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‘Tis the Season!


It’s time to kick off the holiday season on Sanibel and Captiva Islands!

Our traditional “Luminary Night” community celebration will be postponed one more year, as the SanCap Chamber of Commerce announced that it will wait until the first weekend of December 2024 to host the beloved holiday event as a kickoff to the City of Sanibel’s 50th anniversary.

However, a merry mix of events are planned in its place this year to ensure that we keep the holiday spirit alive and well on the islands!

A few that are sure to be among Santa’s favorites:


The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge will host a Holiday Shopping Night on Weds, Nov. 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Refuge Nature Store, located in the Visitor & Education Center.  For one evening each year, the store and center stay open to the public after-hours, with special promotions and refreshments, and the chance to shop for nature-related ornaments, refuge logo caps and shirts, jewelry created by recycled materials, childrens gifts, and artisan items for the home.  All profits will benefit wildlife research and conservation education at the refuge.  1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel.


The Sanibel Community House and Saint Michael and All Angels Church will co-host “Sanibel Lights” on Fri, Dec. 1 from 4 to 7 p.m.  Attendees can enjoy activities and stroll between the two locations, traveling underneath a beautiful canopy of holiday lights.  Festivities will include holiday caroling, a Christmas tree-shaped bounce house, games, arts and crafts, and more.  Cookies and punch will be available, along with wine and beer for purchase.  2173 and 2304 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.


The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village will hold the “Deck The Shore” Holiday Celebration on Fri, Dec. 1 from 4 to 6 p.m.  The free event will offer a chance to stroll the village, visit the gift shop, and enjoy cookies, treats, wine, cheese and punch.  The BIG ARTS Community Chorus will be singing Christmas carols from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m, followed by a Lighthouse-themed tree lighting ceremony planned at 5:45 p.m.  950 Dunlop Road, Sanibel.


BIG ARTS will host a Holiday Open House on Fri, Dec. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m., kicking off its 2023 “Holiday Magic” celebration that entails a month of activities.  The free family-friendly event will feature visits and photos with Santa from 6 to 7 p.m.  There will be live Christmas carolers and artist instructor demonstrations, and attendees will enjoy a complimentary “Santa Splash” champagne cocktail and light bites, with a cash bar available.  Holiday shoppers can stroll the three galleries and shop for gifts.  900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel.


Bailey’s General Store and The Grog Shop will cooperatively greet visitors with apple cider and beverage tastings on Fri, Dec. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the historic service station at the Bailey Center.  Assorted holiday goodies are planned, including The Grog Shop’s new Bailey’s Chocolate Liqueur and Five Farms Irish Cream.  2435 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.


At Cottages to Castles, delight in fun photo ops among flamingo nativity and reindeer-mingo displays on Fri, Dec. 1 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.  2427 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.  At Adventures in Paradise Outfitters in Tahitian Gardens, enjoy complimentary photos with Santa, hors d’oeuvres and drinks on Fri, Dec. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m.  2019 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.


In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, several businesses temporarily relocated to Bell Tower in Fort Myers while post-storm rebuilding efforts started taking place.  These Sanibel shops — Adventures in Paradise, Butterfly Beach, Bubbly Latitude, Congress Jewelers, MacIntosh Books, Sanibel Candle Company and Synergy — invite you to the Annual Bell Tower Tree Lighting, set for Fri, Dec. 1 from 6 to 9 p.m.  There will be live music and performances throughout the evening, along with specials and in-store offers.  Family activities will include a bounce house, face painting, balloon artists and more, with special apprearances by Santa and the Grinch.  13499 S. Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers.


All sorts of holiday fun awaits at the Sanibel Recreation Center!  Families can enjoy pizza, bbq, hot cocoa, face painting, arts and crafts, a bounce house and pictures with Santa on Sat, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The Youth Reindeer Run kicks off at 11 a.m. inside the gym.  3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel.


A Christmas favorite!  Come enjoy a free petting zoo, pony rides, arts and crafts stations, a snow pit, food, smores, and beautiful holiday lights at the Sanibel Community Church on Fri, Dec. 8 from 6 to 9 p.m.  1740 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. 


Celebrate with food and wine samplings, Boy Scout hot dogs, ornament decorating, caroling and Santa’s arrival at Jerry’s Shopping Center on Fri, Dec. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m.  1700 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.


Don’t forget to visit the East End of the island, too!  Come listen to live music as you holiday shop at Tuttle’s Seahorse Shell Shop on Fri, Dec. 8 from 6 to 9 p.m.  362 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel.

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