I don’t think there has been a time in my life when holiday cheer, a visit from Santa, a spin of the dreidel, has seemed more essential. And that was before Giancarlo Stanton got gift-wrapped for the Yankees. Here are a few ways to forget:
The cheer-spreading, costumed parade known as SantaCon returns to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday night, and not a moment too soon. The Kringling begins with a 6-8 p.m. gathering at B Square Burger and Booze on Las Olas Boulevard before the big-hearted processional winds its way to the Himmarshee District. It’s free, of course, but they will be collecting donations for Kids in Distress, from $20 gift cards (suggested) to home goods, new toys, new clothes and school supplies. There will be drinks, of course, but organizers of this event strive to keep the focus on good tidings. Remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear. Visit Facebook.com/SantaConFortLauderdale.
For those who’d rather not walk, there’s the Bad Santa Bus Loop in downtown Fort Lauderdale 6-11 p.m. Friday. A benefit for a variety of local causes (Jessica June Children's Cancer Foundation, the Jack & Jill Center and Covenant House Florida among them), tickets cost $30 until 1 p.m. Friday, $35 at the event. The money gets you a wristband good for a free drink at more than a half-dozen participating bars on the route, which include Tarpon Bend, the Royal Pig, the Downtowner and America’s Backyard. Visit BusLoop.org.
Or you can run. Bells will be ringing during the Jingle Bell 5K runs beginning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at Anchor Park in Delray Beach, 7:30 a.m. Sunday at DC Alexander Park on Fort Lauderdale beach and 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Miami Museum Park in Miami. Visit JingleBellJog.net. At a more reasonable hour is the Bad Santa Run, a 5K fun run sponsored by the Delray Beach Running Co. on Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by a beer tasting at Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach. Visit Facebook.com/DelrayBeachRunningCompany.
The third annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Crawl takes over some favorite hot spots at CityPlace in downtown West Palm Beach on Saturday, a Toys for Tots fundraiser that runs from 2 to 8 p.m. Tickets cost $40, which gets you four drink tickets. Visit UglySweaterCrawlWPB.com.
You can start practicing your “Elf” drinking game expertise on Friday when LauderAle screens the already-classic Will Ferrell comedy beginning at 5 p.m. On Saturday, the brewery will throw its Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. Visit Facebook.com/LauderAle.
Buddy the Elf also will loom large over Old School Square in Delray Beach Saturday night for a screening of “Elf” by the city’s twinkling 100-foot Christmas tree. The 6:30-10 p.m. gathering is BYO blankets, lawn chairs, snacks and drinks; there will be popcorn, ice cream, soft drinks and adult drinks available for purchase. They also will be collecting toys for the Milagro Center (toys will be available for purchase). Visit Facebook.com/FuturisticWooCreative).
The Faena Theater will offer a unique holiday-themed experience on Friday when five-time Grammy Award winner CeeLo Green brings hits including "Crazy" and "Forget You" to the swank Miami Beach space for two intimate shows at 9 and 11 p.m. Guests, encouraged to wear red by Green, can enjoy dinner at the 9 p.m. show, which will feature the singer sharing iconic music and conversation as body-painted dancers mingle through the crowd. Naughty and nice! The 11 p.m. show will be performance only. On Dec. 29, a similar show will be put on by Grammy winner Macy Gray. Tickets for each evening start at $75. Visit Faena.com.
The Riverside Hotel in downtown Fort Lauderdale will throw its second annual Ugliest Holiday Sweater Happy Hour beginning at 3 p.m. Friday with $100 to the winner, which goes a long way at happy hour. The winner will be named at 7 p.m. in Preston’s Lounge. Visit Facebook.com/RiversideHotelFL.
Rain dashed the free, holiday-themed Screen on the Green festivities on the West Palm Beach Waterfront last week, so they’ve been rescheduled for Friday, with screenings of “Frozen” at 6:30 p.m. and the Jim Carrey comedy “Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at 8:30 p.m. (WPB.org/events) …
Boca Raton’s venerable Holiday Boat Parade returns 6:30 p.m. Saturday for the 41st annual edition, lighting the waterways from the C-15 Canal south to the Hillsboro Bridge, with $10,000 in cash to the winners in a variety of categories, from kayaks to yachts. Viewing areas at Red Reef Park, Silver Palm Park and the Wildflower Property (551 E. Palmetto Park Road) will have bleacher seating, food vendors and dessert trucks. You’ll also find collection points for new, unwrapped toys to benefit Toys for Tots. Visit MyBoca.us/SpecialEvents.
On Tuesday, Schmaltz Brewing Co. (known for Funky Jewbelation, She’Brew Double IPA and Shtick in a Box) will have its latest releases at Riverside Market South in Fort Lauderdale for the annual menorah lighting (and made-to-order latkes). On Wednesday, the original Riverside Market will celebrate Christmahanakwanzika, co-hosted by Cigar City and Oskar Blues, with new holiday releases, latkes and prizes for ugly sweaters. And through Wednesday, Riverside Market Plantation is celebrating the festival of lights with Havanakah, featuring latkes chased by Concrete Beach Brewery’s Havana Lager. Visit Facebook.com/RiversideMarket.
WORD TO YOUR MOTHERSHIP
Nothing says, “Ho! Ho! Ho!” like a double shot of Dr. Dre’s defining hip-hop release “The Chronic” and Parliament’s ever-funky “Mothership Connection,” the featured records on this weekend’s installment of Classic Album Sundays at Miami’s Sweat Records beginning at 5 p.m. “The Chronic” is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and the Parliament record is best known for “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)” and “Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication.” The vinyl worship, on equipment supplied by Deja Vu Audio South, will include free PBR (with your ticket), free wings (courtesy of Red Bull) and free pizza. Tickets cost $10 at the door. Visit SweatRecordsMiami.com.
COME AS YOU ARE
Channel your inner Cobain or Christina Aguilera on Saturday during the ‘90s-themed release party for a coffee stout called I'm So Excited, I'm So Scared at the Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park. They’ll have bottles for sale, but you can win some by entering the karaoke contest or the ‘90s costume raffle. Visit Facebook.com/FunkyBuddhaBrewery.
Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach celebrates its fourth anniversary on Saturday with a noon-10 p.m. block party, featuring live music, food trucks and a batch of special-release beers (including Hazelnut Coffee Mayday Porter at 5 p.m.). Beers from other top South Florida breweries also will be available. The beers are $5 and the cover is $6 (Facebook.com/SalWaterBrewery) … Another holiday miracle: You’ll find free beer from Abita Brewing Co. at Craft Beer Cartel in downtown Fort Lauderdale 12:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/CraftBeerCartel) … Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village Brewery will throw a two-day party Friday-Saturday for Maple Madness (a bourbon barrel-aged Imperial Stout fermented with maple syrup and powered by Switchbox coffee), available on tap and in bottles (Facebook.com/FaglerVillageBrewery) … Sometimes a beer just has a name which demands that you drink it: Tiny Guitar (passionfruit, mango and guava Gose) will be the first can release at Bangin’ Banjo Brewing in Pompano Beach, debuting Friday (Facebook.com/BanginBanjoBrewing) … An IPA called Pillow Talk will have a bottle release on Dec. 23, along with a honey-brewed double IPA called Buzz, at Invasive Species Brewing in downtown Fort Lauderdale (Facebook.com/InvasiveSpeciesBrewing) …
THE PRICE OF EARLE
There are still some decent seats remaining for the concert by country-rock rabble-rouser Steve Earle (touring with the album “So You Wanna Be an Outlaw”) at War Memorial Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, a show originally scheduled for September, right around the time Hurricane Irma was rolling in. Tickets start at $49.50, but if you buy two adjacent seats at the back of the house, they’re two-for-one ($24.75 each). Visit BrowardCenter.org.
Mexican filmmaker and screenwriter Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” this weekend rides a wave of critical exultation to select South Florida theaters, including the Cinemark Palace 20 and Regal Shadowood in Boca Raton; the Classic Gateway in Fort Lauderdale; the AMC Aventura 24, Coral Gables Art Cinema and Regal South Beach. A fantastical adult fairy tale about a mute cleaning lady and a time-traveling merman, “The Shape of Water” is an against-all-odds story about loving “otherness.” Los Angeles Times reviewer Kenneth Turan calls it “a wonder to behold … magical, thrilling and romantic to the core … a film that plays by all the rules and none of them, going its own way with fierce abandon.” Visit Facebook.com/TheShapeOfWater.
OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS
The Elastic Bond introduces the monthly second-Thursday series EB and Friends at Miami’s Wynwood Yard 7-11 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 14) with a hip-hop edition featuring Elastic Bond, beatboxer Komakozie, Ephniko and Orion (Facebook.com/TheElasticBond) … Nag Champayons put a psych-jazz spin on the holiday 10 p.m. Thursday (Dec. 14) at House of Roots Miami (Facebook.com/Nag.Champayons) … West Palm Beach’s own Brooke Eden is on the bill with country star Josh Turner and A Thousand Horses at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach 7 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/BrookeEdenMusic) … The Mona Lisa Tribe will perform 7:30 Saturday during the Holidays at the Station drinks-and-shopping gathering at Elizabeth Ave. Station (Facebook.com/ElizabethAveStation) in West Palm Beach (Facebook.com/MonaLisaTribe) … Miami Beach blues-rock trio Brothers of Others perform 7:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday on the plaza at CityPlace in West Palm Beach (Facebook.com/BrothersofOthers) … Grey and Orange plays Subculture Coffee in Delray Beach 10 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/GreyAndOrange) … Artikal Sound System bings a reggae vibe to Dada in Delray Beach 11 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/ArtikalSoundSystem) … JP Soars & the Red Hots are at the Downtowner in Fort Lauderdale 9 p.m. Saturday and the Dania Beach Bar & Grill on Sunday (Facebook.com/JP.Soars.3) … Blues guitarist Joel DaSilva rocks the holiday party at Voltaire in West Palm Beach 8 p.m. Sunday (Facebook.com/JoelDaSilvaMusic) … Reggae Force plays happy hour at Death or Glory in Delray Beach 5 p.m. Sunday (Facebook.com/ReggaeForceBand) … The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida, joined by Tony-winning actor Alan Cumming, will perform 8 p.m. Sunday at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood (GayMensChorusOfSouthFlorida.org) …