Holiday events and activities in Lakeland, FL

Check out our complete list of events and activities to check out this holiday season in Lakeland, FL.

Santa and Mrs. Claus actors wave from a sleigh led by six decorative reindeer.

Get ready to plan your holiday season in Lakeland

Photo via @lakelandgov

Table of Contents

Places to donate time or food ❤️

‘Tis the season for giving — whether it be your time, money, or resources — and, in this instance, consider all three to help fellow Lakelanders in need by donating and or volunteering at a local food pantry.

In Lakeland alone, there are nearly ten pantries to choose from, spanning all corners of town. Check out the following four, to see if this form of volunteering is for you.

Lighthouse Ministries’ Hope Center, 3111 US Hwy 98 S.Ste. 130 | Located at each Lighthouse Ministries’ Thrift Store (Plant City, Brandon, Winter Haven, and Lakeland) is a Hope Center — a section of the ministry dedicated to serving those in need across Central Florida. Here, you can donate a myriad of items including food, clothing, household items, toys, and furniture.

Polk Mega Pantry, Locations vary | Donate your time to one of Feeding Tampa Bay’s mega pantries. These mobile food pantries occur regularly (one is today from 3:30-6 p.m.) and are always in need of volunteers to help pack and distribute meals. Sign-up here for specifics on location.

Healthy Food Pantry, Locations vary | Whether you’re in Lakeland, Bartow, or anywhere else in Polk County, United Way of Central Florida has a food pantry for you. In Lakeland, you can find a Healthy Food Pantry at Blessings & Hope, Lakeland Volunteers In Medicine, and Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church.

Shepherd Road Presbyterian Church, 1217 Shepherd Rd. | You can donate food items to SRPC for their weekly food pantry, which takes place every Wednesday from 9-11 a.m. The pantry operates on a first-come, first-served basis and will remain open until 11 a.m., as long as food is still on the shelves.

Curious what other food pantries are available? Click here for more.

Food + drinks

It’s no surprise our local coffee shops, breweries + cocktail bars have no shortage of delicious, holiday-themed beverages. With peppermint aromas in the air, the demand for winter-flavored drinks + treats is real. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up nine festive flavors to try locally. 🍂

Coffee

Very Merry Blend | Concord Coffee | $15 | Make like Buddy the Elf and pour yourself a cup of candy, candy canes, candy corns + syrup.

Winter Wonder Herbal Tea | Color Theory Tea | $9 | This caffeine-free tea is a blend of rooibos, honeybush, cacao nibs, peppermint oil, and white chocolate flavoring. #ProTip: brew this blend hot or pour it over ice.

Spiced Eggnog Cream Cold Brew | Cafe Zuppina | Prices vary | What says Christmas like eggnog? Sip on a creamy cold brew with a touch of eggnog through the month of December.

🥧 Food

Pumpkin Butter Tartine | Black & Brew Coffee House and Bistro, downtown | $5.85 | House-made pumpkin butter, diced apples, pepitas and maple syrup drizzle make this decadent toast a must-try this season.

Christmas Cookie Cruffin | Born and Bread | Prices vary | Are you even in Lakeland if you haven’t tried a cruffin? This holiday twist on the year-round favorite features a Christmas cookie filling, raspberry jam, raspberry glaze, and a Linzer cookie on top.

🍻 Beers + Bevs

Butter Believe It | Revival | $11 | brown butter rhum agricole, cocchi de torino, chocolate bitters, and toasted coconut syrup will stir up your festive feelings.

Coquito | Nineteen61 | $35 | This Puerto Rican seasonal drink, made with milk, cream of coconut + Puerto Rican rum, is available through the end of December. You can drink it by the glass or buy a bottle for $35.

Double Chocolate Stout | Dissent Brewing | $3+ | Have the crew at Dissent Brewing pour out a tall oatmeal stout (with double the chocolate) to get your holiday started.

Holiday cocktails | Cob & Pen | $8 | Choose from the Yule Mule, Maple Old Fashioned, and Nogty or Nice to get in the holiday spirit(s).

Winter activities ❄️

  • Public Ice-Skating | Jun-Dec | Lakeland Ice Arena | Ticket info on website | Break out your ICE skates for an afternoon around the rink with your friends and family.
  • Lakeland Christmas Parade | Thurs., Dec. 1 | 7-8 p.m. | Downtown Lakeland | Gather with local Lakelanders to enjoy our annual community parade, featuring a special appearance from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Live Show | Sat., Dec. 9 | 6:30-8 p.m. | Lakeland Community Theatre | Sit back to enjoy a live performance of a Christmas classic.
  • A Christmas Carol, Live Show | Monday., Dec. 19 | 7:30-10 p.m. | RP Funding Center | $44-$58 | Dress up for a spectacular musical inspired by Charles Dickens’s original story.