Although the month of December is always filled with all different types of holiday celebrations, this week in particular has so much to offer. Pacific City’s 25 Days of the Giving and the City of Irvine’s Holiday Toy Drive make it easy to give back to the local community before Christmas arrives. For entertainment, catch a performance of Sleeping Beauty, watch a dazzling boat parade or stop by the Queen Mary for the complete SoCal winter experience.

Monday, December 5
(Credit: Pacific City)

(Credit: Pacific City)


25 Days of Giving
Pacific City
21010 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
www.gopacificcity.com

Last week, Pacific City kicked off their 25 Days of Giving, a larger-than-life experience that will run through Christmas Day. The event features a life-size advent calendar that is sure to engage, assist and inspire the local community throughout the month of December. Each day, one square of the calendar will be unveiled, revealing various moments and opportunities: uplifting messages of hope and love, random acts of kindness aimed at the community and even holiday-themed activities that visitors can all get involved with. The unique project inspires warmth each and every day at 11 a.m. Visit once or every day for your dose of holiday cheer.

Tuesday, December 6
(Credit: Discovery Cube)

(Credit: Discovery Cube)


Science of Gingerbread
Discovery Cube OC
2500 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 542-2823
www.discoverycube.org

Add a little spice to your science with the Discovery Cube’s annual Science of Gingerbread exhibition. This thrilling festival is perfect for families of all types looking to explore their creativity this holiday season. A learning station within the museum provides the perfect chance to learn to build a gingerbread house of your very own. But the fun doesn’t end there. The Science of Gingerbread is home to a kitchen full of cookie-decorating excitement and a gingerbread derby that gives kids a chance to build (and race!) their own colorful candy car. On select dates, there will also be a live stage show and visits with Santa Claus himself. The museum’s LA counterpart will host the same event.

Wednesday, December 7
(Credit: Lythgoe Family Panto)

(Credit: Lythgoe Family Panto)


“Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight”
Laguna Playhouse
606 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 497-2787
www.lagunaplayhouse.com

There’s nothing better than getting involved in the show you’re watching, and “Sleeping Beauty and Her Winter Knight” at the Laguna Playhouse encourages just that. The show is a panto, a British theater tradition dating back to the 1700s that gets the audience to interact with the show in a variety of ways. While the performance is a modern take on the beloved fairytale of Sleeping Beauty, her charming prince and a magical fairy, the panto style includes cheering and booing as appropriate. The show also features modern songs by popular artists like John Legend, Pharrell Williams and Jessie J, giving guests a chance to sing along. The unique performance runs through December 30.

Thursday, December 8
(Credit: The Queen Mary)

(Credit: The Queen Mary)


CHILL At The Queen Mary
The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, CA 90802
(877) 342-0752
www.queenmary.com

CHILL remains one of the Queen Mary’s most beloved events, drawing visitors from all over Southern California to experience a winter wonderland. With a new theme every year, there’s always something new to explore. This year, the festival presents Alice in Winterland, the Queen Mary’s take on the famous Lewis Carroll storybook and Disney classic, “Alice in Wonderland.” After you’ve ventured down the rabbit hole and through the White Rabbit’s kitchen and the Mad Hatter’s workshop, the event still has more to offer, including tubing down a frozen hill, ice skating on a rink below the ship itself, gingerbread house decorating, snowfall, paintballing, carnival rides and visits to the North Pole and the Claus Cottage.

Friday, December 9
(Credit: Dana Point Harbor)

(Credit: Dana Point Harbor)


Boat Parade of Lights
Dana Point Harbor
34624 Street of the Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 923-2255
www.danapointharbor.com

Living on the coast allows us a unique tradition that many areas aren’t lucky enough to have: Christmas boat parades. Dana Point’s Boat Parade of Lights is now in its 42nd year, offering four nights of thrills on the harbor water. Line up along the water’s edge to spot brilliant displays of Christmas lights hung on boats of all shapes and sizes. If you miss it, don’t worry—the same parade will take place Dec. 10, 16 and 17. In addition to the light display, the Dana Point Harbor hosts a variety of other events during the month of December, including boat rides with Santa and Santa photos.

Saturday, December 10
(Credit: David Tosti)

(Credit: David Tosti)


Brew Ho Ho
The Phoenix Club
1340 South Sanderson Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92806
(949) 363-1774
www.ocbrewhoho.com

The sister festival to OC’s annual Brew Ha Ha, the Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival is a great way for beer lovers to celebrate the tastes of the season. Along with a special commemorative glass, visitors will get the chance to savor the flavors of the season with over 40 different winter and holiday ales from breweries all around Southern California and beyond. There will be an additional 40 craft beers that aren’t themed so the event is perfect for beer enthusiasts of all sorts. Get unlimited two-ounce tastings from noon to 4 p.m. in an enclosed beer garden setting. There will also be live music, Santa photo ops and a holiday expo filled with craft beer merchandise—perfect for Christmas shopping.

Sunday, December 11
(Credit: David Kawashima)

(Credit: David Kawashima)


Holiday Toy Drive
Irvine Civic Center
1 Civic Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92606
(949) 724-6606
www.cityofirvine.org

Today marks the last day to donate gifts for the City of Irvine’s Holiday Toy Drive. The city has partnered with the Irvine 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee to showcase the spirit of the season and brighten the lives of military families in Orange County. They are asking for new, unwrapped toys for children from infants to the age of 12. Lend a hand to those in need by donating at one of the various donate sites: the Irvine Civic Center, the police department lobbies or the visitor center at the Orange County Great Park.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.

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