(credit: The Waffle Affair)

(credit: The Waffle Affair)

The holiday spirit is in the air in Orange County. From special culinary visits with Santa Claus himself to holiday themed theatrical performances, and even the chance to learn holiday cocktail tips from master mixologists, OC has no shortage of holiday themed fun and activities. Looking for something new? A restaurant opening and complete hotel re-imagination provide something bright and shiny with a bit more substance than a tinsel filled wonderland.

Monday, December 8
(credit: Hotel Irvine)

(credit: Hotel Irvine)

Hotel Reopening: Hotel Irvine
Hotel Irvine
17900 Jamboree Rd.
Irvine, CA 92614

After an extensive transformation, Hotel Irvine has reopened as the newest and only lifestyle hotel of its kind in Orange County. The sleek and modern look at the hotel is matched by its technological advancements, interactive social hub, and authentic collection of culinary offerings for guests and locals alike. Hotel guests can enjoy complimentary WiFi access, a Chef’s Everyday Breakfast, 24-hour room service delivery, health & fitness activities, in room water, and transportation to and from John Wayne Airport.

Tuesday, December 9
(credit: The Waffle Affair)

(credit: The Waffle Affair)

Restaurant Opening: The Waffle Affair
1064 Bayside Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 720-8144

SoCal culinary enthusiasts can now meet up at the newest gourmet spot in Newport Beach, The Waffle Affair. With inspiration from both Belgian Liége style waffles, a variety (over 21) of unique flavor combinations from breakfast snack to epicurean specialties, including a rotation of specialty waffles, are offered on a daily basis. More than just afterthoughts or toppings, the flavors and ingredients are often baked right into the creation. A full-service gourmet coffee bary by illy, the celebrated Italian coffee roasting company, is also offered onsite.

Wednesday, December 10
(credit: Grinch Musical)

(credit: Grinch Musical)

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
Segerstrom Center for the Arts
600 Town Center Dr
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-2787

Take the whole family to enjoy the magic of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday story, brought to life, live on stage. The musical, originally conceived by three time Tony Award-winning director, Jack O’Brien, brings the world of Whoville to life as you enjoy new songs and traditional Who-tastic favorites like, “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas.”

Thursday, December 11
(credit: Russel Davis)

(credit: Russel Davis)

Special Event: Russell Davis at Whole Foods
Whole Foods Newport Beach
415 Newport Center Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 999-8572

Russell Davis, the celeb mixologist and star of the reality show “Bar Rescue,” will be at the Whole Foods Newport Beach mixing up cocktails today from 4-6pm. Patrons looking for tips on serving their own seasonal cocktails can learn directly from the master as Davis shares tips, inspiration, and samples of his favorite holiday beverages, including use of cocktails made from fresh ingredients and low sugar jams.

Friday, December 12
(credit: Lisa Scarsi)

(credit: Lisa Scarsi)

“The Holiday Gem”
GEM Theater
12852 Main St.
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 741-9550

Come enjoy this new family-friendly holiday favorite, “The Holiday Gem” offered weekends throughout December at the GEM Theater in Garden Grove. The holiday musical review features live musicians, fabulous costumes, tap dancing elves, and of course Santa Claus himself. The lighthearted and entertaining show is masterfully created by the talented cast.

Saturday, December 13
(credit: FIG & OLIVE)

(credit: FIG & OLIVE)

Holiday Brunch
FIG & OLIVE Newport Beach
151 Newport Center Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 877-3005

FIG & Olive Newport Beach is inviting families to celebrate the Christmas and holiday season weekends throughout December. Their seasonal prix-fixe brunch menu, with plenty of typically delicious entree options for the grownups, includes a holiday bargain for the littlest set: families can receive a complimentary kid’s menu item per order of the prix-fixe brunch menu. Kid’s entree selections include a ¼ Roasted Chicken with Herbs de Provence, rosemary, garlic, lemon, and mashed potato, F&O Pizza with tomato, mozzarella, and basil, Chicken Fingers with crispy fried chicken strips served with tomato basil dip and skinny fries, Fish Croquettes with lemon mayo, and Penne Pasta with olive oil or pesto.

Sunday, December 14
(credit: Patina Restaurant Group)

(credit: Patina Restaurant Group)

Breakfast with Santa
Catal Restaurant
Downtown Disney District
1580 Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 774-4442

Start your holiday morning with an extravagant “Breakfast with Santa” buffet at Catal restaurant, located in the extremely festive holiday environment at Downtown Disney. Kids can enjoy cookie decorating, special gifts, and a visit from St. Nick himself while moms and dads take culinary pleasure in the family-style breakfast including fresh berries, an assortment of fresh baked treats, smoked Norwegian salmon, organic scrambled eggs, buttermilk pancakes, and house bread pudding French toast.

Katie Bodell is the Blog Editor for Trekaroo, the largest family travel website in the U.S. She is also a freelance writer, a happy wife to her best friend, and a mom to three sweet California girls. See more on: Trekaroo | CheapOair | Google+ | Twitter.