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HGTV’s Christina Anstead, a fan of Newport Beach’s boat parade, is now its opening grand marshal

Christina Anstead
Christina Anstead, star of HGTV’s “Christina on the Coast” and “Flip or Flop,” is Wednesday’s opening-night grand marshal of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.
(Courtesy of Jana Cruder)

Christina Anstead, star of HGTV’s home renovation shows “Christina on the Coast” and “Flip or Flop,” is the celebrity grand marshal of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade for its opening night Wednesday.

The Newport Beach resident — she shares a home with her family on Lido Isle — will cruise the parade route with her children Taylor, 9, and Brayden, 4. Anstead also has an infant son — Hudson, born in September — with her husband, Ant, but the littlest one will not be aboard for the 2½-hour trip around Newport Harbor.

The annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, running Dec. 18-22 this year, began 111 years ago and now is an economic tsunami that draws more than 150 boats and thousands of visitors who crowd restaurants and hotels, spending millions of dollars.

Anstead shared some thoughts with the Daily Pilot about the five-night parade and the holidays:

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What drew you to the grand marshal gig?
I’ve always been a fan of the Newport Beach boat parade and have been taking the kids to it for years and love taking them in our Duffy around the harbor to see all the boats.

What are the kids looking forward to?
Taylor and Brayden are excited for the fireworks the most and love looking at all the boat designs.

As an Orange County native, had you ever attended the parade? Did you ever think it would be fun to participate?
I’ve been going to the parade since I was in high school and never expected to be part of it. It’s a huge honor.

The boat parade is a Newport holiday tradition. What are some of your holiday traditions?
We love to drive around and look at Christmas lights, especially in Brea. We have a Christmas Eve party with friends and family and love spending time together with everyone during the holidays. The kids love Elf on the Shelf!

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The boat decorations range from simple, traditional twinkly lights to floating elaborate sets with music, animated figures and pyrotechnics. What is your holiday decor aesthetic?
Winter wonderland. Think lots of white lights and snowflakes!

Generally, what is the best part about Christmas?
Spending time with the whole family and seeing their faces light up on Christmas morning when they open their presents and stockings!

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