Published on Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A slice of British Christmas tradition in northeast Florida


It is doubtful that Charles Dickens, even with his imagination, would have thought that 175 years after he wrote and published 'A Christmas carol' that it would have been celebrated with such gusto thousands of miles away in a small part of northeast Florida. Yet using the back drop of historic downtown Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island that is exactly what happens each December.

Think roasting chestnuts, carols, small shops selling festive goodies, mulled wine and Christmas trees. It is in short, a recreation of a London Victorian Christmas in one of Florida's favourite Island retreats.

The area has the architecture and design to easily support such an event, having strong European influences. The Island was named Amelia, after King George II's daughter, by Robert Oglethorpe, governor of nearby British Georgia.

However, British governance was swapped on a regular basis with the French, Spanish, and ultimately Americans, leaving a town with small, criss-cross streets and buildings reflecting mid-19th century European design.

Independent retail outlets dominate with a distinct and total absence of multinational brands that just adds to the atmosphere that you are being transformed back to the days of figgy pudding and the largest goose in London Town.

This event, along with all the others that take place on Amelia Island throughout the year, are part of a strategy that ensures that first and foremost amongst the priorities are the residents.

If they are happy and enjoying life then you as a guest in their community will undoubtedly have a more satisfying, happier and authentic experience.

As Dickens wrote all those years ago: "There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour. A Merry Christmas to every-body! A Happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!"

Amelia Island is a drive of just over two hours from Orlando International Airport. For more information go to

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