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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.