Orange County California Christmas Events: A Seasonal Celebration Guide

· 8 min read

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Festive Light Displays

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is one of the most anticipated events in Orange County, California. Every year, hundreds of boats decorated with dazzling lights sail through the harbor, creating a magical spectacle for spectators. The parade features a variety of themed boats, including traditional holiday displays and extravagant designs. Families can enjoy watching the procession from various viewing spots along the waterfront or even participate by entering their own decorated boat. With live music performances and fireworks lighting up the night sky, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is an unforgettable experience for all.

Irvine Park Railroad's Christmas Train

Irvine Park Railroad's Christmas Train offers a delightful holiday experience for families in Orange County, California. The train ride takes passengers on a journey through scenic landscapes adorned with festive decorations and twinkling lights. Children can visit Santa Claus at his workshop to share their wish lists and take memorable photos. The Christmas Train also includes activities like cookie decorating and story time with Mrs. Claus to keep kids entertained throughout the event. With cheerful music playing in the background and hot cocoa available for purchase, Irvine Park Railroad's Christmas Train creates a warm and joyful atmosphere that captures the spirit of Christmas.

Nights of 1000 Lights at Sherman Library & Gardens

Sherman Library & Gardens transforms into a captivating wonderland during its Nights of 1000 Lights event in Orange County, California. This annual celebration showcases thousands of twinkling lights illuminating lush gardens filled with exotic plants and stunning floral arrangements. Visitors can stroll through pathways adorned with colorful light displays while enjoying live holiday music performances by local artists. Nighttime garden tours provide an enchanting experience as guests discover hidden corners illuminated by intricate light installations. Delicious food trucks offer tasty treats to satisfy cravings while savoring this magical ambiance under starry skies at Sherman Library & Gardens' Nights of 1000 Lights.

Holiday Markets and Fairs

Sawdust Winter Fantasy

The Sawdust Winter Fantasy in Orange County, California is a popular Christmas event that showcases the work of local artists and craftsmen. This festive event takes place in a charming outdoor setting and features a variety of unique handmade items for sale. Visitors can browse through the stalls to find one-of-a-kind gifts and decorations for their homes. In addition to shopping, there are also live music performances, art demonstrations, and delicious food options available at the Sawdust Winter Fantasy.

Orange County Marketplace Holiday Edition

If you're looking for a fun holiday experience in Orange County, don't miss the Orange County Marketplace Holiday Edition. This special edition of the popular marketplace is filled with festive cheer and offers an array of holiday-themed products from local vendors. From handcrafted ornaments to seasonal treats, you'll find everything you need to make your Christmas celebrations extra special. The Orange County Marketplace Holiday Edition also features live entertainment, including carolers and musicians, creating a joyful atmosphere for shoppers.

Winter Market in Fullerton

Fullerton's Winter Market is a must-visit destination during the Christmas season in Orange County, California. This market brings together local artisans and small businesses offering an assortment of unique gifts perfect for holiday shopping. Whether you're searching for handmade jewelry or beautifully crafted home decor items, you'll find it all at Fullerton's Winter Market. The market also hosts various activities like craft workshops where visitors can learn new skills while enjoying the festive ambiance.

Christmas Shows and Performances

The Nutracker Ballet

The Nutracker Ballet is a beloved holiday tradition in Orange County, California. This enchanting ballet tells the story of Clara and her magical journey through the Land of Sweets. The colorful costumes, beautiful set designs, and captivating music make it a must-see event during the Christmas season. Audiences are transported to a world filled with dancing snowflakes, toy soldiers, and Sugar Plum Fairies. Whether you're a fan of classical ballet or simply looking for some holiday entertainment, The Nutracker Ballet is sure to delight audiences of all ages.

A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory

South Coast Repertory brings Charles Dickens' timeless tale to life with their production of A Christmas Carol. This heartwarming story follows Ebenezer Scrooge as he embarks on a transformative journey guided by three spirits: Past, Present, and Future. Through powerful performances and stunning stagecraft, South Coast Repertory captures the essence of this classic novel while adding their own creative twists. From Scrooge's cold-hearted demeanor to his eventual redemption, A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory is an emotional rollercoaster that will leave audiences feeling uplifted and filled with the spirit of Christmas.

Holiday Concerts at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Segerstrom Center for the Arts presents an array of delightful holiday concerts that are perfect for celebrating the festive season in Orange County. From symphony orchestras performing traditional carols to contemporary ensembles putting a unique spin on holiday favorites, there's something for everyone's musical taste. These concerts showcase talented musicians who bring warmth and joy through their harmonious melodies. With stunning acoustics and an inviting atmosphere, Segerstrom Center for the Arts provides an ideal setting to enjoy the magic of live holiday music. Whether you're a fan of classical compositions or prefer modern interpretations, these holiday concerts are sure to fill your heart with joy and put you in the Christmas spirit.

Community Christmas Trees and Lighting Ceremonies

Fashion Island's Annual Tree Lighting

Fashion Island's Annual Tree Lighting is a highly anticipated event in Orange County, California. Every year, thousands of people gather at Fashion Island to witness the stunning tree lighting ceremony. The event kicks off the holiday season with live performances, festive decorations, and a visit from Santa Claus himself. Families can enjoy shopping for gifts at the upscale stores while sipping on hot cocoa and enjoying holiday treats. It is a magical experience that brings joy and excitement to both young and old.

Surf City Nights Holiday Lights

Surf City Nights Holiday Lights is an enchanting Christmas event held in Orange County, California. This festive celebration takes place in Huntington Beach, also known as Surf City USA. The streets are adorned with beautiful lights that illuminate the night sky and create a vibrant atmosphere of holiday cheer. Visitors can stroll along Main Street while enjoying live music performances, browsing through local vendors selling unique crafts and gifts, and indulging in delicious food from various food trucks. It's a perfect opportunity to soak up the holiday spirit while supporting local businesses.

Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights

The Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights is an annual tradition that captures the essence of Christmas by combining boats and lights in a spectacular display. Located in Dana Point Harbor, this event showcases dozens of beautifully decorated boats parading across the waterways adorned with dazzling lights and themed decorations. Spectators line up along the harbor shores or book boat cruises to get an up-close view of this mesmerizing spectacle. The parade includes creative designs ranging from traditional Christmas themes to whimsical displays inspired by popular movies or cartoons. It truly creates a magical ambiance during the holiday season.

Santa Claus Appearances

Breakfast with Santa in Huntington Beach

Start your holiday season with a grand breakfast with Santa in Huntington Beach. This beloved annual event takes place at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort, where families can enjoy a delicious buffet-style breakfast while meeting and taking photos with Santa Claus himself. The festive atmosphere is enhanced by live music and entertainment throughout the morning. Children can also participate in fun activities like face painting and cookie decorating. It's a wonderful way to create lasting memories and kick off the Christmas festivities.

Santa's Village by the Sea in San Clemente

Experience the magic of Christmas at Santa's Village by the Sea in San Clemente. This charming village transforms into a winter wonderland during the holiday season, offering an array of family-friendly activities and attractions. Kids can visit Santa Claus in his cozy cottage, share their wish lists, and capture memorable photos together. The village also features festive decorations, twinkling lights, holiday-themed displays, and interactive experiences for all ages to enjoy. From ice skating to carousel rides, there's something for everyone at this enchanting Christmas destination.

Photos With Santa At Brea Mall

Capture special moments with Santa Claus at Brea Mall this Christmas season! Bring your children or even pets for a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity that will fill your heart with joy. Located within Brea Mall's beautifully decorated setting, this experience allows you to take professional-quality photos with Santa while enjoying a magical ambiance filled with holiday cheer. Whether it's capturing smiles or creating cherished family portraits, Photos with Santa at Brea Mall provides an unforgettable experience that will be treasured for years to come.

Outdoor Ice Skating

Irvine Spectrum Center Ice Rink

The Irvine Spectrum Center Ice Rink is a popular attraction during the Christmas season in Orange County, California. Located at the Irvine Spectrum Center shopping mall, this outdoor ice rink offers a fun and festive experience for visitors of all ages. Skaters can glide across the ice beneath twinkling lights and surrounded by holiday decorations. The rink is open daily throughout the holiday season, providing ample opportunities for families and friends to enjoy some winter fun.

Downtown Santa Ana Ice Rink

Downtown Santa Ana transforms into a winter wonderland with its own ice rink during the holiday season. This temporary outdoor skating rink offers locals and tourists alike a chance to embrace the spirit of Christmas while enjoying some icy thrills. Located in downtown's historic district, skaters can take in the charming surroundings as they glide on ice under starry skies. With music playing and hot cocoa available nearby, it's an enchanting experience that brings joy to both children and adults.

Winterfest OC at the OC Fair & Event Center

Winterfest OC at the OC Fair & Event Center is one of Orange County's most anticipated Christmas events. Spanning over several acres, Winterfest OC offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. From ice tubing down snow-covered slopes to visiting Santa Claus himself, there is something for everyone at this festive event. Guests can also enjoy live entertainment, delicious food options, and browse through unique vendors selling holiday-themed merchandise. Winterfest OC truly captures the magic of Christmas in Orange County.