The Florida Retirement Way to Celebrate the Holidays  | Lake AshtonOne of the best parts of the Florida retirement lifestyle is the abundance of special holiday events. There truly is something for everyone and every budget. Get your calendar out and schedule a visit to one of these celebrations:

• Special events in Winter Haven’s Central Park include the tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 30; Carols in the Park on Dec. 7 & 8; and Snow Central on Dec. 19. On Dec. 6, the cities of Winter Haven and Auburndale partner for the annual Christmas parade down Havendale Blvd. from Hwy. 17 to Auburndale starting at 7 p.m.

• Sunset & Symphony Holiday Concert, Dec. 7, 6 p.m. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Singing Tower carillon perform together at the Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida.

• Jingle Bell Classic on Dec. 14 is a family event ideal for people of all ages, from little ones to those in retirement. It features kids’ races, a one-mile jog-with-your-dog and 5K and 10K foot races. Races start and finish in Central Park across from the Winter Haven Public Library.

Going further from Lake Ashton, you might enjoy:

• ICE! at Gaylord Palms featuring Frosty the Snowman, Nov. 23, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014. More than 40 artisans from Harbin, China carve a winter wonderland of amazing sculptures from more than 2 million pounds of ice. Gaylord Palms offers a number of other special dining and entertainment events throughout the Christmas season.

• Wine & Chocolate Festival at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, Dec. 14-15.  Enjoy live music on an outdoor stage, winery tours, and the opportunity to purchase work by local artists and crafters.

• Light Up UCF, Nov. 15, 2013 through Jan. 5, 2014. A holiday festival at the University of Central Florida with a range of free and affordable entertainment, including an 8,000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink, rides, movies, music and more – including snow every evening!