While it’s mid-November and Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, it’s the Christmas-themed events that really shine this week. From a fantastic tree lighting ceremony and a holiday décor home tour to surfing Santas and a chance to greet the jolly man by the beach, the latter half of the week is filled with Christmas cheer. But, before that, experience a new art exhibit, a nature-filled trivia night or a talk with comedic writer David Sedaris.

Monday, November 13

(Credit: Bowers Museum)

“Empress Dowager Cixi: Selections from the Summer Palace”
Bowers Museum
2002 North Main Street
Santa Ana, CA 92706
(714) 567-3600

The past weekend kicked off the opening of a new exhibit focusing on the Empress Dowager Cixi, a politician and artist from the early 20th century. The showcase will present more than 100 objects and pieces of art that reveal what her daily life was like in China’s Summer Palace.

Tuesday, November 14

(credit: Juli Hansen/shutterstock)

Birds & Beer: Nature Trivia Night
Ashley’s on Fourth
1731 East 4th Street
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 495-5700

The Newport Bay Conservancy has partnered with this local bar to present a nature-themed trivia night. With a $2 buy-in per person, and prizes included free pitchers of beer for the top three teams, proceeds will benefit the endangered Western Snowy Plover conservation via the Audubon Society.

Wednesday, November 15

(Credit: Ingrid Christie)

An Evening with David Sedaris
Irvine Barclay Theatre
4242 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 854-4646

Best-selling comedy writer and former National Public Radio host David Sedaris will be on-site with his wit and quirky tales as he presents social commentary, observations and other humorous stories on the stage this Wednesday night at 8 p.m.

Thursday, November 16

(Credit: South Coast Plaza)

South Coast Plaza Tree Lighting
South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(800) 782-8888

Start your season out with a night that is merry and bright as the giant Christmas tree at the mall is lit up for the first time. Expect to experience snowfall, a visit from Santa Claus and a special holiday performance from Montage!, Orange County School of the Arts’ performance group.

Friday, November 17

(Credit: Turville Photography)

Jack and Jill Home Tour
Temple Beth Sholom
2625 North Tustin Avenue
Santa Ana, CA 92705

This year’s holiday home tour will take place in North Tustin between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The three homes featured include a serene contemporary home, a tranquil Cowan Heights estate and a contemporary farmhouse. A boutique with holiday vendors will also take place at the temple on Thursday and Friday.

Saturday, November 18

(Credit: Pacific City)

Santa’s Official Arrival
Pacific City
21010 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 930-2345

Santa Claus, along with two of his elves, will appear in the sky over Huntington Beach for his official arrival at Pacific City. After he is escorted from the beach to the outdoor mall, he will be available for photos and gift requests. There will also be Santa hats and candy canes available.

Sunday, November 19

(Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel)

Surfing Santa Competition
Salt Creek Beach
33333 Pacific Coast High
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 240-5088

This annual competition is always a fun way to spend a Sunday, with plenty of Santas and other Christmas-themed costumed surfers taking to the waves. Proceeds from the event will again benefit Surfers Healing, a surfing camp for children with autism. There are stand-up paddleboard divisions as well, and prizes are available for the best costumes.

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.