Despite being a favorite winter destination, Florida has long been left out in the cold when it comes to holiday mascots. After all, when was the last time anyone saw a dolphin or pineapple float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Inspired by the tropical twist that many Floridian’s put on the holidays, we’ve created six holiday mascots that encapsulate our state’s festive and unique spirit.
With a closet full of Hawaiian shirts, Seaside Santa (at top) spends the holidays on his sailboat in Sarasota Bay. Instead of milk and cookies by the fireplace, he prefers margaritas and fish tacos on the lanai. He volunteers at Sarasota Jungle Gardens, where he trains flamingos to fly his sleigh. His new year’s resolutions are to build a beachside tiki-hut workshop for his elves and bike the recently expanded recreational Legacy Trail.
Dreidel the Dolphin
Hanukkah festivities aren’t just for landlubbers. Every year, Dreidel the Dolphin is so excited about the Festival of Lights that she can’t help but leap out of the water and whirl with joy. She and her pod delight in sharing chocolate gelt and potato latkes. This year, she looks forward to gathering around the underwater bubble menorah with her loved ones.
Posey the Christmas Palm Tree
Posey the Christmas Palm Tree is a true Florida fashionista. Decked out in sparkly lights, she shimmers through the season. She can often be found strutting down the streets of University Town Center showing off her latest looks. On her wish list this year? Solar-powered twinkle lights and ornaments made from recycled materials.
Pete the New Year’s Pineapple
Raised on an idyllic farm, Pete the New Year’s Pineapple can’t wait to bring some sweetness and adventure to 2023. The life of every party, he loves traveling around Florida—and he especially loves the beaches and bright city lights of downtown Sarasota. When he’s not chilling at O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill, he can be found kayaking through the mangroves and snorkeling at Crescent Beach. He’s thrilled to ring in the new year with the ultimate adrenaline rush, the Sarasota Pineapple Drop.
Kayden the Kwanzaa Orange
Kayden the Kwanzaa Orange waits all year for his favorite celebration, inspired by the African first fruits harvests. He most looks forward to lighting the seven candles of the kinara with his family and friends from the grove. This year, he’s excited to try his hand at cooking Nigerian jollof rice with his girlfriend Blossom for the Karamu African unity feast. Reflecting on the richness of African cultures always fills Kayden’s heart with joy.
Sunny the Winter Solstice Sun
During Yule, the pagan winter solstice festival, Sunny shines across the Gulf Coast. She’s excited to see the night light up with handmade solstice lanterns and Yule wreaths made from palm fronds. On Dec. 21, the shortest day of the year, catch Sunny relaxing among the leafy trees of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Her wish for 2023? For everyone to spend more time outdoors and help conserve Sarasota’s natural wonders.