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Here are 5 ways to celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving across the Tampa Bay area

Close-up of ice skates on a bench and on the ground
Carl Lisciandrello
WUSF Public Media
Ice skating returns to downtown Tampa with the opening of Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

Christmas may be more than a month away, but those who want to get in the holiday spirit can do so now.

Before Christmas comes another major holiday, Thanksgiving. However, for those who are in the holly-jolly spirits already, here are some ways you can celebrate Christmas a month in advance.

Winter Village
The Winter Village in downtown Tampa will have sights, sounds and activities for guests of all ages.

An outdoor ice rink has been set up at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, along with cafes and boutiques from local merchants.

Also, the Winter Village Express will take guests on a train to and from Ybor City. Guests can also enjoy cookies and milk onboard, along with other entertainment.

Winter Village runs through Jan. 2.

Winter Beach
The St. Pete Pier's transformation becomes holiday-themed with an ice skating rink, food, and other holiday activities.

Santa will be on hand, and the Winter Beach Holiday Market will feature artists and vendors who will help you finish your Christmas shopping.

Busch Gardens Christmas Town
Busch Garden is hosting its own Christmas Town for guests to celebrate the holiday.

People can expect millions of lights around the theme park and different holiday shows.

Other special events include holiday dining and shopping, Santa’s North Pole experience, Rudolph’s winter wonderland experience and the Holly Jolly Express Train.

Rides and roller coasters will also remain open throughout the duration of Christmas Town.

Christmas Town runs through Jan. 2.

Victorian Christmas Stroll
The Victorian Christmas Stroll at the Henry B. Plant Museum at the University of Tampa will allow guests to explore different exhibits that are all Christmas-themed.

There will be a display of 40 vintage Santas in honor of the 40 years that the Christmas Stroll has been in place.

Guests will be provided with cider and cookies while listening to holiday music.

Most days will also include live music.

Early access to the event begins on Nov. 20 through Nov. 30. After that, guests can get the full experience from Dec. 1 through Dec. 23.

Symphony in Lights
The Symphony in Lights will have decorated trees, lights, Christmas songs, and nightly artificial snowfall.

The event also includes live music, balloon artists and Santa. Also, there will be choreographed light shows to music from Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

The nightly event will take place in Wesley Chapel and will run through Dec. 31. Admission is free.

Check our events calendar for more happenings across the greater Tampa Bay region. Know of any other events? Submit it here.

Leonardo Santos is the WUSF Rush Family Social Media Intern for the fall of 2021, his second straight semester with WUSF.
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