December is full of fun things to do around Orange County. We’ve got events near and far, and many are free or very low cost.

So check out this roundup of many of the community events on the calendar that will be helping spread the holiday cheer.

ALSO SEE: 20 events to get your ho-ho-holiday on in Southern California



Express fun: Muzeo Express, a holiday model train exhibit, will be open Dec. 2 through Jan. 28 at the Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center. The model trains travel through carefully detailed miniature scenes. Get schedules and tickets:

Holiday party: The lighting of a 50-foot Christmas tree will cap a day of free holiday fun Dec. 3 at Center Street Promenade in downtown Anaheim during the annual tree lighting and holiday village community event. Starting at noon, there will be pictures with Santa, shopping, a dog costume contest, entertainment and other activities for families. The tree lighting starts at 6 p.m.

Family festival: The Anaheim Hills Festival shopping center is planning a free “holiday spectacular” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 16 with fun events for families such as photos with Santa Claus, train rides and face painting. Information:

On stage: The Chance Theater will stage the “Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas” musical Dec. 1-23, with photos and autographs before each performance. For showtimes and box office:

Community brunch: The annual holiday brunch started by K&A Cafe and Catering returns to West Center Street Promenade in downtown Anaheim on Dec. 24. There will be a brunch to feed families and anyone who might need some extra help during the holidays. In addition to food, there will be activities for families, entertainment and a visit from Santa Claus with gifts. The brunch will last from 9 a.m. to noon. There are a variety of ways to help out. Information:


Holiday scholars: The Brea Glenbrook Women’s Club will raise money for its high school scholarship fund with its 52nd annual craft bazaar Dec. 2. Crafts and gifts will be sold by numerous vendors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; a $1 admission is requested at the gate, 1821 E. Greenbriar Lane, for the fundraiser.

Tree lighting: The annual tree lighting at the Civic & Cultural Center will occur at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will stop by to greet folks and take photos. Local schoolchildren will entertain. Admission is free, though photos with Santa will cost $5.  Information:

Christmas with the Alleycats: The Alleycats return to the Curtis Theater with their doo-wop styling of Christmas classics for shows at 8 p.m. Nov. 24 and 25  and 3 p.m. Nov. 25 and 26. General admission is $40. Information:

Live theater: The Curtis Theatre and STAGEStheatre are presenting “It’s a Wonderful Life” as a live radio play from Dec. 14 to 17. Tickets are $23-$30. Information and tickets:

A Tamale Fiesta worker prepares a tamale order for a customer during the annual Tamale Festival in La Habra, which returns again this year. (Michael Ares, Contributing Photographer)

Buena Park

Candy Caneland and Craft Faire: This free, family-friendly winter celebration will run 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 9. Activities include a snow slide, a visit from Santa, entertainment, a petting zoo and more than 100 artisan craft booths at Ehlers Community Center, 8150 Knott Ave. Information:

Christmas tree: Santa will be on hand for the city’s annual Christmas tree-lighting celebration at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at City Hall, 6650 Beach Blvd. There will be entertainment, activities for kids and a photo area. Information:


Winter Market: The annual festival in Fullerton’s Downtown Plaza, which will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 2, with activities for kids and adults, with an array of artisan and unique vendors and food booths, entertainment and a beer and wine garden. Information:

Movie night: The city is hosting a winter movie night screening “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at 5 p.m. on Dec. 1. There will also be games and activities for families, snacks and more at the Fullerton Community Center. Cost is $5, register at

“The Nutcracker”: The annual holiday production of “The Nutcracker” by the Nouveau Chamber Ballet, based in Fullerton, will be performed at 2 p.m. Dec. 16 and 17 at the Fullerton College Campus Theatre. The performance is a special one-hour version of the holiday classic.  Reserved seating is $20-$30. There is also a Sugar Plum Fairy Party after for an addition cost. Information and tickets:

Holiday fun: The Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s annual Holiday Festival, which will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 17, features family friendly activities, an arts and crafts fair and live performances. Santa will be in attendance. Admission is free. Information:

New year: The First Night Fullerton New Year’s Eve Celebration will return this year. Festivities will run from 7 p.m. to midnight Dec. 31. Admission is free. The evening will feature children’s activities, food and live entertainment. A fireworks show caps the night at midnight. Activities will take place along Harbor Boulevard between Chapman and Commonwealth avenues. Information:

La Habra

Tamales and fun: The popular annual Tamale Festival marks its 10th anniversary on Dec. 2. Tamale vendors will be selling their savory and sweet creations; there will also be other food for sale and performers on three different stages – one is dedicated to kids’ entertainment. The event runs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Euclid Street between La Habra Boulevard and Bridenbecker Avenue. Information:

Hang with Santa: The Children’s Museum at La Habra will again host Breakfast with Santa this year where children can take photos with the big guy and do activities. Sessions are 8:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10. Pre-registration required, tickets are $20 adults and $17 for children. Information:

RELATED: Here are the holiday happenings at Southern California theme parks

La Palma

Tree lighting: The city’s annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony will be Dec. 6. The festivities begin with Santa’s Village at 4 p.m. and the big guy arrives at 4:30 p.m. to visit with children and families. There will be arts and crafts to do and children can write a letter to Santa. Local school children will perform and the tree lighting ceremony will start at 5:30 p.m. Rain would reschedule the event to Dec. 13. Information:


Christmas village: Irvine Park Railroad’s Santa’s Village and Christmas Train are open daily through Dec. 30, closed Dec. 24 and 25. Children can visit Santa and experience a ride through the Tunnel of Lights. There are other activities, such as carnival games, blizzard ball and a moon bounce. Costs for activities vary, some are free. Information:

Tree lighting: The annual tree-lighting ceremony and candlelight choir procession will be Dec. 3, starting at 3:30 p.m. with activities for families in the Old Towne Orange Plaza. At 5:15, the city will light the tree, and the choir candlelight procession will begin. The event is free and open to the public. Information:

Hanukkah celebration: Temple Beth Sholom will host a Hanukkah menorah lighting at 6 p.m. nightly in the traffic circle of the Orange Plaza from Dec. 7 to 14. Each night of Hanukkah a ceremony to light another candle will be held and there will be jelly donut holes for the community. Temple Beth Sholom serves a large population in Orange. Information: 714-628-4600

Holiday music: Chapman University’s Musco Center is hosting the always popular Holiday Wassail Concert for the 59th year. It will take place at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9 and feature Chapman’s orchestra and choirs performing holiday music. General admission is $25.

On Dec. 20-21, Nochebuena: Christmas Eve in Mexico will feature Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar performing at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25.

Information and tickets at

Library visits: Santa Claus will stop by Orange library branches to visit with children. Parents are encouraged to bring cameras to get photos of their children with Santa during the free event and kids can write Santa a letter. He will visit the Orange Public Library & History Center from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5; the Taft Branch from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 11; and the El Modena Branch from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 13. Information:

Holiday music: St. John’s Lutheran Church of Orange’s “The Sounds of Christmas” concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8, and 2 and 5 p.m. Dec. 9. It will feature The Jubilate Choir, Cathedral Bells and the Festival Orchestra. There is no admission, but a freewill offering will be accepted. Child care is available. St. John’s is at 185 S. Center St. Information:

Zoo celebration: Even the animals at the zoo celebrate the holidays. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9, guests are invited to meet Santa Claus, do holiday activities and watch the zoo animals get delicious holiday treats. Admission is $2 per person; parking is $5 per vehicle. Information:


Tamale Festival: The city will present the always popular Tamale Festival from 4 to 10 p.m. Dec. 7 on the 100-200 block of Santa Fe Street  and the 200 block of Bradford Avenue in Old Town Placentia. A variety of tamales may be purchased from downtown restaurants and there will be live entertainment, a visit by Santa Claus and a craft beer garden.

Villa Park

Santa’s tour: Santa Claus is coming to Villa Park for his annual sweep of the city Dec. 2 – and as usual for the city, he won’t be riding a sleigh but a fire engine. Each year for Santa’s tour, the fire engine makes stops all throughout the city so Santa can meet with residents and their children. A tour route and full schedule of stops is available at

Boat parade: The beloved Dry Land Boat Parade will return to Villa Park on Dec. 10 this year with a “Jingle Around the Park” theme. Each year, residents decorate their trailered boats – and just about anything else with wheels – to join in a citywide display of holiday cheer. The parade starts at 5 p.m. on Taft Avenue and ends at Villa Park High. A parade route and schedule is available at

Yorba Linda

Holiday on Main Street: The community will have a chance to visit with Santa Claus and enjoy festive music throughout the night. The event, which is hosted by local merchants, is set for 4-9 p.m. Dec. 2 along Old Town Yorba Linda’s Main Street, just north of Imperial Highway and Yorba Linda Boulevard. Bring an unwrapped toy for donation.

Boat parade: East Lake Village homes are decorating for the holidays, and the community is having its annual boat parade – with the boats decorated as well – at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10. Food trucks will be available from 5 to 7 p.m. at the East Lake Clubhouse. The community can watch from the public streets around the lakefront neighborhood. Information:

Nixon holiday: The Nixon Presidential Library & Museum will have a candlelight evening from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 19 with the museum aglow for the holidays. There will be entertainment, photos with Santa Claus in the Oval Office, the chance to feed the reindeer and more. General admission is $35 adults, $20 for children. Find tickets and  information at


Corona Del Mark

Christmas Walk: The annual Christmas Walk in the Corona Del Mar Business District will feature entertainment by more than 17 local bands, food, children’s activities, a beer and wine garden, unique vendor gifts and more from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Dec. 3. Information:

Lots of lights: The Sherman Library & Gardens hosts its annual Nights of 1,000 Lights festival from 6 to 9 p.m. on select nights between Dec. 9 and 22. There are three entry times each night. The gardens will feature a variety of themes and photo opportunities to stroll through along with other holiday activities. Tickets are $35 general admission but must be purchased online and are expected to sell out. Information and tickets:

Costa Mesa’s beloved Snoopy House display returns this year with holiday lights, decorations and Santa Claus. (File photo by Michael Goulding, Contributing Photographer)

Costa Mesa

Doghouse: The city’s beloved Snoopy House display will be open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. nightly Dec. 15-22 next to City Hall. Santa will make a special visit and take photographs with families starting at 6 p.m. each night. There will also be train rides and a lights display. On weekends there will be performances and special play areas. Information:

Winter Fest OC: Activities include ice tubing down Snowflake Summit, a snow play area, a North Pole Journey and winter wonderland with various entertainment and activities. The Festival of Lights has a stroll-through display. Winter Fest is open through Jan. 1 at the OC Fair & Event Center. Information and ticket prices:

‘A Christmas Carol’: South Coast Repertory will present the Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story with founding member Richard Doyle returning as Ebenezer Scrooge.   Various showtimes through Dec. 24. Tickets range from $39 to $94. There is an American Sign Language performance on Dec. 9. Information:

Global holiday: The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is hosting Holidays Around the World from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 10 in the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza. There will be festive performances reflecting holiday traditions from around the globe and kids can do crafts. Snow is in the forecast. Entry is free with an RSVP at


Holiday sing: The city will host a festive Holiday Sing and Tree Lighting event for the community at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Civic Center Green Corner, which is at Orange Avenue and Grindlay Street. There will be school performances, crafts and games, treats, train rides and a visit by Santa Claus. Chair and blankets are encouraged.

Fountain Valley

Tree lighting: The city will celebrate the holidays with the lighting of its tree at the Fountain Valley Recreation Center on Dec. 2. The event is 4:30 to 8 p.m. and will feature family activities, pictures with Santa, live entertainment and the Hyundai Snow Zone. Information:

Garden Grove

Tree lighting: Winter in the Grove on Dec. 2 will feature snow  slides, a holiday boutique, a visit by Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and the lighting of the city’s holiday tree. It runs from 3 to 7 p.m. at Village Green Park. Information:

Huntington Beach

Light a Light of Love: A family friendly event lighting up the pier with a children’s parade and lighting the giant snowflakes on the pier. The 4-6 p.m. event on Dec. 4 is free at the Huntington Beach Pier Plaza; sponsor a snowflake to benefit the Waymakers Huntington Beach Youth Shelter. Information:

‘Nutcracker’ Ballet: Ballet Etudes’ cast of dancers will present the holiday classic at the Huntington Beach High School Theater. Performances are 2 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10 and 7 p.m. Dec. 2, 3 and 10. Tickets start at $35. Information:

Boat parade: The Huntington Harbour Boat Parade will shine bright for its 61st  year on Dec. 9 and 10. Boats line up at 4:30 p.m. and the parade starts at 5:15 p.m. Public viewing from beaches only. This year the theme is “The Power of Music” and the grand marshal is Weikko Wirta. Track the route and get more information at

Cruise of Lights: The Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee presents the Cruise of Lights, a 45-minute narrated harbor boat tour to see the holiday lights. Adults pay $26, children $19. Cruises depart hourly each evening at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 Dec.16-8 and 21-23. Information:

Seasonal sounds: The Huntington Beach Union High School District’s Academy for the Performing Arts will present “Sounds of the Season” at 7 p.m. Dec. 7-8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9 in the Huntington Beach High School auditorium. Information/box office:


Tree lighting: The city is reimaging its annual tree lighting with Illuminate Irvine from 3 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the Palm Court Arts Complex at the Great Park. There will be activities and entertainment capped off with the tree lighting. Bring a toy donation. Information:

Dash with Santa: The Run for a Claus returns, featuring a 5K and a 1-mile kids run/walk, on Dec. 16 at the UC Irvine campus. Santa Claus is expected to join in the fun. Registration and information:

Park holiday: The Great Park will become a winterscape that will celebrate the season from Dec. 2 to Jan. 7. Holidayz at the Park features special decorations from dusk to 9:30 p.m. Stroll the decorated Palm Court and enjoy selfie stations. Information:

Holiday village: Tanaka Farms’ Hikari – A Festival of Lights will be open most days from 4:30 to 10 p.m. (gates close at 8 p.m.) through Dec. 30 (check online for dates). There is a holiday wagon ride and the farm is festively lit. Visit with the farm animals, get a photo with Santa and experience the 30-acre working farm. The farm also has a Christmas tree lot and holiday market. Tickets start at $15 for children and $25 for adults. Information and reservations:

Shelter Christmas: The Irvine Animal Care Center will host its 17th annual Home for the Holidays pet adoption fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 10. It will feature animals available for adoption. There will be pet-related vendors and more. Tickets are $5 for adults.  Information:


Winter fun: Winter Wonderland will be hosted from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 at 10961 Reagan Street and Pine Street. There will be snow sledding, a Santa’s Village, entertainment and ice skating. There will also be a tree lighting.

Newport Beach

Vintage Christmas: Crystal Cove Conservancy will host its annual holiday bazaar and tree lighting from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 2; it will feature shopping from local artisans and the chance to meet Santa Claus (from 4-5 p.m.) among other activities. The tree lighting is at 5:15 p.m. Information:

Menorah lighting: The Chabad Center for Jewish Life-Newport Beach and Fashion Island will host a public menorah lighting ceremony Dec. 7. The event will start at 5:30 p.m. and will feature singing and festive traditions. It will be in the Atrium Garden Court. Information:

Boat Parade of Lights: Hundreds of decorated boats will sail around Bay Island and Newport Harbor during the 115th annual event. The parade runs nightly Dec. 13-17, starting about 6:30 p.m. It starts and ends at Tip of Lido Isle. There will be fireworks at 6:15 on Dec. 13 to open the parade and at 9 p.m. on Dec. 17 to mark its end.  Information and map:

Santa Ana

Winter wonderland: The city will be hosting its annual Winter Village from Dec. 2 through Dec. 31 at the Civic Center’s Plaza of Flags. Skate in the outdoor rink, enjoy family activities and entertainment and more. There will also be food trucks for dining. There will be a tree lighting ceremony from 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2. Information:

Seal Beach

Festive parade: The Seal Beach Lions Club, with an assist from City Hall, will host its annual holiday parade at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1 down Main Street. This year’s theme is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”


Holiday tree: The city is hosting a holiday celebration from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 7. Before the lighting of the city’s tree, there will be musical entertainment and arts and crafts. Santa is expected to visit. Activities are at Stanton City Hall. Information:


Escorting Santa: The Tustin Police Department’s Santa Sleigh has been traveling through neighborhoods each holiday for more than two decades.The sleigh will visit various streets each weekday night Dec. 4-22. Check the city calendar at for which streets the sleigh will try to visit each night, weather permitting.

The Tran children, counterclockwise from bottom, Maverick, 3, Eleanor, 2, Elsie, 9, and Ryder, 10, pose with Santa on the Tustin Police Department’s Santa Sleigh pulls up in Tustin on Monday, December 5, 2022. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Tree lighting: The city will host a tree lighting and holiday stroll from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 in the Old Town Tustin area. There will be photos with Santa Claus, entertainment, activities for children and more. Information:

District holiday: The District at Tustin Legacy hosts a nightly holiday light show every 30 minutes from 5 to 11 p.m. through Jan. 1 at The Promenade. The SoCal Gingerbread Challenge will be on display from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 1-2 and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 3. From 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 7 there will be a menorah lighting. For more information and activities visit:


Tree lighting: The annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony will be 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 at the Civic Center with kids’ activities, performances by community groups and a visit by Santa. There will be food for sale. Information:

Santa on the Go: Santa Claus will be touring Westminster parks to spread holiday cheer. He’ll be at Sigler Park from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 8; Westminster Village Park from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Dec. 9; Coronet Park from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Dec. 16; and Westminster Park from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 16. There will be crafts to do, activities, treats and more. Information:


Aliso Viejo

All is Bright Holiday Celebration: Usher in the holiday season with this annual event Nov. 30 from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Aliso Viejo Town Center Fountain & Amphitheater.  There will be train rides, ornament making, entertainment and snow will fall. Santa will also help light the 22-foot Christmas tree. Information:

Dana Point

Santa on the go: The city’s Jolly Trolley will take Santa on a tour of the community on Dec. 2 to distribute pre-packaged treats to children 12 and younger. Children can also bring a letter for Santa that will be collected and if they include a mailing address, Santa will get back to them. Stops are half an hour at: 1:30 p.m., Sunset Park; 2:30 p.m., Dana Woods Park; 3:30 p.m., Sea Canyon Park; 4:30 p.m., La Plaza Park (for the city’s tree lighting event at 5:15 p.m.).

On Dec. 5, the Jolly Trolley will be arriving with Santa to hand out treats at 4:30 p.m. at Pines Park, which will be followed by a tree lighting there at 5:15 p.m.

Tree lighting: The city’s tree lighting will be 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 2. There will be carolers and treats. Santa arrives at 4:30 at La Plaza Park, 34111 La Plaza St., and the tree lighting will be at 5:15 p.m.

Santa Paws: The Pet Project Foundation will be hosting its annual Santa Paws event from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10. People are invited to bring their pets to the Clock Courtyard to have their photo taken with Santa for a donation to support the Pet Project Foundation, which supports the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter.

Boat Parade of Lights: The 48th annual Boat Parade of Lights will take place Dec. 8-10 through the harbor. The “Candyland” Boat Parade of Lights starts at 6:30 p.m. each night. Information:

The harbor area is also decorated with its holiday light display consisting of more than 700,000 lights, including the popular “Merry Kiss Me” arch and giant whale.

RELATED: 17 Southern California stage plays to put you in the holiday spirit

Ladera Ranch

Christmas fun:  There will be a Winter Fest hosted at the Town Green for the Ladera Ranch community from 2 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 2 with all kinds of activities planned. There will be inflatables to bounce in, crafts to do, carnival games and visits with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Donations of unwrapped toys are encouraged for the community’s adopted Marine Battalion. At 5 p.m. Santa will help turn on the holiday lights in the park.  Information:

Festival of Lights: The Ladera Ranch Festival of Lights will celebrate Hanukkah from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 12. There will be music, dancing, crafts and dreidels and the traditional menorah will be lit. Information:

Laguna Beach

Hospitality Night:  The festivities begin in the Peppertree Lot (Lot 2), where Santa Claus will arrive to greet holiday revelers before the tree lighting. Begins at 5 p.m. on Dec. 1. There will be crafts and activities, shopping, holiday performances and more through 10 p.m. Trolley service will run until 11 p.m. Information:

Winter festival: The Sawdust Art & Craft Festival is hosting its Winter Fantasy from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays through Sundays  through Dec. 17. Along with shopping there are holiday performances and more. General admission is $10.

Laguna Hills

Tree lighting: The city will host a community party to mark the lighting of the city’s holiday tree from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the Laguna Hills Community Center. There will be carolers, crafts and Santa Claus will be visiting. Information:

Holiday shows: There will be two performances at the Community Center in December. On Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. a handbell ensemble from Concordia University and the Pollytechnic Brass Quintet will perform. On Dec. 16, there will be a Holiday Dance Extravaganza featuring performances from local dance studios at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Laguna Niguel

Holiday parade: The annual Laguna Niguel Holiday Parade will take place at 10 a.m. Dec. 9 on Crown Valley Parkway between Nueva Vista and Crown Valley Community Park. Information:

Tree time: Laguna Niguel’s annual Christmas tree lighting, will occur 5-8 p.m. Dec.2 at City Hall, 30111 Crown Valley Parkway. There will be entertainment, crafts and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Information:

Menorah lighting: The city will host a menorah lighting at City Hall with the Chabad of Laguna Niguel from 4 to 6 p.m. on Dec. 10. The celebration of Hanukkah will feature activities, crafts, treats and live entertainment. Information:

Lake Forest

Tree lighting: The city’s annual tree lighting ceremony at the Civic Center will start at 3 p.m. on Dec. 9. City leaders said there are many additions to the celebration this year and Santa Claus will be making an appearance. There will be entertainment, family activities and food vendors. Get some gifts at the “Sip and Shop” boutique and beer/wine garden. The night will end with the city’s tree lighting at dark (about 6 p.m.).

Wander Heritage Hill: Experience the historic Heritage Hill Park decked out for the season. On Dec. 8-10  explore the park and its historic buildings during the 37th annual Candlelight Walk. Stroll the grounds from 5 to 9 p.m., twinkling lights will guide visitors and there will be musical performances, holiday crafts and a visit by Santa Claus.

Then, from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 15, 16 and 17, the park will be open for taking pictures and wandering through its twinkling light displays.

Both events are free at 25151 Serrano Road. Information:

Families and friends stop to take photos at the end of the San Clemente Pier during the annual Sunsets with Santa by the decorated Christmas tree on Saturday, December 17, 2022. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Mission Viejo

Santa’s arrival: The big guy will visit Santa’s Workshop with Mrs. Claus and some elves from 6 to 8 p.m.  on Wednesdays and weekends through Dec. 20 in the Mission Viejo Civic Center. The workshop is open every day, but Santa will only visit those days.

Mix it up: The city will be hosting Holiday Mix and Mingle from 5 to 9 p.m. on Dec. 16 between the Civic Center and the North Paseo, 25282 Marguerite Parkway. Ther will be a Whoville-themed Night Market with the Grinch, Santa’s Workshop will be open, there will be a snow play area, food trucks and other entertainment. There will also be bonfire pits for s’mores and beer and wine.

Show tradition: The “Feast of Lights” returns to Saddleback College’s McKinney Theatre with performances by the college’s Chamber singers and the Community Chorale and Symphony Orchestra. There will be an audience sing-along and student artists will have a boutique before the show. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2, and 2 and 5 p.m. Dec. 3; general admission is $30. Information:

Holiday concert: The Festival Singers of Orange County will perform “Holiday Reflections” at 3 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the Presbyterian Church of the Master, 26051 Marguerite Parkway. It will be a “program reflecting on holiday celebrations through traditional and new arrangements of beloved seasonal music.” Tickets are $20. Information and tickets:

Drive-Through Nativity at Mount of Olives Church: Drive through or walk to experience a live retelling of the Christmas story. Enjoy live actors, animals, music and narration via your car radio. Attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to donate at the very end of the living Nativity to support families and singles in need. The free event is open from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9 at Mount of Olives Church. Information:

Rancho Santa Margarita

Dine with Santa: The RSM Cares Bell Tower Foundation hosts its 10th annual Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 2 at the community center. There are two sessions, 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., tickets are $8 for kids and $16 for adults and need to be purchased online ahead of time. Enjoy breakfast, storytime and crafts. Information and tickets:

San Clemente

Santa’s Village by the Sea: Ring in the season in downtown San Clemente on Dec. 2, beginning at 4 p.m. The evening brings together the Holly Jolly Hoopla and the Glitz on Del Mar events. From 4 to 8 p.m. there will be games, entertainment, snow to play in and activities (there is a small cost for some) and at 5 p.m. the Community Center tree lighting. Following that is music and shopping on Avenida Del Mar. Information:

Sunsets with Santa: Santa Claus will be hanging out on the San Clemente Pier from 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16-17. Take photos with him in front of the tree and there will also be holiday music.

San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Tree Lighting: The city’s tree lighting celebration at Historic Town Center Park will feature festivities and entertainment starting at 4 p.m. on Dec. 2, with the tree being lit at 5:45 p.m. Families can enjoy holiday activities after the ceremony in the Los Rios Historic District including photos with Santa Claus, a train ride and more. Free shuttles will run on a loop through the area from 3 to 10 p.m. Information:

Capistrano Lights: The Mission San Juan Capistrano’s tree lighting and music program returns on select nights from Dec. 2 to 30. The evening spectacular begins at 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., but tickets are valid for all-day admission. There will be a large-scale nativity, Dickens-era carolers and the lighting of the tree, among other features. General admission is $20. Information and tickets:

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