Unless its manufactured or a miracle happens, snow won’t be on the ground in Orange County this holiday season. But don’t discount the amount of merrymaking that will happen in this part of the Southland. To help you pick where to take your family in order to spread the holiday spirit and have a load of fun in the process, consider the following five events to be held in 2016.
(credit: Dana Point Harbor)

(credit: Dana Point Harbor)


Holiday In The Harbor
Dana Point Harbor
34555 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 923-2255
www.danapointharbor.com 
Date: Deceember 2. 2016 at 4:30 p.m.

If your kids are looking to take a meeting with Santa and get a picture to prove it, this is the best event around for that occasion. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Expect face painting, all kinds of entertainment, and special treats in an occasion that is called an open house features landmarks like Dana Wharf, Mariners Village and Mariners Alley, too. Be sure to be camera ready, because you’ll be snapping a lot of shots and so will everyone else.

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(credit: Knotts Berry Farm)

(credit: Knotts Berry Farm)


Knott’s Merry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Blvd.
Buena Park, CA 90620
(714) 220-5200
www.knotts.com
Dates: Now – January 8, 2017

A feast for the holidays, Knott Merry Farm has this storied 160-acre amusement park revved up and ready to dazzle with all kinds of festive augmentations. Those include masterful decorations, a whole host of carolers, and Santa’s Christmas Cabin where a whole lot of wishes and picture taking are on tap. But that’s only the beginning of the holiday madness in which snow actually falls in Ghost Town and Snoopy skates in a special ice show  in the Charles M. Schulz Theater. Get ready to schedule a trip to this Knott’s for one of the best holiday celebrations around. Some say the spirit in this Anaheim haunt is even magical.

(Credit: Trekaroo/Mcfam)

(Credit: Trekaroo/Mcfam)


Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Davey’s Locker
400 Main St.
Newport Beach, CA 92661
(949) 673-1434
www.christmasboatparade.com 
Dates: December 9, 10, 16, 17, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

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Hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, the 2016 Boat Parade will utilize the same starting and ending point as in previous years just off Bay Island. Arrive early on any of the four dates of this experience and situate yourself wherever there is room at the best vantage point possible to witness an event that has been luring citizens to Newport Beach for the pst 42 year. Talk about a light show to remember. This one is a contender to any other any other time of the year. Happy holidays!

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(credit: Maurice Turner)

(credit: Maurice Turner)


Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village
205 Center Street Promenade
Anaheim, CA 92805
(714) 956-3586
www.downtownanaheim.com
Date: December 3, 2016 at 10 a.m.

Held for more than two decades in downtown Anaheim, there’s something for everyone in the family during this early seasonal event. Ride a train, make angels in the snow, come up with a specially crafted object you can give as a gift this year, eat up any of the goodies offered in the international food fare, take pictures with Old Saint Nick, and listen to the music as it plays in the season with joy.  And then there’s the tree ceremony and procession which begins at 5:45 as it makes its way down to Feldhaus Circle. What a great day!

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)


Snowland
Great Wolf Lodge
12681 Harbor Blvd. 
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(888) 960-9653
www.greatwolf.com 
Dates: Now – January 1, 2017

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Great Wolf Lodge in Garden Grove magically becomes a winter wonderland for the month with all kinds of ways to feel the festivities, including the chance to dine in a real gingerbread house made of gingerbread walls and candy trim. North Pole University will be in session all month long (graduates will even be awarded an official Snowploma) and Santa will be on hand so the kids can whisper in his ear. A tree lighting ceremony caps off the fun at this extremely festive place where smiles are abundant and so is the fun.