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Local cities get festive with busy calendar of holiday happenings

Santa Claus will hear children’s wishes on the sand at Crystal Cove State Park on Saturday.
(File Photo)

More tree lightings, more opportunities to sit on Santa’s knee, and lots more cookies and cocoa await as Christmas season arrives in full force.

You can find holiday cheer at a long list of local events over the next several weeks:


  • The Hive commercial center in Laguna Beach is celebrating the holiday season with its first tree lighting, along with beer and wine sampling, holiday movies, cookie-decorating workshops and visits with Santa Claus. Free festivities are from 2 to 8 p.m., with the tree lighting at 6 at 805-859 Laguna Canyon Road.


  • Santa will roll up on the beach at Crystal Cove State Park via lifeguard vehicle before lighting a tree in the sand at the 22nd annual Tree Lighting and Holiday Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Coast Highway and Los Trancos. Parking is $5 per hour, with a maximum of $15.
  • The Fountain Valley Recreation & Community Services Department will light up the sky as well as a tree at the city Recreation Center & Sports Park, 16400 Brookhurst St. Free festivities from 4:30 to 8 p.m. will include a fireworks show.
  • The “Run for a Claus/Run for a Cause” 5K at UC Irvine will benefit the Salvation Army and the Kids Run the OC Foundation. A kids’ 1-mile run/walk starts at 8:30 a.m. and the main race begins at 9 a.m. at Ring Road near Aldrich Hall and the Student Center. Costumes are welcome. Runners can register at before Friday or near the starting line the morning of the event. Registration fees are $10 to $40.
  • “The Nutcracker for Kids,” an abridged narrated version of the holiday classic, will be presented by the Festival Ballet Theatre at 2:30 and 4 p.m. in the Friends Room of the Newport Beach Central Library, 1000 Avocado Ave. Admission is free and seating is first-come, first-served. Ticket distribution for both shows will begin at 1 p.m.
  • The Ballet Etudes youth company will present full-length performances of “The Nutcracker” from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and Dec. 8-9 at the Huntington Beach High School theater, 1905 Main St. Tickets cost $20 to $35 and can be purchased at
Two girls with electric necklaces of Christmas lights and mom in a Santa hat stroll under the Light
Dozens of giant snowflakes will be lighted Sunday on and around the Huntington Beach Pier for the annual Light a Light of Love.
(File Photo)


  • The annual Corona del Mar Christmas Walk is a block party and bazaar that highlights the many small businesses along CdM’s stretch of Coast Highway. Highlights from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will include the Fireman’s Grill BBQ staffed by Newport Beach firefighters and a raffle with more than $15,000 in prizes.
  • The annual Light a Light of Love will illuminate more than 80 giant snowflakes on and around the Huntington Beach Pier to benefit Waymakers’ Huntington Beach Youth Shelter. Festivities from 3:30 to 7 p.m. will include performers, a children’s parade and a meet-and-greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The snowflake lighting is at 6 p.m.
  • The Balboa Bay Resort will light its 20-foot tree as singers, dancers and a few friends from the North Pole provide free entertainment from 6 to 7 p.m. at 1221 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach.
  • Costa Mesa’s First United Methodist Church will light its landmark bell tower for the holiday season in a free event from 6 to 7 p.m. at 420 W. 19th St.

Dec. 7

  • Little ones can have breakfast with Santa from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Newport Coast Community Center, 6401 San Joaquin Hills Road. The event is sold out, but a waiting list is available for sign-ups at
  • Visitors can party with Santa on the streets of downtown Laguna Beach and cheer the lighting of a pepper tree during Hospitality Night from 5 to 10 p.m. along Forest Avenue. The tree lighting is at 6:10.
  • A tunnel of multicolored lights and other glowing scenes will highlight the Nights of 1000 Lights celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 7-8 at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar. The event will include treats for all ages, crafts, a prix fixe dinner at Cafe Jardin, hula dancers, a gnome village, photo ops with Santa, a no-host wine and beer bar and a tamale vendor. Tickets are $10 for Sherman Library members and $20 for non-members. Children 3 and younger are admitted free.
A multicolored light tunnel is one way to enjoy the Nights of 1000 Lights on Dec. 7-8 at Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar.
(File Photo)

Dec. 8

  • Nancy Wilson of Heart will headline “KXMas,” an annual fundraising concert for KX/93.5 FM, Laguna Beach’s independent radio station. La Sera, Springtime Carnivore and Wilson’s band, Roadcase Royale, will fill the bill at the Irvine Bowl at the Festival of the Arts grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road. Food and drink, “indie” carolers and Santa will be at the “Winter Wonderland” on the grounds. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the show at 7. Tickets start at $55.
  • The Huntington Beach Historical Society will present a free Victorian Christmas from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Newland House Museum, 19820 Beach Blvd. The event will include demonstrations of Japanese and Japanese-American culture in tribute to Huntington’s Historic Wintersburg.
  • The Huntington Harbour Boat Parade will start and finish at the northern tip of Coral Cay on Dec. 8-9. This year’s theme is “A Space Odyssey.” The procession begins at 5:15 p.m. and lasts about three hours.
  • The Ballet Repertory Theatre, Orange County’s oldest continuous ballet company, will present “The Nutcracker” from Dec. 8 to 24 at Golden West College’s Mainstage Theater, 15751 Gothard St., Huntington Beach. Matinee and evening shows are available. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $16 for students, senior citizens and children younger than 12. For the schedule and more information, visit

Dec. 9

  • Nine decorated homes will be featured in the 22nd annual Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Newport Beach. Tickets are $35 and are available at or the day of the event at the Balboa Island Museum, 210 Marine Ave.

Dec. 13

  • The Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts will present its holiday concert, “Sounds of the Season 2018,” at 7 p.m. Dec. 13-14 at the Huntington Beach High School theater, 1905 Main St. Tickets are $22 for general admission and $16 for students and senior citizens.
Families took in the Snoopy House Holiday Displays at the Costa Mesa Civic Center lawn on Saturday n
Scenes from the "Peanuts" comic strip will fill the Costa Mesa City Hall lawn during the annual Snoopy House from Dec. 14 to 23.
(File Photo)

Dec. 14

  • The Costa Mesa City Hall grounds will host the long-running local tradition Snoopy House, with its “Peanuts” scenes, musical acts and appearances by Santa, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 14-23 at 77 Fair Drive. Admission is free.
  • The Cruise of Lights will take admirers of all things twinkly on narrated boat tours of Huntington Harbour’s decorated waterfront homes and docked vessels Dec. 14-17 and Dec. 20-23. Several cruise options are available, including a dinner package at the Huntington Harbour Yacht Club. Times and ticket prices vary. Shuttles will be available from the Huntington Harbour Mall parking lot at 16889 Algonquin St. This is the main fundraiser for the Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee. For more information, visit
  • The American Ballet Theatre will present 12 performances of “The Nutcracker” from Dec. 14 to 23 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Matinee and evening shows are available. Tickets start at $29. For more information, visit
  • A classic movie house will present a classic holiday film Dec. 14-17 when the Lido Theater hosts several screenings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach. Times and ticket prices vary.

Dec. 15

  • “Pancakes with Santa” at the Ranch at Laguna Beach promises hayrides, ornament decorating, a children’s pie-eating contest and, of course, pancakes and Santa Claus from 8 a.m. to noon at 31106 S. Coast Hwy. Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and younger. Reservations are required. Call (949) 715-1376.
An ice skater takes to the ice under the lights moments before the masses during the 3rd annual Wint
An outdoor ice rink is one of the many attractions at Winter Fest OC, slated for Dec. 20 through Jan. 6 at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.
(File Photo)

Dec. 19

  • Newport Beach’s signature holiday event, the Christmas Boat Parade, will fill the harbor with color and sound Dec. 19-23. This year’s parade features Angels first baseman Albert Pujols as the opening-night grand marshal, with festivities beginning at 6:15 p.m. with a fireworks display from the Newport Pier. Free public viewing locations will ring the harbor, with several charters and waterfront businesses offering private viewings.

Dec. 20

  • The Orange County Market Place will host a holiday bazaar in conjunction with the nearby Winter Fest from 2 to 8 p.m. Dec. 20-21 at the OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. Tickets are $5.
  • Guests can build a snowman, go tubing and ice skating, visit 10 holiday-themed lands, watch fireworks, parades and live entertainment and more Dec. 20 through Jan. 6 at Winter Fest OC at the OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa. Times and ticket prices vary. For more information, visit

Twitter: @Daily_PilotHD



10:15 a.m. Nov. 28: This article was updated with the new date for the Newland House Museum event, which has been changed to Dec. 8 from Dec. 1.

This article was originally published at 7:40 a.m. Nov. 27.