UPDATED: These Family Holiday Festivities Bring Smiles to the Season

Ritz-Carlton 2018 gingerbread display. Photo credit: Ritz-Carlton

No holiday event would be complete without three things: Santa Claus, gingerbread houses, and hot chocolate. Find an event that the family would enjoy! Meet Santa, build your own gingerbread house, or listen to a holiday story together. Christmas is a great time for the family to come together and even give back to those who need extra love this holiday season.

THROUGH DEC. 23
CHRISTMAS TREE LOT
Pick the perfect pine at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort Christmas Tree Lot. Sip free coffee and hot chocolate while browsing hundreds of trees. Newport Dunes Tree Lot receives fresh shipments weekly and offers delivery as well as free parking for Christmas tree shoppers. Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach, 949-999-3100, newportdunes.com

THROUGH JAN. 2
GINGERBREAD EXTRAVAGANZA
Each year, the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Nigel’s talented pastry team creates a spectacular 24-foot-by-9-foot gingerbread extravaganza for public display in the lobby. Developed by executive pastry chef Sylvain Haage, this year’s gingerbread extravaganza highlights the town and characters of Whoville as a tribute to the Dr. Seuss’ classic “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point, 949-240-2000, ritzcarlton.com

DEC. 1 THROUGH DEC. 29
HOLIDAY GINGERBREAD DISPLAY: “FASHION ISLAND OF MISFIT TOYS”
“Fashion Island of Misfit Toys,” this year’s annual gingerbread display, takes its theme and inspiration from the classic movie “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” This sweet, one-of-a-kind display will also give a not-so-subtle nod to high-end fashion with designer bags, boxes, and accessories. Hot apple cider and cookies will be served on weekends. Guests are encouraged to bring unwrapped toys for the annual Toys for Tots drive. Fashion Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949-386-8361, fashionislandhotel.com

DEC. 6-7 AND DEC. 13-14
HOLIDAY STORYTELLING
Families are invited to celebrate with stories of the season. Storytelling is held in the Eco-Adventure Center and free to attend. Guests are encouraged to bring a new children’s book for donation to Miracles for Kids. Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Nigel, 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point, 949-240-2000, ritzcarlton.com

DEC. 7
EIGHTH ANNUAL SANTA PAWS
Hosted by the Pet Project Foundation, the eighth annual Santa Paws event invites you to bring your pet to take a picture with Santa Claus for a small fee. All proceeds go to the Pet Project Foundation, which supports the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter. All dogs must be on leash. El Torito Courtyard at Dana Point Harbor, 34521 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, danapointharbor.com

DEC. 7
ANNUAL RUN FOR A CLAUS
One of Orange County’s newer and most popular holiday traditions will bring 3,500 people of all ages and backgrounds to UC Irvine campus for the sixth annual Run for a Claus. Participants dressed as Santa, elves, reindeer, Grinches, and more will don their running shoes, too, to raise money for Toys for Tots, The Salvation Army, and the Kids Run the OC Foundation. The event is a fun, colorful, and crazy community tradition for runners and walkers of all ages. UC Irvine Campus, Irvine, 949-222-0456, runforaclaus.com

DEC. 7 AND 8
BOAT RIDE WITH SANTA
Join Santa and Dana Wharf Sportfishing for a 20-minute cruise around Dana Point Harbor to take pictures with Santa and his holiday helpers. A small donation to benefit the El Camino Real Junior Woman’s club is welcome and appreciated. Dana Wharf Sportfishing, 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point Harbor, 949-496-5794, danawharf.com

DEC.7
HOLIDAY KICKOFF
Get the holidays started with Santa’s arrival at Lido Marina Village via an electric boat! He will arrive at 11 a.m. and spend the day on the Lido Deck greeting all and spreading holiday cheer. The kickoff event also includes a petting zoo, holiday music by Zach Churchill, and a balloon twister and face painter for the kids. Lido Marina Village, Newport Beach, lidomarinavillage.com

DEC. 8
HOWLIDAY YAPPY HOUR
Celebrate the holidays with a festive Yappy Hour at the A&O Kitchen + Bar at the Balboa Bay Resort. Dogs are invited to enjoy special treats, giveaways, and photos with Santa Paws, while their humans sip on pup-themed cocktails from Tito’s. Enjoy extended happy hour and waterfront views; no reservations required. Balboa Bay Resort, 1221 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, 949-645-5000, balboabayresort.com

DEC. 14
10TH ANNUAL PANCAKES WITH SANTA
Join the Ranch at Laguna Beach for a pancake breakfast with fun toppings, holiday hayrides, ornament decorating, face painting, and pictures with Santa. Tickets are $45 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under. The Ranch at Laguna Beach, 31106 Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 949-715-1376, theranchlb.com

DEC. 14
CHRISTMAS AT THE ZOO
Families are invited to spend a winter day at the seasonally decorated OC Zoo inside Irvine Regional Park. Throughout the festive day, furry residents will open treat-filled gifts and search for special goodies hidden in Christmas trees. Children can enjoy holiday crafts and games. Special guests Mr. and Mrs. Claus will sprinkle holiday cheer throughout the zoo as they visit with children and spread holiday cheer. Orange County Zoo, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, 714-973-6847, ocparks.com/oczoo/

DEC. 14 AND 15
SNOW DAYS WITH THE CRITTERS
Experience a snow day at the Santa Ana Zoo. Watch animals receive icy treats, listen to festive music, enjoy the winter decorations, play educational games, create cool crafts, and listen to winter stories. All Zoo stations will celebrate the Christmas winter. Santa Ana Zoo, 1801 E. Chestnut Ave., Santa Ana, santaanazoo.org

DEC. 14
ANAHEIM NIGHT MARKET: HOLIDAY EDITION
A holiday edition of the Anaheim Night Market will be held at Farmers Park, where there will be indie craft vendors, live holiday entertainment, and a free screening of the movie “Elf.” Start your holiday gift shopping early with unique homemade goods, and then explore the Anaheim Packing District for a variety of food and drinks. Anaheim Packing District, 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., 714-533-7225, anaheimpackingdistrict.com

DEC. 15
SANTA AT THE ANAHEIM PACKING HOUSE
Santa will make an appearance at the Anaheim Packing House to meet children of all ages. Bring your camera to capture a fun holiday moment with the family. Free organic candy canes will be handed out, so arrive early to grab one! Anaheim Packing District, 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., 714-533-7225, anaheimpackingdistrict.com

DEC. 15
YAPPY HOWL-IDAY CELEBRATION
This festive gathering of canines and their companions provides furry friends the opportunity to be photographed with the “big dog” himself–Santa Paws. Guests are encouraged to bring unopened canned or dry dog food, treats, or dog toys to support animals in need. The event is free, with food and beverages available for purchase and proceeds benefitting Canine Companions for Independence. Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Nigel, 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point, 949-240-2000, ritzcarlton.com

DEC. 18
MAKE MIC NIGHT
Perform a jolly holiday song at the MAKE building in the Anaheim Packing District, choosing from a fun holiday music catalog that will be provided. Arrive early to sign in for this cheerful get-together and share your musical talents with everyone. Anaheim Packing District, 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., 714-533-7225, anaheimpackingdistrict.com

DEC. 19 THROUGH JAN. 5
WINTER FEST OC
Celebrate the holidays at Winter Fest OC, which will be full of holiday treats, live entertainment, carnival fun, and a petting zoo. Visit Winter Fest to experience fresh snow in the Alpine Village or ice skate next to the 30-foot-tall Christmas tree. On New Year’s Eve, ring in the New Year with fireworks and a 3,000-balloon drop at midnight. OC Fair and Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, winterfestoc.com

DEC. 21 AND 22
GINGERBREAD ACADEMY
At the Monarch Beach Resort, learn how to create an adorable gingerbread house using lots of sweet treats. With your family, build one together and take it home to display as a Christmas tradition. Santa Claus will stop by for photos. Call to reserve a spot. Monarch Beach Resort, 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, 949-234-3900, monarchbeachresort.com

DEC. 22 THROUGH 30
HANUKKAH CANDLE LIGHTING
Join the Monarch Beach Resort and Rabbi Eli Goorevitch from Chabad of Dana Point for a traditional Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at 33 Degrees North. Monarch Beach Resort, 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, 949-234-3900, monarchbeachresort.com

DEC. 31
NEW YEAR’S EVE AT THE ANAHEIM PACKING HOUSE
This New Year’s Eve celebration features a funky live performance from the Diversity Band of So Cal. Explore tasty food and drinks from Anaheim’s Packing House vendors while getting ready for the midnight countdown. Admission is free and all are welcome; check individual businesses for holiday hours. Anaheim Packing District, 440 S. Anaheim Blvd., 714-533-7225, anaheimpackingdistrict.com

Facebook Comments