In December Roger’s Gardens in Orange County transforms into a Christmas wonderland and a pleasant place to shop and visit Santa Claus.

You know it’s going to happen. You will be in the middle of trimming your Christmas tree with the ornaments from the big box that you pulled out of your garage, when one of the baubles slips from your hands, smashes to the ground, and ingloriously transforms itself from a decorative bulb to a shiny pile of debris. You mourn its loss for a few seconds, which is just long enough for your brain to register the fresh need to run to the store and purchase a replacement for the fallen object.

Since such a scenario is pretty much inevitable and you are going to have to go shopping for the perfect ornament anyway, why not go to a place that’s fun to visit? So fun, in fact, that you don’t need to rely on the crutch of retail necessity in order to check it out, even if you’ll wind up buying something anyway?

Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach is such a place. Normally a sprawling home and garden center for most of the year, this special venue transforms itself into a virtual winter wonderland from now until December 23rd. The rustic interior of the main building is brimming with a host of decorative accents and breathtaking ornaments just waiting to replace the one you broke. The frosty air that hovers over the large outdoor garden area is filled with the romantic scent of pine that wafts from their massive Christmas tree lot. On weekends, kids can gush about all the absurdly expensive stuff they want to Santa, who will be chilling inside the grounds’ gazebo; a charming little structure that used to call Disneyland its home.

Made up of equal parts charm, romance, and magic, with a smidgen of practicality thrown in (read: you can still buy fertilizer for your begonias while you’re here if you really, really need to), Roger’s Gardens delivers the holiday spirit in a most astounding way.

9:00 AM – 8:00 PM through December 23rd
Visit Santa on Weekends from 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Cost: Free

Rich Manning is a softie for holiday shopping. He blogs at Foodie a Go Go.


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