It’s that time of year in coastal Delaware when the holidays take center stage and we all start thinking about spending as much quality time as possible with our friends and family members.

It’s also the time when celebrating the season dominates most of our town’s activity schedules. And we’ve done our best to keep you covered on that front.

In today’s blog entry, we’re giving you as much information as we can regarding holiday activities coming up in the next few days and weeks.

We have Christmas parades, visits with Santa Claus, light shows and many other events on tap for the first half of December that are perfect for getting into the holiday spirit.

Please read on…

Christmas Parades

Let’s start with all of the parades that are being planned for southern Delaware in the next couple of weeks. Most towns in the vicinity have an event planned, so let’s run them down now…

Georgetown (Thursday, Dec. 1, beginning at 7 p.m.). The parade will run down Market Street, past The Circle and through the middle of town. This year’s theme is “Christmas Dreams.”

Selbyville (Friday, Dec. 2, beginning at 7 p.m.). This is the 56th annual parade in Selbyville, with many floats marching bands, classic cars and more planned. Kids can visit with Santa Claus for 90 minutes before the start of the parade.

Laurel (Friday, Dec. 2, beginning at 7 p.m.). This annual parade will begin on Evergreen Drive and proceed north on Central Avenue to Maryland Avenue. This year’s theme is “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree.”

Seaford (Saturday, Dec. 3, beginning at 7 p.m.). This year’s theme in Seaford is “Candy Cane Christmas” and will include more than 150 entries. Participants include marching bands, lighted float displays, fire trucks and much more. The parade begins at Pennsylvania Avenue and Nylon Boulevard and runs through the middle of downtown on High Street.

Lewes (Saturday, Dec. 3, beginning at 3 p.m.). This is the 85th year for the Christmas parade in Lewes and will include bands, clowns, antique cars, decorated vehicles, commercial floats and much more. The parade will begin on Savannah Road at Sussex Drive and will end on Second Street.

Ocean City (Saturday, Dec. 3, beginning at 11 a.m.). This year’s 34th annual parade will march along Coastal Highway from Old Landing Road to 120th Street and will include more than 50 units. There will be high school marching bands, antique cars, holiday floats and much more.

Millsboro (Saturday, Dec. 3, beginning at 10 a.m.). Lighted floats, fire trucks, local high school bands and much more will highlight this year’s 66th annual parade in Millsboro, which will march downtown this Saturday.

Rehoboth Beach (Tuesday, Dec. 6, beginning at 6:30 p.m.). This year’s parade down Rehoboth Avenue is sponsored by the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Co., where everyone is invited following the parade for refreshments, trophy presentations and visits with Santa Claus.

Milton (Wednesday, Dec. 7, beginning at 7:30 p.m.). Sponsored and organized by the Milton Volunteer Fire Co., this year’s parade starts at Union and Atlantic, runs up Federal Street and ends at Milton Elementary School.

Bridgeville (Saturday, Dec. 17, beginning at 4:30 p.m.). This is the first year for Bridgeville’s Christmas parade, which will be staged one week before Christmas Eve.

Light Shows 

Winter WonderFest (Now through Jan. 1). This holiday-themed local event will take place at both Cape Henlopen State Park and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry from now through New Year's Day. It’s actually two events in one, a light spectacular with more than 60 holiday light displays at the park, and a Christmas Village, with carnival rides, an outdoor ice-skating rink and more at the ferry terminal. The event is managed by the non-profit Festival of Cheer organization. Visit www.wonderfestde.org for more information.

Winterfest of Lights (Now through Jan. 1). This award-winning attraction in Ocean City has become a family tradition of sorts since its first year in 1992. More than a million lights will once again be on display in Northside Park on 125th Street, including hundreds of animated displays. The Winterfest of Lights opens daily at 5:30 p.m. between now and New Year’s Day. Call 800-626-2326 for more information.

Visits with Santa Claus

Rehoboth Beach. Visit with Santa in Rehoboth Beach every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 18 at The Boardwalk at the end of Rehoboth Avenue. There's no charge to visit Santa, but donations are appreciated. Hours for the Santa house are Saturdays from 3 to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will also be a special “pet time” with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 18, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Lewes. Special “Breakfast with Santa” events will take place at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry Terminal on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. A breakfast buffet will be provided and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to read Christmas stories to the children. Cost is $11 for children ages 4-12 and $15 for adults. Children under 4 are free. Reservations are recommended by visiting www.cmlf.com or calling 800-643-3779.

Georgetown. The Georgetown Historical Society is hosting a special opportunity for photos with Santa Claus on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Nutter Marvel Carriage Museum on South Bedford Street. Food vendors will also be on site.

Bethany Beach. During the annual “Holiday Happenings” event at town hall on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 1 to 3 p.m., kids can have their photos taken with Santa Claus, get their faces painted and much more.

Selbyville. As mentioned above, children can visit with Santa Claus on Friday, Dec. 2, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in downtown Selbyville. Hot chocolate and cookies will be for sale by Read Aloud Delaware.

Ocean Pines. If you feel like doing more than just having your photo taken with the jolly man from the North Pole, Ocean Pines is offering a special “Swim with Santa” event on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, visit www.oceanpines.org.

Tree Lighting Ceremonies

Bethany Beach. While most towns have already held their tree lighting ceremonies, Bethany Beach will be holding theirs this Saturday, Dec. 3, beginning at 5 p.m. The ceremony will take place on the bandstand plaza at The Boardwalk.

Lewes. The “First Town in the First State” will also be holding a tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 3, following the town’s annual Christmas parade. The event will be at Zwaanendael Park on the corner of Savannah Road and King’s Highway, and will also include the singing of Christmas carols.

Special Events

Weekend Wonderland (Bethany Beach). This event includes singing Christmas carols around the tree, which will feature the Selbyville Middle School Choir on Dec. 10 and the Southern Delaware School of the Arts Show Choir on Dec. 17. The event is scheduled on Dec. 3, 10 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the resort. Visit www.townofbethanybeach.com for more information.

Christmas Tour of Lewes (Lewes). This is the 43rd year for this popular holiday tradition and is set for Saturday Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are nine private homes on the tour this year. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by visiting www.historiclewes.org or by calling 302-645-7670.

Caroling on The Circle (Georgetown). This 33rd annual event is held on The Circle in Georgetown (weather permitting) and begins at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5. The event is also the culmination of the town’s food drive, with donations given to area pantries, churches and food banks. In the event of bad weather, Caroling on The Circle will be moved to the nearby Georgetown Volunteer Fire Department. Call 302-855-7700 for more information.

The Nutcracker Ballet (Millsboro). This is presented by the Delaware Dance Alliance and will be performed at Sussex Central High School. The show is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m.

Miracle on 34th Street (Georgetown). Possum Point Players in Georgetown will stage the popular Christmas show for seven performances between Dec. 2 and Dec. 11. Tickets are $23 for adults and $22 for senior citizens and students. Visit www.possumpointplayers.org for more information.

Victorian Christmas (Seaford). Held at the historic Gov. Ross Mansion outside of Seaford, this special Victorian event is scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 9-11 and is organized by the Seaford Historical Society. Santa Claus will also make an appearance. Tickets are between $7 and $10. Visit www.seafordhistoricalsociety.com for more information.

Dial “S” for Santa Murder Mystery (Milton). The historic Milton Theater will play host to this Christmas themed event, which invites attendees to try and solve who kidnapped Santa Claus. A catered meal will include turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, red velvet cake and much more. Tickets are $48 per person or $90 for a couple. Call the theater at 302-684-3038 for more information.