100 Christmas and Holiday Family Events in Orange County


now that the Halloween season is over, i officially declare it holiday season here in Orange County. believe it or not, Christmas events are already beginning to pop up all around Southern California!  of course, i just had to compiled a list of over 100 Holiday Events in Orange County, including Christmas events, Hanukkah events and winter celebrations, it a tradition and a gift to all of my readers! i want you to be informed of all fun things happening this holiday season in the OC. all of the events on this list are family-friendly, and take place around the OC and Southern California this holiday season.

so it’s time to get your calendar out, pick the events that look the most fun for you and your family, and get ready to make this wonderful holiday season, one that your family will always remember! ( please be sure to check back here, as i will be adding more events to this list as they are announced. if you have an event you would like to include, please email or message me on Facebook.)

Santa Events
Breakfast with Santa
December 2 & 3, 2017  |  8:30 – 11:00 a.m.  | The Children’s Museum at La Habra
A time honored classic for Christmas, this morning at the Museum includes a continental breakfast of yummy treats, a colorful craft for each child, a classic photo with Santa Claus and free admission into the Museum! Don’t miss your chance to spend some quality family time together and greet Santa before he starts his busy schedule. Reservations are required for this event. For more information please call 562-383-4240 or email the Museum. Breakfast with Santa is an annual fundraising event sponsored by the Museum Guild. All proceeds benefit The Children’s Museum at La Habra. No refunds.

Pictures with Santa in the Gazebo
Weekends starting December 10-11, 2017 | 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  | Rogers Gardens
Bring your children and take a professional photo with Santa Claus. Santa will be waiting to hear every child’s wish for this Christmas season. FREE

Milk and Cookies with Santa at Irvine Spectrum
Fridays in December  | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  | Irvine Spectrum
Enjoy Cookies & Milk with Santa on Fridays in December from 11am – 12pm! Courtesy of Corner Bakery, while supplies last.

Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train to Santa
December 1st – 23rd, 2017  | Irvine Park Railroad
take this enchanting night ride through historic Irvine Regional Park to meet Santa Claus. Christmas train will depart from the twinkling train station and drop passengers off at the North Pole. children can share their wishlist with Santa and have a photo taken with him.

Santa Arrival Parade in Anaheim
TBD  | 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.  | Anaheim Town Square
Real snow play area, photos with Santa, Kids Craft Activity, Face Painting, Balloon Artist, Train Rides and more! FREE

Visit & Photos with Santa
December 5, 12 & 21, 2017  |  9:30 – 11:30 a.m.  |  Pretend City
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 holiday happening at our museum! Don’t forget to bring a camera!

Operation Santa Event
December 16, 2017  |  9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  |  La Habra Community Center
Food and gift items collected for pre-qualified families in need are distributed. Kids and families can visit with Santa and play carnival-style games.

Yappy Howl-iday 2017
December 2, 2017  |  11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  |  Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
Santa Claus will make a special appearance for the Yappy Howl-iday Celebration. This festive gathering of canines and their companions provides Fido with the opportunity to be photographed with the “Big Dog” himself – Santa Claus. In keeping with the resort’s Season of Giving, guests are asked to bring unopened canned or dry dog food, treats or dog toys to be donated to an animal rescue organization. Proceeds support The Canine Companions Veterans Initiative. FREE

Yuletide Tea with Santa
November 25 – December 25, 2017 • Fri. Sat. Sun.  | 2 – 5:00 p.m.  | Pelican Hill Resort
The holidays are Santa’s cup of tea, and Pellican Hill would like you to join them in the Great Room Social Lounge for a modern twist on the time-honored tradition of gathering for afternoon tea. Sip contemporary blends featuring classic selections while you nosh on savory and sweet small bites. Tea-based cocktails and sparkling wines available à la carte.

Kris Kringle Story Time Mingle
November 25 – December 25, 2017 • Fri. Sat. Sun.  | 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.  | 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.

Breakfast with Santa at Downtown Disney
December 9, 10, 16, 17, 21, 22 & 23, 2017  |  8:00 – 11:00 a.m.  | Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney
Join Santa and his elves at Catal Restaurant in Downtown Disney for a fun-filled, family event including a delectable family-style breakfast, activities for the children, carolers, elves, ice skating and the best part, Santa! The holidays come to life as soon as you walk through the door. Guests are greeted by Charles Dickens’ carolers and escorted to their tables by Santa’s helpers. Families will enjoy Catal’s customized breakfast menu and the children are entertained with tableside activities including building their own ornaments. Santa will make a grand entrance and his elves will take each table to visit him to share their “Christmas Wish List”.

Harley-Davidson CHOC Toy Drive Pick-Up
December 8, 2017  |  12:30 – 1:30 p.m.  |  Pretend City
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 23! Bring a child’s toy valued at $5 or greater to receive 25% off general admission on the day of your visit.

Cookies and Stories with Mrs. Claus
December 2, 2017  |  10:30 – 11:30 a.m.  | The Children’s Museum at La Habra
Enjoy the magic of the season! Sweet Mrs. Claus is coming for a visit to read stories and share cookies with all of our visitors. Please call 562-383-4236 to reserve your spot.

Pet Photos with Santa
November 12 & December 10, 2017  | 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.  | Brea Mall
Bring your pet to pose with Santa. Find Santa in Center Court.

Pet Photos with Santa
December 10, 2017  | 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.  | Shops at Mission Viejo
Bring your pet to pose with Santa. Find Santa on the Lower Level near Nordstrom.

Pet Photos with Santa
December 2, 2017  | 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.  | Irvine Spectrum
Bring your fur babies to pose with Santa

• Fashion Island Santa Hours.
• MainPlace Mall Santa Hours
• Brea Mall Santa Hours
• The Shops at Mission Viejo Santa Hours
• Laguna Hills Mall Santa Hours
• Irvine Spectrum Santa Hours
Outlets of San Clemente Santa Hours

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

Amusement Parks
Knott’s Merry Farm
November 17, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort
November 10, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Holidays at Legoland
November 18, 2017 – January 6, 2018

Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood
November 24, 2017 – January 7, 2018

 

Zoo & Aquarium Events
Holiday Zoobilation at the Santa Ana Zoo
December 1 – 31, 2017  |  Santa Ana Zoo
The Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland called “Winter Zoobilation” with snow, lights, music and special festive decorations for all to enjoy.

Holiday Treats with the Animals
December 2 & 3, 2017  |  Aquarium of the Pacific
In celebration of the holiday season, Santa Diver will be delivering an ocean of gifts to the Aquarium of the Pacific for its animals, including penguins, sea otters, seals, sea lions, lorikeets, and fish. Holiday Treats for the Animals festival kicks off Aquarium Holidays, which runs through December 22, featuring festive décor, a display of gingerbread houses, daily Penguin Walks, holiday music and shopping, “snowfall” in the Great Hall, a special holiday menu in Café Scuba, and daily appearances by Aquarium characters in their holiday outfits.

Seaworld Snowland
November 18, 2017 – January 6, 2018  |  Seaworld San Diego

Jungle Bells
December 12, 2017 – January 6, 2018  |  San Diego Zoo

 

Tree Lightings
Outlets of San Clemente Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 18, 2017  |  4:00 – 6:30 p.m.  |  Outlets of San Clemente
Celebrate the holiday season with a Tree Lighting Celebration at Outlets at San Clemente. Hosted by Santa and his reindeer, the event features a live reindeer meet-and-greet, roaming Christmas carolers, a photo booth, crafts, face-painting, balloon animals and the Grand Finale – the lighting of a fresh-cut 40-foot tall White Fir tree from Mt. Shasta covered in more than 6,000 twinkling, multi-colored lights as “snow” falls over San Clemente. Plus, after the event, guests can get a head-start on Christmas shopping. FREE

Fashion Island Holiday Tree Lighting
November 17 & 18, 2017  |  6:00 p.m.  | Fashion Island Newport Beach
Hosted by Mario Lopez and KOST 103.5 FM’s Ellen K, 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!   Then, after the show and the tree is a glow, come visit Santa…Ho! Ho! Ho! FREE

Nightly Holiday Tree Lighting at Fashion Island
November 19, 2017 – January 1, 2018  |  5:00 p.m.

Irvine Spectrum Nightly Tree Lighting
November 24, 2017 – January 1, 2018  |  Every 30 minutes starting at 5:00 p.m.  | Irvine Spectrum
Edwards Courtyard at Irvine Spectrum Center comes alive this holiday season with a mesmerizing LED color-changing 50-foot holiday tree! Beautifully decorated during the day, the tree will come to life at night, dazzling guests every half hour between 5pm and 11pm with a choreographed six-minute light show set to holiday music. FREE

Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village
December 2, 2017  |  10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.  | 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 24, 2017  |  3:00 – 8:00 p.m.  |  Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
The festivities begin with holiday favorites performed by the Corona Del Mar High School’s chorale group and OC Children’s Song group. Then Santa takes center stage! He will flip the switch and turn on 50+ floating electric Christmas trees and holiday decorations that will illuminate the Back Bay every night through the end of the year. Plus Christmas movie and more. FREE

Balboa Bay Club Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 3, 2017  |  6:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Balboa Bay Club & Resort
OCSA’s MONTAGE! kicks off your holiday season with a new musical review, “Holiday Hullabaloo!” A high-energy performance featuring Santa and friends, live entertainment, and the lighting of our giant Christmas Tree! Complimentary treats and beverages. Complimentary admission with a donation of one new, unwrapped toy. Reservations not required. FREE

Tree Lighting at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort
December 2 |  4:00 p.m.  |  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!

Capistrano Beach Tree Lighting
December 4, 2017  |  4:00 – 6:00 p.m.  |  Pines Park, Dana Point
The event is FREE and features Santa and friends, holiday music, cookies, Dog Holiday Costume Parade with special treats for your four-legged friends and photo ops with Santa for everyone. All dogs must be leashed and maintain good social behavior. The lighting of the tree will tak place at 5:30 pm. FREE

Dana Point Winter Festival and Tree Lighting
December 2, 2017  |  12:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  |  La Plaza, Dana Point
Activities throughout the day include Santa visits, carnival games ($1), craft fair, Dana Point Police Services Kid Print ID, face painting, cookie decorating ($2), holiday crafts, Lego Santa’s Village Workshop, the Mini Express Train, petting zoo, pony rides and the Annual Tree Lighting! Most activities are free.

Brea Tree Lighting
December 2, 2017  |  6:30 – 7:30 p.m.  |  Brea Civic & Cultural Center
Light up your holiday season as the Brea Civic & Cultural Center turns on the lights for its holiday tree at the traditional Tree Lighting ceremony. The front steps of the Civic & Cultural Center are the setting for festivities, which include musical performances and the arrival of Santa Claus. FREE

Buena Park Tree Lighting
December 8, 2017  |  6:00 p.m.  |  Buena Park City Hall
Join us for a holiday extravaganza! The plaza at Buena Park City hall comes alive with musical performances, the lighting of our city tree, and a special visit from Santa! Bring your camera for great holiday photo opportunities and enjoy candy and refreshments available for purchase at our Candy Bar! It is the event of the season! FREE

Orange Tree Lighting Ceremony and Candlelight Procession
December 3, 2017  |  3:30 – 7:00 p.m.  |  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 6, 2017  |  4:30 – 8:30 p.m.  | 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

La Habra Tamale Festival and Tree Lighting
November 26, 2017  |  10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  | Portola Park
More info to come.

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

Laguna Niguel Christmas Tree Lighting
December 2, 2017  |  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Laguna Niguel City Hall
Christmas time is here! Happiness and cheer, fun for all that children call, their favorite time of the year! Join us as we light our community tree in this magical ceremony. Snag a cookie, don’t forget a hot drink, admire the beautiful tree and remember to blink. Stop by to make a whimsical treat, who doesn’t love a good sweet? Santa will be there, although a little tardy, he’s never one to miss a good party! Bring your loved ones and neighbors, family members and friends; please leave your pets at home. Free shuttle available from the former County Courthouse. FREE

San Juan Capistrano Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 2, 2017  |  4:00 – 9:00 p.m.  |  Historic Town Center Park
The celebration begins at 4:15 p.m. with performances by Capistrano Valley High School Orchestra, San Juan Capistrano Youth Mariachi’s and Ballet Foklorico, followed by a holiday stage production featuring students of Musical Theater University. The official lighting of the Christmas tree will take place at 5:30 p.m. Immediately following the ceremony there will festivities at the San Juan Capistrano Mission, Los Rios Park, ZOOMARS and throughout the downtown area.  Free photos with Santa Claus at Los Rios Park, a puppet show, along with a free Christmas train ride and crafts. Mrs.Claus will entertain children at the O’Neil Museum with “Story Time.” ZOOMARS will have a free petting zoo and offer train and hay rides for a small fee. Capistrano Valley High School will accept donations for face painting on Verdugo Street, and “Live Nativity” performances planned at ZOOMARS.  Stroll around the downtown area where shops will remain open, offering complimentary refreshments and special sale items. FREE

South Coast Plaza Tree Lighting Ceremony & Santa Arrival
November 16, 2017  | 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.  |   Town Center, Costa Mesa
Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cider, cookies, Santa hats and more! FREE

Stanton Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 7, 2017  | 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.  |   Stanton Civic Center
The City of Stanton invites you to join your family and friends for this annual holiday favorite! Enjoy live music, arts & crafts, story time with the Stanton Library, and the lighting of the Stanton Central Park 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 some tasty refreshments and an opportunity to meet your friends and neighbors. FREE

Tustin Tree Lighting
December 8, 2017  |  6:00 – 7:30 p.m.  |  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 19, 2017   |  4:00 p.m.  | The Ritz-Carlton Dana Point
The holiday season kicks off with the lighting of the 40-foot holiday tree. Festive music performed by The Jeeps and, of course, Santa arrives to help turn on the lights. FREE

Fountain Valley Tree Lighting
December 2, 2017  |  4:30 – 8:00 p.m.  | 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

Garden Grove Tree Lighting
December 5, 2017  |  6:30 p.m.  | Garden Grove Village Green
Presented by the City of Garden Grove and the Garden Grove Community Foundation, this free event features live entertainment and holiday refreshments. The event culminates with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, spectacular tree lighting, and a flurry of winter snow.  FREE

 

Special Events
Winter Fest OC at the OC Fair 
December 21, 2017 – January 7, 2018 |   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.

Sawdust Art Festival’s Annual Winter Fantasy
Weekends November 18 – December 17, 2017   |  All day  |   Laguna Beach Sawdust
The festival grounds will be transformed into a winter wonderland where 175 artists create, display and sell original creations over the course of five weekends. The Winter Fantasy offers the most unique holiday shopping in all of Southern California. Art media includes jewelry, clothing, fused and blown glass, ceramics, woodwork, forged metals, painting, photography, sculpture, clothing and textiles.

Newport Beach Boat Parade
December 13-17, 2017  |  6:30 p.m.  | Newport Harbor
Join over a million viewers as you watch beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sail along the harbor in the 109th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.  FREE

Stand Up Paddleboarding and Surfing Santa Competition
November 18 & 19, 2017   |  7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | The Ritz-Carlton Dana Point
A fun, two-day surf competition where men, women and children dress like Santa or other holiday-inspired characters and surf or stand up paddle board to benefit Surfers Healing. FREE

Winterfest
December 2, 2017  |  4:00 – 7:30 p.m.  |  Atlantis Play Center, Garden Grove
50 tons of snow! Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus (4PM-7:15PM). Food for sale, crafts, inflatables, carnival games, train rides, music, and more. Tickets are limited to 1,000, and will not be sold at the door. Tickets are available from November 13 through December 1st at Garden Grove City Hall, 11222 Acacia Parkway from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Miracle On Main Street
November 19, 2017  |  2:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Main Street, Huntington Beach
It’s the most wonderful time of the year when HB Downtown fills the 2nd block of Main Street with entertainment, holiday craft vendors, and refreshments. The event starts on the street with entertainment beginning at 2pm with Tuba Christmas, followed by Forever Young and HBHS Cheer. Entertainment continues with the Sunshine Generation, APA’s Surf City Singers, and the world-famous All-American Boys Chorus. Hot cocoa and refreshments also start at 4pm. Santa is scheduled to arrive at 6pm to help light our much-loved Christmas Tree. FREE

Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade
December 9, 2017  |  10:00 a.m.  |  Crown Valley Parkway
“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! Arrive early! This event is a Southern California tradition with more than 3,000 parade participants and an anticipated crowd of more than 10,000 people. 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. The event will go rain or shine, unless conditions are determined unsafe. Please make a note, due to construction at Crown Valley Park; the parade route will end at Central Park Drive. FREE

Candy Caneland & Craft Festival
December 2, 2017  |  10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. | Ehlers Community Center, Buena Park

Enjoy a winter wonderland of spectacular decorations, activities and shopping! Let the little ones glide down a snow slide sized just for them. Two large slides are a hit for bigger kids and parents. Other free activities include jump houses, a kids craft area, stage entertainment, a petting zoo, and, of course, visits with Santa Claus himself. Shop for that special someone from over 100 craft vendors selling original homemade gifts, ornaments, jewelry, ceramics, and more, all at reasonable prices. Don’t forget to stop and feed your hunger at one of the food booths run by local non-profit groups selling delicious eats and treats. FREE

Winter Market
December 2, 2017   |  12:00 p.m.  |   Fullerton Downtown Plaza
The Market will feature holiday Entertainment, free pictures with Santa from 12 to 4 p.m., food booths, holiday shopping, face painting, bounce house, beer and wine garden, and “Spark of Love” toy drive with Fullerton Firefighters. FREE

Children’s Gingerbread House Decorating
December 9 & 17, 2017  | 10:00 a.m.  |  Pelican Hill Resort
Pelican Hill’s Pastry Chef highlights a favorite holiday tradition in this culinary class. Children ages 5 and older will enjoy lunch and create a masterpiece to take home.

Gingerbread House and Holiday Cookie Decorating
December 17, 2017  |  2:00 – 5:00 p.m.  |  Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
Gather with family to decorate your very own gingerbread house and holiday cookies. Children enjoy complimentary hot chocolate. Other beverages will be available for purchase. For reservations call 949.240.2000.

Gingerbread Academy at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort
December 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24th |  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! FREE

Christmas with the Critters
December TBD, 2017   |  11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  |   Ranchos Las Lomas
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.

Santa’s Village By the Sea
December 2, 2017  |  5:00 – 10:00 p.m.  |  San Clemente Community Center
The event begins with the annual tree lighting ceremony to usher in the spirit of the season with Christmas at the Casa, Snow at the Community Center, and the Del Mar Glitz. Take a picture with Santa and delight in a night filled with holiday fun, carolers, cookie decorating, and activities for the whole family to enjoy! FREE

Corona Del Mar Christmas Walk
December 3, 2017   |  11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  |   Corona Del Mar
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

32nd Annual Candlelight Walk
December 8, 9 & 10, 2017  |  5:30. – 8:30 p.m.   |  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.

Merry Movie Night – Elf
December 2, 2017  |  5:00 p.m.   |  Dana Point Harbor
Gather the family for Merry Movie Night! Jolly festivities including crafts, games, and a visit from a live elf start the night off and after the movie enjoy the ceremonial lighting of the Ocean Institutes’ tall ship, the Pilgrim. Bring your beach chairs and blankets, sip hot cocoa, and watch Buddy the elf in this holiday classic. Event is free, food and drink available for purchase.

Huntington Harbour Boat Parade
December 9 & 10, 2017  |  Huntington Harbour
It is that time of year when we get excited about the upcoming boat parade, where we have the opportunity to view our traditional favorites, while adding new, unique and exciting entries. ‘Musical Kicks on Route 66’ is our theme and this means that decorators will have a wide list of motifs from which to choose. There are certainly many different forms and traditions of music from different cultures. FREE

Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade & Festive Family Activities
December 8, 9, 15 & 16, 2017  |  Dana Point Harbor
This year on the boat parade nights, we are excited to include family fun holiday activities throughout the Harbor starting at 4:30pm and providing entertainment and holiday cheer for everyone prior to the boat parade.  The City of Dana Point, County of Orange and the California State Parks at Doheny will provide Trolley service which runs all four days of the parade starting at 3:30pm until 10:30pm. FREE

Boat Rides with Santa
December 2 & 3, 2017  | 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. |  Dana Wharf
Join Santa and Dana Wharf Sportfishing on a twenty-minute cruise around Dana Point Harbor to take pictures with Santa and his holiday helpers! During your holiday adventure at sea, a $3 donation benefiting the El Camino Real Junior Woman’s Club is welcome and appreciated.

Santa Paws
December 2, 2017  | 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. |  Dana Point El Torito Courtyard
Bring your furry friends to have their picture taken with Santa, photos are $15 and benefit the animals at The San Clemente-Dana Point Animals Shelter.

Ho Ho Night Hike
December 9, 2017  |  5:30 – 8:00 p.m.  |  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

Huntington Beach Light a Light of Love Parade
December 3, 2017  |  2:30 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Huntington Beach Pier & Main 
Children’s Holiday Parade, Surf City Santa Visits the Beach, have your pictures taken with Mr. & Mrs. Claus at Pier Plaza, Light a Light of Love Pier and Main Street Snowflake Lighting  and Pier Plaza entertainment. This annual community celebration benefits the CSP Huntington Beach Youth Shelter, an emergency crisis and intervention program for children ages 11 to 17. The Shelter program provides emergency shelter to homeless, abused and struggling youth and focuses on reuniting children with their families.

Holiday Snowland
December 16, 2017 |  9:00 – 12:00 noon  |  Balearic Community Center, Costa Mesa
children can play in 40 tons of snow. plus cookie decorating, hay rides, Santa, food & toy drive and more. FREE

Free Toys for the Holidays
December 1, 2017  |  3:00 – 5:00 p.m.  |  Anaheim Marketplace
1,000 free toys to the first 1,000 kids.

Snow Wonderland
December 3, 2017  |  12:00 – 4:00 p.m.  |  Anaheim Marketplace
get into the Christmas Spirit and play in the snow! The Marketplace will have over 25 tons of snow for families to play in. there will be live entertainment, free hot chocolate, crafts, and a bunch of Giveaways.

The Chill
December 13, 2017 – January 7, 2018  |  Queen Mary, Long Beach
Embark on an International Christmas Expedition at the all-new CHILL. It will feature the United States’ first-ever Ice Adventure Park with a touching tribute to cultural traditions from around. Try global samplings of food, music and live entertainment perfect for the holidays. A 38,000-square foot Ice Adventure Park will feature Ice Skating, an Ice Track, Ice Bumper Cars, Ice Tricycles, a Zip Line, Ice Shuffleboard, a two-story, 140-foot-long Ice Tubing slide and so much more! This one-of-a-kind experience will celebrate the traditions of Christmas from six different regions in an exciting exploration of international fare and cultural celebration, dancing and live performances, Sunday night fireworks, a nightly Christmas Tree Lighting and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus sure to put you in the Holiday spirit.

Santa Claus Classic & Custom Car Show for Kids
December 2, 2017  | 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  |  La Habra Marketplace
La Habra Host Lions 2017 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!

Holiday Parent Shop & Kid Drop
December 9, 2017  |  8:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.  |  La Habra Community Center
Parents get your holiday shopping done while your kids enjoy a day that is all aobut them, including holiday arts & crafts, games and a movie. Lunch and snacks are included. Open to kids ages 4-13 years old. $20 per child.

 

Museum & Library Fun
Winter Wonderfest
December 16, 2017 – January 7, 2017 |  Discovery Science Center
Brrrrr! There’s a snow storm heading towards Orange County this winter, so bundle up and investigate the science behind weather, snow play, and tubing. Experience a lesson in physics as you whoosh down a huge 75-foot ramp on inflatable tubes. But, where do you move the fastest — near the top or bottom? Find other frosty delights in the snow play area, where snowmen are under icy construction with the help of your imagination! Sledding down a snow-covered hill is part of the snow-filled festival, too. And icy explorations into the science of snow? Slip your hands in some mittens and dig deeper into this brrr-illiant topic. Winter Wonderfest is fun for the entire family and allows kids and adults to experience a snow-filled day without leaving Southern California!

The Science of Gingerbread
November 24, 2017 – January 1, 2017 |  Discovery Science Center
Aprons on, scientists! You’ll head into the world of the classic holiday dessert and find out how science plays a crucial role in the kitchen. Our favorite goodies, don’t come together magically though. We use heat, math, engineering and other important components in order to bake and create the confections everyone loves. Build a candy car out of holiday treats and then compete, sweet-to-sweet in the Gingerbread Derby, Santa Claus will make special appearances, and other fa, la, la activities are on the schedule.

Christmas Countdown
December 12 – 23, 2017 |  11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
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 the days!

Celebrate Winter Solstice
December 21, 2017 |  11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
It’s officially winter! Join us as we learn all about winter solstice and the changing of seasons! We will have winter themed art and activities for little ones to join in the winter wonderland fun!

Candy Cane Making Demonstrations
Logan’s Candies  |  Ontario

 

Arts & Theater
Nutcracker for Kids
December 2, 2017  |  10:00 a.m.  | Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Hall
Visions of sugarplums will dance in your head after seeing Tchaikovsky’s delightful Christmas ballet, performed in a condensed 45-minute version created just for kids ages 5-11. This seasonal favorite finishes with a grand finale holiday sing-along and is sure to sell out!

The American Ballet’s Nutcracker
December 7-17, 2017  | Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Hall
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.

Maple Youth Ballet’s The Nutcracker
December 15-17, 2017  | Northwood Performing Arts Center in Irvine
Share the tradition of fantasy as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Nutcracker Prince and Clara ignite the imagination of your princes and princesses of all ages. Watch as this unique Orange County experience unfolds, showcasing more than 90 exceptionally talented & classically trained dancers from across the Southland!

The Nutcracker Ballet
December 9-24, 2017  | Goldenwest College
Enjoy Ballet Repertory Theatre’s cherished 41-year-old tradition of bringing beloved holiday music to life with nearly 300 performers in dazzling costumes. Travel alongside young Clara through a magical world of life-size dolls, toy soldiers, colossal mice, and delicate snowflakes to the fabulous Land of Sweets, home of the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier. Exuberant French, Spanish, Arabian, Russian, and Chinese dancers await you, along with twirling candy canes and waltzing flowers. Orange County’s longest-running Nutcracker is the ultimate feel-good family tradition.

The Festival Theater: The Nutcracker
December 9-24, 2017  |  Irvine Barclay Theatre

Festival Ballet Theatre’s family-friendly breathtaking production features superb colorful scenery and dazzling costumes, which make this age-old tradition sparkle like new. Be swept away by Tchaikovsky’s iconic score as the Sugar Plum Fairy, our heroine Clara, and a cast of hundreds take you on a magical journey to mystical lands. This full-length traditional production is choreographed and directed by Festival Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director, Salwa Rizkalla.

Nutcracker Tea Party –  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! $20 addition to regular ticket price

Festival Ballet-Nutcracker Performance
November 21, 2017 |  11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
Treat your little one to a sneak peek of some of the most loved dances from The Nutcracker! Bring your little ones by the museum to see this holiday classic. You can attend the full version of Festival Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, December 9 – 24, 2017.

 

Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks
• Irvine Spectrum Ice Skating Rink
• The Chill at the Queen Mary

 

Indoor Ice Skating Rinks
• Anaheim ICE
• Aliso Viejo Ice Palace
• Yorba Linda ICE

 

Special Needs Friendly Events
Sensitive Santa Visit & Sensory Holiday Celebration
December 18, 2017  |  5:00 – 7:30 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
Santa is coming to Pretend City Children’s Museum for Autism Night! Join us for this great opportunity to meet and tell Santa your holiday wish. Our “Sensitive Santa” visit and photo opportunity provides a sensory sensitive experience with low Christmas carols, dim lights, and trained Santa to ease some of the anxieties that may come with visiting Santa. This is a wonderful opportunity for grown-ups to capture photos of their child with Santa that might not be possible at a busy mall or crowded event. Don’t forget to bring a camera! Don’t forget to bring a camera!

Santa Cares
December 3, 2017  |  8:00 – 10:00 a.m.  |  Laguna Hills Mall
Special needs children can spend time with Santa in a caring environment.

Caring Santa
December 3, 2017  |  9:00 – 10:30 a.m.  |  Shops at Mission Viejo
Caring Santa provides a subdued and welcoming environment for children with special needs and their familiesbefore the mall opens. Entrance near The Cheesecake Factory. Sign up online at simon.com/caringsanta

Caring Santa
December 3, 2017  |  9:00 – 10:30 a.m.  |  Brea Mall
Caring Santa provides a subdued and welcoming environment for children with special needs and their families. To reserve your spot, please visit: http://breamall.eventbrite.com/

Caring Santa at Irvine Spectrum
December 3, 2017  | 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.  | Irvine Spectrum
Partnering with Autism Speaks for a special sensory-friendly morning of Santa Cares

 

Hispanic Heritage Events
Los Posada Celebration
December 16, 2017  |  11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
Feliz Navidad! It’s time to celebrate Las Posadas! This colorful Mexican holiday celebrates the 9 days leading up to Christmas! Join us for some festive activities, art, and events at Pretend City!

Fiesta Navidad
December 21, 2017  |  8:00 p.m.  |  Segerstrom Center for the Arts
The Grammy Award®-winning Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano returns to Segerstrom Center with one of Orange County’s most beloved holiday events, Fiesta Navidad. Filled with music and dance, this colorful celebration of Mexican holiday traditions is perfect for the whole family.

Three Kings Day at Disneyland
January 4 – 7, 2018  |  Disney California Adventure Park
Honoring 3 Wise Kings Bearing Gifts. The Epiphany—or twelfth day of Christmas—is celebrated around the world in many ways. In Mexico, Central and South America the holiday is known as El Día de los Reyes Magos. At the Disney Festival of the Holidays, we’ll mark this festive occasion with enchanting Latin American traditions the whole family will enjoy. Available for an additional charge.

Posada Navideña
December 10, 2017  |  12:00 – 4:00 p.m.  |  Anaheim Marketplace
Celebrate Las Posadas at the Anaheim Marketplace.

Hanukah Events
Chanukah Wonderland & Menorah Lighting
December 17, 2017  |  5:30 p.m.  |  Laguna Niguel City Hall
Enjoy live entertainment, activities, and crafts, as well as your favorite Chanukah, treats – latkes, dreidels, and more! Bring your family, friends, and lots of holiday spirit!  FREE

Menorah Lighting at Fashion Island
December TBD  |  6:00 p.m.  |  Fashion Island, Newport Beach
Enjoy singing, festive traditions, and sweet treats. This event, in partnership with Chabad Center for Jewish Life, Newport Beach, will be held in the Atrium Garden Courtyard, near Dick’s Sporting Goods and Wahoo’s Fish Taco. FREE

Menorah Lighting at the Outlets of San Clemente
December 17, 2017  |  4:00 p.m.  |  Outlets at San Clemente
Join us as we celebrate Chanukah, in conjunction with the Chabad Jewish Center of San Clemente. This free family-friendly celebration will include entertainment for children, balloons and traditional activities, hot latkes, doughnuts and gelt. FREE

Ladera Ranch Menorah Lighting
December TBD  |  3:30 – 4:30 p.m.  |  Town Green, Ladera Ranch
Menorah Lighting, songs and Menorah Lighting ceremony, a LARCS Partnership event with the Jewish Community of Ladera Ranch Club, at the Town Green, corner of Sienna Parkway & Mercantile Way.  FREE

Hurray for Chanukah Celebration
December 12 – 20, 2017 |  3:30 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
Spin the dreidel and light the Menorah! We’re celebrating Chanukah at Pretend City! Let your little ones learn about this holiday through fun activities, traditions, games, and art! We will have a full day of fun singing songs and getting in the holiday spirit!

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Comments

  1. Kathy Grubbs says:

    Just wanted to mention East Lake Shores as one of the most beautiful holiday areas I’ve seen. 191 homes along the lake are decorated so that reflections off the water double the visual experience. (Yorba Linda Blvd to Village Center Drive to Vista Laguna). Walk around the lake – one mile. Walk or drive up and down each canal – two miles. View the lake from the Club House deck – magnificent. In addition, there is a boat parade the second Saturday and Sunday of each December. Sit along the banks and enjoy the parade. East Lake is lit from Thanksgiving till Jan 10. Come by and check it out. 5325 Village Center Drive. Yorba Linda 92886

  2. Patricia Villagomez says:

    Holiday Puppet Extravaganza: Professional puppeteers will perform a show about Eli the energetic elf at Yorba Linda Public Library. 6:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 17. Free. 18181 Imperial Highway. 714-777-2837 or http://www.ylpl.net

  3. Christina Wilmer says:

    Thank so for this. So many options!

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