Orange County, California is a fantastic place to enjoy the holidays. Whether you call OC home or you’re visiting family and friends, you’ll find plenty to do. Fun family activities include snowman painting, boat parade, ice skating, live theater, and many opportunities to enjoy holiday lights. So, read this list of family-friendly events taking place in Orange County this month and see how many you can attend.
1. Paint the Holidays at The Market Place
The Market Place is a shopping complex filled with stores, dining options, events, and entertainment. On December 5th, families can stop by for the Paint the Holidays event. Guests get to enjoy snowman painting while listening to holiday tunes and enjoying gingerbread cookies and hot apple cider. An art instructor will be guiding you along the way to help you create a masterpiece.
In addition, the mall will feature other unique artistic workshops throughout December, like the Ornament Decorating and Holiday Wreath Workshop. In these events, you’ll be able to custom design your own ornaments and wreaths and add them to your festive home decor collection. Bring your children along for fun and let them bring their creativity to life!
2. Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
If you’re in Newport Beach, you can’t miss the annual Christmas Boat Parade! You can choose between the Holiday Lights Cruises between December 3rd through January 2nd or participate in the boat parade from December 15th through December 19th.
Newport Bay transforms into a majestic holiday landscape with tons of lights and festive decorations. These cruises will tour the bay, and the parade will showcase the decorative boats. Hundreds of ships and yachts of all sizes will compete to win awards in multiple categories potentially. Get your ticket and be part of this unforgettable experience!
3. Pines Park Tree Lighting
Kick off the holiday season with your fellow community members at the annual Pines Park Tree Lighting event. On Monday, December 6th, starting at 4:30 PM, the Christmas tree lighting will commence. Santa and his elf crew will arrive at Pines Park riding on the Jolly Trolley ready to hand out treats to kids. Moreover, the event has plenty of goodies like cookies and hot chocolate for everyone to enjoy. You can also send your letters to Santa for him to bring back to the North Pole.
4. Holiday Ice Skating Rink at Paseo Hotel
Ice skating is a fun activity that anyone can enjoy. From November 25th, 2021, through January 2nd, 2022, the Paseo Hotel is opening its annual Oceanfront Ice Rink for guests to enjoy. You can enjoy your favorite Christmas tunes while skating around the rink. When you’re finished, there are cocktails and bites, luxury fire pit experiences, and performances that you and your family can enjoy.
There’s nothing better than warming up with a cup of hot chocolate or bourbon apple cider after ice skating. In addition, you can refuel with delicious deep-fried butternut ravioli and a plate of chicken and waffles. Not to mention there are plenty of photo ops you can take advantage of!
5. City of Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade
There’s no better way to the holiday than supporting your community at the City of Laguna Holiday Parade. The event takes place on Saturday, December 11th, 2021, at 10 AM. With over 100 exciting entries of organizations participating, you’ll get to experience all of the entertainment that the city of Laguna Niguel has to offer.
You’ll find a wide range of entertainment groups and attractions such as marching bands, exotic cars, local heroes, military members, equestrian units, floats, performing artists, and even a dazzling entrance by Santa Claus. Take your kids to experience the unique blend of talent that will be on display.
6. Holidays at Disneyland Resort
Disneyland is surely the happiest place on earth, and what better way to celebrate Christmas than with your kids’ favorite Disney characters! From November 12th, 2021, through January 9th, 2022, the theme park will have a wide range of festive decor, rides, and shows. Make holiday memories at Disney’s greatest events, such as the Disney Merriest Nites, A Christmas Fantasy Parade, and Holiday Magic Fireworks.
Get a photo-op and say hello to Santa at the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail. This playground at the resort fills with jolly seasonal games and outdoor activities to enjoy. You may also take part in the Christmas Fantasy Parade, where you’ll see all of your favorite Disney characters. See the Disney Princesses waltz at the Candlelight balls, or Anna, Elsa, and Olaf give you a warm greeting at the Frozen realm. There’s something for everyone to enjoy at Disneyland during the holidays!
7. Christmas at the OC Zoo
Are you an animal lover? Explore the wild at OC Zoo and see all of the majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Some of the zoo animals on exhibit include the mountain lion, black bear, beaver, coyote, porcupine, turkey vulture, ocelot, great horned owl, sheep, goat, and many more.
On Saturday, December 11th, come see the zoo animals receive treats inside the Christmas Tree. Furthermore, there are other festive activities for you and your family to enjoy, such as games, a photo area, holiday kid’s crafts, and meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus.
8. Knott’s Merry Farm
From November 19th through January 2nd, one of California’s most popular amusement parks is transforming its attraction to Knott’s Merry Farm. The entire park will feature winter wonderland decor where families can enjoy picturesque photo ops and miles of themed garland and holiday lights. Knott’s Merry Farm can make the perfect backdrop for your holiday memories.
Take your family to enjoy some of the classic shows and activities. This includes A Christmas Carol, A Peanuts Guide to Christmas, Home for the Holidays, Snoopy Ice Show, etc. Plus, you can stroll down the Christmas Crafts Village and the Santa’s Christmas Cabin to find seasonal treats and other holiday delights.
9. The Nightmare Before Christmas at Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Holiday movies are a timeless tradition that will never go away! Cozy up with some blankets and hot cocoa for one of the all-time holiday classics, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
It’s a story about Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king who stumbles his way to Christmas Town. Here he plots his way to kidnap Santa Claus and seize control of Christmas. His plan backfires, and he’s left with confusion.
The movie airs on December 10th, 2021, at 7 PM. In addition, the Segerstrom Center for the Arts is featuring holiday performances and films throughout the month, such as The Nutcracker, Concordia Christmas, Holidays Around the World, Tis the Season, Midtown Holiday Men, Handel’s Glorious Messiah, and more.