10 ways to celebrate the holidays in Orange County


10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Orange County

Peppermint flavors are back in eateries and festive décor is for sale again in stores. The holidays are quickly approaching, so here are 10 ways to get into the holiday spirit in Orange County.

1. Fashion Island Tree Lighting

Beginning November 18 and going through January 2, Fashion Island’s nightly tree lighting is back. Guests crowd around a 90 foot tree covered in ornaments and lights. Lightings take place at 5:30, 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. in the Neiman Marcus – Bloomingdale’s Courtyard. The ceremony comes with falling snow, a choreographed light display and music.

2. Ice Skating at The Irvine Spectrum Center

Underneath the Giant Wheel, the Irvine Spectrum Center transforms the courtyard into an ice rink sponsored by the Anaheim Ducks. A plethora of ticket options are available for adults, children, seniors and those in the military. Ice skate rentals are included unless visitors bring their own. There are also Jump The Line tickets and season passes for sale. Helmets and socks are $5 and lockers are $0.75. It is open
Monday-Sunday, but will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Hours vary on Black Friday, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Christmas Tree

3.  Light Attractions at Dana Point Harbor

Starting November 16, couples can once again flock to Dana Point Harbor for photo ops underneath the infamously lit up “Merry Kiss Me” arch. Along the harbor is also a festive array of over 700,000 LED lights. From December 9-11, the Boat Parade of Lights is
back for its 47th year. Spectators can see illuminated boats covered with decorations gliding in the water.

4. Holiday Performances at Segerstrom Center for the Arts

There is a spread of various holiday productions coming to Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Families can take their children to the Nutcracker for Kids at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall on December 3. On December 4 are the musical performances, “Handel’s Messiah” by Pacific Symphony, and “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas” by Chip Davis. Concordia University, Irvine’s instrumental and vocal ensembles’ “The Thrill of Hope!” will be taking the stage on December 5. There will be a Johnny Mathis Christmas Concert and Fiesta Navidad show on December 23. This is just some of the entertainment coming to Segerstrom this December.

5. Winter Fest OC in Costa Mesa

The OC Fair & Event Center will become a winter wonderland on November 25 through January 1. Winter Fest OC includes activities such as ice skating, exploring the North Pole and having fun at a carnival. A couple attractions include a 150 foot long slide for ice tubing as well as a snowboard simulator. There is also food and beverages. Plus, Winter Fest OC is a great background for photos.


6. Wagon Rides at Tanaka Farms

Tanaka Farms presents Hikari – A Festival of Lights. Visitors will be taken on a tour by wagon to see a display of sparkling lights. This holiday excursion begins November 25 and ends December 30. The cheapest tickets are sold for 7:30 and 8 p.m. entry at $20.
Tickets go up to $25 for 4:30 and 5 p.m. entry and rise to $30 for 5:30, 6, 6:30 and 7 p.m. entry. Children 2 years old and younger are free. Tanaka Farms will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

7. Christmas Together Event

Families Together of Orange County is hosting their Christmas Together event at the Anaheim Convention Center on December 18. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Orange County residents are encouraged to attend the free occasion that comes with photo ops with Santa Claus, rides, games, etc. There is also a toy drive taking place and last year, around 20,000 toys were given to OC families. Those attending must pre-register.

8. Find The Perfect Christmas Tree

For those who are on the hunt for the freshest fir tree to take home, there are various spots to purchase a Christmas tree. Rudy’s Christmas Trees is located at the Outlets at San Clemente. There is Farmakis Farms in San Juan Capistrano and Richfield Pines in Yorba Linda. Located in Silverado is Peltzer Pines. More farms and lots in the OC area can be found with a quick internet search.

Xmas Tree

9. Candlelight Walk at Heritage Hill Historical Park

December 2022 marks the 36th annual Candlelight Walk at Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest. From 5 to 9 p.m., on December 9-11, the public can come saunter around the grounds that display decorated, historic buildings from the El Toro and Saddleback Valley area during the Mexican Rancho era. Guests will be met with live music and children can partake in crafts. The event is free, but refreshments are offered
for cash purchase.

10. 12 Days of Holiday Giveaways

Community members who prefer to enjoy remote holiday cheer and enjoy the tradition of gift-giving can enter the 12 Days of Holiday Giveaways contest hosted by The Market Place in Tustin. The Market Place is partnering with merchants in the shopping center.
Orange County residents must tag the store, the center and a friend on social media to enter. That’s it! No monetary contribution is required to enter or win. This will be occurring from December 4 to 15.


Did you like this article? Check out our article on the holiday tree lightings in South OC!

Laila Freeman

Laila Freeman

Laila Freeman is a writer from Orange County, California. Her poetry is featured in Blue Bottle Journal, OyeDrum Magazine, and Juste Milieu Zine. Freeman’s other writing is found in the Fullerton Observer newspaper, along with Dig Magazine where she serves as the Online Editor. She is currently pursuing her journalism degree at Long Beach State University, along with other creative endeavors.

Instagram: lailafreemann

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