Whether it’s classic theater performances, toy drives, cozy story times or visits with Santa Claus himself, there’s plenty happening in Orange County this holiday season. Here are some popular things to do!
Festival Ballet Theater’s “The Nutcracker””
This is the classic holiday tale of Clara, a young girl who receives a Nutcracker soldier from her godfather. When night falls the toy soldiers come to life, Christmas trees grow taller, the mice become larger and Clara’s Nutcracker comes to life. Dec. 11th at 2pm & 7pm; Dec. 12th at 1pm & 6pm. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine. $40 adults; $37 seniors; $35 children under 12. 949-854-4646 ext. 1.
Parade of Lights Dinner Cruises on Hornblower
Listed as one of the top 100 holiday parades in the United States, the Newport Beach Boat Parade is an incredible display of festively decorated yachts and waterfront homes, guaranteed to put you in a festive spirit. The parade is so popular that special dining cruises extend over 7 days (some cruises are already sold out) December 13th -20th, 2015. (5:30pm – 9:00pm cruising. For reservations, call 949-650-2412 with boarding at 3101 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663)
Annual Drive-Thru Nativity and Food Drive
This annual event reenacts the story of Christ’s birth with 10 live scenes. Visitors simply drive-thru or walk the campus at Mount of Olives Church to view the scenes. Actors and animals (including sheep, goats and a camel) help to bring the story to life. Non-perishable food items will also be accepted to help stock South County Outreach’s food pantry (not mandatory). Dec. 10th-11th at 6pm-10pm. Mount of Olives Church, 24772 Chrisanta Dr., Mission Viejo. Free. 949-837-7467
“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”
Alert! Santa has been kidnapped by Martians! Will the children of Earth have no toys on Christmas Day? Maverick Theater presents a stage adaptation of this madcap holiday adventure. Dec. 10th at 8pm; Dec. 11th 4pm & 8pm; Dec. 12th at 3pm & 7pm. Maverick Theater, 110 E. Walnut Ave., Fullerton. $20 general admission; $10 students with current I.D. 714-526-7070.
Saint Nick at Night Hike
Start off with hot chocolate and cookies from 5:30pm-6pm, then head off into the woods for an easy, starlit, 30-minute ranger-led night hike. Participants should wear warm jackets, good walking shoes and bring a flashlight. Dec. 10th at 5:30pm-7 pm. Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange. Free. To make a reservation, call 714-973-6835.
Holiday Music Celebration
William R. Mason Park is hosting a special holiday event at it’s amphitheater to put patrons in a merry spirit with performances by high school performing arts students. There will also be a story read-along, sing-alongs and a special appearance by Santa Claus. Dec. 11th at 4pm-6pm. William R. Mason Regional Park, 18712 University Drive, Irvine. Free. 949-923-2223.
Operation Band-Aid: Show & Toy Drive
Featuring performances by Honeypie, John Hanson of Melanoid, Charity Swim and Jameson, this local music holiday concert aims to raise toys for Orangewood Children’s Foundation in Santa Ana. 8:30 p.m. Dec. 10. The Gypsy Lounge, 23600 Rockfield Blvd., Lake Forest. $10 admission without toy; $5 with toy donation. 21+. 949-206-9990.
33rd Annual Orange Coast College Poinsettia Sale
The OCC Horticulture Department hosts its 33rd annual poinsettia sale featuring individual plants, hanging baskets and 12-inch bowls ranging from $5-$40. Dec. 10th at 10am-3pm. Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa. Free admission. 714-432-5748.
“A Picture of Christmas”
A family musical event that looks in at the lives of families as they share and celebrate many years of holiday memories and discover the true meaning of Christmas. All ages are welcome. Childcare will be provided. Dec. 11th & 12th at 6pm-7:30pm. Christ Community Church of Laguna Hills, 25382 MacKenzie, Laguna Hills. Free admission. 949-586-6850.
Hot Chocolate with Santa & Friends
Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate while decorating cookies, creating holiday art projects and listening to stories and music. Dec. 11th 12:30pm-4pm. Bowers Kidseum, 1802 Main Street, Santa Ana. Free for members; $5 for non-members; Children under 3 are free. For reservations, call 714-480-1520.
Holiday Gingerbread Display
Sugar, spice and everything nice will be on display at the Ritz-Carlton. The pastry team will spend more than 400 hours to create the gingerbread display that will highlight a surf-inspired theme. Made from gingerbread, doughnuts, sugar cubes, waffles, pretzels, cream puffs, rolls, cookies, crackers, cereal, macaroons, dried fruit, chocolate shavings and candy, this is a holiday sight to see. 9am-9pm at The Ritz-Carlton. Laguna Niguel, One Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point. Free admission. 949-240-2000.
Holiday things to do is reprinted from The Orange County Register.