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12 Days of Christmas/Relatives

12 Days of Christmas Relatives

This time of the year is panic for snowbirds, parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts. Your easy replacement children (see my 4 pets in the photo) get replaced with little humans. They need to be entertained and a bone won’t do!  In just a week, you must do something with all these little kids visiting from out of state and out of school. Swimming kills one day.  But then what?   Don’t worry, as I have the credentials to be your inner Sacagawea and Lewis & Clark. Or at minimum Julie McCoy.


There are lists on the internet you can rely on, but most are selling their own stuff.  It’s like trying to buy the best dark roast coffees for your Keurig. Thank goodness I’m a dark roast coffee person. Life is quite complicated if not. My wife likes all that stuff in hers. Whole milk, skim milk, cream, sugar, Splenda, half and half. Spilled milk on the counter. Little sugar dots. Cap on. Cap off. Something to stir with. Me, it’s in and out. The only problem I have is figuring out the very best dark roast coffees. Google it and sometimes I get sites that are pay for play. The Green Mountain and Donut Shop are not the best dark roast coffee on the market!  Now Maudes I can vouch for, same with Peets.  If you are a dark roast coffee person, send me your best choices and I will try them and be forever grateful.

In return and even on contingency, I’ll do you a solid with your “what to do the “little person”” problem. Back in 1991 when I was in Chicago, a few of my officemates and myself delivered some secret Santa gifts to the Ida B Wells home to families in need. That project on the South Side of Chicago was not a good place to call home. A few years later they shut the place down and destroyed it.  That experience always bothered me after seeing run down projects without lots of safety nets for kids. One day I hoped to get involved and help a child in need although wasn’t sure how.  An old client navigated me to Big Brothers Big Sisters.  BBBS is a terrific program and matches a Big (me) with a Little.  I’ve been involved for nearly a year and it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.  People my age and older are perfect for this program. The reason why is twofold. The first is that people my age are experienced at parenting or grandparenting and just know what to do.  Second is you get to do fun things again without being responsible for the day to day. And that’s why I’m qualified to tell you what to do with a 10-year-old.  Because I’ve had to think of things to do with a my Little 10-year-old for the past year!  So here are my top 12 days of Christmas for your Little Relative…….

  1. Mounts Botanical Gardens
    • I never knew Mounts existed for 20 years. It’s beautiful with different themes. Some interactive and fun areas. Right by Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach. Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is also terrific and more substantial, but it will be much more crowded.
  2. Grandview Market
    • Grandview Public Market is fun. They have a hip food court and bingo on weekends. Go see the Christmas tree with a top off Sloan’s ice cream by Clematis afterward.
  3. Wynwood Walls
    • I think Wynwood Walls is a must for all ages. Yes, there is now a small fee for entertainment but it’s highly interactive, selfies galore to show you are a good relative, lots of fun places to eat. Stop by the auto museum/guitar star for a quick stroll.  *Bonus* Take the Brightline.  It’s fast and you don’t have to deal with the crazy drivers south of Boca.
  4. Pinball in Delray Beach
    • Silver Ball Museum will keep you entertained for a few hours. Old school pinball and video games and some new pinball that is mind-blowing. You’ll have fun yourself. And another Sloan’s down the street.
  5. Go Karting
    • Lots of places for this. The one in Boca you see off of 95, Boomer was fine. Inside are lots of video games too to keep them occupied.
  6. Snorkeling
    • My little said this was his favorite thing. Go to Key Largo, which is only a few hours away.  Call a few places for times and check the visibility a few days prior. You can do an early morning drive.  It’s a 2–3-hour boat tour and unforgettable snorkel over the reefs.We saw 4 massive Eagle Rays, beautiful tropical fish and breathtaking corals. Amazing for kids. Afterwards pick a seafood dive.  They will never forget that experience.
  7. Frost Museum
    • If you haven’t been to Frost there, it’s sensational.  The outdoor spiral aquarium is insanely good with a plethora of sharks.  The interactive science museum and planetarium are so fun, educational and sophisticated. Excellent for adults and kids. Win-Win.
  8. Flea Market & Butterfly World
    • Yes, the Festival Flea Market in Fort Lauderdale off the turnpike is kinda dumb. No, very dumb, but it can be fun to negotiate, people watch, and get a pickle on a stick. It also doesn’t break the bank. There is sure to be a terrible accordion player doing Neil Diamond classics in the food court. If the Little is bored, just down the road is butterfly world which is a sure good thing.
  9. Busch Wildlife
    • I loved their old location but this new location in Jupiter Farms is even better. https://www.buschwildlife.org/ . It’s a very intimate zoo and animal hospital.
  10. Ice Skating
    • I passed on participating but my Little loved it. Palm Beach Skate Zone is good but just make sure there is not a hockey game in advance.
  11. Roller-skating
    • I shockingly did this, and didn’t even break a leg. Astro Skating Center is in Greenacres. Great 70’s disco music.
  12. Kravis Center or The Maltz
    • You need a break from the Ice Skating and Roller skating. Dress up and see a play. Kravis and Maltz have good holiday events.

**** Bonus Day

  1. Riverbend Park
    • Riverbend is my favorite park in Jupiter and it’s free. You’ll see deer, raccoons, butterflies, turtles, and more. The paths are easy. The air is fresh.  You can also go kayaking and at weekends there is a great food truck with smoothies.


Since its the giving season, I’ll give a pitch to see if you know anyone who might be interested in BBBS. BBBS is short nearly 300 “Male Bigs” in Martin & PBC. Women volunteer much more than men but kids most in need, call for a male mentor in their lives. Its not just our local area, as more male mentors throughout the country are needed. That means there are boys along with their female guardian that are looking for a male mentor. The goal of the program is not to be a replacement father figure or hero. Its to bring out the potential that is already inside all of us. Its more than just doing “fun” things as well. Sometimes its helping with homework strategies or bullying advice. Teaching moments naturally occur. For instance, my Little has a big interest in cars. I asked him what he was excited about doing when he grew up and he said maybe work for a dealership. I said why not own a dealership? I called Earl Stewart of Earl Stewart Toyota. Earl, his wife, and son generously spent three hours answering questions and talking about what it takes to run a dealership. We worked on dress, handshake, eye contact, questions to ask and much more before we showed up. Showing a child possibilities and pathways out of poverty is incredibly rewarding. It impacts mood, purpose, loneliness, problem solving and much of what the holiday season I think is supposed to be like year round. The matching process and background checks take time but its so worthwhile. It also helped that my White Sox lost 101 games giving me lots more free time. But seriously, middle aged and older people are perfect for this 2-4 hour every other week program. The word Big Brother really is a misnomer as the just having someone caring and paying attention is the only responsibility. Giving money to your Little or their family is forbidden. They just want YOU. Anyhow, that’s my holiday pitch. Give me a call if you know someone who is interested and I’ll answer away.

Don’t forget, you can find tons more ideas on our “Things to do” video blog page: https://www.echofineproperties.com/category/things_to_do/


From, Echo Fine Properties – We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season with you and your family.



Jeff Lichtenstein, originally from Chicago, got his start in the home furnishings textile business where he traveled over 35 weeks a year selling fabrics. After the family business was sold, Jeff moved to Florida and became a real estate agent. Today he is the owner and broker of Echo Fine Properties, a luxury residential brokerage voted best brokerage of the year. Jeff manages a non-traditional model of real estate that mimics a traditional business model. Echo has 80 agents, an average of one million dollars per transaction and over 500 million in annual sales. Between traveling for work and annual family trips to national parks with his wife and 2 now adult children, Jeff has visited 49 states. He is also one of the few Chicago White Sox fans you’ll ever meet.  Some publications he has been quoted in.

Author of business & leadership book How Making a Sandwich Can Change Your World –  The Amazing Success of the PB&J Strategy – Available to Buy Now!

Feel free to ask him a question directly at jeff@EchoFineProperties.com including a complementary  valuation of your home.

Posted in Open House Blog, Real Estate Tips on December 8, 2023 at 10:05 am.


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