The nonprofit Crystal Cove Alliance plans to host its Deck the Cove and tree-lighting ceremony Dec. 7 at Crystal Cove State Park's historic cottages.
The event, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., will feature the signature Christmas tree on the sand, an art sale, holiday bazaar and visit from Santa Claus.
The vintage cottages, restored to reflect the years between 1935 and 1955, when the area evolved as a community, will be decorated retro-style. Wreaths will adorn the doors, sea shell garlands will hang from railings and large-bulb Christmas lights will provide retro color.
"We are trying to keep it covey," alliance founder Laura Davick said. "We want it to be as much like it was as possible."
The main feature will be the 17th annual lighting of the tree, which, in true coastal California fashion, will shine from the sand. The tree will stand in front of The Beachcomber Cafe. The ceremony begins at 5:15 p.m.
"It's a great place for families to come and get their holiday picture taken in front of the tree with the ocean in the background," Davick said.
Though the tree is the centerpiece, Father Christmas may steal the show.
"Santa arrives from the North Pole, and he arrives on a very unique kind of sled," Davick said, declining to share details other than his time of arrival, 4 p.m.
Becky Barber, the alliance's art coordinator, loves seeing Christmastime celebrated in what for many is such an unexpected setting — the beach.
"What really got me is (the kids) are all dressed up to take their picture with Santa, and they have sand caked up to their ankles," she said. "And how California is that?"
The holiday bazaar will offer works from local artists, clothing and other holiday gifts.
Plein air artwork set in Crystal Cove will be for sale. Half of the sale proceeds will go toward restoring and maintaining the cottages, which are rented to tourists for short stays.
Art demonstrations — with guest participation — will also be set up in the bazaar, which will open at 9 a.m. in front of the educational commons, across from the Beachcomber.
To top off the holiday festivities, singers from Sage Hill, a private high school in Newport Beach, will offer carols. The Beachcomber will provide cookies and hot chocolate.
Guests can park in the Los Trancos parking lot, across Coast Highway from Crystal Cove State Park. The park will waive the usual $15 fee starting at 3 p.m., and attendees can use the shuttle — $1 each way — for transport to the cottage area.