Winter Fest OC
Winter Fest OC will open at the OC Fairgrounds December 16.

From winter festivals and tree lightings to theater and parades, see our list of top things to do in Orange County this December.

Edited by Laura Okey

Pacific City’s 25 Days of Giving
Dec. 1. Witness the unveiling of a life-sized, advent-style holiday countdown calendar with surprises behind each door—one opened each day of the season. Behind the doors you’ll find inspirational messages, special offers, information on shopping events to benefit local charities and more. In addition, throughout the month of December, the Pacific City Pedal Squad will perform Random Acts of Giving. The squad will roam Pacific City to offer shoppers fun, pop-up style holiday entertainment, free gifts and also awarding lucky shoppers and diners merchandise and food “on the house.” You also can enjoy feel-good holiday movies playing at Pacific City throughout the season, as well as festive live music. Unveiling of advent calendar Dec. 1, 2 p.m. Free.  21010 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach.


Costa Mesa Home Tour
Dec. 1. Celebrate the start of the holiday season with Costa Mesa High School’s Home Tour. See Orange County’s finest homes decked out for the holidays in a self-guided tour. Meet at Room & Board for your guide and a reception. Enjoy live holiday music while enjoying light appetizers compliments of Greenleaf Gourmet Chopshop. 3-8 p.m. Reception 6 p.m. $50. SOCO, 3303 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, 949.760.9150.


Moulin’s Holiday Market
Dec. 1-31. Moulin’s épicerie will transform into a Parisian holiday market for the month of December. Embracing Parisian holiday culture, the transformed market will feature holiday classics imported from France including vintage champagne, specialty chocolate truffles, linens, fine cooking oils and apothecary items as well as luxurious fresh-baked seasonal desserts and viennoiserie. Pre-made and customizable holiday gift baskets and cheese and charcuterie arrangements will also available. Moulin, 1000 Bristol St. N., Newport Beach, 949.474.0920.


Duck the Halls: Family Party
Dec. 3. Meet and take photos with the Anaheim Ducks mascot Wild Wing and enjoy carnival games. See three Anaheim Ducks-themed trees lit up through the center. 2-4 p.m. Free. California Pizza Kitchen Courtyard, The Market Place, Tustin, 714.730.4124.


Christmas at the Casa
Dec. 3. Kick off Christmas celebrations at Casa Romantica’s annual Christmas at the Casa. The event will feature festive decorations, live music, carolers, a bell choir, a talking Christmas tree, crafts for children, cookies and refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus. 5-7:30 p.m. Free. Casa Romantica, 415 Avenida Granada, San Clemente, 949.498.2139.


Nutcracker for Kids
Dec. 3. 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 45-minute version adapted especially for kids. Enjoy a musical carnival before or after the show. 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.

22nd Annual Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village
22nd Annual Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village in Downtown Anaheim

22nd Annual Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village
Dec. 3. 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.


Celebrate the Holidays at SOCO and The OC Mix
Dec. 4, 11, 18. Enjoy free, family-friendly days filled with photos with Santa, a festive photo booth, live music and holiday activities. Complimentary gift-wrapping will be available for holiday shoppers for a suggested donation to benefit Project Hope Alliance. In addition, MaxLove Project will host arts and crafts and a book drive for CHOC Hospital. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. 3303 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa, 949.760.9150.


Boat Parade of Lights
Dec. 9-10, 16-17. Bring the whole family and meet at the waters edge. Watch a spectacular parade of decorated vessels as they cruise through Dana Point Harbor. 7:30 p.m. Dana Point Harbor, 949.923.2255.


Trombone Christmas on The Walk
Dec. 10. Knock out some holiday shopping while enjoying Christmas festivities at The Anaheim GardenWalk. Snap photos in the special holiday photo booth, pose with favorite holiday characters in life-size cutouts and listen to holiday carolers—an a cappella singing group from the Orange County School of the Arts. Lastly, see a Christams concert performed by local trombone players attempting to break the current world record of most trombonists in a single concert. The first 500 guests will receive a free scented lip balm. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. Trombone Christmas Concert 1-2 p.m. Free. Anaheim GardenWalk, 400 West Disney Way, Anaheim.


O.C. Brew Ho Ho!
Dec. 10. 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 Cut and Dogzilla. Noon-4 p.m. $55/pp; $20 designated drivers. Parking at Honda Center $20/vehicle. Phoenix Club, 1340 S. Sanderson Ave., Anaheim, 949.363.9960.


Katt Williams Conspiracy Tour
Dec. 10. Katt Williams returns to the stage at Honda Center for his Conspiracy Tour. Putting an end to his hiatus, the long-awaited rebirth of the comedian is more than a reinvention—it’s an articulate, sharp dialogue that surfaces with names like Trump, Cosby and NASA, but is rooted in evergreen conversations like politics, race relations and police brutality—all a reflection of the American political landscape. 8 p.m. Tickets start at $45. Honda Center, 2695 East Katella, Anaheim, 1.800.745.3000.


Vue Restaurant
Dec. 10. Indulge in a luxurious four-course meal paired with wines from Justin Winery. Take in the ocean view at Vue Restaurant while sipping the distinctive wine selection. Menu highlights include hamachi tartare with black garlic puree; and pan-seared venison with Justin cabernet huckleberry jam on a bed of parsnip puree and oyster mushrooms with marble potato and bacon hash. Justin Baldwin will be the wine expert for the evening. 6 p.m. $95. 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point, 949.487.7516.


Holiday Gingerbread Workshops at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen
Dec. 10, 17, 18. ‘Tis almost the season! Start a new tradition or carry on a time-honored institution at Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen—Holiday Gingerbread House Building Workshops. Purchase tickets online for $48, which includes the gingerbread kit (gingerbread house, candy, a chef’s hat, two jingle bells) plus two seats and unlimited sodas. Reserve additional seats for $18 per seat. Downtown Disney District, 1590 S. Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, 714.563.7261.

Festival Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker
Dec. 10-24.
See the cherished classic, The Nutcracker by Festival Ballet Theatre. The breathtaking, family-friendly production features superb colorful scenery and dazzling costumes, which make this age-old tradition sparkle like new. The Sugar Plum Fairy, heroine Clara and a cast of hundreds will take the audience on a magical journey to mystical lands, to the grandeur of Tchaikovsky’s iconic score. See website for showtimes. $42-$55. Irvine Barclay Theatre, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, 949.854.4646.


Twelve Days of Christmas
Dec. 12-23. Begin your Christmas feasting to the tune of everyone’s favorite ditty, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” At Eats Kitchen, it starts with the chef’s version of “A Partridge in a Pear Tree,” presented as roasted Scottish partridge with an anjou pear and Gorgonzola tart. Other items include day five’s “Five Golden Rings”—feast on five golden Berliner housemade doughnuts with blackberry sauce and chocolate soil. And on the last day “Twelve Drummers Drumming,” taste grilled spiced chicken wings and drumsticks with shishito peppers and chile gastrique polished off with Julian Hard Cider. Call for reservations. EATS Kitchen + Bar, Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, 949.225.6780.


Waggin’ Trails and Wine
Dec. 14. Dress yourself and your pup in your best holiday attire for an evening of wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, chocolate and desserts. Enjoy a silent auction, raffles, live music and tons of pups all while supporting Waggin’ Trails Rescue Foundation. RSVP’s are requested. 6-9 p.m. $35-$45. The Waterfront Beach Resort, A Hilton Hotel, The Tides Ballroom, 21100 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, 714.328.8661.


Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

108th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Dec. 14-18. Join over a million viewers to see beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sailing along the harbor. From fireworks to live entertainment like dancers, music, moving displays and more, 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.


Lido Marina Village Boat Parade Viewing
Dec. 14-16. Watch the 108th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade at Lido Marina Village’s waterfront Main Deck. Enjoy delicious treats provided by Lido Marina Village and live entertainment. The Main Deck will be open for parade viewing all weekend. Arrive early to dine at one of Lido Marina Village’s restaurants. 3434 Via Lido, Newport Beach.


Dine & View Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Dec. 14-Dec. 18. Reserve prime seats for the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade at The Ritz Prime Seafood. Indulge on a three-course dinner as troops of festively lit boats of all sizes launch each evening from nearby Bay Island along Mariner’s Mile. The chef’s special menu for the first seating features appetizer choices of kabocha squash bisque or Caesar salad and entrees of either pan seared Scottish salmon with sweet potato croquette, pan seared Jidori chicken breast with fennel and polenta or eight-ounce Filet Mignon with potato puree and wild mushrooms and vanilla bean panna cotta for dessert. The second seating will offer a few more options including 16-ounce prime rib eye with carrot puree, bone marrow butter and a mini baked potato. 5 p.m.; 7:30 p.m. First seating $90; Second seating $125. The Ritz Prime Seafood, 2801 West Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, 949.720.1800.


Winter Fest
Dec. 16-Jan. 1. Brace yourself as winter hits Orange County. Enjoy ice skating, ice tubing, carnival rides, live entertainment, Santa’s Furry Friends petting zoo and more. Transport yourself to a wintry wonderland in a play park that features real snow for snow angels or snowman building, the world’s largest rocking horse, strolling carolers, personal visits in the cabin home of Mr. and Mrs. Claus and a walk-through holiday light show featuring two million sparkling lights. See website for daily hours. Tickets start at $10. OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa.


Cirque Musica
Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular at Honda Center

Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular
Dec. 17. See a fun filled family holiday event featuring the cast of Cirque Musica with all-time favorite holiday songs performed by a live orchestra. Journey into a world of high-flying adventure with amazing acrobats, aerialists, hilarious hi-jinks and holiday cheer. 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $39. Honda Center, 2695 East Katella, Anaheim, 1.800.745.3000.

Disney on Ice Presents Worlds of Enchantment  Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment

Disney on Ice Presents Worlds of Enchantment
Dec. 21-25. Four Disney favorites are coming together this holiday season as Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment. See high-speed stunts as the crew of Disney Pixar’s Cars race across the ice and dive into adventure with Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, as she explores her undersea kingdom. The toys are back in town with heroic action when Buzz, Woody, Jessie and the Disney Pixar Toy Story gang escape Sunnyside Daycare in a daring adventure to get back to Andy’s room.  Plus, enter the wintery world of Arendelle with sisters Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen as they learn that true love comes from within. Tickets start at $25. Honda Center, 2695 East Katella, Anaheim, 1.800.745.3000.


Santa Photos
Nov. 25-Dec. 24.
Visit jolly ol’ Saint Nick at his Crystal Cove Beach-inspired surf shack at Carousel Court at Irvine Spectrum Center. Decked out in his best red suit, he will be waiting there to hear your wishes and take photos with kids of all ages. Noon-6 p.m. Free. 670 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, 949.753.5180.


Holiday Tree Light Show
Nov. 25-Dec. 24.
See Irvine Spectrum Center’s brand new 50-foot, LED Christmas tree with animated lights as it “performs” a choreographed light show set to holiday music every 30 minutes nightly from 5 to 11 p.m. Free. Irvine Spectrum, Edwards Court, 670 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine, 949.753.5180.


Oak Grill
Dec. 24-25. Indulge in the ultimate Christmas meal at Oak Grill. The four-course prix-fixe menu will feature Christmas favorites like slow-roasted prime rib, butternut squash soup and dark chocolate peppermint cake. 4-9 p.m. Adults $90; children $35, under five free. Oak Grill, Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949.760.4920.


Hollywood-Style New Year’s Eve
Dec. 31. Toast to 2017 aboard the majestic Queen Mary and ring in the New Year with a night of delicious food, spectacular drinks and entertainment inspired by Hollywood’s most iconic films. Travel throughout the ship’s decks, ballrooms and salons to step into your favorite films including Dirty Dancing, Urban Cowboy, Goldfinger, Avatar and more. The grand finale of the evening consists of a spectacular fireworks display.  Reservations for dining at Queen Mary’s restaurants are required. 21 and over. 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. $99-$199. Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0742.

Odysseo in Irvine

Through Jan. 8. This spectacle of free-running horses that marries equestrian arts with live music and dance, acrobatics and high-tech theatrical effects, arrives under a 10-story-tall white big top in Irvine. The dream-like production, created by one of the founders of Cirque du Soleil, involves 65 horses and 48 performers, including riders, aerialists, acrobats, dancers and musicians. Other highlights include the 17,500 square-foot stage that features a state-of-the-art video screen three times the size of the world’s largest cinema screens, as well as a three-story mountain for dazzling perspectives and a real lake—the last of which magically appears for a splashing finale. See website for showtimes. Tickets start at $29.50. The White Big Top, 16576 Laguna Canyon Road, Irvine, 1.866.999.8111.


Queen Mary’s Chill
Through Jan. 8.  Experience frozen magic as The Queen Mary is overtaken by a deep freeze for the fifth annual Chill. In addition to ice skating, ice tubing, sleigh rides and visits with Santa, jump in on a new interactive and immersive experience—Alice in Winterland. The re-imagination of the classic Lewis Carroll story features stunning, larger than life lanterns as you follow Alice and her adventure into the Hall of Doors, the White Rabbit’s kitchen, Mad Hatter’s work shop, the proverbial tea party and much more. See website for select dates and times. $39.99, Children ages 4-11 $29.99. Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0752.

Ice Skating Rink at Irvine Spectrum
OC Chill Ice Rink at Irvine Spectrum

OC Chill Ice Rink
Through Jan. 16. Welcome the holiday season with an evening of ice skating in Irvine Spectrum’s outdoor ice skating rink. Visit the Giant Wheel Court for the glimpse of winter in Orange County. See website for hours. $16-$20. Giant Wheel Court, 71 Fortune Drive, Irvine, 949.748.8280.

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