Christmas is just around the corner, and everywhere you look, holiday events are popping up to fill guests with the spirit of the season. This week, enjoy film screenings of seasonal classics, live stage shows, visits with Santa, lessons on crafting your own candy canes, a Christmas boutique and a special holiday surfboard auction that adds a little local flair. Beyond that, there are plenty of art exhibits to explore, art workshops to take part in and live music to enjoy.
Monday, December 18

(Credit: Festival Ballet Theatre)

“The Nutcracker” Story Time
Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, Costa Mesa

Pop by SoCo Collection for a special story time with the dancers from Festival Ballet Theatre’s upcoming performance of “The Nutcracker.” In addition to giving away tickets, the ballerinas will be on-site to take photos following story time, which will include songs and crafts centered on Frosty the Snowman.

“Drawn from a Score”
Beall Center for Art + Technology, Irvine

Now through late February, check out this unique exhibit at the UCI art gallery. As the name implies, each drawing, sculpture, performance or computer-generated piece of art featured in the showcase was crafted based on a written or visual score. Artists include Alison Knowles, Casey Reas, David Bowen and many more.

Holiday Surfboard Auction
Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point

Help the Ritz-Carlton celebrate 10 years of fundraising for children in need with the annual Holiday Surfboard Auction. Hand-painted surfboards will once again be auctioned off to raise money for Surfers Healing, a surf camp for kids with autism. The auction will be live online until Dec. 31.

Tuesday, December 19

(Credit: Joan Marcus)

“Motown the Musical”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

Beginning Tuesday, “Motown the Musical” will grace the Segerstrom Hall stage for nearly a week with eight performances of the Broadway musical, which features more than 40 hit songs. From “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” to “Sign, Sealed, Delivered,” the songs tell the story of Motown’s development by founder Berry Gordy.

Jingle Bells
Pacific City, Huntington Beach

Pacific City’s Jingle Bells celebration kicks off at 10 a.m. with a story about—you guessed it—jingle bells. A special craft will add to the holiday spirit, allowing youngsters to create their own streamer of jingle bells to decorate the house with. In addition to the kid’s activities, there will be food and shopping discounts available throughout the afternoon.

Santa is Coming to Town
Kidseum at Bower’s Museum, Santa Ana

Tuesday marks the first of four days when Santa will visit the Kidseum at Bower’s, arriving by motorcycle as the children are lined up to greet him upon arrival. Sit on his lap in his red wagon and tell him your wish list, or take a trip around the world in the green screen time machine. He will be on site from 1 to 2 p.m. each day.

Wednesday, December 20

(credit: shutterstock)

“Step Right Up! Behind the Scenes of the Circus Big Top, 1890 – 1965”
Fullerton Museum Center, Fullerton

Learn all about the tradition of the circus, one that captivated many for generations as it grew into one of the largest theatrical experiences in America. This art exhibition offers a behind-the-scenes look at the pageantry of it all, with photographs, costumes, posters and oral histories from those who once performed live in circuses.

Ultimate Christmas Concert
Don the Beachcomber, Huntington Beach

Enjoy a live musical experience California style with the Ultimate Christmas Concert. The evening stars Surfin’, a Beach Boys tribute band that will be playing some of the most beloved songs around. With a tropical atmosphere and fruity cocktails, it’s definitely a way to celebrate the season with local flair.

Screening of “A Christmas Story”
Regency South Coast Village, Santa Ana

Part of a series that shows classic films on Wednesday nights, the theater will screen the beloved 1983 holiday movie that is an annual tradition for many. Laugh along as you enjoy the antics of Ralphie Parker, who wants nothing more than a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas.

Thursday, December 21

(Credit: Winter Fest)

Winter Fest
OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa

Celebrate the holiday season with a little bit of cold weather at Winter Fest. In addition to ice skating, tubing and snow play, there will be falling snow and fireworks at the nightly tree lighting ceremonies and a walk-through Christmas lights exhibit as well as carnival rides and food.

Florence Arnold Young Artist Exhibition 2017
Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton

View student art at this special showcase, which will exhibit artwork by local high school students through the end of the year. Until Dec. 31, guests can enjoy paintings, pastels, sculptures and drawings created by the artists of tomorrow.

Aquarium Holidays
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach

Enjoy holiday décor, snowfall, penguin walks, a gingerbread house display, shopping and special appearances by Santa Diver as he travels under the sea. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” will also be screened daily, and those who donate to the Sparks of Love toy drive will earn discounts on admission. The holiday celebration runs through Christmas Eve.

Friday, December 22

(Credit: Monarch Beach Resort)

Glasses and Brushes
Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point

Learn special oil painting techniques from award-winning artist Tony Goodwin as he discusses the best ways to create portraits. Along with the artwork, guests will enjoy two glasses of house wine during the two-hour event. The price of admission includes the canvas and the paints.

Queen Nation
House of Blues, Anaheim

Rock out to some classic hits by Queen as cover band Queen Nation hits the stage with The Who Generation. Both tribute bands offer up some stellar songs to sing along with and a chance to enjoy the evening in an exciting environment.

Seth MacFarlane
Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa

On both Friday and Saturday nights, Seth MacFarlane will take the stage with the Pacific Symphony to perform timeless holiday songs that the whole family can sing along to. While he may not be known for his musical talents, MacFarlane’s voice will shock and amaze as he delivers classic songs in baritone.

Saturday, December 23

(Credit: Roger’s Gardens)

Joyeux Noel Christmas Boutique
Roger’s Gardens, Newport Beach

Saturday marks the last day of Roger’s Garden’s Christmas boutique, Joyeux Noel. The shopping experience is based largely on the popular European Christmas markets, featuring traditional gifts and decorations that have been passed down in families for generations. Expect to find treasures from Italy, Germany, Poland and Portugal, among others.

Screening of “It’s A Wonderful Life”
The Frida Cinema, Santa Ana

Another holiday classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life” stars James Stewart as George Bailey, who is feeling like a failure until his guardian angel helps him take a look at his life. Though the film was produced in the 1940s, it didn’t become a Christmastime hit until the 70s, when it hit public domain. Now, visitors will flock to see this popular film this December.

“The Eight: Reindeer Monologues”
Chance Theater, Anaheim

Leave the kids at home while enjoying this holiday treat. Aimed at adults, the annual performance shows the dark side of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, the North Pole and the reindeer as the raunchy reindeer get he whole audience laughing.

Sunday, December 24

(Credit: Disney/Feld Entertainment)

Disney on Ice
Honda Center, Anaheim

The current iteration of Disney on Ice presents Follow Your Heart, a popular ice show filled with adventure that follows characters like “Finding Dory”’s Dory and Hank, the emotions from “Inside Out,” the “Frozen” crew and the Disney princesses—as well as Mickey and Minnie—as they make their dreams come true through kindness and bravery.

Candy Cane Class
Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, Buena Park

What could be a better Christmas Eve activity than creating your own candy canes? You’ll learn to make and shape your own striped candies at Farrell’s Sweet Pete’s, and then you’ll be free to take the sweet treats home with you to enjoy over the holidays.

“Rebecca Chernow: #superbloom”
Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana

In a partnership between Cal State Fullerton and the city of Santa Ana, Grand Central Art Center presents an art installation crafted by artist Rebecca Chernow, which was inspired by the trash and traffic that filled the poppy fields during this year’s superbloom. The showcase presents a makeshift bloom of its own, created with green Starbucks straws and orange shopping bags from nearby Fallas discount store.

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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