Between dashes to the mall, wrapping up work and wrapping your gifts, make some time to get out there and play. With many schools closed for winter break, you may be wondering what the heck to do with the kids. We’ve spotlighted some perfect places to ring in the big holiday week. From skating and flicks to classic excursions, you’re likely to find more than a few ways to enjoy this most eventful time of the year.
Monday, December 19
Ice at Santa Monica
Lace up. Once a year, Downtown Santa Monica transforms the corner of 5th Street and Arizona Avenue into Ice at Santa Monica. It’s the 5th Anniversary for the cool seasonal feature which continues through January 16. Admission and Skate Rental: $12. Locker Rental: $5. Lessons available.
Teddy Bear Tea at The Langham
Through December 23rd
A long-time Huntington Hotel holiday tradition for the whole family, Teddy Bear Tea features enchanting holiday decorations, a marionette show, storytelling and pictures with Santa. Adults will enjoy the Signature Afternoon Tea and children can choose from a nice selection of sandwiches and treats along with hot chocolate and milk. Each guest of Teddy Bear Tea is asked to bring one unwrapped toy for donation to a children’s charity. Teddy Bear Tea is $50 per person and is held 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM in The Lobby Lounge. Seating is limited and reservations are required.
Las Posadas on Olvera Street
El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historic Park
Daily all week
6:00 PM: Children’s piñata breaking and entertainment begin
7:30 PM: The Posada Procession starts at the Avila Adobe
The Posada is a short pilgrimage that reenacts the Christmas Eve journey of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem searching for shelter. Olvera Street merchant families perform in a candlelit procession lead by Mary and Joseph followed by children, adults and animals. Songs and hymns are sung in Spanish and English. Free.
See more ethnic Christmas traditions practiced in Southern California.
Activities happening daily through the week
Some of the activities suggest reservations. Visit Terranea.com and click on the “Terranea Traditions” section on the homepage.
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM Painting by the Sea, $89.00 for a family of 4
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Cuddly Creations – make your own signature plush animal, $25.00 per person
5:00 PM – 5:30 PM Seaside Stories by the Fire, free
Dec. 19, 22, 24, 25:
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM Gingerbread Sandcastles, $15.00 per person
Dec. 19, 21, 23:
3:30 PM – 4:30 PM Candied Ornament-Making, $15.00 per person
Tuesday, December 20
Pacific Symphony Orchestra “Holiday Organ Spectacular”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Cue the music and get classically into the spirit. PSO’s “Holiday Organ Spectacular” features world-renowned organist Todd Wilson performing a mix of sacred and holiday favorites. Also on the program are soprano Lynn Eustis and many more Symphony musicians. One-night-only on Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 PM in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.
2:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Hanukkah Fun on the Market Plaza including: help build a Lego menorah, make and play dreidel, music and games
Menorah Lighting Ceremony & Sing-a-Long
All events are free
Wednesday, December 21
The new Mission Impossible at the new Island Cinema
Have a jolly MI Christmas. See the new Mission Impossible movie in the newly remodeled Island Cinema. It’s a state-of-the-art theatre complex with a unique cafe offering beer & wine, coffee, gelato, and artisan sandwiches. So sit back with extra legroom in premium leather seating.
Thursday, December 22
Snowdrift Snow Tubing Park
Nothing says holiday like snow angels, tubing, slopes and possibly pounding your loved ones with some fresh powder snowballs. Good clean fun, good clean air (take it all in when you’re there). Beginner, intermediate, and advanced slopes are available and at 6500 feet above sea level.
Friday, December 23
Universal Studios Hollywood Grinchmas
Get your Grinch on with the Whos as Whoville hits the Backlot. Through December 25, you can play in real snow as you’re amongst all things Whoville. The Grinchmas holiday celebration is included with Universal Studios Hollywood park admission through January 1, 2012.
Saturday, December 24
This Wonderful Life
What better night to get back to the holiday basics than with George Bailey and his Bedford Falls? Share the hope and humor of Frank Capra’s adored Classic Christmas film It’s A Wonderful Life in this re-imagining. Written by Steve Murray, Directed by Peter Amster.
Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa
Round up the family for a Christmas getaway located across from Fashion Island where you can do last minute Christmas shopping. Take advantage of the Escape! Family Time promotion which includes breakfast for two and children under 12 eat free
Enjoy alone time at Pure Blu Spa and indulge in holiday treatment specials like “Cinnamon Holiday Glow” Facials, Winter Wonderland Deals at $50 each and “Holiday at your Finger Tips” manicures. Finish up by receiving special pricing on a blow out/hair style at Perla Hair Studio right next to the spa.
Enjoy a special Christmas Dinner at Sam & Harry’s, the hotel’s onsite restaurant, between 1:00 PM and 9:00 PM. A delicious menu has been prepared with sparkling wine and cider, starter, soup or salad and entrees including: Roasted Turkey, Prime Rib, Baked Ham and King Salmon. Finish up with the Chef’s Holiday Dessert Buffet…Not to be missed! Reservations recommended.
$51.00 per person
$19.00 children under 9 yrs
Free for children 4 and under
Sunday, December 25
Montage Beverly Hills
Wine, dine and ring in Christmas Day at the Montage Beverly Hills (a gift to yourself). Celebrate Christmas with a holiday brunch at Scarpetta from 11am-2pm for $88/adult and $55/child. Dinner service runs from 4-9pm and includes a $95 prix-fixe menu or a $125 six-course truffle tasting menu.
Zimmer Museum Federation Family Fun Day
Play the day away at the Zimmer Museum with the family. Yes, they’re open, and have all-day holiday events happening. Enjoy a Hanukkah dance party in the Mann Theater, make Get Well cards for patients at Children’s Hospital LA, eat Pizza and cupcakes and more. RSVP for the 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM or 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM sessions.
Debbie Lavdas is a freelance writer who blogs at Debbie in the OC. She also contributes to many SoCal magazines; those articles can be read at DebbieLavdas.com.
Elizabeth Peterson loves the holidays and believes in Santa Claus. You can find her passing along the latest and greatest on her Facebook page.