7960825278?profile=originalModern Boca Mom website author Michelle Olson-Rogers, her husband, Andrew, and daughter, Avery, visit the Boca Express Train Museum. Photo provided

By Janis Fontaine

Every mom (or dad) needs a friend like Michelle Olson-Rogers. Someone else who has navigated some of the treacherous waters of parenting.

Olson-Rogers knows what’s happening before most folks. She’s energetic and connected, savvy and sweet, helpful and smart. She established a social media presence with her Modern Boca Mom website, “a lifestyle site for the stylish and modern South Florida mommy,” five years ago. The site is a go-to for events and lifestyle features, services and businesses, even family travel options. Olson-Rogers is also a regular contributor to Discover the Palm Beaches and Boca Raton magazine.

Her biggest holiday tip: Prioritize. Think about what’s really important to you.

You don’t have to attend every event you’re invited to. Just be gracious and say “no.”

Olson-Rogers, whose daughter, Avery, is 5, says she always includes a giving event in her holiday plans. “Children aren’t born with the values of compassion and charity,” Olson-Rogers said. “We live in an affluent area, and this is how we can teach that it’s not about what you get, but the importance of giving.”

One of her favorite charities is the Boca Raton Toy Drive. “I’m so excited to support this worthy cause,” she said. This toy drive assures that the kids in Boca Raton’s Wayne Barton Study Center get something for Christmas.

In the past 12 years, the toy drive has collected more than $75,000 in toys and donations.

The drop-off event for the 12th annual toy drive was set for Dec. 2 at Sugar Sand Park and featured free carousel rides, food and a visit from Santa. The cost of admission was a donation or a new unwrapped toy. Donations are still being accepted. A list of drop-off locations is available at www.bocaratontoydrive.com.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a story, a parade and lots of lights. Here are Olson-Rogers’ top picks for local family events this holiday season:

The Polar Express experience on Brightline: Guests will enjoy hot chocolate, treats by dancing chefs, a reading of the namesake book and each will receive a silver sleigh bell. The ride departs from the Fort Lauderdale station. (offers.gobrightline.com/offer/the-polar-express)

Piles of Smiles at Sugar Sand Park: This event may be the only time your kids see snow in South Florida. Children ages 5-10 can play in 25 tons of shaved ice and experience bounce houses, obstacle course, crafts and sock skating (requires clean dry socks).

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at Sugar Sand Park, 300 S. Military Trail, Boca Raton.

Reservations required. Snow-play wristbands include all attractions. $12 advance; $15 after Dec. 3.  One free adult event admission with each paid child’s wristband; $5 each additional adult. (sugarsandpark.org)

The city of Boca Raton’s holiday events: “From the boat parade to the annual holiday movie night under the stars at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, Boca Raton knows how to celebrate. I feel truly lucky to live in this town,” Olson-Rogers said.

Movie Night at Mizner Park Amphitheater takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 14. It will screen the classic Elf.

The 42nd annual Boca Raton Holiday Boat Parade takes place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 22, starting at the C-15 canal on the Boca Raton-Delray Beach city limits and traveling south to Hillsboro Boulevard bridge.

Also, the 47th annual holiday boat parade from Delray to Boynton Beach takes place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 14. This parade starts at the Lantana bridge near Old Key Lime House and motors south to the C-15 canal in Delray. 

Keep up with Olson-Rogers at modernbocamom.com. Find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at modernbocamom and on Pinterest at modernflmom.

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