Do the holidays up right

Seeking to celebrate the season but have no idea where to start? Our annual guide to all things holiday will help guide the way, regardless of where you live, work or play.

First up: the food.

For those shuddering at the thought of preparing a meal on Sunday, several top restaurants will be open for brunch and dinner, Choose from many options like a four-course champagne brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or dinner from 4:30 to 10 p.m. at Las Brisas, 361 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach; a three-course meal at the Californian at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 21500 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, that includes entrée selections like roast turkey or an all-natural filet; and a brunch buffet with special holiday items at the Palm Terrace Restaurant in the Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach.


Laguna Beach

Decorate a dreidel cookie and enjoy the lighting of the "way cool surfboard menorah" at Chabad Jewish Center of Laguna Beach's Hanukkah bash at 2 p.m. Sunday on Main Beach. Enjoy live Israeli music and dancing, and the see-it-to-believe-it antics of Rusty D.

Information: (949) 499-0770 or

George Bailey meets Clarence the Angel once again in a one-man retelling (with all characters acted out) of "This Wonderful Life," onstage through Saturday at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Tickets are $35 and up.


For a Christmas Eve celebration with a community feel, stop by Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann's Drive, Laguna Beach, for a 7 p.m. service featuring candlelight and carols by musicians like Jason Feddy, Nick Hernandez and Mary Scifres. They will be joined by pianist Pam Wicks and poet John Gardiner. Labyrinth walkers are invited to take the circuit from 5 to 7 p.m. for an introspective experience.

Information: (949) 494-8061.



Create or continue a family tradition by attending "The Nutcracker" at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, presented by Festival Ballet Theatre and featuring guest artists from American Ballet Theatre and the Joffrey Ballet. April Daly and Fabrice Calmels of the Joffrey will take top honors this week at the family friendly show. Tickets are $40 for adults, $37 for seniors and $35 for children.

For a last-minute holiday gift idea, consider a $5-per-ticket discount for an upcoming Barclay show, including "Stuffed and Unstrung," featuring Henson puppets in a decidedly adult production; the upcoming "Blues Brothers" musical; several contemporary dance options; and live music from around the world. Use coupon code HOLIDAY5 online at or call (949) 854-4646 for tickets.


Newport Beach

For a posh movie-going experience post present-opening, head to the newly opened Island Cinema, 999 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, where new releases like "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" are served alongside gourmet food options; you can even select your seat online. Admission is $16.50 per person.

Need a last-minute gift (even for yourself)? The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast is offering special deals through Dec. 31 with purchase of their gift cards: Those who purchase a $500 gift card will receive two 30-minute spa treatment upgrades. A $1,000 gift card yields you lunch for two at Pelican Grill, while $1,500 comes with lunch for two at Andrea. A $2,000 gift card results in a double room category upgrade. Information: (866) 536-6905.


Costa Mesa

Dreaming of a "White Christmas?" Enjoy the Broadway version of the classic film through Jan. 1 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Enjoy original Irving Berlin numbers like "Blue Skies" alongside new song and dance routines and an expanded plot. Tickets are $20 and up; visit

For an artistic experience to counter the crowds at South Coast Plaza, stop by the Orange County Fine Arts exhibition across the street at the Showcase Gallery in South Coast Plaza Village, 3851 S. Bear St., Santa Ana. Information: (714) 540-6430 or


Huntington Beach

For a chance to see the waterside decorated homes and boats of Huntington Harbour residents, enjoy the 49th annual Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee Cruise of Lights, a 45-minute narrated boat tour departing daily through Friday at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $17 for adults and $10 for children ages 2 through 12.

Information: (714) 840-7542 or

Strap on some skates and enjoy the annual holiday ice rink at the Strand, 155 Fifth St., Huntington Beach. The rink is closed Sunday, but open otherwise through the end of the year from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Skate rental is $7 for adults and $5 for kids ages 12 and younger.

Information: (714) 465-4528.

Enjoy crafts and an immersive environment circa 0 AD at "A Night in Bethlehem Family Celebration," hosted by Christ Presbyterian Church, 20112 Magnolia St., Huntington Beach. Walk through stations like a carpenter's shop, bakery, marketplace and stable from 4 p.m. until the start of the 5 p.m. Christmas Eve service, which features the church's children's choir. Candlelight and communion services will be held at 7 and 11 p.m.

Information: (714) 968-4940.

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