Bring the kids out to meet Santa at The Market at Lakewood Ranch. Santa will be at The Market from 3–7 p.m. greeting and taking pictures for a small donation. There will be a demo on how to cook green beans from Worden Farm, as well as entertainment provided by local singer/songwriter Sara Nelms.
Fine Wine & Tastings on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch hosts its first holiday Champagne tasting, featuring 20 different wines that are perfect for the upcoming holiday festivities. The tasting will showcase numerous cavas, Proseccos, Champagnes and other sparkling wines, along with a few key whites and reds. As a holiday gift, individuals who purchase bottles at the event or place an order will receive 10 percent off. Tickets are $35. For reservations call (941) 355-4718.
Evie's on Main Street will host its first ugly sweater party and food drive. The person who shows up in the ugliest sweater, romper or onesie will receive a $200 gift card. Bring a canned food item and receive one free drink. This event takes place from 8 p.m.–2 a.m.
Come out to Big Top at 6 p.m. for bites from Mouthhole BBQ and listen to music from the Rocky Bentley Band. There'll be free hot apple cider for the kids and $1 snow cones till 10 p.m. There will also be a kids raffle at 8 p.m., and it's also the final drawing of Big Top's "13 days of Giving" contest. From December 1-23, every tab closed out earns one entry into the raffle; the grand prize is $250 and will be drawn on Saturday, December 23 at 8 p.m. You must be present to win.
The Powel Crosley estate hosts this magical event starting at 11 a.m. Begin at the hot cocoa bar while kids decorate Christmas cookies and play reindeer games with the elves; Santa will make a special visit to read Christmas stories around 11:45 a.m. Then join Santa's Christmas fairy for a delicious holiday lunch at 12:30 p.m. inside the palace. Purchase tickets here.
Bring the kids to Louies Modern for this all-day event, beginning at 10:30 a.m. with a Christmas Eve brunch buffet featuring a carving station, a seafood display, bottomless mimosas, Bloody Marys and more. There will also be gingerbread house decorating (by reservation) in The Francis ballroom, and the opportunity for kids to write one last letter to Santa in the Gallery. At 3 p.m., watch the original Miracle on 34th Street movie in the Buddy Brew breezeway. After the movie, stay to enjoy a three-course Christmas Eve dinner, then end the evening Louies' dining room with Christmas Carolers from 7–9 p.m. For reservations and more info, call (941) 552-9688.
Enjoy a traditional three-course feast of the seven fishes at Mattison's Forty-One. The first course will be a zuppa de pesce: Maine lobster, lump crab and shrimp in rich sherry broth. The second course will be housemade squid ink linguine with clams and mussel tossed in an herby garlic-butter sauce. The third course will be pesce al forno: Parmesan-crusted baked black cod, creamy gnocchi, butter-poached king crab and Pernod-tomato broth. The feast is $49 per person; for reservations call (941) 921-3400.
Enjoy a special Christmas Eve dinner at the Paris Bistro in Lakewood Ranch. The three-course menu will consist of your choice of appetizer (snails in a puff pastry, white wine, mushrooms, tarragon, and garlic butter, or lobster and shrimp soup finished with olive oil and garlic croutons); entree (braised chicken cooked in wine, fresh bacon, mushrooms, and pearl onions, or seared salmon filet, fresh fettuccine, and pesto buerre blanc); and dessert (a homemade yule log with fresh raspberries and raspberry mascarpone). The dinner is $42.90 per person. For reservations, call (941) 388-0564.
Celebrate with friends and family at Duval’s and enjoy a night full of holiday cheer with a four-course dinner and optional wine pairing. The first course will consist of a choice of seared brie with tomato and fennel ragout or roasted Brussel sprouts with candied bacon and parmesan cheese. The second course is your choice of balsamic-glazed shrimp with grape tomatoes and a micro green salad, or citrus-seared grouper ceviche. For the third course, you have a choice of herb-grilled shrimp and scallops, beef Wellington, garlic-roasted lamb chops, or chilled roast salmon. Dessert is a choice of orange supreme with Grand Marnier custard and gingersnaps, dulce de leche with amaretto creme, or assorted Christmas cookies and milk. Dinner is $54.95 per person; the wine pairing is an additional $19.95. For reservations call (941) 312-4001 or book online.
Dec. 24- Dec. 31
Libby’s presents its traditional "feast of fishes" from Christmas Eve through New Year's Eve, featuring a "seafood smorgasbord" with lots of fish dishes. The menu includes options like oyster bisque, shrimp cocktail, lobster crabcake fritters, mussels, caviar deviled eggs, seafood pasta, and more—and if seafood's not your thing, there'll be prime rib and rack of lamb, too. For dessert: pumpkin cheesecake with salted caramel and whipped cream. For reservations, call (941) 487-7300 or book online.