you’re really thinking about what it means that Jesus was born and the comfort that comes from that.

Unity of Delray recognizes this and holds an adults-only Christmas Eve candlelight services at 11 p.m. Two earlier services are offered for families at 6 and 8 p.m.

Unity of Delray is at 101 NW 22nd St. (at Swinton Avenue), Delray Beach. Visit

Rabbi Leibel Stolik at last year’s Hanukkah menorah lighting and festival at Plaza Del Mar in Manalapan. This year’s event is Dec. 29.

And 5 for Hanukkah
• “The MaccaBeatles”: At 6 p.m. Dec. 27, Temple Beth El presents this lively musical Hanukkah shabbat service and dinner/dance. Bring your menorah and light candles together. Hear the story of the Maccabees through the music of the Beatles led by clergy and the youth and adult choirs, accompanied by the synagogue’s band.

A Hanukkah dinner and latke party will follow, and you can choose between a DJ dance party or classical live entertainment. The event is open to the public, but RSVP at Tickets are $20 adult, $12 for age 4-12. After Dec. 20, cost is $25 and $15. The temple is at 9800 Yamato Road, Boca Raton. 561-391-8900.

• “The Italian Jewish Christmas Show”: Featuring twin brothers Will and Anthony Nunziata, this is a don’t-miss for Christmas or Hanukkah. Billed as two parts Italian singers and one part Jewish comedian, the show also features Comedy Central’s Jessica Kirson.

Tickets are $45, $60 VIP, for the shows on Dec. 19 and 20 at the Boca Black Box Center for the Arts, 8221 Glades Road, Boca Raton. 561-483-9036;

• “Barbra Streisand: Holiday Memories”: Starring Carla DelVillaggio, the show comes to Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center, 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 for a single show. DelVillaggio, an award-winning tribute artist who has played Streisand all over the country, performs holiday music like Jingle Bells mixed with Streisand’s hits, including The Way We Were, People and Don’t Rain on My Parade. Tickets are $35 and $45, available at 844-672-2849,

• The Kultur Festival: “A Very Jewish Concert on Christmas Day” is at 3 p.m. Dec. 25, Levis JCC Zinman Hall, 9901 Donna Klein Blvd., Boca Raton. The Klezmer Company Jazz Orchestra under the direction of accordionist Aaron Kula performs a concert filled with entertaining songs, stories and jazzed up arrangements of classic Yiddish, Israeli and Chassidic melodies. Tickets $30, $40 VIP. 561-558-2520;

• Jewish Food Fair & Hanukkah Festival: from 4 to 6 p.m. Dec. 29 at Chabad in the Plaza del Mar, 224 S. Ocean Blvd., Manalapan. Features the “Holy Smokes” kosher food truck, vegetarian Mediterranean dishes and other classic Jewish delicacies, plus live music, children’s activities, and a grand menorah lighting. 561-889-3499; ;

Janis Fontaine writes about people of faith, their congregations, causes and events. Contact her at

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