By Janis Fontaine
The Christmas and Hanukkah holidays are as busy as ever, and kids seem even more excited this year. Here are 10 events to help you plan the perfect holiday for them.
• The 100-foot Christmas tree: The tree lighting ceremony was set for Dec. 5 at Old School Square with Santa’s arrival and a holiday street fair. But that was just the beginning of the festivities. The tree remains open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day through Jan. 1 so visitors can walk through and see holiday scenes of Santa’s workshop, a reindeer bar and the train house. Kids can visit with Santa at his Key West-style house from 5 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 23. Visit www.downtowndelraybeach.com/holidays.
• Hanukkah party west: The Winter Family Festival takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Adolph and Rose Levis Jewish Community Center, 9801 Donna Klein Blvd., Boca Raton. Families with kids in preschool to fifth grade are invited to play on inflatables, climb a rock wall, do crafts, play sports and games, make a menorah, enjoy live entertainment and a petting zoo, and watch a Frozen princess performance. Do some holiday shopping at the shuk. Food vendors. Free and open to the community. Visit www.levisjcc.org.
• Boca’s street parade: The 49th annual Holiday Street Parade in Boca Raton takes place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 11. The parade begins at Federal Highway and Southeast Fifth Street and travels north to the Mizner Park Amphitheater. More than 70 floats and groups will entertain viewers with dance, lights and music. Federal Highway will be closed to vehicles from Glades Road south to Camino Real from 5-11 p.m. Visit https://myboca.us/1465/Holiday-Street-Parade.
• Boynton/Delray boat parade: The 48th annual parade takes place from about 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 13. It starts near Boynton Harbor Marina and goes south to Delray Beach along the Intracoastal Waterway. Viewing is available in Boynton Beach at Intracoastal Park and Jaycee Park and in Delray Beach from Veterans Park, among other spots. Call 561-600-9097 in Boynton or 561-243-7250 in Delray.
• Delray street parade: The Delray Beach Holiday Parade begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 14, along Atlantic Avenue from the Intracoastal Waterway west to Northwest Fifth Avenue. At least 70 floats, dancers, cheerleaders, bands and performers pave the way for the guest of honor: Santa will arrive on a fire truck. Visit www.delraybeachfl.gov.
• Boca boat parade: The 43rd annual parade begins at the C-15 canal at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 15, and travels south on the Intracoastal Waterway to Deerfield Beach. Bleacher viewing is at Silver Palm Park, Red Reef Park and the Wildflower property. Bridges are held in the up position for approximately 45 minutes during the parade. Avoid these areas during estimated closing times to avoid traffic delays. The estimated bridge closing times are Spanish River at 6:50 p.m., Palmetto Park at 7:20 p.m. and Camino Real at 7:30 p.m. Visit https://myboca.us/1464/Holiday-Boat-Parade.
• Hanukkah party east: The city of Delray Beach and Chabad of East Delray will cohost a Hanukkah celebration at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 22 at Old School Square. Special performances are planned, as are crafts, latkes and jelly doughnuts. The event is free and open to the public. Visit www.JewishEastDelray.com.
• Make something for the tree: Gumbo Limbo Nature Center will offer two ornament-making sessions for kids age 7 and older and adults on Dec. 14. “Ornaments Naturally” is from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m. The center will provide shells, sea beans, pinecones and colorful craft supplies, but you are welcome to bring your own stuff. Reservations are required. For anyone younger than 18, an adult must sign up and participate. 1801 N. Ocean Blvd., Boca Raton. $7 residents, $10 nonresidents. 561-544-8605; www.gumbolimbo.org
• Hanukkah party central Boca: Light Up Hanukkah celebrates the second night of Hanukkah with the lighting of the menorah. From 5:30-7 p.m. Dec. 23 at Boca Center, 5050 Town Center Circle, Boca Raton, just off Military Trail one mile north of Palmetto Park Road. Enjoy latkes, gelt, story time and crafts and the second candle-lighting at 6 p.m., but the highlight will be a performance by the rock ’n’ roll rabbi, David Paskin. Call 561-852-6080 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The holiday roundup at Sugar Sand Park: Those last few days when kids are out of school and excited about the holiday are some of the times that test parents’ patience. Sugar Sand Park has three ideas:
-- Have kids who like to bake? Kids can make gingerbread houses at 10:30 a.m. or decorate cookies at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 23 in the Community Center. Ages 4 and older. Adult supervision required. Register by Dec. 21.
-- If you need a few hours to get some last-minute errands finished and can’t stay to supervise your budding baker, take advantage of Sugar Sand Park’s Kids’ Day In … Parents’ Day Out from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Dec. 23. Drop off kids ages 5-12 at the Explorium for activities, games and pizza. Register by Dec. 22. $15 for residents, $18.75 for nonresidents.
Children ages 5 and older who like crafts can make three last-minute gifts at the park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 24. Kids will make -- Slime, Sand & Swirls plus decorate wrapping paper or a gift bag. Parent/guardian supervision and registration required. $5 residents, $6.25 nonresidents.
-- Special winter break kids’ events continue at the park at 300 Military Trail, Boca Raton, through Jan. 5.
Call 561-347-3900 or visit https://sugarsandpark.org/.