75 Christmas and Holiday Events for Kids and Families in Orange County

75 Family Holiday Events in Orange Countyclick here for the updated event list

the holiday season has arrived here in Orange County and events are beginning to pop up all around Southern California!  i have compiled a list of over 75 Holiday Events in Orange County, including Christmas events, Hanukkah events and winter celebrations.  all of these events are family-friendly, and take place around the OC and SoCal this holiday season.

so get your calendar out and pick the ones that look the most fun for you and your family. get ready to make this wonderful season one that your family remembers! (be sure to check back here, as more events will be added to the list as they are announced.)

Santa Events
Irvine Park Railraod Christmas Train to Santa
November 29 – December 23, 2013  | 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
November 29, 2013  | 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

Breakfast with Santa
December 21, 2013  | 10:00 – 12:00 p.m.  | Anaheim Town Square
tell Santa your holiday wishes and enjoy seasonal music and a traditional breakfast buffet. A to-go candy buffet and Santa photo souvenir are included. Parent supervision is required throughout Santa visits and breakfast.

Pictures with Santa in the Disney Gazebo
Weekends starting November 29, 2013  | 12:00 – 6:00 p.m.  | Rogers Gardens
bring in your children and take a professional photo with Santa Claus. Santa will be in the original Disneyland bandstand gazebo waiting to hear every child’s wish for this Christmas season. FREE

• Fashion Island Santa Hours
• MainPlace Mall Santa Hours
• Brea Mall Santa Hours
• The Shops at Mission Viejo Santa Hours

Holiday Light Displays in the OC
• 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 29, 2013 – January 5, 2014

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort
November 12, 2013 – January 5, 2014

Legoland Holiday Snow Days & Winter Nights
November 29 – December 31, 2013

Zoo & Aquarium Events
Holidays with the Critters
December 7, 2013  |  Santa Ana Zoo
the zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland, and guest can see the animals put on their “winter coats.” enjoy winter crafts, stories and handmade decorations.

Holiday Treat with the Animals
December 7 & 8, 2013  |  Aquarium of the Pacific
guests can see Santa dive with sharks and watch the Aquarium’s animals receive  special treats and enrichment gifts during the Holiday Treats for the Animals weekend. enjoy holiday music, crafts, special presentations, unique photo opportunities, shopping, and more.

Christmas at the Zoo
December 14, 2013  |  10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.   |  OC Zoo
celebrate Christmas at the OC Zoo! you can visit with Santa, listen to story time with Mrs. Claus, make fun crafts, and get your face painted. you will also be able to see the animals receive treats hidden inside Christmas trees and gift boxes!

Seaworld Snowland
November 15, 2013 – January 5, 2014  |  Seaworld San Diego

Jungle Bells
November 15, 2013 – January 6, 2014  |  San Diego Zoo

Tree Lightings
Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village
December 7, 2013  |  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 Beach Boat Parade
December 18-22, 2013  |  6:30 p.m.  | Newport Harbor
The parade starts off Bay Island at 6:30 pm and finishes at the same site at approximately 9:00 pm each evening.  FREE

Newport Dunes Lighting of the Bay
December 6, 2013  |  6:00 p.m.  |  Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
welcome the holidays California style as Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina hosts its 23rd annual Lighting of the Bay. taking center stage will be Santa Claus, who will arrive not by sleigh, but by lighted paddleboard. watch as he will flip the switch that will illuminate 50 electric Christmas trees situated on the bay.  FREE

Balboa Bay Club Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 2, 2013  |  6:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Balboa Bay Club & Resort
an evening of festivities including the lighting of the giant Christmas tree, live musical performance of holiday songs, holiday cookies, hot beverages and a visit from Santa Claus. Guests are encouraged to donate a new, unwrapped gift for the Toys for Tots Program..  FREE

Orange Tree Lighting Ceremony and Candlelight Procession
December 8, 2013  |  3:30 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

Laguna Niguel Christmas Tree Lighting
December 7, 2013  |  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Laguna Niguel City Hall
this holiday event includes music, entertainment, activities for kids, an appearance by Santa Claus and of course, the lighting of the Christmas tree. Get into the spirit of giving by donating a new toy that will go to military families. FREE

Tustin Tree Lighting
December 6, 2013  |  6:00 p.m.  |  Tustin City Hall
this holiday event includes music, entertainment, activities for kids, an appearance by Santa Claus and of course, the lighting of the Christmas tree. FREE

Garden Grove Tree Lighting
December 3, 2013  |  6:30 – 7:30 p.m.  | Garden Grove Village Green
the event features live entertainment and holiday refreshments, culminating with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus along with a spectacular tree lighting and a flurry of winter snow.  FREE

Hometown Heroes Tree Lighting at the Richard Nixon Library
December 8, 2013  |  11:30 a.m.  |  Richard Nixon Library
the Nixon Foundation will honor Orange County’s heroes who lost their lives in serving our country. in remembrance of the fallen soldiers, family members can hang a personal ornament on the special Hometown Heroes Christmas tree..  FREE

La Habra Tree Lighting
December 3, 2013  |  6:00 p.m.  |  La Habra City Hall
this holiday event will feature a choir performance and lighting of the City’s Christmas tree.  FREE

Nightly Holiday Tree Lighting at Fashion Island
November 17, 2013 – January 5, 2014  |  5:00 p.m.

Special Events
Lego Store Monthly Mini Build
December 3, 2013  |  Lego Stores
build you own mini holiday rocking horse. FREE

Sawdust Art Festival’s 23rd Annual Winter Fantasy
Weekends November 23 – December 15, 2013   |  10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  |   Laguna
festival grounds will be transformed into a winter wonderland where 175 artists create, display and sell original creations. 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.

Elf on the Shelf Event
November 30, 2013   |  2:00 – 4:00 p.m.  |   Kitson – Fashion Island
Stop by Kitson and pick up an Elf on the Shelf book, have the book signed and meet the co-author of The Elf on the Shelf: Birthday Tradition!

Victorian Christmas
December 7, 2013  |  10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.   |  Heritage Hill Historical Park
Come and see the park’s buildings decorated for the holidays and enjoy holiday entertainment, children’s crafts, historical exhibits, and visits with Santa!

Huntington Harbour Boat Parade
December 7 & 8, 2013  |  Huntington Harbour
visit the website for more information.

Christmas at the Beach
December 7, 2013  |  2:00 – 6:00 p.m.  |  ExploreOcean
Balboa Village becomes a holiday experience. Enjoy a complimentary horse drawn carriage ride around the village, participate in holiday arts and crafts and enjoy holiday music and movies showing in the ExplorOcean galleries along with other Fun Zone attractions, retailers and restaurants. The annual tree lighting ceremony is at 5:00pm, and don’t miss a special visit from Santa and sounds of Christmas carolers spreading the holiday spirit. FREE

Christmas Countdown
December 13, 2013 |  10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
time to begin the 12 Days of Christmas Countdown! the weeks leading up to Christmas are an exciting, magical time that can seem almost endless for young children! Pretend City’s daily morning activities will help channel your young child’s anticipation into simple activities that celebrate the holiday.

Victorian Christmas
December 7, 2013  |  10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.   |  Heritage Hill Historical Park
Come and see the park’s buildings decorated for the holidays and enjoy holiday entertainment, children’s crafts, historical exhibits, and visits with Santa!

Candlelight Walk
December 14 & 15, 2013  |  5:30 – 8:30 p.m.   |  Heritage Hill Historical Park
Experience an enchanted evening with luminaria-lit paths, historical buildings aglow with holiday lights and period decorations. There will be performers in each building along with strolling carolers and visits with Santa.

Ho Ho Ho Hike
December 7, 2013  |  5:30 – 7:30 p.m.   |  Carbon Canyon Regional Park
park rangers will lead a starlit hike showcasing the natural wonders that can only be seen at night. the Ho Ho Ho Hike will feature many fun activities, including a visit to the Nature Center, a live animal presentation; hot cocoa and cookies, and a hike through the wilderness area.

Mason Park Wintertime Celebration
December 18, 2013  |  4:00 – 6:00 p.m.   |  Mason Regional Park
Come help Mason Regional Park celebrate the winter season! Join the choir from Vista Verde School in singing holiday carols, decorating a tree, and enjoying festive yuletide refreshments. FREE

Huntington Beach Light a Light of Love Parade
December 1, 2013  |  4:30 – 8:00 p.m.  |  Huntington Beach Pier & Main 
Light a Light of Love is a Children’s and Family focused parade with local youth groups and Santa Claus along with Mrs. Santa arriving on the city of HB fire engine. The Light of Love portion includes switching the lights on the Huntington Beach Pier for the holiday season. Kids can pictures taken with Santa. Proceeds benefit the CSP Youth Shelter, a vary worthwhile cause!

John Force Holiday Car Show
December 2, 2013  |  10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.  |  John Force RaceStation
enjoy holiday music, meeting top race car drivers, view a large display of classic cars and more.

Holiday Snowland
December 14, 2013 |  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

Santa Celebration
December 7, 2013 |  10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon  |  Westminster Mall
Kidgits celebrate Santa in the Target Court for a bounce house, arts and crafts, and prizes! also be celebrate the release of Despicable Me on Blu-Ray™ and DVD December 10th. Grab your minion headband and come have fun making your own Despicable Me 2 holiday ornament and even your own minion food! FREE

Snow Wonderland
December 1, 2013  |  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.

Museum & Library Fun
The Science of Gingerbread
December 10, 2013 – January 1, 2014 |  Discovery Science Center
See award-winning Gingerbread Competition entries, participate in hands-on kitchen science activities, find out all about kitchen tools,Gingerbread recipe science and more

Trains, Trees and Traditions
November 23, 2013 – January 5, 2014 |  The Richard Nixon Library
The exhibit takes visitors through a whistling wonderland of model trains to celebrate a time when little locomotives would round the tracks underneath Christmas trees all across America. scattered throughout the museum are 24 breathtaking Christmas trees decorated with more than 5,000 colorful ornaments and 13,000 sparkling lights.

Breakfast with Santa
December 7 & 8, 2013  |  La Habra Children’s Museum
spend the morning with Santa Claus, enjoy yummy breakfast treats, make an ornament for your tree, and take the classic Santa photo!

Candy Cane Making Demonstrations
Logan’s Candies  |  Ontario

Arts & Theater
Nutcracker for Kids
December 14, 2013  |  10:00 a.m.  | Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Hall
the event features live entertainment and holiday refreshments, culminating with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus along with a spectacular tree lighting and a flurry of winter snow.

Maple Youth Ballet’s The Nutcracker
December 21-23, 2013  | Northwood Performing Arts Center in Irvine
Enjoy a Nutcracker Ballet experience complete with Pre and Post Performance Activities. visit Clara’s Tutu Tent before and during intermission for special offerings that will include photo opportunities, music, gourmet treats and more!

The Nutcracker Ballet
December 8-24, 2013  | Goldenwest College
For the 37th consecutive year, Ballet Repertory Theatre happily returns with its exuberant full-length Nutcracker. Nearly 300 performers in dazzling costumes gracefully bring to life beloved holiday music with the help of vibrant sets and props.

The Nutcracker Storytime presented by the Tustin Dance Center
December 3, 2013  |   7:00 – 8:00 p.m.  |   Goldenwest College
A magical story time featuring costumed performances followed by cookies and cocoa! For kids 12 and under and their families. register at the Information desk or by calling 714-544-7725.

The Festival Theater: The Nutcracker
December 13-24, 2013  |  Irvine Barclay Theatre
Festival Ballet Theatre’s breathtaking production features superb colorful sceneries and dazzling costumes, which make this age-old tradition sparkle like new!

Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks
• Olaf’s FROZEN Ice Skating Rink in Downtown Disney
• 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 18th  |  1:00 – 5:00 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
a special “Sensitive Santa” visit and photo opportunity, specially designed to provide a sensory sensitive experience with low Christmas carols, dim lights, and trained Santa and helpers to ease some of the anxieties that may come with visiting Santa. must register.

Hispanic Heritage Events
Los Posada Celebration
December 16, 2013  |  10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
families to celebrate the first day of this 9 day Mexican Christmas celebration. Through special activities and events your children will have a better understanding of the history of this celebration in which so many partake.

Posada Navideña
December 15, 2013  |  10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  |  Anaheim Marketplace
families to celebrate the first day of this 9 day Mexican Christmas celebration. Through special activities and events your children will have a better understanding of the history of this celebration in which so many partake.

Hanukkah Events
Chanukkah Wonderland & Menorah Lighting
December 1, 2013  |  3:30 p.m.  |  Laguna Niguel City Hall
A blizzard of holiday fun for the whole family! Enjoy live entertainment, activities, and crafts as well as your favorite Chanukah treats – latkes, dreidles, and more! Bring your family, friends, and lots of holiday spirit!  FREE

Festival of Lights
December 1st  |  1:00 – 5:00 p.m.  |  La Habra Children’s Museum
celebrate international festivals of lights including Diwali, Hanukkah and Las Posadas. Make beautiful crafts reflecting these traditions. activities will include storytelling, music and sweet treats.  FREE

Countdown Hanukkah Celebration
November 29, 2013 |  10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
there are many symbols associated with Hannukah. this is your opportunity to come and learn more about many of the symbols through engaging activities that are sure to have your little ones delighted while wanting to learn more about this special holiday

Hooray for Hanukkah Celebration
December 1st  |  1:00 – 5:00 p.m.  |  Pretend City Children’s Museum
Celebrate Hanukkah at Pretend City! These rich and diverse circle times will teach your child about the Hanukkah miracle and traditional symbols. Games, finger-play rhymes, art projects, and activities are part of the fun!

Menorah Lighting
December 3, 2013  |  6:00 – 7:00 p.m.  |  Westminster Mall
By the lower level near Target


  1. ANAHEIM, CA (November 3, 2015) – Santa Claus is coming to 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!

    Breakfast with Santa will make the holidays come to life as soon as you walk through the door. Guests will be greeted by Charles Dickens’ carolers and then escorted to their tables by Santa’s little helpers. As families await Santa’s arrival, they will enjoy Catal’s customized breakfast menu and the children will be kept entertained with tableside activities including building their own ornaments. Once Santa makes his grand entrance, his elves will take each table one-by-one to visit Santa and share their “Christmas Wish List”. But wait, the fun doesn’t stop there! After breakfast commences, guests will have the option of taking their family to Olaf’s Frozen Ice Rink, Downtown Disney’s outdoor ice rink!

    To view the menu and complete a reservation form, please visit Catal’s website at http://www.patinagroup.com/catal. Tickets are also available for purchase online at https://www.eventbrite.com/d/ca/catal/.

    Breakfast with Santa will run December 12th, 13th, 19th and 20th with seatings at 9am and 11am, and one seating on December 21st at 10am. For more information or questions, please call 714-776-4000.

    Press Contact:
    Gina Payne
    Marketing Manager, Patina Restaurant Group – Downtown Disney

  2. liyana says

    Thank you for this compilation of lists of things to do. we appreciate it!

  3. This is the most amazing list of Holiday Activities I’ve seen! thanks so much for putting all this together!

  4. This is why I love you. One stop shop for family and fun in our location. 🙂


  1. […] If you're looking for fun activities to do with children this holiday season, then check out this extensive list by the fantastic Popsicle Blog!  […]

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