In the Florida Keys and Key West, the latter only about 90 miles north of Cuba, you can trade in jackets for cabana wear and still mark the season with festivals, music, holiday lights and other events. Here's a quick look at a few options:
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Key West, FL, USA
•Florida Keys Holiday Festival (Dec. 2, Islamorada): This one-day party begins with a tree-lighting ceremony at Founders Park (Mile Marker 87), followed by a holiday parade with Santa, children's activities, entertainment by local dance troupes and a mountain of artificial snow. Visit islamoradachamber.com or call 305-664-4503 for details.
•Light Up Key Largo (Dec. 7, Key Largo): Eggnog, caroling, holiday cookies and stocking stuffers combine to create a holiday mood in an event culminating in an annual tree lighting between 6 and 9 p.m. at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center (Mile Marker 102). The Key Largo community tree will be decorated with a railroad theme for the 100th anniversary of Henry Flagler's Over-Sea Railroad in 2012. Visit keylargochamber.com or call 1-800-822-1088 for details.
•New Year's Eve Celebration (Dec. 31, Key West): Ring in 2012 with a conch shell drop at Sloppy Joe's Bar (201 Duval St.) and the traditional descending 6-foot high-heel shoe at the Bourbon Street Pub/New Orleans House (724 Duval St.). Visit fla-keys.com or call 305-296-2388 for details on that event and others.