Holiday Fun at Great Wolf Lodge Snowland

This holiday season, the kids and I can’t wait to head over to Great Wolf Lodge Southern California to check out there magical tree lighting in celebration of the beginning of Snowland!  From November 29 through January 5th, the Great Wolf Lodge has been transformed into a magical winter wonderland. the lobby is decked out with giant decorated Christmas trees, twinkling lights, a giant gingerbread house and festive snow falls in the Grand Lobby each day! each day there are snow themed activities and you can stop by the lobby for an extra special holiday treat.  

Click here for a great deal on Snowland at the Great Wolf Lodge.

When we visited Great Wolf Lodge last year, we were able to get the first glimpse of Snowland, and now…the boys have been talking about it all year long. So we just had to make a visit to our our most favorite SoCal water park during the holidays – twinkling lights, holiday trees and indoor snow falls that melting into a perfect 84-degree basking weather.

During Snowland, Great Wolf Lodge has set up some extra fun free Snowland activities.  You can watch a festive family flick. put on your favorite PJs and snuggle up for Snowland Story Time with a very special guest of honor, sing Merry-Oke, learn all about animals that love the snow, create your own origami reindeer to take home, and track down clues to win a special prize in this fun, festive dash around the lodge. You can also guess how many peppermints are in the gigantic jar at our front desk – the closest guess wins a $25 Great Wolf Lodge gift card!

Celebrate the season by singing your holiday favorites every evening after the lobby show where snow may even start falling. Each night there is a Frosty Fest Family Dance Party! Great Wolf Lodge has amped up the energy by adding falling snowflakes, glow sticks and more!

After a fun day in the water, head over the the Hot Cocoa Bar with a Great Wolf Kid. During Snowland, the hot cocoa bar is perfect winter treat!

Santa Claus will be visiting the Grand Lobby every weekend hroughout the holidays. you can make sure that Santa receives your children’s letters on time by mailing them at Santa’s Letter Depot in the lodge.

Plus, the kiddies can attend North Pole University! North Pole University is enrolling now for our winter, 2016 – 2017 snow-mester. Children will delight in completing the GWL holiday-themed activities and receiving their official “Snowploma” and a limited edition Rowdy the Reindeer trading card. There are also lots of fun holiday activities happening around the Lodge.

And how about having dinner in a giant, real-life Gingerbread House?!!!! That’s right, there is a giant gingerbread house in the Great Wolf Lodge Grand Lobby. You can make a one-of-a-kind holiday memory and support a wonderful cause when you dine inside, support your local Ronald McDonald House Charities® for an additional dining fee. You don’t have to be a guest at the resort to book dinner at the GWL Gingerbread House.

Here is Head Chef Hany Alli in front of the life-sized gingerbread house. he and his team really outdid themselves. its pretty amazing.

Beyond spreading holiday cheer during Snowland, Great Wolf Lodge is looking to help grant wishes for children facing critical illnesses by partnering with Make-A-Wish® on a special holiday-themed wolf ear promotion. Starting on November 24th, Great Wolf Lodge will sell festive Santa Hat Wolf Ears for $8.99 at the front desk and Buckhorn retail outlet, with $2 from each sale being donated to Make-A-Wish. The campaign runs until Jan. 5, 2020 or until supplies run out.

One more thing! did you know that for additional fee, you can book an enchanting Snowland Suite at the lodge! Each suite comes complete with glimmering garlands, twinkling lights and a fully decorated holiday tree. open the door to your personal winter wonderland and you’ll receive a free copy of Great Wolf Lodge’s winter story book, “Unique as a Snowflake”

Imagine the surprise and joy on your children’s faces when they receive an evening milk and cookies delivery by one of our Great Wolf Kids characters! each lodge has a limited number of Snowland Suites available, so book yours today! here is a peek of the Snowland Suites….

Great Wolf Lodge Southern California Snowland Christmas suite
Great Wolf Lodge Southern California Snowland
Great Wolf Lodge Southern California Snowland Christmas
Great Wolf Lodge Southern California Snowland
Great Wolf Lodge Southern California Snowland

It’s always fun to create new family traditions this holiday season, and we are so excited to add Great Wolf Lodge’s Snowland to our holiday traditions. head over to the Great Wolf Lodge website to check out the deals for a SNOWLAND suite! HURRY, before the Snowland Suites book up!  Click here for a great deal on Snowland at the Great Wolf Lodge.

Great Wolf Lodge Southern California Snowland

Luigi’s Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch is Here and It’s So Fun to Play

Luigi's Haunted Mansion 3 Review

We are always looking for fun Nintendo games to play on our Nintendo Switch, and on October 31st, a really fun one was just released. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is now available for Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite, and your whole family is going to love playing it.

We got to attend a special Luigi’s Mansion 3 event in Los Angeles at an old vintage hotel to celebrate this fun new game. Since Luigi’s Mansion 3 takes place inside the Last Resort, a haunted hotel. So this old hotel was the perfect backdrop to check out the new game.

Oooh! It’s getting spooky in here.

We headed into the party through the old elevator, with ghostly bellhops and ghoulish fog. The boys were so excited to check out the new game. We love our Nintendo Switch…especially because it’s so family-friendly, and it being a brand I’ve trusted for so many years.

Then we got to check out the game!!! In our mustaches of course.

Luigi’s Mansion 3 is the third in a series of fun Luigi games. In this episode, Luigi is at the Last Resort hotel and he needs to find his friends. It’s up to him and his green doppelgänger, Gooigi, to save them. Your job is to help Luigi to ascend through Last Resort’s differently themed floors and solve puzzles to find his friends…but beware!!! Along the way the the Last Resort is full of quirky contraptions and haunting enemies such as ghosts and ghost bosses that will try to stop you.

Game play moves in Luigi’s Mansion 3 include – the suction shot, slam, burst, Strobulb, and Darklight. Luigi has a vacuum, the upgraded Poltergust G-00 with new improved functions. It acts as the essential ghost-hunting tool to slam and blow away ghosts and also contain them.

Throughout the hotel, you will help Luigi use his vacuum to defeat the ghosts and ultimately save his friends.

Fun characters in the game include Gooigi. A goo-version of Luigi. He can do what Luigi can’t, such as slide through tight spaces while keeping his human shape. You can switch between him and Luigi during gameplay, or have a friend play him as your co-partner. And then there is Polterpup, who helps Luigi track down important items for Luigi and give him clues along the way.

Up to 8 players can team up together or online in the Scarescraper part of the game. Use the mini map to keep track of your teammates and race against the clock to defeat the ghosts, find all the toads and pass challenges.

What a fun time we had checking out Luigi’s Mansion 3, it’s our new favorite game and the boys have been playing it non-stop. Even my husband and I love playing it. I would say it’s a great a great game for parents who are learning to play the Nintendo Switch to learn on.

The holidays are coming up, and I highly recommend Luigi’s Mansion 3. You can go wrong with it. Happy Gaming!!!!

150 Christmas Events in Orange County 2019

(updated 2019)
I officially declare it holiday season here in Orange County. Believe it or not, Christmas events are already popping up around Southern California!  So, here’s a list of over 150 Christmas Events in Orange County, including Christmas things to do in Orange County, winter celebrations and tree lightings.

It’s a tradition to make this guide to Christmas in OC as a gift to all of my readers! Hope you enjoy it. All of the events on this list are family-friendly Christmas Events in the OC and Southern California. So mark your calendars with your top choices, and get ready to make this holiday season, one that your family will always remember!

( Check back! More events will be added as they’re announced. Have an event you would like to include? Please email jillparkin {at}


Orange County Tree Lighting Ceremonies
Outlets of San Clemente Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 16, 2019  |  4:00 – 6:30 p.m.  |  Outlets of San Clemente
Celebrate the arrival of the holiday season at Outlets at San Clemente’s Annual Tree Lighting Celebration. Hosted by Santa and his reindeer, the event features a live reindeer meet-and-greet, roaming Christmas carolers, hot cocoa, photo booth, crafts, face-painting, balloon animals and the Grand Finale – the lighting of the 80-foot fresh-cut tree as “snow” falls over San Clemente. FREE

Fashion Island Holiday Tree Lighting
November 22 & 23, 2019  |  6:00pm  | Fashion Island Newport Beach
Join us for Fashion Island’s Tree Lighting Ceremony in the Neiman Marcus / Bloomingdale’s Courtyard. Enjoy a 25-minute live musical show by The Young Americans, a visit from Santa, a magical snowfall, and, of course, the highly-anticipated lighting of the tree!  FREE

Nightly Holiday Tree Lighting at Fashion Island
November 22, 2019 – January 5, 2019  |  5:00pm

Irvine Spectrum Nightly Tree Lighting
November 29 – December 24, 2019  |  Every 30 minutes starting at 5:00 p.m.  | Irvine Spectrum
The beautiful 75-foot tree will come to life every night with a choreographed light show every 30 minutes in Giant Wheel Court. FREE

Holiday Tree Lighting at Kaleidoscope
December 7, 2019  | 5:00 – 8:00 pm  | Kaleidoscope, Mission Viejo
Kaleidoscope in Mission Viejo will ring in the holidays with a festive tree lighting. The free evening of family fun will include a performance by the bright and talented students of Orange County School of the Arts, along with 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. Select Kaleidoscope restaurants and shops will also have sampling and special offers. FREE

Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village
December 7, 2019  |  10:00am – 7:00pm  | Downtown Anaheim
Tree lighting, Nutcracker Ballet, snow play area, International food frenzy, rock climbing, Christmas crafts, train rides, pictures with Santa and more!  FREE

Newport Dunes Lighting of the Bay 
November 30, 2019  |  3:00 – 8:00pm  |  Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
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. This is a Newport Beach holiday tradition not to be missed. FREE

Crystal Cove Tree Lighting & Holiday Bazaar
December 7, 2019  |  10:00am –  5:30pm | Crystal Cove State Park
Every year, just after Thanksgiving, Crystal Cove is transformed into a holiday wonderland with vintage ornaments, twinkling lights, and a beautiful, majestic tree on the beach. The first Saturday in December is the Annual Tree Lighting & Holiday Bazaar complete with Santa arriving via a lifeguard vehicle to greet the crowd. As Santa and strolling carolers join the event, complimentary hot chocolate, apple cider and home- baked goodies will be provided by The Beachcomber Café. The tree lighting ceremony begins at dusk. FREE

Balboa Bay Club Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 18, 2019  |  4:00pm  | Marine Ave, Balboa Island
One of the most special times of the year when we get together for the tree lighting on Balboa Island. The tree lighting takes place in front the the fire station on Marine Avenue. The snow hill and pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus take place on Marine ave between the fire station and The Village Inn. Come on down for this fun, family event and enjoy the music and festivities! FREE

Balboa Island Holiday Tree Lighting and Snow
December 1, 2019  |  6:00pm  |  Balboa Bay Club & Resort
Kick off the holiday season with our Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Enjoy a performance from Orange County School of the Arts’ MONTAGE! — a high-energy performance featuring Santa, Frosty, Rudolph and friends. The lighting of the gorgeous 20-foot Christmas tree and complimentary treats and beverages complete the festivities. FREE

Bella Terra Tree Lighting
November 16, 2019  |  6 – 8:00pm  |  Bella Terra, Huntington Beach
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.

Tree Lighting at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort
December 1, 2019 |  4:00pm  |  St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point
Celebrate the season and support our schools at Monarch Beach Resort.  Enjoy a variety of musical performances by our students, cocoa and cookies, visits with Santa Claus and the official lighting of the holiday tree, hosted by KOST radio’s lively Ellen K!

Holiday Tree Lighting at the Ritz-Carlton
November 24, 2019 |  4:00pm  |  Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Gather for the annual tree lighting and enjoy holiday music and a special appearance from Santa Claus. Donations of toys, books, and canned goods will be collected for donation to local organizations.

Dana Point Winter Festival and Tree Lighting
December 7, 2019  |  12:00 – 5:30pm  |  La Plaza, Dana Point
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.

Pines Park Tree Lighting
December 9, 2019  |  3:00 – 5:00pm  | Pines Park, Dana Point
Santa visits, carolers, dog costume parade, carnival games for the kids, free cookies and hot chocolate for the tree lighting at 5 pm.

Brea Tree Lighting
December 5, 2019  |  6:30pm  |  Brea Civic & Cultural Center
Light up the holiday at the City of Brea’s annual tree lighting celebration. Live music and entertainment will put everyone in the holiday spirit. Watch the holiday tree light up the evening and see children’s eyes sparkle when Mr. and Mrs.Claus drop in for a visit. Pictures with Santa are available for a fee. Cookies and hot chocolate will be served. FREE

Buena Park Tree Lighting
December 7, 2019  |  6:00pm  |  Buena Park City Hall
Gather around the tree at this free event to enjoy the sights and sounds of holiday cheer in the company of family, friends and community. The festivities kick off with the lighting of the tree by City Council followed by special performances and entertainment from  carolers, storytellers, vocalists and musicians! Santa will make his grand entrance on an Orange County Fire Authority truck. In honor of this season of giving, the event is also host to a Toy Drive benefiting local charities. We encourage attendees to bring a new, unwrapped gift for children. FREE

Orange Tree Lighting Ceremony and Candlelight Procession
December 8, 2019  |  3:30 – 7:00pm  |  Old Town Orange Plaza
Join the City of Orange 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. FREE

La Palma Tree Lighting
December 4, 2019  |  4:00 – 5:30pm  | Central Park Amphitheater
Join your friends and family for this annual holiday favorite. Every year this event brings the La Palma community together to ring in the holiday season! Enjoy the musical talents from our local schools and join in during the Community Carol Sing Along. Take a picture with Santa and his elves in the activities area before the event. This area will feature crafts, an opportunity to write a letter to Santa, and of course, the young and young-at-heart won’t want to miss an early visit from Santa Claus! ! FREE

Ladera Ranch Tree Lighting
December TBD  |  5:00 – 8:30 p.m.  |  Town Green, Ladera Ranch
Christmas Tree Lighting & Santa at the Town Green, corner of Sienna Parkway & Mercantile Way (details to be announced closer to the event). FREE

Irvine Winter Wonderland & Tree Lighting
December 7, 2019  |  4:00 – 6:30pm  | Irvine Civic Center
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

Laguna Niguel Christmas Tree Lighting
December 7, 2019  |  5 – 7:00pm  |  Laguna Niguel City Hall
A Hawaiian Holiday! Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day! Join us for a Hawaiian Holiday celebration at this year’s Christmas Tree Lighting event. An evening full of island-inspired crafts and sweet aloha treats will be available for the little “keiki” in everyone. Santa will be there, so don’t forget your camera! Bring your loved ones, neighbors, family members, and friends; please leave your furry friends at home. FREE

A Cool Yule Celebration and Tree Lighting at Pacific City
November 29, 2019  | 2 – 6:00pm  | Pacific City
Multiple children’s activities throughout the day with holiday crafts, Portola hot cocoa station and Santa photos on the Ocean Deck. Enjoy a special performance by the Grinch and join in on the holiday cheer with caroling throughout the center as we make our way over for the Paséa Hotel + Spa Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony! FREE

Capistrano Night Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 7, 2019  |  5:30 – 9:00pm  |  San Juan Capistrano Mission
Celebrate the holidays with Mission San Juan Capistrano and join us for Capistrano Lights Opening Night. Enjoy a unique opportunity to experience the Mission at night where history meets holiday.  Bring the family and enjoy this fun, festive and memorable evening together at the beautiful Mission!

South Coast Plaza Tree Lighting Ceremony & Santa Arrival
November 21, 2019  | 6:30pm  |  Town Center, Costa Mesa
South Coast Plaza’s annual tree-lighting ceremony includes a performance by Orange County School of the Arts. Enjoy a celebration of the holidays with snow, refreshments and a special visit from Santa.Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Free parking is available at South Coast Plaza parking lots. FREE

Stanton Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 5, 2019 | 6:00 – 8:00pm | Stanton Civic Center
Join your family and friends for this wonderful Christmas event! Enjoy the musical talents of the Rancho Alamitos High School Choir and the lighting of the Stanton Christmas tree. Of course the young-at-heart will not want to miss an early visit from Santa Claus! This special evening will conclude with tasty refreshments and an opportunity to meet your friends and neighbors. FREE

Tustin Tree Lighting
December 6, 2019  |  6:00pm  |  Tustin Library Courtyard
This holiday event includes music, entertainment, activities for kids, an appearance by Santa Claus and of course, the lighting of the Christmas tree. FREE

Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Ritz-Carlton
November 24, 2019  |  4:00 p.m. | The Ritz-Carlton Dana Point
Gather for the annual tree lighting and enjoy holiday music and a special appearance from Santa Claus. Donations of toys, books, and canned goods will be collected for donation to local organizations. FREE

Fountain Valley Tree Lighting
December 7, 2019  |  4:30 – 8:00pm  | Fountain Valley Recreation Center and Sports Park
This special holiday event will feature guests from the North Pole as well as performances by various community groups, delicious food available for purchase from local non-profit organizations, games, a spectacular fireworks show, and much more! FREE

Winter in the Grove
December 7, 2019  |  4:00 – 8:00pm  | Village Green Park, Garden Grove
Returning this year, the best of Winterfest and Christmas Tree Lighting holiday celebrations are coming together into one exciting new event – Winter in the Grove! 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 will be available for purchase. FREE

Special Christmas Events in Orange County
Winter Fest OC at the OC Fair 
December 19, 2019 – January 5, 2020 |   OC Fair & Event Center
Spectacular family fun and date night charm! Featuring ice tubing, a two million light walk-through show, ice skating, snow play with real snow blown in daily, nightly Christmas tree lighting ceremony, carnival rides, festive entertainment, seasonal eateries, visits with Santa and so much more.

Heritage Hill Annual Candlelight Walk
December 13, 14 & 15, 2019  |  5:30 – 8:30pm  |  Heritage Hill Historical Park
Experience the historic park in a unique, once-a-year opportunity during Heritage Hill’s Candlelight Tours.  More than 1,000 luminaries will light the park’s pathways as strolling carolers and musicians fill the air with music.  More information to come.

Holiday Snowland
December 14, 2019 | 9:00 – noon | Balearic Community Center, Costa Mesa
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. FREE

Santa’s Village By the Sea
December 7, 2019  |  5:00 – 10:00pm  |  San Clemente Community Center
The Holidays will be here before you know it! Save the date and prepare for a day full of holiday cheer! Santa and his reindeer are getting ready for their ride up Del Mar with the Mayor and friends to light the community tree. Continue the night with live music at the Del Mar Glitz, Christmas at the Casa, and snow sledding at the Community Center.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Skate Night
December 14, 2019 | 6:00pm – midnight |  Laguna Niguel Skate Park
Join us this winter for an Ugly Sweater Late Night Skate Night. Come to the Skate Park and skate until midnight in your favorite ugly sweaters! The best ugly sweater will win a prize. We will be throwing down some tasty winter favorites, free gear, and keeping the lights on late. Food will be available for a nominal fee. All participants require a valid waiver on file signed by their parent or guardian.

Holiday Movie Night
November 27 – December 18, 2019  |  6:00 p.m.  | Pacific City, Huntington Beach
Enjoy a holiday movie at the Surf Theater every Thursday! Movies will start at 6:00pm at the Surf Theater located on Level 2 near Saint Marc. Come early to grab a seat and a bite to eat, and a special treat from Paséa Hotel & Spa while you enjoy these holiday classics! There is no entrance fee, just bring yourself and your loved ones, chairs & blankets and get cozy! Please no outside food or drink.

Nightmare Before Christmas | November 27 
PLUS a special meet and greet with Jack and Sally from 5 – 6pm before the movie starts!

A Christmas Story | December 4

Elf | December 11
Plus meet and greet with Buddy the Elf before the movie from 5 – 6pm.

The New Grinch Cartoon | December 18 
Plus meet and greet with Grinch before the movie from 5 – 6pm.

Jingle Jam
December 5, 2019 | 5:00 – 8:00pm | Eastgate Park, Garden Grove
The 6th Annual West Grove Jingle Jam is coming!!! We are closing down a street for train rides, Santa will be there for pictures, performances, vendor booths, food trucks, toy drive, and so much more!! We hope to see everyone there!! FREE

Holiday Pajama Movie Nights
December TBD, 2019  | 6:00 pm  | Kaleidoscope, Mission Viejo
On Wednesday at 6pm, our free HOLIDAY PAJAMA MOVIE NIGHT continues here inside Union Market Mission Viejo! 🎄 Bring a beach chair or blanket and enjoy free popcorn during the movie! Visitors can also enjoy $1 hot kids chocolate from @portolacoffee with every adult purchase and Kids Eat Free (with the purchase of an adult entree) at Solagave and more discounted treats from our restaurants!⁣⁣⁣⁣

Corona Del Mar Christmas Walk
December 8, 2019 | 11:00am – 4:00pm  |   Corona Del Mar
The Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce is proud to present the community’s most popular event of the year! This special event is 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

Santa’s Wonderland
November 16 – December 24, 2019  |  5:00 – 8:00pm | Bass Pro Shops, Rancho Cucamonga
Stop by Bass Pro Rancho for tons of fun during Santa’s Wonderland! We’ll have free photos with Santa (One free 4×6 per family), crafts, giveaways, fun & games for the kids, and much more! Show up early to get a Bass Pass, which allows you to come back during your allotted time frame to take your photo with Santa! Each Bass Pass is redeemable for one free photo with Santa during the time listed on your Bass Pass! We hope to see you soon & look forward to making your Holiday dreams come true here at Bass Pro Shops! FREE

Holiday Extravaganza
December 7, 2019  | 10:30 – noon  | Shops at Mission Viejo
Join us for crafts, entertainment, goodie bags, and a visit from Santa and more. Hosted in the Center Court.

Ho Ho Night Hike
December 7, 2019  |  5:30 – 8:00pm  |  Carbon Canyon Regional Park
Come see Carbon Canyon Regional Park in a completely different setting – in the dark! Our annual fall/winter night hikes are here again. Park Rangers will lead a hike to the Redwood Grove showcasing the natural wonders that can only be seen at night. The Ho Ho Night Hike will feature many fun activities, including a visit to the Nature Center, hot coca and cookies, a live animal presentation, a hike through the wilderness area. FREE

Holidays in Who-ville
December 16, 2019  |  10:30 – 11:30am  |  Bella Terra, Huntington Beach
Use Your Imagination! Enjoy the classic tale of what happens to the Whos in Whoville during the holidays. Be Crafty! Create a cute Grinch inspired ornament. Be Entertained by The Grinch & Cindy Lou Who. Make sure to register. FREE

“LET IT SNOW” with the Snow Queen & Princess
November 29 – December 22, 2019  |  6:00 & 7:00pm  |  Bella Terra, Huntington Beach
The Snow Queen and Princess will be performing and making it snow on the Green with their friends. Gather around the Green to enjoy a 30 minute show filled with wondrous delight.

Special Guest Appearances:
Sat, Nov 30 – Grinch & Cindy Loo Hoo
Sun, Dec 1
– Grinch & Cindy Loo Hoo
Sat, Dec 7 – Holiday Superheros
Sun, Dec 8
– Holiday Superheros
Sat, Dec 14 – Jack Skellington & Sally
Sun, Dec 15
– Jack Skellington & Sally
Sat, Dec 21 – Snowy Elves & Gingerbread Man
Sun, Dec 22
– Snowy Elves & Gingerbread Man 

Magical Snowfall on the Green
Every Friday, November 29 – December 22, 2019  |  10:30 – 11:30am  |  Bella Terra, Huntington Beach
Join us for holiday music while it snows on the Green. Gather around the Green at 6 & 7 PM to enjoy a 30 min musical performance. FREE

Fri, Nov 29 – Audrey Gelb Duo
Fri, Dec 6 – Jaime Van Der Sluys
Fri, Dec 13 – Audrey Gelb Duo
Fri, Dec 20 – Jaime Van Der Sluys. 


Santa Events in Orange County

Skydiving Santa and Cool Yule Holiday Kickoff Celebration!
November 23, 2019  |  noon – 3:00 p.m.  | Pacific City, Huntington Beach
You’re invited to witness Santa’s official arrival in Surf City USA! Straight from the North Pole, Santa and two of his elves will appear in the sky and land on the beach in front of Pacific City! Special surprises are in store as Santa is escorted from his landing spot on the beach to Pacific City. The hall-decking happiness will commence with photo ops with Santa and your little ones as Pacific City celebrates the start of the holiday season. Expect holiday songs, Santa hats and candy canes while supplies last and so much more! Free

Santa’s Arrival
November 15, 2019  | 6 – 8:00pm  | MainPlace Mall
The entire community is invited to join us as we welcome Santa Claus to his new “A Christmas Story” home. 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. Level 1 in Center Court.

Kris Kringle Story Time Mingle
November 29 – December 22, 2019  • Friday – Sunday  | 3 – 6:00pm  | Pelican Hill Resort
Santa’s parking his sleigh and setting up shop in the Main Estate Lobby, where he’ll be reading stories, taking photos and delighting kids of all ages. Gather ‘round the gingerbread display for three story times at 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., and be sure to stick around during intermission to take photos and visit with jolly old St. Nick.

Harley-Davidson CHOC Toy Drive Pick-Up
December 13, 2019  |  12:00 – 1:00 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
Santa traded in his sleigh for a Harley! Stop by the museum today and watch the fleet of Harleys, including Santa, pick up new toys from Pretend City Children’s Museum! All the toys we collect in our toy drive will be taken to CHOC by Santa and the Harley crew! Help us collect toys through December 23rd! Durable, cleanable toys are best for a hospital setting

Santa’s Arrival
November 16 – December 24, 2019  |  5:00 – 8:00pm | Bass Pro Shops, Rancho Cucamonga
Stop by Bass Pro Rancho for tons of fun during Santa’s Wonderland! We’ll have free photos with Santa (One free 4×6 per family), crafts, giveaways, fun & games for the kids, and much more! Show up early to get a Bass Pass, which allows you to come back during your allotted time frame to take your photo with Santa! Each Bass Pass is redeemable for one free photo with Santa during the time listed on your Bass Pass! We hope to see you soon & look forward to making your Holiday dreams come true here at Bass Pro Shops! FREE

PC Grommets Holiday Party
December 17, 2019  | 10 – 11:00am  | Pacific City
Join us for a super fun Kids Club on December 17th! Enjoy a special showing of How The Grinch Stole Christmas (Cartoon) plus cookies & hot cocoa, fun books and even a special appearance by Santa & Mrs. Claus! Don’t miss your chance to snap a photo with the big man himself! FREE

Santa Stroll
December 8, 2019  |  5:00 – 7:00pm  |  Santa Margarita Catholic School
Join us for this year’s Annual Santa Stroll, a fun tradition where everyone and anyone is invited to support and encourage kids fighting cancer to NEGU – Never Ever Give Up! If you live in Orange County, CA, or live close enough to make the journey, create a team and stroll with us on December 8th at Santa Margarita Catholic High School! If you aren’t local to the Orange County area, or can’t attend on December 8th, you can still join in the holiday cheer and help raise funds needed to encourage kids fighting cancer this holiday season. Together, we can help spread JOY, create SMILES and encourage Courageous Kids to NEGU.

Santa Claus Classic & Custom Car Show for Kids
December 7, 2019  | 11:00am – 2:00pm  | El Centro / Lions Park La Habra
La Habra Host Lions 2019 Santa Cause invites you to show for the kids! Pajamas, Board games and Sport balls will be donated to underserved children during the holiday season. Live Entertainment, Antique Engine Displays, 50/50 & Opportunity Drawings, Lions Club Famous Tri Tip BBQ, 20 Best in Show awards, Vendors and LOTS OF FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!


Where to Get Santa Photos in Orange County

Visit & Photos with Santa
December 9, 12, 18 & 20, 2019  |  9:30am  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
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! You don’t want to miss out on this exclusive merry visit! Don’t forget to bring a camera!

Selfies with Santa
December 14, 2019  |  4:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Anaheim Packing House
Grab your camera phone and get ready to share your holiday wishes with the man in the red suit!

All for a Good Claus!
December 14, 2019  | 2 – 4:00pm  | Pacific City
Come take a photo with Santa at the Fire Engine as he hangs out with the Huntington Beach Fire Department! Get in the holiday spirit by bringing an unwrapped toy for the spark of love toy drive. Located on surface lot behind Pacific City.

Santa Photos at Dana Wharf
December 6, 7, 13 & 14, 2019  | 4:30 – 7:30pm | Dana Point Harbor Restaurants & Shops Area
Bring your cameras and snap a selfie with Santa – FREE!

• Fashion Island Santa Hours.
• MainPlace Mall Santa Hours
• Brea Mall Santa Hours
• The Shops at Mission Viejo Santa Hours
• Irvine Spectrum Santa Hours
Outlets of San Clemente Santa Hours
Pacific City in Huntington Beach Santa Hours


Pet Photos with Santa in Orange County

Pet Photos with Santa
December 1, 8, 15 & 22, 2019  | 4:00 – 6:00pm  | Irvine Spectrum Center
Don’t miss special ‘Santa Paws’ photos – bring your best furry friend to enjoy doggie photos with Santa himself!

Pet Photos with Santa
December 14, 2019  | 9:00am – noon  | Pacific City, Huntington Beach
Bring your pet to pose with Santa. Find Santa in Center Court.

Yappy Howl-iday 2019
December 15, 2019  |  11:00am – 2:00pm  |  Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
The Yappy Howl-iday Celebration is a festive gathering of canines and their companions Guests are asked to bring unopened canned or dry dog food, treats and toys to be donated to canines in need. FREE

Pet Photos with Santa
November 24 & December 1, 2019  | 7:00 – 8:30pm  | Brea Mall
Bring your pet to pose with Santa. Find Santa in Center Court.

Pet Photos with Santa
December 8, 2019  | 7:00 – 8:00pm  | Shops at Mission Viejo
Bring your pet to pose with Santa. Find Santa on the Lower Level near Nordstrom.

Santa Paws Photos
December 1, 2019  | 9:00am – 2:30pm | Dana Point Harbor at the El Torito Courtyard
Bring your favorite furry friend to Dana Point Harbor and have his picture taken with Santa. The cost is $15 per picture!  Start a family tradition with these keepsake photos of your beloved pets. All proceeds benefit the homeless animals at the San Clemente.

Santa Paws Photos
December 7 & 8, 2019  | 9:00am – 3:00pm | Dana Point Harbor Clock Courtyard
The Pet Project Foundation is excited to host the 8th Annual Santa Paws event.  Bring down your pet and have their picture taken with Santa for a small fee.  All proceeds go to support the Pet Project Foundation which supports the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter.

Pet Photos with Santa
November 24 & December 1, 2019  |  7:00 – 8:30pm  |  MainPlace Mall
Families are invited to bring their four legged friends to pose with Santa. Please be sure to have your pet on a leash or in a pet carrier.

Home For the Holidays Pet Adoption Event
December 1, 2019  |  10:00am – 2:00pm  | Irvine Animal Care Center
The City of Irvine Animal Care Center is hosting its 13th annual Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption Fair!. More than 30 pet rescue groups and animal shelters will bring about 500 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 for the event is $2 per person or $5 per family. Parking is free.


Holiday Light Displays in the OC
60+ Christmas Light Displays
• Nellie Gail Road in Laguna Hills
• Candy Cane Lane | El Corzo Street in Rancho Santa Margarita
• Birch Street in Brea
• Belquest Drive in Lake Forest

Capistrano Lights
December 8, 2019 – January 6, 2020 |  5:30 – 9:00pm  |  San Juan Capistrano Mission
Celebrate the holidays at Orange County’s only Mission with 30 days of festive programming and a nightly tree lighting. Create lasting memories with family photos under our 10′ wreath, selfies with Santa on select weekends in December, photo opportunity with our 30′ Christmas tree and make your prayer for peace and goodwill by placing a candle in the Ruins of the Great Stone Church. Additionally, on weekends throughout December, families will have the opportunity to meet and take “Selfies with Santa” in the historic Sala building and Holiday Crafts with AR Workshop in the Soldiers Barracks. These event will be offered from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on December 14, 15, 21 and 22. 

For more fun, join us for Winter Break: Crafts and Activities for Kids. This event will be offered daily starting Saturday, December 21, 2019 to Sunday, January 5, 2020, nominal fee in addition to paid admission. Mission Members receive a discounted rate. Crafts and activities are offered including Adobe Brick Making, Arrowhead Necklace and an Alternate Craft.

Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour
December 8, 2019  |  11:00am – 4:00pm  |  Balboa Island Homes
The winter holidays are always a festive time on Balboa Island. Many people visit the Island to enjoy not only the Newport Beach Boat Parade but to view the multitude of Island homes decorated for the holidays. Eight home owners open their homes to display the unique character of island living during the holiday season. Each home is decorated for the holidays.

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A Trip to the LA County Fair in the Chevy Traverse

In partnership with Chevy.

When you drive a 2008 minivan with over 220K miles on it, you get really excited to test drive a brand new 2020 Chevy Traverse with all the bells and whistles for a week. Chevy sent one over for our family to test drive, so the whole family piled in the Traverse and headed to the LA County Fair this past month. And wow…we REALLY loved it. The Traverse AND the Fair!

I’ve been missing out on a lot of new car features driving an older car. Features that I never knew I needed or wanted. But the features in this Chevy Traverse were so great that I can’t wait to purchase a new car very soon. I’ve been waiting for just the right one…not sure if I wanted another minivan, or something larger such as a suburban, or if I could even entertain the idea of getting something a bit smaller, like the Chevy Traverse.

With a family of 6, I thought I was stuck with a minivan. But after driving the Chevy Traverse, I fell in love with it. Surprisingly, the kids said it was just as roomy and much better than our van! So here we are, seriously considering a Chevy Traverse.

Anyways, our trip to the LA County Fair was just perfect. What I love about the LA County Fair is that is takes place at the Pomona Fairplex which is enormous. The fair is nice and spread out, so it doesn’t get super crowded, and there are lots of areas to enjoy and explore.

Things to do at the LA County Fair

The LA County Fair has everything you would expect from a county fair. Food, rides, entertainment, animals, vendors, and really fun exhibits. We really enjoyed the Pop-up photo area with the giant food. There were so many fun photo opportunities. Are these great?!!!

If you like to pet and feed animals, then the barn area is the perfect place to. There are dozens of goats and sheep waiting to be pet and fed. The kids were a little scared, but once they got rid of the goat food, the animals settled down. LOL.

Of course we had to stop by the Chevy booth. My boys LOVE cars, so they really wanted to check out the Chevy Corvette. And since we are currently actively shopping for the right car for our family, we wanted to see what else we might like.

A fair wouldn’t be a fair without lots of fair food. We decided that we wanted donuts, and tried the giant Unicorn and Samoa Donuts. Little miss Dani didn’t want to share. Yum yum.

Finally, it was time to ride some rides and play some games. There are so many rides to choose from. Here are just a few photos of the hundreds I took. So hard to pick just a few.

And that was just a little sample of photos from our visit to the LA County Fair. It really was one of those perfect days. Good times, good kids, good food and a great car to get us there.

What We loved about the Chevy Traverse.

The Chevy Traverse is a Mid-sized SUV with three rows. We really like the captain seat option for our family because they could easily get into the back row. You can also get the Chevy Traverse with bench seats instead. The Smart Slide® Seating feature offers easy and convenient access to the third-row seats as well.

When it comes to your safety, Traverse goes above and beyond. This smart midsize SUV offers a wide range of active safety features that utilize cameras, sensors and radar to help you look out for potential dangers on the road. There are standard rear vision cameras, available forward collision alert, and available front pedestrian breaking. My favorite was the available heated and ventilated front seats. Perfect for hot days in Orange County.

You can close the trunk and adjust the back seats with the press of a button. A hands-free power liftgate with a simple kicking motion over the emblem projection under the rear bumper is also available. Something that I don’t have with my current minivan.

The only thing smaller about the Chevy Traverse compared to my minivan was the trunk space. However, considering the Traverse is an SUV, it has plenty of room for STUFF. Check out our trip to Costco. Everything fit in with no problem with still more room left. Plus you can keep your things concealed in the available storage space behind the infotainment screen or in the rear underfloor compartment.

Check out what is looks like from above. Almost like a minivan…but it’s an SUV.

Thanks Chevy for sending us to the LA County Fair and letting us borrow a Chevy Traverse for a week. We loved it and the kids and I didn’t want to send it back! Now, that I shared our experience with the Chevy Traverse with you, head over to the Chevy website to check out all the info and see if you think the Chevy Traverse is a good fit for your family. There are so many features that I didn’t even get to all of them!

How to Make a Ghost Town Ghoul Costume for Knott’s Spooky Farm

This year for Knott’s Spooky Farm we decided that we really wanted to make our visits extra fun. Last year we dressed up as the Peanuts Gang and had a blast, especially trick-or-treating and entering the costume contest. So this year we thought dressing up as the Ghost Town Ghouls would be even more fun.

Oh. My. Goodness. Did we have the best time ever! Whoever said that Knott’s was not magical is wrong. We had the most magical time at Knott’s Spooky Farm. The kids got some special moments with the Ghost Town Ghouls and had an overall fun time trick or treating, playing games, and going to the shows. We ended the day with the Halloween Costume Contest in Camp Snoopy.

A lot of people asked me how I made the kids their Ghost Town Ghouls costumes. I can’t tell you how many times people stopped to tell up they liked our costumes. So I thought I’d put this post together to explain how you can make one too. It’s actually pretty simple. In an hour our two, you can make one or more!

The Ghost Town Ghouls wear costumes in mostly grayscale. Black, whites and greys are the colors you need to work with. I recommend first going through your house and looking for pieces of clothing that will work in these colors. You then can work your costume around those pieces. I actually sewed daughter’s costume. It’s a simple peasant top pattern in a grey calico, a dark grey belt, and a black circle skirt. If you can sew, then I recommend sewing one if you want it to be exactly what you are looking for. But you can just as well buy stuff to make one.

Here are photos of the Ghost Town Ghouls for inspiration.

Now that you have seen some of Knott’s Ghost Town Ghouls, let me show you what I came up with. I mostly used things I had at home already, and then added accessories.

For the boys, I had one Cowboy Ghoul, and one Ghost Town Townsperson Ghoul. Here are their costumes.

For the boys, I had them wear black pants and white shirts they already owned. We added a grey jacket to the cowboy costume and a vest and cape to the townsperson. I found the child sized cowboy hat and Derby hat at Party City. I used 5/8″ ribbon for the bow ties, and the plastic chain I also got at Party City.

Here are some items I found online that you could use for inspiration to make your own Ghost Town Ghoul costume.

Derby Hat, Train Conductor Hat, Black Top Hat, Black or White Bandanas, Black Dickies Overalls, Black Pants, Black or Grey Dressy Vest, White Dress, Shirt, Black Cape, Bowtie and Suspenders, Black Boots, Black Cowboy Hat, and black ribbon.

For my daughter, I made her costume as I mentioned before. Here she is holding one of the Ghost Town Ghoul’s parasols. You could add one to your costume if you’d like. I got her mini top hat at Walmart, and I pinned a black ribbon to her shirt.

Here are some options I found online that you could use to make your own Ghost Town Ghoul girls costume. There are also witches in Ghost Town, so you could also go that route.

Spider Veil Witch Hat, Mini Black Top Hats, Tulle Pettiskirt, Long Black Dress, Black and White Checkered Dress, White or Grey Ruffle Blouse, Spiderweb Cape, Witch Costume, Black Bonnet, Grey Pilgrim Dress, Black Corset Belt.

Once you have your costume pieces together, you will need some of the following to decorate them and make them truly Ghoulish. The main thing you will need is cheese cloth. This is what makes those cool spiderwebs that you see all over the Ghost Town Ghouls.

You can buy cheesecloth online or at the fabric store. Just ask where to find it once you get to the store. You will then cut pieces of it, and then cut holes into those pieces. Then rough them up and make them look like spiderwebs.

Once the pieces of cheese cloth look like spider webs, you can sew them onto your costumes. You can also glue them on, but I didn’t want to ruin my kids clothes. If you sew them on, you can unstitch them when you are finished for Halloween. Make sure to add spiderwebs to the hats and skirts as wee=ll.

Here are some options I found online that you could use to finish off your Ghost Town Ghoul costume.

Plastic Spiders Cotton Spider Web Cheese cloth Plastic Chains Costume Makeup Black Lipstick Black Roses

Ghost Town Ghouls have white faces and dark inset eyes. Use black makeup to darken in the shallows of your eyes, and white makeup to give that ghostly glow. Black lipstick is optional, but fun to add! The cottony stretchy spiderweb can be used to wrap around your head if you want to look like the school teacher, and you can add plastic spiderwebs to just about any part of your costume.

Wha la! You have a Ghost Town Ghoul costume.

I hope this post inspires you to attend Knott’s Spooky Farm and to dress up your kids! It doesn’t have to be a Ghost Town Ghoul, but I can tell you that we’ve never had more fun doing so. There is a Halloween Costume Contest during Spooky Farm, so if you do dress up, make sure to enter. It is at 3:15pm on each day in Csamp Snoopy at the Camp Snoopy Theater.

We had so much fun entering and actually won a prize!

Also, if you are heading to Knott’s any time soon, you will want to read this post. 101 Tip for Visiting Knott’s Berry Farm. These are my best tips and tricks for visiting the park. You are sure to find something useful!

Best Tips for Visiting Knott's Berry Farm