Orange County Christmas Guide

Celebrate Christmas in Orange County with events, theater, dining and more.


Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights
Dec. 14-15.
Celebrate the holiday season at the 38th Annual Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights themed, “A Hollywood Holiday.” Boats cruise the harbor decked out in lights and decorations competing for different awards. Dana Wharf Sportfishing invites you to come aboard on one of their vessels as they join the boat parade. The parade begins at 7:30 pm by the water’s edge in Dana Point Harbor. Dana Wharf Sportfishing, 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949.496.5794.;

Cruise of Lights
Dec. 15-23.
The Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Cruise of Lights offers narrated boat tours through the waterways of Huntington Harbour in Huntington Beach. In December, both locals and visitors share the beauty of thousands of lights and animated displays on brightly decorated homes, docks, decks and boats. 16889 Algonquin St., Huntington Beach, 714.840.7542.

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Dec. 19-23.
Enjoy Newport Beach’s Christmas card to the world as beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sail along the harbor in the 104th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. Hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, this year’s theme is “Surf, Sand and Santa!” The boat parade sets the harbor ablaze for five consecutive nights, starting off Bay Island at 6:30 pm and finishing at the same site at approximately 9:00 pm each evening. Newport Harbor, Newport Beach, 949.729.4400.

Chill at the Queen Mary
Through Jan. 6.
Queen Mary presents Chill, an enchanting winter event for the whole family. The dome adjacent to the historical ship has been transformed into a giant igloo, now home to the Ice Kingdom—an awe-inspiring exhibit featuring larger than life ice creations. In addition to the enchantment of the Ice Kingdom, Chill features outdoor ice tubing, an ice skating rink and a holiday village complete with Christmas trees, gingerbread houses, carolers and Santa Claus. 1126 Queens Highway, Long beach, 877.342.0742.

Knott’s Merry Farm
Through Jan. 6.
Knott’s Berry Farm is filled with the magic of the season as it transforms into Knott’s Merry Farm and celebrates with live entertainment, crafts fair, beautiful decorations, including a 65-foot-tall Christmas tree, and a colorful Christmas parade. Knott’s Merry Farm also features a holiday ice spectacular, “It’s Christmas, Snoopy!” performed in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. The famous skating beagle and his Peanuts friends dazzle with colorful costumes and plenty of surprises as they look for the true meaning of Christmas. 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park, 714.220.5200.

Secret of the Wings Ice Rink
Through Jan. 6.
Inspired by the Disney film Secret of the Wings — starring Tinker Bell and her fairy friends — this beautiful outdoor rink, with mood-setting music and cool lighting effects, will delight guests of all ages. The rink is surrounded by a charming holiday village of four cozy winter chalets that feature a festive assortment of seasonal eats and treats. A forest of “snow”-covered pine trees, twinkling holiday lights and cheerful garlands create an enchanting holiday atmosphere. Tickets are $15/pp and rental skates are $3. 1580 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, 714.781.4565.

Holiday on Ice
Through Feb. 18.
The Irvine Spectrum Center adds festive cheer to your holiday shopping with an ice rink set up beneath the center’s famous giant wheel. Tickets are $14 daily and rental skates are $3. 71 Fortune Drive, Irvine, 949.753.5180.

A Christmas Carol
Through Dec. 24.
Nineteenth-century London comes to life this holiday season at South Coast Repertory. Recapture the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas with this timeless Dickens classic and all your favorite characters—Tiny Tim and the Cratchit family, the Fezziwigs, the Ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come—and, as always, Hal Landon Jr. in his 33rd performance as everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge. Previews run Nov. 24-29 and regular performances run Nov. 30-Dec. 24. 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.708.5555.

Plaid Tidings
Through Dec. 23.
The hilarious, heavenly quartet is returning to The Laguna Playhouse to croon their tight swingin’ harmonic renditions of musical hits from the ‘50s and ‘60s. This nostalgic holiday extravaganza is the very best of Forever Plaid wrapped up in a nifty package with a big bow on top! Stuffed with such “Plaid-erized” Christmas standards as “Mr. Santa,” “Let It Snow” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” in four part harmony as only the Plaids can do, Plaid Tidings is one holiday treat that is truly heaven sent. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Drive, Laguna Beach, 949.497.2787.

Little Women: The Broadway Musical
Through Dec. 23.
From the novel that holds a special place in the heart of American literature, comes a new musical which proves this timeless story is still relevant, funny and heartbreaking today. Join rambunctious Jo, practical Meg, sweet Beth, and romantic Amy as they embark on a coming-of-age tale filled with drama, romance, humor (and song!), all under the watchful eye of their beloved Marmee while father is away during the Civil War. Chance Theater, 5552 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim Hills, 714.777.3033.

The Addams Family
Dec. 18-30.
The Addams Family is a smash-hit musical comedy that brings the darkly delirious world of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and, of course, Lurch, to spooky and spectacular life. A center premiere, this magnificently macabre new musical comedy is created by Jersey Boys authors Marshall Brickman and Mark Elice, Drama Desk-winning composer /lyricist Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party), choreographer Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) and Olivier Award-winning directors/designers Phelim McDermott and Julien Crouch (Shockheaded Peter) with creative consultation by four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks. Come meet the family. We’ll leave the lights off for you. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.556.2787.

Christmas with Amy Grant
Dec. 13-15.
With six Grammy Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Amy Grant is an American music icon who has erased the lines between genres. Her artistry has continually resonated with audiences since she first hit the national spotlight as a fresh-faced teen with a guitar three decades ago. Share a special holiday program as she visits the Pacific Symphony. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.755.5799.

Tis the Season!
Dec. 16-18.
Ring in the Christmas season with Pacific Chorale’s popular, annual concert sure to get you in the holiday spirit! The Southern California Children’s Chorus joins the Pacific Chorale and Pacific Symphony as John Alexander conducts. Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.556.2787.

The Nutcracker
Dec. 14-24.
Celebrate the season with visions of the Sugar Plum Fairy, her dashing prince and our heroine Clara, while a cast of over 100 takes you back in time to mystical lands of old world charm. Family-friendly and affordable, this professional production of The Nutcracker features internationally acclaimed guest artists, Festival Ballet Theatre’s professional company dancers, and exceptional budding young talent from across the Southland. Irvine Barclay Theater, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, 949.854.4646.

Holiday Afternoon Tea
Through Dec. 22.
Visit the St. Regis Monarch Beach for a lavish holiday tea buffet featuring an international variety of teas accompanied by delicious delicacies created by Award-Winning Pastry Chef Frederic Moreau. Tea is served 12-3 pm, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. $49/pp; $24/child 12 and under. One Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, 800.722.1543.

Antonello Ristorante
Dec. 24-31. Antonello Ristorante introduces a “Buone Feste” (Happy Holidays) menu, a special holiday seasonal prix fixe menu that will be available only from December 24-31 (excluding Christmas), which includes 25% off of Antonello’s award-winning wine list.  The four-course dinner begins with octopus carpaccio drizzled with lemon infused olive oil or a lightly smoked wild boar garnished with chunks of parmigiano, followed by lobster filled ravioli or porcini mushroom and black truffle risotto. The entrée options include a grilled filet of beef tenderloin topped with imported gorgonzola and walnuts or a Chilean sea bass.  Topping off the meal is chocolate fudge topped with creamy zahaglione and served with vanilla gelato or Antonello’s classic Torta della Nonna, sponge cake layered with espresso mousse and sprinkled with pistachios. $69.95/pp. 3800 South Plaza Drive, Santa Ana, 714.751.7153.

Dec. 24. Spend Christmas Eve at Bistango and enjoy a thoughtfully prepared three-course prix fix menu featuring items such as grilled quail, tamarind-chile glazed wild king salmon and honey flavor panna cotta. 19100 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, 949.752.5222.

The Cellar
Dec. 24.
Enjoy a four-course menu at one of Fullerton’s most romantic restaurants. Offerings include porcini dusted scallops, braised short ribs and hazelnut soufflé. 505 S. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, 714.525.5682. 

Charlie Palmer
Dec. 24.
Perennially chic Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s invites guests to dine on a special five-course chef’s tasting menu on Christmas Eve. Menu items include roasted winter vegetables salad, black garlic-crusted Sonoma lamb chops and white chocolate soup. $80/pp with $35 wine pairing option. Reservations recommended. 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, 714.352.2525.

Mix Restaurant
Dec. 24-25.
Mix Restaurant at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel offers a festive menu for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dining. The four-course prix-fixe menu is offered both days and features dishes such as vidalia onion soup, pan-seared halibut, rosemary-crusted Colorado rack of lamb and a holiday dessert buffet for $48.50/pp. 777 W. Convention Way, Anaheim, 714.740.4412.

Savannah Chop House
Dec. 24.
Spend Christmas Eve with family and friends at Savannah Chop House. Available as a three- or four-course dinner, the menu features warm spinach salad, day boat scallops brûlée, pecan and applewood smoked Prime rib and flourless chocolate soufflé. Three-course $37/pp; four-course $47/pp. 32441 Golden Lantern, Laguna Niguel, 949.493.7107.

Three Seventy Common
Dec. 24.
Three Seventy Common offers a delectable prix-fixe menu consisting of traditional Prime rib with all of the fixings. $35/pp; $17.50/child 10 and under. 370 Glenneyre Street, Laguna Beach, 949.494.8686.

21 Oceanfront
Dec. 24.
Elegant 21 Oceanfront offers an equally elegant Christmas Eve dinner featuring extensive holiday décor, festive lights and Christmas carolers. The restaurant’s usual menu, featuring prime-aged steaks and abundant seafood, will be available. 21 Oceanfront, Newport Beach, 949.673.2100.

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