22 Orange County Things to do this December

Sugar Rush at OC Fair & Event Center

From snow days and festivals to tree lightings and soirées, find some of our favorite Orange County things to do this December.

A Snow White Christmas
Dec. 2-27. Bring the whole family to see an interactive musical for fairy tale fans of all ages. The British holiday tradition mixes classic tales, magic and pop songs. The Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.497.2787. lagunaplayhouse.com


Winter Wonderland – Catalina Island
Dec. 4-6. Jump on board the Catalina Express and enjoy holiday attractions, activities and treats as the Descanso Beach Club will transform into a winter wonderland. From an ice skating rink and bounce houses to photos with Santa, it’s sure to be fun for the entire family. F 2-9 p.m., Sa 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Su 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Activities and attractions are ticketed. Average activity and attraction is $3-5 each. One ticket $1, 50 tickets $40. 1 St., Catherine Way, Avalon, 310.510.7410. visitcatalinaisland.com


O.C. Brew Ho Ho!
Dec. 5. Enjoy craft beer, holiday ales, live music, games and unlimited two-ounce pours at the annual Brew Ho Ho beer fest. Food truck fare will be available from Orange County favorites such as The Slidebar and Slaters 50/50. 12-4 p.m. $55/pp; $20 designated drivers. Phoenix Club, 1340 S. Sanderson Ave., Anaheim, 949.363.9960. ocbrewhoho.com


21st Annual Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village
Dec. 5. Kick-off the holiday season in downtown Anaheim on Center Street Promenade. Enjoy holiday craft activities, a real snow play area, a children’s train ride, free photos with Santa, holiday musical performances and more. Choose from a variety of culinary treasures from the International Food Fair. The day is capped off with a procession down Center Street Promenade at 5:45 p.m. Guests can gather around the 50-foot Christmas tree, which will be magically lit by a surprise guest. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tree lighting 6-7 p.m. Free. 201 Center St. Promenade, Anaheim, 714.956.3586. downtownanaheim.com


Nutcracker for Kids
Dec. 5. See your children’s eyes light up when the beautiful ballerinas dance and twirl in a holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Brought to you by Pacific Symphony, the concert will bring to life the enchanted world of toy soldiers, waltzing flowers and the Sugar Plum Fairy in a 50-minute version adapted especially for kids ages 5 and above. Santa Claus will make a special appearance to lead the audience in singing a merry sing-along. Musical Carnival 9 a.m. (for 10 a.m. guests) and 12:15 p.m. (for 11:30 a.m. guests). Showtimes 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. $35-$60. Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.755.5799. pacificsymphony.org


Sugar Rush
Dec. 5-6. Prepare your taste buds for the sweetest event you’ll ever attend. See a one-of-a-kind dessert showcase packed with entertainment, competitions, demonstrations, walk-about tastings and shopping. Satisfy your sweet tooth with an overload of artisan desserts in an unparalleled sugar shoppe environment just in time for the holiday season. VIP entry 11 a.m. General admission 12 p.m.-5 p.m. $10-$50. OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. sugarrushoc.com


Dana Wharf Boat Rides with Santa
Dec. 5-6. Sail through the harbor with Santa and his helpers on a 20-minute cruise. Bring your camera and your Christmas wishes to share. No reservations required. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free. $5 donation suggested. 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949.496.5794. danawharf.com


41st Annual Boat Parade of Lights
Dec. 11-12, 18-19. Come aboard one of Dana Wharf’s decorated boats, joining boaters from all over parading through the harbor. The boat parade will last approximately 90 minutes and the charter rides last for two hours. Seating may be limited. 7:30-9 p.m. Adults $29, Children 12 and under $15, 2 and under free. 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949.496.5794. danawharf.com


Children’s Gingerbread House Decorating
Dec. 12. Join Island Hotel’s pastry chef Andy De La Cruz in a favorite holiday tradition. This culinary class invites children ages five and older to learn the tricks and craft of gingerbread house decorating. Children will create their own gingerbread sensations to take home while tasting holiday treats in the process. Parental supervision is required. 1 p.m. $75/per child. Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.759.0808. islandhotel.com


Snow Day at The Market Place
Dec. 12. Learn how to snowboard on real snow as The Market Place and Active Ride Shop come together to bring you Snow Day. The Anaheim Ducks mascot, Wild Wing, and Power Players will be there to welcome guests. Also, learn how to craft popsicle snowmen. Be sure to fill out a waiver online ahead of time. 12-5 p.m. Free. 2893 El Camino Real, Tustin, 800.588.3911. activerideshop.com


Breakfast with Santa
Dec. 12-13, 19-20. Meet Santa and his elves as they visit Downtown Disney. The fun-filled family event will feature a delectable family-style breakfast, activities for the children, carolers, elves, ice-skating and of course – Santa! Don’t forget your Christmas wish list for Santa. Full menu available online. Seating times range from 9-11 a.m. $27-$60. Children under 3 free. Catal Restaurant, Downtown Disney, 1580 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, 714.776.4000. eventbrite.com


Twelve Days of Christmas and EATSmas Holiday Bash
Dec. 12-25. Count down the twelve days of Christmas with Chef Jason Montelibano at EATS Kitchen + Bar. EATS will be serving specialty dishes crafted straight from the beloved folk song – enjoy coq au vin (French hens), cinnamon toast ice cream (maids a-milking) and a pink lady cocktail (ladies dancing). Come back on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for the EATSmas Holiday Bash to revisit some of these items. Dec. 24, 5-9 p.m.; Dec. 25, noon-8 p.m. Limited quantities of featured dishes available each day for lunch and dinner. EATS Kitchen + Bar, Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, 949.225.6780. hotelirvine.com


Christmas in the Cages
Dec. 13. Bring the entire family and enjoy a festive day at the Rancho Wildlife Foundation. There will be a visit from Santa, bounce houses, crafts, live holiday musical performances and more. Watch the resident exotic animals open their Christmas presents, including a Bengal tiger, zebras, African servals and other beautiful animals. Lunch is included with purchase of tickets. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. $10-$20. Parking $6; valet required. Rancho Las Lomas, Resort & Zoological Garden, 19191 Lawrence Canyon, Silverado, 949.589.7900. christmasinthecages2015.com

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade Photo: Bleu Cotton Photography, Inc.
Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade Photo: Bleu Cotton Photography, Inc.


Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Dec. 16-20. “Seas the Holidays” and join over a million viewers to see beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sailing along the harbor. From fireworks to live entertainment by contestants from The Voice, it’s the perfect way to ring in Christmas. See website for full schedule of events. 6:30 p.m. Free. See website for map of full parade route. Newport Pier, Newport Beach. christmasboatparade.com


Disney on Ice Presents Frozen
Dec. 16-21. See the number one animated movie of all time come to life as Disney On Ice presents Frozen. See the touring skating spectacular featuring dynamic sisters Anna and Elsa, appearing for the first time in a live production. Visit website for full list of performance times and dates. Tickets start at $30. Honda Center, 2695 East Katella, Anaheim, 1.800.745.3000. disneyonice.com


Winter Fest
Dec. 18-Jan. 3. Brace yourself as winter hits Orange County. Enjoy ice-skating, ice-tubing, the world’s largest walk-through ornament, live entertainment, reindeer feedings and more. See a theater-sized screen playing holiday films in the background while you revel in the nightly snowfall and magical lights. Taste seasonal foods and craft cocktails as you stroll through the whimsical wonderland. Su-Th 11 a.m.-10 p.m., F-Sa 11 a.m.-11 p.m. $10-$30. Season pass $25-$45. OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. winterfestoc.com


Oak Grill
Dec. 24-25. Indulge in the ultimate Christmas meal from Chef Marc Johnson, featuring refined classics and contemporary California cuisine. The four-course prix-fixe menu will include choices such as slow-roasted prime rib with a winter medley and whipped potatoes and seared salmon with Meyer lemon gnocchi and parsnip puree. Relax and enjoy fireside music. 4-9 p.m. Adults $100; $25 additional for wine pairings, Children $25, under five free. Oak Grill, Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.760.4920. oakgrillnb.com


Gatsby Glam New Year’s Eve
Dec. 31. Step into the sparkling style of the Roaring ’20s for Aqua Lounge’s New Year’s Eve celebration. The ultra-chic lounge offers a four-course dinner at Oak Grill prior to entry for additional cost. 9 p.m. $150/pp includes entry and complimentary drink. Dinner package $250. Aqua Lounge, Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.760.4920. aqualoungenb.com


Midnight at the Cliffs
Dec. 31. Ring in the New Year with Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa. Enjoy the live music from Flashback Heart Attack in the Richard Henry Dana ballroom. Tickets include two drinks, small bites throughout the evening and a champagne toast at midnight. 9 p.m. $125-$145/pp. Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa, 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point, 949.661.5000. lagunacliffs.com


Toast – A Midnight to Remember
Dec. 31. Bling in the New Year with a little sparkle and a lot of flash with champagne and dancing at Red Bar & Lounge. Enjoy bubbly, handcrafted cocktails and a late-night menu to keep the revelry going all night long. Reserve a table for four-20 guests. Call for table pricing. 9-2 a.m. General admission $25/pp, includes champagne toast at midnight and party favors. Hotel Irvine, Red Bar & Lounge, 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, 949.225.6757. redbarandlounge.com


White & Gold Party
Dec. 31. Raise your glasses and step into Newport Beach’s most stylish soirée for New Year’s Eve. Enjoy a four-course prix-fixe meal along with a lively cocktail reception inspired by the French Riviera. The menu includes options such as lamb chops, seared sea scallops and filet Mignon. Cocktail reception options include truffle risotto, mushroom croquettes and more. Prix fixe menu 8:30 p.m.-close. $150. Cocktail reception 9 p.m.-close. $100. Fig & Olive, Fashion Island, 151 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.877.3005. figandolive.com


New Years Eve Dinner & Dance
Dec. 31. See breathtaking views of Orange County with ceiling to floor windows at Orange County Mining Co. Enjoy a buffet dinner, live entertainment, dancing and, of course, a midnight champagne toast in the saloon that will take you back to the mining era. 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Orange County Mining Co., 10000 Crawford Canyon Rd., Orange, 714.997.7411. orangecountyminingco.com

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