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Christmas is coming and holiday events abound in Orange County! From seeing Gingerbread Houses at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, to attending a Nutcracker performance at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, to strolling through luminaria-lit paths at Heritage Hill Historical Park’s Candlelight Walk in Lake Forest, there is a special holiday event for everyone. So, here is a list of over 200+ Christmas Events in Orange County just for you! Merry Christmas!
Christmas Boat Parades in Orange County
Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights, Dana Point (Dec. 6, 7, 13 & 14)
Boat parade by water’s edge at 7:30 pm. 100 boaters compete in the categories of style, intricacy and outlandishness. Past years’ entries have featured towering light displays and inflatable snowmen riding motorcycles and planes. In 2008, one boater even outfitted his craft with rotating wooden attachments that gave the appearance of dolphins swimming alongside. Free to attend.
Huntington Harbor Boat Parade, Huntington Beach (Dec. 14 & 15)
A “Rock and Roll Fantasty” is this year’s theme which means decorators will have a wide list of songs and start to choose from. Besides the fun and excitement, they have 16 trophies to award in categories ranging from ‘Most Religious’ to ‘Best Commercial Entry’. Free to attend.
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, Newport Beach (Dec. 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 & 23)
The Christmas Boat Parade is one of the oldest and most popular holiday traditions in southern California and even the nation. In 1908, a gondola and eight canoes decked out in Japanese lanterns started the tradition, which has grown into a spectacle expected to draw more than a million viewers over its five nights. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. with boats leaving from Bay Island, making their way around the harbor, and returning at 9 p.m. In all there are just under registered 100 boats taking part in the contests. Free to attend.
Christmas Shows in Orange County
The Nutcracker presented by The Ballet Etudes, Belle Terra, Huntington Beach (Nov. 3)
Come see Clara, the Nutcracker, Rat King, Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen perform as Ballet Etudes presents excerpts from The Nutcracker. Children from Huntington Academy of Dance will also perform their holiday dances. Free.
A Christmas Carol, Camino Real Playhouse, San Juan Capistrano (Nov. 30 – Dec. 15)
Another in the opening, Charles Dickens himself is introduced to the audience, ready to present one of his famed readings of a new script, A Christmas Carol, to his guests. The story unfolds behind him, and soon Dickens is weaving in and out of the action, observing, performing small roles, interpolating short passages of rich narrative never heard in other versions. This holiday treat is a version that will transport you! Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is adapted by John Jakes. Get discount tickets here.
A Christmas Carol, South Coast Repertory, Costa Mesa (Nov. 30 – Dec. 24)
Nineteenth-century London comes to life when your family joins the SCR family for the holidays. Recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this timeless Dickens classic and all your favorite characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come—and, as always, Hal Landon Jr. as everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge. Ticketed.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa (Dec. 1)
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas has been America’s favorite holiday tradition for over 30 years! Grammy® Award-winner Chip Davis has created a show that features Mannheim Steamroller Christmas classics along with a selection of compositions from his groundbreaking Fresh Aire series which introduced the distinctive Mannheim sound to all of America. The spirit of the season comes alive in this joyous holiday show, which includes dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. Don’t miss this ultimate holiday tradition from the Number One Christmas music artist in history! Ticketed.
Peter Pan and Tinkerbell: A Pirates Christmas, Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach (Dec. 4 – 29)
Peter Pan, Tink and the gang are coming at you this Christmas in traditionally wacky British Panto-style at the Laguna Playhouse. Based on classic kids’ stories and performed during the holiday season in England, pantos are over-the-top melodramatic mash-ups of fairy tale, slapstick comedy, pop music and audience participation (booing and cheering are heartily encouraged), and are designed to be fun for your whole crew. Get discount tickets here.
The MistleTones: Song, Bells & Comedy for Christmas, Maverick Theater, Fullerton (Dec. 4 – 19)
The talented quartet known as The MistleTones will be at Fullerton’s Maverick Theater with bells on, as they hit the stage for a holiday music and comedy revue designed to leave you feeling merry and bright. This seasonal extravaganza includes a toy sack of clever parody songs, including “We Will Flock You” to the sounds of Queen, “Can’t Wrap This” ala MC Hammer and even an ABBA inspired “Ugly Sweater” among many more. The MistleTones are longtime SoCal favorites, who’ve performed at Disney’s California Adventure and Knott’s Berry Farm. Get discount tickets here.
A Charlie Brown Christmas, Chance Theater, Anaheim (Dec. 6 – 29)
Everyone’s favorite holiday classic comes to life in the all-new stage adaptation! Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and the whole Peanuts gang as they produce their own Christmas play and ultimately learn the true meaning of the season. A Charlie Brown Christmas is a present the whole family can enjoy. Adapted from Charles M. Schulz’s timeless story, this holiday treat features the unforgettable music of Vince Guaraldi, as well as beloved holiday carols performed by the Peanuts characters. There’s no better way to discover the magic of the season. Get discount tickets here.
The Magic of Christmas With The Young Americans, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, La Mirada (Dec. 6 – 15)
A cast of hundreds with 30 scene changes makes for an epic Christmas spectacular for the whole family. From their early days of performing with such legends as Ed Sullivan and Bing Crosby to their current tours across 17 countries with 325 shows each year, The Young Americans remain the best in music and dance. The Magic of Christmas features hip-hopping penguins, dancing Santas and many more memorable moments to fill the family with holiday spirit. Get discount tickets here.
The Nutcracker for Kids, Newport Beach Central Library, Newport Beach (Dec. 7)
The whole family will enjoy this program for children. “The Nutcracker for Kids” is an abridged narrated version of the holiday classic presented by Festival Ballet Theatre. The shortened performance features a cast of professional dancers in complete costumes and tells the story of Clara, a young girl who receives the gift of a nutcracker soldier from her mysterious godfather. Overnight, the nutcracker is magically transformed into a handsome prince who takes Clara on an enchanting journey. Two performances: 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Admission is free. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticket distribution, for both shows, will begin at 1 p.m. Ticket holders should return 15 minutes prior to the show to be seated.
Nutcracker For Kids, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa (Dec. 7)
Visions of sugarplums and beautiful ballerinas will dance in your head after seeing Tchaikovsky’s delightful Christmas ballet, performed in a condensed 45-minute version created just for kids. This annual favorite finishes with a grand finale sing-along and a jolly visit from Santa himself! Enjoy free interactive activities in the lobby inspired by each concert’s theme! Featuring family-friendly arts and crafts, an instrument petting zoo, and opportunities to meet Symphony musicians, local performing groups, and more! Activities begin at 9 a.m. for 10 a.m. attendees and 12:15 p.m. for 11:30 a.m. attendees. Ticketed.
Sunrise Ballet Nutcracker, Servite Theatre, Anaheim (Dec. 7 & 8)
This annual production of Tchaikovsky’s much-beloved holiday ballet from the O.C.’s own Sunrise Ballet captures the true magic of E.T.A. Hoffman’s timeless tale, while remaining fresh through all-new staging and choreography each year. You’ll marvel at the magical adventures of Clara, a young girl whose Christmas Eve gift of a nutcracker comes alive, leading her on an exciting journey that begins with an epic battle between mice and toys and ends with a journey to the Kingdom of Sweets, where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy. Celebrating its 27th season, the company continues its tradition of donating all performance proceeds to local charities. Ticketed. Get discount tickets here.
Tustin Dance Center’s The Nutcracker Ballet, Plummer Auditorium, Fullerton (Dec. 7 & 8)
Tustin Dance Center proudly presents its production of The Nutcracker Ballet at Fullerton’s historic Plummer Auditorium, featuring dozens of dancers of all ages. In this enchanting ballet, featuring the famous score by Tchaikovsky, a young girl has a very special Christmas. At a fun-filled family party with dancing, magic and dolls that come to life, Clara receives a special gift: a Nutcracker. That night she dreams of an epic battle between mice and toys, and a magical journey to the Kingdom of Sweets, where Clara dances with her Prince and meets the beautiful Sugar Plum Fairy. Get discount tickets here.
The Nutcracker by Festival Ballet Theatre, Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine (Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23 & 24)
It just isn’t the holidays without The Nutcracker, which leaps to magical life on the Irvine Barclay Theatre stage complete with beautiful fairies, handsome princes and a lovely young lady on her way to the Sugar Candy Kingdom. Audiences of all ages will enjoy the magical story of Clara, who dreams that her new toy nutcracker has come to life. Together, they experience a fantastic adventure that leads them through an epic battle with the Rat King to the Sugar Plum Fairy’s magical Land of Sweets. Choreographed and directed by artistic director Salwa Rizkalla, Tchaikovsky’s extravagant score comes to life in a glittering production that will enchant all watchers. Get discounts tickets here.
The Nutcracker Tea Party, Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine (Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23 & 24)
A pre-show event before select performances of Festival Ballet Theatre’s lavish Nutcracker ballet. Guests will enjoy tea, lemonade, finger sandwiches and sweet treats with Clara herself… champagne for the grown-ups as well. Clara will tell the story of the Nutcracker and talk to her guests about the ballet and her magical adventure. Expect a special appearance by the Nutcracker Prince and his archenemy, the Mouse King, too! Photo opportunities and a party favor for each guest included. Party begins one-hour prior to show start time at the Barclay’s Jade Room. Ticketed.
Handel’s Glorious Messiah, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa (Dec. 8)
A beloved holiday tradition, Handel’s celebrated oratorio—with its blazing trumpets, thundering timpani and spectacular “Hallelujah!” chorus—provides a moment during the busy season to experience reflection, renewal and joy. Ticketed.
Vanguard Christmas Fantasia, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa (Dec. 9)
Kick off your holiday season in style! You are invited to experience Christmas Fantasia and enjoy the best the season has to offer. Enjoy favorite carols and breathtaking masterpieces performed by Vanguard University’s 200-member choirs and orchestra in the elegance and acoustical perfection of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Awe-inspiring performances of carols and holiday favorites make this night unforgettable. Ticketed.
The Nutcracker, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa (Dec. 13 – 22)
One of the great joys of the holiday season, American Ballet Theatre returns with its critically acclaimed production of The Nutcracker. Travel with curious Clara and her handsome prince as they journey through a kingdom filled with colorful characters and pure holiday magic. Created by celebrated choreographer Alexei Ratmansky, this beloved classic brings a cast of more than 100 performers to the stage, and features dazzling sets and costumes by Tony-winner Richard Hudson, along with Tchaikovsky’s timeless score performed by the Pacific Symphony. Get discount tickets here.
Holidays Around The World, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa (Dec. 14 & 15)
While a magical Nutcracker comes alive inside Segerstrom Hall, forecasters predict snow on the plaza as the sights and sounds of holiday traditions come to the Argyros stage. Plus, stop by one of our pop-up shops featuring local artisan crafts! Ticketed.
A Southern California Christmas, Musco Center for the Arts, Orange (Dec. 14 & 15)
More than 150 performers from across Southern California — musicians, singers, dancers — bring you a holiday spectacular packed full of your favorite carols. From the triumphal tones of a brass fanfare to the thrilling sound of a chorus in full voice and the sugarplum dreams woven by dancers’ feet, there’s something for all ages in this merry delight. A family favorite for all ages, it’s a show that’s sure to make your Christmas season glow brightly. Get discount tickets here.
A Charlie Brown Christmas, City National Grove of Anaheim, Anaheim (Dec. 15)
One of the greatest TV specials ever created now takes a new form in A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage, where you can relive your favorite moments thanks to the original dialogue and score. Celebrate the timeless message of the Christmas spirit at City National Grove of Anaheim. Get discount tickets here.
Nutcracker for Kids presented by Ballet Etudes, Huntington Beach Public Library, Huntington Beach (Dec. 17 & 18)
A shortened version of the classic ballet for children of all ages. Tickets are $5 each and go on sale November 2 at the children’s desk at Central Library.
The Anaheim Ballet gets the holiday season off to a sparkling start with its 31st anniversary production of Tchaikovsky’s timeless dance, with live accompaniment by Symphony Irvine. From towering Christmas trees to menacing mice and more, this version of the quintessential family favorite is always updated to bring fresh thrills to audiences at the City National Grove of Anaheim, who can’t help but get wrapped up in the magical story of young Clara. She dreams that her new toy nutcracker soldier has come to life, and together they experience a fantastical adventure that leads them through an epic battle with the Mouse King to reach the Sugar Plum Fairy’s magical Kingdom of Sweets. Get discount tickets here.
Christmas with the Celts, La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, La Mirada (Dec. 22)
The wildly famous PBS show Christmas with The Celts returns to La Mirada by popular demand! This high-stepping spirited show presents a perfect combination of modern Christmas hits, lively Irish Carols, spontaneous humor, thrilling Irish dancing, and lush string arrangements giving audiences a most memorable Christmas experience. Christmas with the Celts isn’t just a concert; it’s a celebration of the holiday spirit, perfect for the whole family. Get discount ticket here.
Tis the Season, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa (Dec. 22 & 23)
Deck the halls with sounds of singing this Christmas! The holidays are a time for music-making, and Pacific Chorale delivers with a concert the entire family can enjoy, assisted by the brass and percussion of Pacific Symphony and the enchanting voices of the Southern California Children’s Chorus. Ticketed.
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies in Orange County
Santa’s Arrival & Tree Lighting Ceremony, Westfield MainPlace, Santa Ana (Nov. 15)
The entire community is invited to join us as we welcome Santa Claus to his new “A Christmas Story” home on Friday, November 15th from 6pm – 8pm. Following Santa’s arrival, children and their families will be able to meet some of Santa’s favorite elves, enjoy face painting and balloon twisting, and sip hot cocoa while listening to a DJ play festive holiday music. There will also be exciting giveaways available to the first 300 children to attend. Festivities will take place on Level 1 in Center Court. Free.
Annual Tree Lighting, Bella Terra, Huntington Beach (Nov. 16)
Bella Terra’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is a magical holiday celebration that brings the season to life! Featuring a holiday sing-along with the Snow Queen & her Sister, Santa & Mrs. Claus and a special performance by Hip Hop Violinist Josh Vietti & Friends. Plus, enjoy special treats including hot chocolate from Peet’s Coffee and complimentary Jingle Bells and Santa hats (while supplies last). And don’t miss the arrival of Santa to light the tree amidst a magical snowfall and photos ops with Santa to follow. Free.
Plaza Navideña, Plaza Calle Cuatro, Santa Ana (Nov. 16)
There will be an annual tree lighting ceremony, live entertainment including local music/dance groups, piñata area for children, and, of course, a special visit from Santa Claus! Free.
Tree Lighting Celebration, Outlets at San Clemente, San Clemente (Nov. 16)
Join us for the lighting of the world’s tallest tree by the Sea hosted by Santa and his reindeer.! There will be live reindeer meet-and-greet, complimentary photos with Santa and other surprise photo ops, roaming Christmas carolers, face painting and kids activities and a “Snowfall” Finale with lighting of the 115-foot tree covered in 18,000 twinkling lights. Free.
Duck the Halls Tree Lighting, Tustin Market Place, Tustin (Nov. 17)
Kick off the holiday season, Anaheim Ducks style, with an exciting Tree Lighting Ceremony! Enjoy family-friendly games, activities, entertainment, giveaways, such as:
- Enter-To-Win Prizes
- Visits with Wild Wing and Power Players
- Anaheim Ducks Photo Booth
- Anaheim Ducks interactive hockey rink & games
- Christmas Tree ornament craft area
- Christmas Tree Cookies, Hot Cocoa, and Christmas Lollipops
- Face Painting, Balloon Twisting, and Stilt Walkers will also be in attendance!
Fashion Island Christmas Tree Lighting, Newport Beach (Nov. 22 & 23)
Hosted by Dr. Terry Dubrow and Heather Dubrow, kick off the holiday season with a 25-minute performance by The Young Americans, a visit from Santa, a magical snowfall, and, of course, the highly-anticipated lighting of the tree! Plus, after the Tree Lighting Ceremony, be sure to visit Santa and tell him your holiday wishes and take a photo to capture the moment. You’ll be able to find Santa in his custom-designed house on the Atrium Lawn from November 22 through December 24. Free.
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Eisenhower Park, Seal Beach (Nov. 23)
Come join your community as we get in the holiday spirit with the lighting of the tree at Eisenhower Park. Santa arrives at dusk for tree lighting and pictures. There will be real snow, chances to go snow sledding, letter’s to Santa and free kids activities. Free.
The Ritz-Carlton Christmas Tree Lighting, Dana Point (Nov. 24)
The holiday season kicks off with the lighting of the 40-foot holiday tree at The Ritz-Carlton. Festive music will be performed by The Jeeps, as Santa arrives to help turn on the lights. Free.
Nightly Christmas Tree Lighting, Irvine Spectrum, Irvine (Nov. 29 – Dec. 24)
Beginning November 29, the beautiful 75-foot tree will come to life every night through December 24 with a choreographed light show every 30 minutes from 5pm-11pm in Giant Wheel Court. Free.
Lighting of the Bay, Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, Newport Beach (Nov. 30)
Gather at the shores for the countdown to the Lighting of the Bay featuring Santa Claus, who will flip the giant switch to illuminate the bay and arrive by wave-runner. Selfies with Santa will follow right after so pull out your phones! Kids’ love the special activities and rides on a small holiday train offered at the event. Free.
Holiday Sing and Tree Lighting, Cypress Civic Center, Cypress (Dec. 3)
Join our annual holiday sing and tree lighting celebration. This event features refreshments, school performers, cookie decorating, train rides, a visit with Santa, games, letters to veterans and Santa, a toy drive and more. Free.
All is Bright Celebration & Tree Lighting Ceremony, Aliso Viejo Town Center Fountain, Aliso Viejo (Dec. 5)
Usher in the holiday season with tons of cheer, train rides, caroling, magical snow and a visit from jolly ole St. Nick as the city lights a 22-foot Christmas tree. Free
Christmas Tree Lighting, Buena Park (Dec. 6)
Entertainment, festivities, and even a visit from Santa Claus himself make Christmas Tree Lighting an event that neither you or your family can miss. Free.
Hospitality Night, Forest Avenue (Dec. 6)
Every first Friday in December, Laguna Beach celebrates Hospitality Night! Happenings occur in downtown Laguna Beach, along Forest Avenue. This year’s Hospitality Night event is scheduled for Friday, December 6, from 5 to 10 p.m. The festivities start in the Peppertree Parking Lot (located between Ocean and Forest, across from Second Street) where Santa Claus will arrive to greet holiday revelers before the tree lighting ceremony at 6:10 pm.
Holiday Tree Lighting, Irvine Civic Center, Irvine (Dec. 7)
Celebrate the season as “snow” falls over the Irvine Civic Center and the community gathers for the holiday tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, December 7, 4–6:30 p.m. Join us for an evening of holiday cheer. The free event will include visits with Santa Claus, live holiday music, games, crafts, and winter-themed train route. Free.
Kaleidoscope Holiday Tree Lighting, Mission Viejo (Dec. 7)
Frosty and Rudolph who will join Santa in a countdown to light the 20-foot Noble Fir in Kaleidoscope’s courtyard. Visitors will also enjoy free face painting, balloon art, a caricature artist, a festive photo booth, a holiday ornament craft, and some of your favorite Frozen-inspired characters, along with carolers sharing seasonal cheer. After the tree lighting, Santa Claus will be available for photos inside Union Market on the upper level.
Christmas Tree Lighting, Lago Santa Margarita Lakeshore, Rancho Santa Margarita (Dec. 7)
The Christmas Tree lighting festivities will begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Lakeshore, followed by the Lighting Ceremony at 6:00 p.m. Stay warm and toasty with hot cocoa, sing along to holiday favorites performed by the Bridge Church, and keep an eye out for the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus by boat.
Dana Point Winter Festival & Tree Lighting, La Plaza Park, Dana Point (Dec. 7)
This annual event features Santa, entertainment, an artisan craft fair, carnival games, rides,crafts for kids, cookie decorating and more! The Tree Lighting takes place at 5:15 pm with free hot chocolate and cookies. Free.
Nutcracker Tree Lighting Ceremony & Holiday Village, Downtown Anaheim (Dec. 7)
This annual event features holiday craft activities, a real snow play area, a children’s train ride, free photos with Santa and holiday musical performances by local schools and community groups throughout the day. Attendees gather around to witness the lighting of Downtown’s living 50-foot Christmas tree and holiday musical performances featuring the Anaheim Ballet and Combined Choirs of the AUHSD. Free.
Santa’s Village by the Sea, San Clemente Community Center, San Clemente (Dec. 7)
Ring in the season with children’s activities, tree lightings, Santa, a snow hill, shopping and more! Santa’s Village by the Sea features Holiday Hoopla at the Community Center, Christmas at the Casa, and Puttin’ on the Glitz. City Tree Lighting event with the Mayor will be held at 5:15 pm.
Winter in The Grove, Village Green Park, Garden Grove (Dec. 7)
Enjoy free seasonal refreshments, crafts, letters to Santa, an exotic car show, holiday craft boutique, 12 real snow slides, a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus, and an unforgettable tree lighting ceremony. Unlimited snow slide rides are $5. Food available for purchase.
Tree Lighting Ceremony, City of Orange (Dec. 8)
Join us for an evening of holiday cheer and family fun as we sing traditional carols of the season with the Orange Community Master Chorale led by musical director Michael Short. Tree Lighting ceremony starts at 5:15 pm. Local non-profit groups will provide delicious food and youth activities for a nominal charge. In case of rain, the musical program will be relocated to St. John’s Lutheran Church of Orange.
Santa Events in Orange County
Santa Photos, The Irvine Spectrum, Irvine (Nov. 9 – Dec. 24)
Visit Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick at his OC residence, a Crystal Cove beach-inspired surf shack located in the Carousel Court at The Irvine Spectrum. Decked out in his best red suit, he will be waiting there to hear your wishes and take photos with kids of all ages.
A Christmas Story Visits With Santa, MainPlace Mall (Nov. 13 – Dec. 24)
Guests of all ages are invited to visit Santa and enjoy a new interactive experience inspired by the fan-favorite Warner Bros. film “A Christmas Story”. The new walk-through set incorporates many of the most famous scenes from the movie, while combining the best elements of today’s highly popular “selfie museums” and augmented reality interactive experience. The journey to see Santa has just become as much fun as the visit itself! The set is free and open to the public. Select photo opportunities are available for purchase.
Santa Parade, Westminster Mall, Westminster (Nov. 16)
Welcome Santa to the mall as he arrives atop a fire truck! Staff will have crafts and gifts for the first 100 children. Be sure to be at the upper level entrance between Target and Sears at 10 am sharp. Free.
Santa Photos, Fashion Island, Newport Beach (Nov. 22 – Dec. 24)
It’s that time of year again! Young visitors can meet with Santa to share their holiday wishes and take a photo at his custom-designed house on Atrium Lawn.
Santa’s Photo Express, Outlets at San Clemente, San Clemente (Nov. 23 – Dec. 24)
Bring the kids and your camera for a complimentary photo with Santa Claus in Center Court. Capture the magic of the season on select weekends during November and December, before the big night! Free.
Santa Photos & Caroling Connection, Metro Pointe, Costa Mesa (November 29 – December 23)
Free photo opportunity near Nordstrom Rack and regular schedule entertainment featuring holiday music, weather permitting.
Breakfast with Santa, Fashion Island Hotel, Newport Beach (Dec. 1)
Indulge in the Christmas spirit as a family with a very, merry breakfast with Santa. Unwrap the fun with readings of holiday stories, cookie decorating, and crafts for writing your own letter to Santa, along with a holiday buffet featuring favorites. Plus, bring in a new toy for our Toys for Tots donation! 2 seatings. Reservations required.
Santa’s Arrival, Mission Viejo City Hall, Mission Viejo (Dec. 1)
Join the celebration as Santa arrives in Mission Viejo! The celebration begins at 3:00 pm. and this spectacular event is open to “children” of all ages. There will be game and activity booths where children can do “make and take” crafts. Santa will arrive on a fire engine and will help bring in the holiday spirit by turning on the holiday lights in Mission Viejo. At the Arrival, visit with our special guest, live reindeer! Free.
Sunday with Santa, Aliso Viejo Center, Aliso Viejo (Dec. 1)
Event include photos with Santa & Mrs. Claus, complimentary cookies, cocoa, children’s crafts and more. You must be a member of the Aliso Viejo Community Association to attend.
Breakfast with Santa, Civic Center Sunken Gardens, Westminster (Dec. 7)
You’d better watch out because Santa is making a special trip to Westminster. Santa will arrive to delight and entertain at this traditional event. The cost is $8.00 and includes breakfast, crafts, a visit from Santa Claus and a small stocking for each child. Adults are encouraged to bring their cameras to capture these holiday memories. Advance registration required.
Breakfast with Santa, Laguna Hills Community Center and Sports Complex, Laguna Hills (Dec. 7)
Ho, Ho, Ho! Santa will be arriving at the Laguna Hills Community Center for a morning gull of holiday fun! Join us for a special celebration complete with a scrumptious pancake breakfast, photos with Santa and holiday crafts!. Children must be accompanied by a paying adult. Advance registration required.
Breakfast with Santa, Bell Tower Regional Community Center, Rancho Santa Margarita (Dec. 7)
Breakfast with Santa is a morning for parents and kids to spend together visiting and taking pictures with Santa, enjoying delicious, freshly-made pancakes and brewed coffee, and listening to Santa read “The Night Before Christmas.” 2 seatings available. Reservations required.
Cookies & Claus, Westminster Mall, Westminster (Dec. 7)
Bring the kids to decorate holiday cookies as Mrs. Claus reads classic holiday favorites!
Boat Rides with Santa, Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point (Dec. 7 & 8)
Santa and his helpers listen to Christmas wishes during this 20-minute harbor cruise. Bring your camera and enjoy the tradition Dana Wharf has offered families for generations. Free.
Breakfast with Santa, Children’s Museum at La Habra, La Habra (Dec. 7 & 8)
He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re coming to the Children’s Museum! This morning includes a continental breakfast of yummy treats, a colorful craft for each child, the classic photo with Santa Claus and free admission into the Museum! Don’t miss your chance to spend some quality family time together and also greet Santa before he starts his busy schedule. Reservations are required for this event.
Santa’s Workshop, Mission Viejo City Hall, Mission Viejo (Dec. 4 – 22)
Jolly Ol’ Santa Claus will plan several return visits to his Workshop. Along with Mrs. Claus and the elves, Santa will greet all visitors with a cheerful, Ho! Ho! Ho! and a peppermint candy cane. You are welcome to take pictures of your visit. Free.
Breakfast with Santa, Catal, Anaheim (Dec. 7, 8, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, & 24)
This December, join Santa and his elves for a fun-filled family event including a family-style breakfast, Charles Dickens carolers, hot cocoa cart, personalized stockings for the children, pictures with Santa, and a stuffed animal given to each child from the big man himself! Advanced reservations required.
Guests will have a meet and greet photo opportunity with Santa upon arrival. During your visit with Santa, a professional photographer will take and provide you with photos from your visit. Guests are also welcome to bring their own cameras. Following your time with Santa, guests will be escorted by one of Santa’s elves to their family style breakfast.
Visit & Photos with Santa, Pretend City, Irvine (Dec. 9 & 20)
You better watch out, you better not cry…Santa Claus is coming to Pretend City! Join us as we meet jolly ‘ol Saint Nick, tell him our holiday wishes, and sit on his lap for a photo. Don’t forget to bring a camera! Regular admission prices apply.
Tea & Cookies with Mrs. Claus, Children’s Museum at La Habra, La Habra (Dec. 14)
Mrs. Claus would be delighted if you’d join her and her elf helpers for a holiday tea that will include a visit and story, delicious cookie decorating, tea and pink lemonade! $20 per person, includes museum admission. Space is limited. Reservations required.
Breakfast with Santa, Marina Community Center, Seal Beach (Dec. 14)
Take a family photo, jump in the bounce house, and sit on Santa’s lap with your Christmas wish list. First come, first served.
Brunch with Santa, Back Bay Bistro, Newport Beach (Dec. 14 & 21)
Back Bay Bistro welcomes guests to celebrate the holidays with family, friends, great food and Mr. Santa Claus himself. Take photos with Santa in between trips to the sprawling brunch buffet highlighting food stations like cooked-to-order omelets and pancakes, bottomless champagne and mimosas, and a dessert display. Reservations required.
Story Time with Mrs. Claus & Cooking Decorating, Bella Terra, Huntington Beach (Dec. 23)
Enjoy story time with Mrs. Claus while you decorate a holiday cookie to put in your very own cookie box. Get a fun holiday glitter tattoo. Plus, get your picture package with Santa just in time for the holidays. Advance reservations required. Free.
Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks in Orange County
Irvine Spectrum Ice Skating Rink, Irvine
Skate under the stars at the Irvine Spectrum Outdoor Ice Skating Rink. Join us every Thursday from 6pm – 8:30pm for entertainment and giveaways. Plus, come dressed in the weekly theme and receive $5 off!
Christmas Events in Orange County
See The Christmas Decorations at Roger’s Gardens, Newport Beach
Step inside the doors of Roger’s Gardens to feel the warm embrace of home, where twenty-four magnificent themed trees will surely inspire. It’s modern American at its best. Choose from hand-selected holiday décor that will resonate with old and young alike. Roger’s Gardens brilliantly balances the traditional, homespun feel with a nod to the contemporary. The result is a beautiful juxtaposition of elements: plaid vs. crystal, black vs. white, rustic vs. elegant. Free to tour.
Gingerbread Spectacular, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Each year, the resort’s pastry team creates an amazing gingerbread extravaganza. This year’s concept and design was the brainchild of Executive Pastry Chef Sylvain Haage and showcases today’s attention on climate change, sustainability and clean energy through a representation of the California landscape and how The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel supports and protects the environment. Chef Haage and his team will spend more than 500 hours creating the incredible confectionary display that will be fashioned out of an astounding array of homemade gingerbread, colorful candy, sweet treats, baked goods, and other tasty confections. Open daily. Free to view. Parking costs a few dollars.
JesusVR, Christ Cathedral, Garden Grove (Now thru Dec. 30)
Experience the life of Christ-like never before. Witness the journey of Jesus as if you’re actually there. For the Tour, they have purchased high-quality VR Headsets to allow guests the ultimate viewing experience. Guests are also able to experience the Life of Christ in a theater setting with their friends and loved ones. Minimum Age is 13. Reservations required. Free.
Art on a Sock, Orange County Great Park, Irvine (Nov. 23)
Create a stocking to hang by the chimney with care, as a local artist provides a step-by-step lesson to paint a fun and festive design. Two sessions are available to fit all schedules: 10 a.m.–noon and 2 p.m.–4 p.m. Ages 5+; $40 fee is per participant and includes project supplies. Space is limited; register by 3 p.m. Wednesday, November 20 at yourirvine.org (Course No. 21236 or 21361).
Holidayz at the Park, Orange County Great Park, Irvine (Nov. 23 – Dec. 31)
Enjoy “Holidayz at the Park” November 23–December 31, when the park will be transformed into a winterscape featuring holiday-themed art, music, and lights. Take a stroll through the Palm Court where “Santa’s Airplane” will prepare to depart with his load of gifts and toys. Enjoy train rides Saturday evenings from 4 to 8 p.m. beginning December 14. Visit the Artist Studios to enjoy interactive displays and festive photo backdrops. Sign up for seasonally themed programs, where kids and families can paint their own stocking, decorate a gingerbread house, and more.
The Sawdust Art Festival’s Annual Winter Fantasy, Laguna Beach (Weekends, Nov. 23 – Dec. 22)
The Sawdust festival grounds are transformed into a winter wonderland where 175 artists create, display and sell original creations over the course of five weekends. Art media includes jewelry, clothing, fused and blown glass, ceramics, woodwork, forged metals, painting, photography, sculpture, clothing and textiles. Plus live holiday entertainment, great outdoor cafes, art classes and demonstrations, petting zoo, Santa and much, much more! Ticketed event.
- The Surfing Santa Competition, Salt Creek Beach, Dana Point (Nov. 23 & 24)
The Surfing Santa Competition is a one-day surf charity surf contest where competitors dress like Santa or other holiday-inspired character and surf the waves at Salt Creek. Money raised supports Surfers Healing, an organization that introduces children with Autism to the therapeutic properties of surging. Free.
Swedish Christmas Fair, Old World German Village, Huntington Beach (Nov. 24)
The SWEA Christmas Fair is an amazing collection of handmade gifts, clothing, crafts, baked goods, unique Christmas decorations, sweets, treats, Swedish themed artwork, paintings, food, festivities and Glogg. Ticketed event.
Festival Ballet-Nutcracker Performance, Pretend City Children’s Museum, Irvine (Nov. 26)
Enjoy a performance of the Nutcracker from the Festival Ballet! Join us and enjoy FBT’s whimsical, traditional ballet choreography set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless Nutcracker score. Come see a glimpse of the beautiful costumes, elegant dancing, and pretty pointe shoes. The kids will get to meet and greet and take pictures with the characters after the show. Show times are at 11 am and 11:30 am. Show included in the price of admission.
Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train, Irvine Regional Park, Orange (Nov. 29 – Dec. 23)
Come with family and friends and take an enchanting night ride through historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Claus. The train will depart every 15 minutes from the brightly-lit train station and drop passengers off at the North Pole. Christmas Train tickets may be purchased to ride the train at a specific date and time online. Ticketed event.
The Magic of Snow, Bella Terra, Huntington Beach (Nov. 29 – Dec. 20)
Every Friday, from November 29 through December 22, join us for a Magical Snowfall Performance where it will snow on the Green. Enjoy a 45 min musical performance during the snow fall. Free.
Science of Gingerbread, Discovery Science Center OC, Santa Ana (Nov. 29 – Jan. 5)
Inside the kitchen, much more is going on than pouring and mixing – it’s science at work! The Cube’s holiday festival is filled with great hands-on activities designed to bring families together this holiday season. Activities include a Gingerbread Derby Competition, Science of Snow Stage Show and Cookie Decorating in the Healthy Kitchen.
Stocking Ornament, Home Depot Kid’s Workshop, Nationwide, (Nov. 30)
Have fun making your own stocking ornament this holiday season. Using the pieces in a kit, you’ll learn to nail a frame to the inside of your ornament. The frame can hold any favorite small photo. With help from your parents and our Store Associates, you can paint your creation to make it truly unique. Don’t forget to add stickers for a final special touch. Advanced registration required.
“Let It Snow” with the Snow Queen & Princess, Belle Terra, Huntington Beach (Nov. 30 – Dec. 22)
The Snow Queen and Princess will be performing and making it snow on the Green with their friends every Saturday and Sunday from November 30 through December 22. Gather around the Green at 6 & 7 pm to enjoy a 30 minute show filled with wondrous delight.
Muzeo Express Holiday Model Trains, Anaheim (Nov. 30 – Jan. 26)
Muzeo Express Holiday Model Trains is an annual exhibition that is sure to become your family’s next holiday tradition, delighting children and enthusiasts alike. The display includes themed layouts such as Thomas the Train, California landmarks and a vintage department store window sponsored by Macy’s. Brought to you by Toy Train Operating Society and Train Collectors Association, the former creators of the Nixon Library display. Get discount tickets here.
Holiday Wreath Family Program, La Habra Library, La Habra (Dec. 1)
Create beautiful wreaths from scratch, fun for the whole family! First come, first served while supplies last. Free.
Holidays in Huntington Beach, Newland House Museum (Dec. 1)
The Huntington Beach Historical Society invites you to an open house of the Newland House Museum and a display of Historic Wintersburg’s Tashima Market to celebrate the holidays in Huntington Beach as they were a century ago. Santa Claus will recite the Night Before Christmas at 6:30pm inside the house. Milk & cookies will be provided. Free.
Tamale Festival, La Habra Community Center, La Habra (Dec. 1)
You’re invited to the City of La Habra’s 4th annual Tamale Festival, to be held on Sunday, December 1, 2019, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The event, which is the largest tamale festival in Orange County, is held on Euclid St., between La Habra Blvd. and E. Bridenbecker Ave., as well as in Brio and Portola Parks, which are in that area. Activities will include a tamale contest, dance performances by local studios, and musical performances by Soto and the Mariachi Divas. There will be many tamale vendors, as well as vendors selling a variety of items, from traditional Mexican arts and crafts to handmade soap, desserts and more. Free.
Marionette Holiday Puppet Show, San Clemente Library, San Clemente (Dec. 4)
Celebrate the season and join us for a family show “Frosty’s Magic Hat.” Marionette puppetry is an old and dying art, and children will be fascinated with these beautiful puppets. So, come enjoy this special “old world” winter show. Refreshments served after the performance.
Candlelight Evenings, Nixon Library, Yorba Linda (Dec. 2 & 12)
Explore the special Christmas display, trains featuring five expertly-designed layouts including the all-new Rocket Railroad space-themed layout, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Take photos with Santa Claus in President Nixon’s Oval Office, enjoy music featuring Christmas classics in the White House East Room, take photographs with the beautiful Pat Nixon White House Gingerbread House and more. Reservations required.
Seal Beach Holiday Parade, Seal Beach (Dec. 6)
Our Seal Beach Christmas Parade is a great home town event that brings the community together year after year for an evening of warm holiday spirit. Floats, Cars, Wagons, Strollers, Bikes, Boats, Bands, and Animals will all be part of the parade again this year. It always begins by honoring the flag of our country and ends with the arrival of Santa Claus.
Holiday Storytelling, The Ritz-Carlton, Dana Point (Dec. 6 – 14)
Children and families are invited to enjoy a selection of traditional holiday tales. Donations of new children’s books will be collected for Miracles for Kids. Free.
Nights of a Thousand Lights, Sherman Library & Gardens, Corona Del Mar (Dec. 6 – 22)
The 6th Annual Nights of 1000 Lights will be twelve nights of holiday cheer! Enjoy a ‘Blue Christmas’ with Elvis, take a stroll in the glistening light tunnel and boogie through the disco inFERNo. Enter a world of sugary sweets in Gingerbread Land, experience the magic of a Scandinavian Christmas, make a traditional Julehjerter and be on the lookout for a family of trolls, follow the gnomes to visit Santa in his workshop, and warm yourself with hot chocolate and s’mores around the bonfire. Make lasting memories with friends and family by celebrating the holidays at Sherman Library & Gardens! All guests will enjoy complimentary coffee, hot chocolate, and a make your own s’mores station. Ticketed event.
Winter Festival, Aliso Viejo Library, Aliso Viejo (Dec. 7)
Join us for crafts, face painting and fun! Bring your camera and take a picture with Santa Claus. Free.
Winter Market, Fullerton Downtown Plaza, Fullerton (Dec. 7)
The Winter Market will feature holiday entertainment, free photos with Santa Claus, food booths, lots of holiday shopping, face painting, a bounce house, a beer and wine garden and a “Sparks of Love” toy drive. Free.
Holiday on Main Street, Yorba Linda (Dec. 7)
Holiday on Main will feature an artisan market, live music, the traditional local talent show, Christmas cocktails, food vendors, Santa and activities for the kids.
Christmas at The Casa, Casa Romantica, San Clemente (Dec. 7)
Casa Romantica’s annual holiday open house features a festively decorated Casa Romantica, live music, choral groups, Santa, a talking tree, kids crafts, décor and refreshments. Christmas at the Casa is held in partnership with the City of San Clemente’s Santa’s Village by the Sea. Free.
Santa’s Workshop and Kids Imagine Nation, Huntington Beach Public Library, Huntington Beach (Dec. 7)
Children will be able to make holiday crafts to take home, play holiday games and see Kids Imagine Nation perform. Crafts and games will be held in the C/D Room and Kids Image Nation will perform in the Library Theater. Everybody will be able to visit Santa who will be downstairs outside Room C/D. Just to visit Santa is free. Show tickets are $5 per person.
Winter Wonderland, St. Isidore Historical Plaza, Los Alamitos (Dec. 7)
Winter Wonderland at the Plaza will feature an area to play in the snow, activities, Santa’s Village, a tree lighting ceremony, refreshments, and entertainment. Free parking is located at Los Alamitos Medical Center Park Structure within walking distance of the event. Free.
Christmas Countdown Calendar, The Home Depot, Nationwide (Dec. 7)
Create your own countdown to the holidays, and have a blast with your child while doing it. Kids develop hands-on skills with sanding, nailing and applying stickers. With help from parents and store associates, your child will make a merry memory this holiday season. All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a FREE certificate of achievement, a Workshop Apron and a commemorative pin while supplies last.
Snow Day, Lake Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo (Dec. 7)
Join us from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm for Santa, sledding, and more when the concert bowl transforms into a Winter Wonderland! Get a picture with Santa and his Elves and find out if you are on the “Naughty or Nice” list, then warm your hands by the bonfire on the beach. Mind-Blowing Balloons will return to make holiday-themed creations for all the good little boys and girls. Also, make sure you don’t miss the Annual Boat Parade, starting at 6:15pm.
Candy Caneland & Craft Faire, Ehlers Event Center, Buena Park (Dec. 7)
Plan your winter trip to the City’s 49th Annual Candy Caneland & Craft Faire for a day filled with spectacular fun, food and festive music. As part of this holiday tradition, the Walter Ehlers Event Center will be magically transformed into a winter wonderland featuring our special guest of honor – Santa Claus! Jolly on over to the snow slides, bounce house, petting zoo, and kid’s craft area. Purchase holiday gifts from over 100 vendors selling ornaments, jewelry, ceramics and more. Share your holiday wishes and grab a photo with Santa Claus.
Holiday Family Night, Discovery Cube (Dec. 7)
Join us for our Holiday Family Night where there is fun holiday and science festive cheer everywhere! This event features delightful carolers, mulled wine for adults, an early learner activity, stage shows, gift photo with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and all of our Science of Gingerbread activities and more. So throw on your best Holiday ugly sweater and come party with us! Reservations required.
Assisteens Winter Craft Day, Irvine University Park Library, Irvine (Dec. 8)
Join us in creating crafts for the winter! Free for kids of all ages, feel free to stop by between 11:30 to 2:30 pm to join in on the fun!
Home For The Holidays Pet Adoption Event, The Irvine Animal Care Center, Irvine (Dec. 8)
Join the City of Irvine for their 10th annual Home for the Holidays Adoption event at the Animal Care Center. More than 40 pet rescue groups and animal shelters will bring more than 600 homeless dogs, cats, rabbits and small animals for adoption. The annual event features dozens of pet-related vendors, gourmet food trucks, a silent auction, low-cost microchipping and an opportunity drawing. Each animal available for adoption is spayed or neutered, microchipped and evaluated by a veterinarian. Cats and dogs are vaccinated appropriate to age. Suggested donation is $2 per person or $5 per family. Parking is free.
Corona del Mar Christmas Walk, Corona del Mar (Dec. 8)
The Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce is proud to present the community’s most popular event of the year! This is an absolute can’t miss special event filled with holiday festivities for family, friends, residents and visitors looking for a spectacular way to ring in the holiday season. Each year “The Walk” brings together thousands of fun-loving people into the Village of Corona del Mar for live entertainment, food, prizes and games in true holiday spirit! Free.
Christmas with the Critters, Rancho Las Lomas, Silverado (Dec. 8)
Attend the 10th annual Christmas with the Critters for a fun festive day! The children will enjoy crafts, holiday music, bounce house, Santa and watching the animals opening their Christmas presents while the parents can enjoy holiday shopping, silent auction, lunch and beverages. Ticketed event.
Ultimate Cookie Fun, Brea Library, Brea (Dec. 9)
Join the fun as you decorate a cookie and eat it too! The library will provide the trimmings, you just need to bring your creativity. Children of all ages and their families are welcome to attend this event. Advance registration required.
Capistrano Lights, Mission San Juan Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano (Dec. 9 – Jan. 6)
Celebrate the holidays at Mission San Juan Capistrano, historic landmark and museum with 30 days of holiday fun. Capistrano Lights brings together people of all faith traditions during the holiday season. Join us for a nightly tree lighting in the Ruins of the Great Stone Church. The Mission grounds will be decked out in lights and features a 10-foot wreath and community Christmas trees. From time to time during this period, community musical groups, choirs and orchestras may join the Mission with pre-tree lighting performances. Don’t miss out on the Mission at Night experience where history meets holiday! Get tickets starting for $4 here.
Make A Gingerbread House, La Habra Library, La Habra (Dec. 10)
Create a winter wonderland house! Stop by any time between 1 pm and 5 pm to create a colorful gingerbread house out graham crackers, candy and frosting. For ages 7-17. All materials provided. In-person advance registration required. Free.
Make A Gingerbread House, Dana Point Library, Dana Point (Dec. 10)
Create a winter wonderland house! Stop by any time between 1 pm and 5 pm to create a colorful gingerbread house out graham crackers, candy and frosting. All materials provided. Free.
Make a Snow Globe, La Habra Library, La Habra (Dec. 11)
Make a cute snow globe decoration. All ages welcomed! Free.
Candlight Walk, Heritage Hill Historical Park, Lake Forest (Dec. 12 – 14)
Three enchanting evenings with Luminaria-lit paths, historic buildings and trees aglow with Christmas lighting, strolls through restored historical buildings adorned in period décor and staffed by our docents, Victorian carolers, live entertainment in each building, storytellers, visits with Santa and refreshments. Ticketed event.
Christmas Countdown, Pretend City, Irvine (Dec 12 – 23)
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…holiday fun at Pretend City! Join us for our exciting 12 Days of Christmas Countdown! Each day leading up to Christmas, we will “unwrap” a new holiday activity at the museum! Get in the holiday spirit as we gear up for Christmas and countdown. Activities included in the price of admission.
Artsy Food for Winter Holidays, Dana Point Library, Dana Point (Dec. 13)
Join us for an afternoon of fun food arrangement. Creations will have a wintery theme and are intended for display only. For kids ages 5-8 with parental supervision. Free.
DIY Ornaments, Ladera Ranch Library, Ladera Ranch (Dec. 13)
Let’s get crafty! The winter sky is the limit with clear ornament spheres. We can fill them up with crushed candy canes and top off with a festive bow. Join the fun as we create one of a kind decorations. Free.
Snoopy House, Costa Mesa City Hall, Costa Mesa (Dec. 13 – 22)
The beloved Snoopy House holiday display has been a Costa Mesa and Orange County holiday tradition since 1966, attracting an estimated 80,000 visitors annually. This year, Snoopy House, is celebrating its 50-year anniversary! The holiday display features scenes populated by “Peanuts” characters and is available for viewing from 5:30 to 9 p.m. nightly from Dec. 10 through Dec. 22 in front of Costa Mesa City Hall located at 77 Fair Drive. Free.
Carols ‘Round The Lake, Lago Santa Margarita Beach Club, Rancho Santa Margarita (Dec. 14)
Enjoy a lovely stroll around the lake as you sip hot chocolate and take in the beautiful sounds of local singers, musicians and carolers. Bring the entire family to enjoy this musical event, including a trail of lights and multiple photo opportunities to capture this holiday memory.
Gingerbread House Decorating Workshop, Orange County Great Park, Irvine (Dec. 14)
Decorate a gingerbread house with your kids. Ages 5+. Reservations required.
Christmas in Kid City, Mount of Olives Church, Mission Viejo (Dec. 14)
There’s nothing like Christmas in the city! Drop your child off for our annual Christmas in Kid City children’s event! Open to children 3 years old and potty trained up to 5th grade. $25 per child. Children will travel around in classes with children of the same age. Program includes live worship experience, arts & crafts, activities, games, and lunch.
Christmas at the OC Zoo, Orange (Dec. 14)
Join us for holiday fun at the OC Zoo! Activities include visits with Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus, holiday kids crafts, photo area, and games! Come see the zoo animals receive treat-filled gifts and treats hidden inside Christmas trees throughout the day. Reservations are not needed. Activities are free with paid zoo admission ($2 per person, ages 2 & under free). Parking is $5 per vehicle.
Torelli Realty’s Holiday Snowland, Balearic Park, Costa Mesa (Dec. 14)
Turning our local park into a winter wonderland with over 40 tons of snow has become a Costa Mesa tradition. Three generations of families have enjoyed this Torelli sponsored event for over 25 years. A time honored tradition that is attended by over 1,000 people annually.
Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade, Laguna Niguel (Dec. 14)
“Jingle All The Way,” what a way to kick off the holiday season by coming to see our hometown parade! View over 100 exciting entries including marching bands, floats, special guests, youth groups, equestrian units, exotic cars, military members, local heroes and fun attractions! No hometown holiday parade is complete without a dazzling entrance by Santa Claus! Parade watchers are encouraged to bring chairs and take advantage of the free shuttle, available from the Federal Bldg. parking lot off of Dorine/El Lazo. Event will go rain or shine, unless conditions are determined unsafe. Free.
Brettso’s Holiday Magic Show, Dana Point Library, Dana Point (Dec. 14)
Join us for an exciting magic show, hilarious comedy, and non-stop audience participation. A wonderful time for the entire family! Free.
Snow Days with the Critters, The Santa Ana Zoo, Santa Ana (Dec. 14 & 15)
All zoo celebration featuring stations focusing on winter and snow. Watch animals receive icy treats, listen to festive music, enjoy the winter decorations, play educational games, create cool crafts and listen to delightful winter stories. Free with the price of admission. Santa Ana Residents are free on December 15.
Las Posadas Festival, Bowers Museum, Santa Ana (Dec. 15)
Experience a traditional Mexican Christmas re-enactment of the story of Mary and Joseph as they seek shelter for the birth of the Baby Jesus at an inn (posada). Join us for face painting, art projects and Mexican hot chocolate and pan dulce. Performances by Rhythmo Mariachi Kids and Folklorico RaÍces de Mexico. Free.
Gingerbread House Decorating, Fashion Island Hotel, Newport Beach (Dec. 15)
Take part in a holiday tradition with our Pastry Chef, Andy de la Cruz. Gather the family and decorate your own gingerbread house to take home, all while enjoying complimentary hot chocolate, holiday desserts and more. The price $49 per gingerbread house. Advance reservations required.
Celebrate Las Posadas, Pretend City, Irvine (Dec. 16)
Come to Pretend City with your family to celebrate the first day of this 9 day Mexican Christmas celebration. Through special activities and events your children will have fun learning about the history of this celebration. Event included with the price of museum admission.
Holidays in Who-ville, Belle Terra, Huntington Beach (Dec. 16)
Enjoy the classic tale of what happens to the Whos in Whoville during the holidays. Also create a cute Grinch inspired ornament. Be entertained by The Grinch & Cindy Lou Who. Advance registration required. Free.
Kids Imagine Nation Holiday Concert, Rancho Santa Margarita Library, Santa (Dec. 17)
Please come to the Rancho Santa Margarita Library in welcoming Kids Imagine Nation. They will be performing their Holiday Show. This is a one hour program for kids of all ages and for families of all sizes. Free.
Cruise of Lights, Huntington Beach (Dec. 17 – 23)
In December, the Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Cruise of Lights includes narrated boat tours through the waterways of Huntington Harbors. Share in the beauty of thousands of lights and animated displays on brightly decorated homes, docks, decks and boats. Cruises depart the dock at 5:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, & 8:30 pm. Advance reservations required.
Winter Fest OC, The OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa (Dec. 19 – Jan. 5)
Winter Fest is coming to town, blowing tons of family fun into the OC Fair & Event Center. Winter Fest is a giant wonderland of immersive wintry fun featuring a full outdoor ice rink, a 150-foot, eight-lane Snowflake Summit ice slide, a play park featuring real snow blown in daily for snow angels and snowman building, photos on the world’s largest rocking horse, inside a giant snow globe and on Santa’s lap, strolling carolers and personal visits in the cabin of Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Plus, there’s a Festival of Lights walk-through holiday light show featuring more than two million sparkling lights. See Santa and his reindeer as they actually fly over the fairgrounds during the nightly Christmas tree lighting, snowfall and firework show until Santa returns to the North Pole. Ticketed event.
Teen Hot Chocolate Day, Garden Grove Main Library, Garden Grove (Dec. 18)
Join us for a hot chocolate day! Get ready for winter break by winding down with a hot chocolate taste test, hanging with friends, and watching a movie. For grades 7-12. Free.
Gingerbread House Decorating, Garden Grove Tibor Rubin Library, Garden Grove (Dec. 18)
Enjoy an afternoon building your very own gingerbread house! You bring the creativity and we provide the supplies. This program is open to children and teens. Preschoolers should bring a helper. Stop in anytime between 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Free.
Teen Holiday Open House, Dana Point Library, Dana Point (Dec. 19)
Join us for some Holiday Fun. Wear your ugly holiday sweater! Decorate some cookies and have some hot chocolate. Drop in any time between 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. For Ages 12-18. Free.
How To Catch An Elf, Lido Village Books, Newport Beach (Dec. 19)
Use your imagination! Enjoy a silly story about how to catch an elf. Be Crafty! Create a cute elf. Be Entertained! Enjoy musician, Michael SG. Registration required. Free.
Pajama Party Movie Night, Orange County Great Park, Irvine (Dec. 20)
Curl up in festive pajamas to watch a holiday-themed movie on the big screen. All ages welcome. Free.
Marina Park Family Friend Night, Marina Park Sailing Center (Dec. 20)
Enjoy a fun family event for all ages, with lots of activities, dinner and an amazing view of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. There will be crafts, photos with Santa, and the evening will include watching 110th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade from one of the most prestigious location. Ticketed event.
The Littlest Fir Tree Holiday Program, Garden Grove Main Library, Garden Grove (Dec. 21)
Join us for a special holiday program with Literature Comes To Life featuring a presentation of The Littlest Fir Tree! Program will be followed by snack time featuring cookies and hot chocolate! For all ages. Free.
Celebrate the Winter Solstice, Pretend City, Irvine (Dec. 21)
Join us as we learn all about winter solstice and the changing of seasons! We will have winter themed art, science projects and activities for little ones to join in the winter wonderland fun. Activities included with the price of admission.
Family Christmas Cookie Decorating Workshop, Pinot’s Palette, Rancho Santa Margarita (Dec. 22)
Come join the party as Michele of Maven’s Treats guides you through the process of creating delightfully decorated sugar cookies. Our hands-on class will include 2 hours of step-by-step instruction, plus all the materials needed to decorate 6 of the most delicious and mouth-watering sugar cookies you’ve ever tasted. You’ll learn the importance of different icing consistencies, how to use tipless piping bags, the basics of outlining and flooding, wet-on-wet techniques and more. Open to ages 7 and above. Reservations required.
SnowFest, Pittsford Park, Costa Mesa (Jan. 26)
Come be a part of this annual winter event and hit the snow laden slopes at Pittsford Park! Grab the kids, the camera, and your friends and come play in the snow at this special event. Sleds and saucers will be available for you and your family to slide down Mount Pittsford. There will also be a free snow play area for kids 10 and under open during the entire event. Must purchase wristbands before event in person at Lake Forest Recreation Center, $7 per sledder.
Best Christmas Light Displays in Orange County
Candy Cane Lane Holiday Lights, Orange
Every year, three dozen homes along the 100 and 200 block of North Pine Street add twinkling lights, electronic Santas, inflatable snowmen, Nativity scenes and countless other colorful and elaborate decorations. Every home on the two-block stretch participates. Hundreds of families descend to the neighborhood each night to see the vibrant wonderland. Some nights, Christmas carolers donning Dickens-era garb traverse the street to serenade visitors and homeowners.
Candy Cane Lane, Rancho Santa Margarita
The cul-de-sac in Melinda Heights is a lot like other ones, except that during the evenings over the Christmas holidays, it takes on a life of its own. El Corzo is transformed into Rancho Santa Margarita’s Candy Cane Lane, where yards are covered with fake snow and gingerbread houses and elves and reindeer. And there are plenty of lights!
Running through New Year’s Day, this Brea neighborhood goes all out with 100 homes decked out with lights, decorations, live music, a live nativity scene and horse drawn carriages. Some residents even decorate the interior of their homes and allow visitors to peek inside.
Sparkleballs at North Yale Avenue, Fullerton
Hanging like other-wordly fruit orbs lit up from veteran trees lining the street, Sparkleballs are oversized ornaments that resemble disco balls or the Russian Sputnik spacecraft. No one has laid claim to its origin, but a decade ago, Don and Jeff (after learning to make them from Don’s father) incited the proliferation of these twinkling cup lights. With workshops provided by the two, everyone on their street eventually came together on the community effort of a sparkleball display. It has since been a much-anticipated annual Holiday tradition and has garnered the residents of North Yale Avenue some noteworthy recognition on the web and in local newpapers.
For more Christmas Light Displays in Orange County visit sandytoesandpopsicles.com
Holiday Events at Theme Parks
Holiday Celebrations, Disneyland & Disney California Adventure, Anaheim (Nov. 8 – Jan. 6)
As the holidays draw near, Disneyland Park comes alive with fanciful decorations and enchanting attractions. ‘Tis the season to enjoy these sensational special highlights – Disney ¡Viva Navidad!, Santa’s Holiday Visit at Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Mickey’s Happy Holiday, Three Kings’ Day, A Christmas Fantasy Parade, Jingle Cruise, “it’s a small world” holiday, Haunted Mansion Holiday and Believe…in Holiday Magic Fireworks. Ticketed.
Knott’s Merry Farm, Buena Park (Open daily from the weekend before Thanksgiving – New Years)
The Peanuts gang appears in various incarnations throughout the park as part of A Charlie Brown Christmas. In addition to festive decorations, which include a 65′ tree and the park’s attractions decked in holiday lights, there are strolling carolers, special shows and ride transformations for the event. Closed Christmas day. Ticketed.
Happy Field Tripping!