Ok people, this is not a drill. The holidays are here! There are SO many fantastic, family-friendly, and (in some cases) free events happening in our area this month. It was seriously very hard deciding which ones to include in this post. Because we try to keep it to about a dozen of the most interesting happenings each month, I had to make some hard cuts….
Thankfully, we already have our OC Moms’ Guide To The Holidays 2018 which lists helpful info about local events like:
- where to go ice skating
- the best neighborhoods to see holiday lights
- ideas for family-friendly holiday activities
- all the details on holiday season at the Disneyland Resort
- and more!
We’ve even got a post about the Hanukkah Family-Friendly Fun in Orange County!
You’ll definitely want to check those posts out too if you haven’t already!
Plus, most of the places listed below have even more holiday events and activities happening throughout the month. So be sure to check their websites for additional info. This is just a selective highlight from the best of the best Orange County December 2018 events!
As of press time, there are just a few tickets left for this event! Please join Orange County Moms Blog for our 3rd annual Donuts with Santa event. Celebrate the holidays with a magical morning with your family. Beat the lines at the mall and have your pictures with Santa taken by us!
Highlights include: 2 digital photos with Santa per ticket, soft play place courtesy of My Gym Yorba Linda, donuts & a light breakfast, ELSA!, festive fun including crafts, vendors, and a toy drive to support Human Options – Breaking the cycle of domestic violence.
Tickets are a flat $35 which covers your entire family and includes everything listed above. Family tickets are all-inclusive and grant access to unlimited food, beverages, and sweets!
Now through January 6
From their website: “Aprons on, scientists! You’ll head into the world of the classic holiday dessert and find out how science plays a crucial role in the kitchen. Our favorite goodies don’t come together magically though. We use heat, math, engineering and other important components in order to bake and create the confections everyone loves. Build a candy car out of holiday treats and then compete, sweet-to-sweet in the Gingerbread Derby.” My son loved making his own candy car racer last year and looking at all the Gingerbread Houses made by kids all over Orange County, so we’ll definitely be visiting this exhibit again this year.
Included with general admission to the Cube. Ages 15+ $19.95, Children ages 3-14 $14.95, and Seniors ages 62+ $16.95. Children ages 2 and under are free. Check local magazines for coupons!
Now through January 6
From their website: “Every winter, Knott’s Berry Farm celebrates the merriest of seasons as the park wondrously transforms into Knott’s Merry Farm, a Christmas celebration for all ages. Spend the most wonderful time of the year with your family at Knott’s Merry Farm enjoying thrilling attractions, live entertainment, a Christmas Crafts Village, festive food, lavish holiday decorations, and nightly snow in Ghost Town. …with classic shows like the Holiday Ice Show featuring Snoopy, the Peanuts Gang and a cast of world class ice skaters, the nightly tree lighting ceremony and The Christmas Carol. Plus stroll through the merry streets of Calico for unique seasonal treats, Santa’s Christmas Cabin, traditional live Christmas Carolers, a Christmas Crafts Village, an enchanting Snow and Glow show with nightly falling snow, and so much more.”
Included with general Knott’s Berry Farm admission. One day park tickets start at $50 for ages 3+. Children 2 and under are free. Parking starts at $19. Check local magazines and AAA for discounts.
There will be festive events happening all day over at this ultra stylish shopping destination in Newport Beach. Puppy photo booth, charicature artists and treat bags, live holiday music, and festive surprises. The Newport Beach Fire Department will be there with Engine 62 handing out candy canes, and at 5pm…a “surprise” snowfall at Malibu Farm!
Free. 1st hour of self-parking is free. Enjoy an additional 2 hours of free self-parking with validation from any Lido Marina Village merchant.
This cute neighborhood shopping center is home to a couple of my favorite small local businesses (Pengo – delicious boba tea cafe that uses recycled glass bottles, and Second Reef Deli – yummy deli owned by a cute older couple that makes delicious fresh salads and sandwiches). So its holiday party deserves a shout out! There will be live holiday music from PAVE School of the Arts and Masters of the Musicverse, food and beverage sampling, Dunkin’ Donuts “make your own donut” table, balloon art, holiday henna, costumed characters, mini-beauty services from Advance Beauty College, holiday crafts, and selfies with Santa!
Free. In the courtyard between JoAnn Fabric and The Greek Bistro.
3pm, in front of the Theaters
Never heard of a rice krispie treat menorah before? Neither had I before I came across this event! This kid-centric event includes music, gelt coins, dreidels, latkes, a children’s choir, donuts and of course, rice krispie treats!
Don’t forget to check out the Hanukkah Family-Friendly Fun in Orange County post, which has even more events happening during Hanukkah. This dreidel-tastic holiday takes place from December 2-10 this year. Many of them are free and all are welcome to participate!
December 7, 8, 14, 15
From their website: “In celebration of our 44 years of lighting the holiday season up, this year’s theme will power up with “A WESTERN WONDERLAND”. Join us as boats parade into the Harbor showing off their country western themed decorations, animation, color and lights. We can’t wait to see what these creative boaters will come up with. We invite you to come down and be a part of our Western Wonderland!” Each evening’s boat parade is preceded by family fun activities at Mariner’s Village/Alley and Dana Wharf.
Free to view the parade from anywhere in the Harbor. Or you can make a reservation for a window view at one of the restaurants on the water. Additional parking is available for a fee at Doheny State Beach and from there you can take a FREE Trolley to the festivities (3:30pm-10: 30 pm).
From their website: “OC Parks would like to invite you and your kids to a fun morning of fishing at Irvine Regional Park! This Kids’ Fishing Clinic (for ages 15 and under) is designed to teach kids how to fish, while giving them an opportunity to catch a few from the Irvine Regional Park pond.
Whether a first-timer or seasoned angler, youngsters can enjoy a morning of fishing! Instructors will be on hand to demonstrate, assist, and answer any questions. Please bring your own fishing pole and bait. If you do not have a fishing pole, there will be some available for loan. The lake will be stocked with Rainbow Trout and there will be a two-fish limit. Prizes will be available for tagged fish!”
Free. Parking is $5 per vehicle. Registration will be required upon check-in on day of event.
Enjoy a morning of holiday shopping with local OC vendors who specialize in handmade items. With a coffee bar, donuts, raffle, photo opportunities and Santa’s Workshop for the kids, this is a holiday boutique you won’t want to miss!!
Family science event sponsored by Future Kids OC. Includes Robot Kits, tools, instructor, and a chance to race your finished robot at the end!
Future Kids Orange County is holding a robot build event on Saturday, December 15th at 10am. During this event we will turn a Coca-Cola can into a moonwalking, dancing robot. This fun hands-on project will introduce the kids to robotics and help them start to understand how simple machines work. The plan is for each parent & child to build their own robot (everything will be included) and have a fun robot race at the end. Youths of all ages are welcome. For information and to register visit www.futurekidsoc.org.
I know you probably already attending our OCMB Donuts With Santa event on December 1st, but who doesn’t want another chance to meet Santa? This meet & greet gives your kids the opportunity to take a photo with the jolly man himself while he hangs out ON a fire truck! They can also meet local Huntington Beach firefighters and take a closer look at the engine from 12-2pm. Pacific City has holiday events throughout the month which you can learn more about by clicking here.
Free. Happening on the surface lot behind Pacific City. Self-parking in garage is free on weekends for up to 2 hours WITH validation from a participating Pacific City merchant. Please bring an unwrapped toy for the Spark Of Love Toy Drive.
From their website: ““Snow Days” is an annual all-Zoo event welcoming winter and celebrating the joys of the season, including snow! Watch animals receive icy treats and snow enrichment, listen to festive music, enjoy the winter decorations, discover how animals adapt to surviving in freezing environments, create cool crafts, and listen to delightful winter stories. There will even be a special area set aside for children of all ages to play in “snow.” Snow enrichment for the animals is being generously provided by Kona Ice, and they will also have their delicious and colorful shaved ice for purchase at the Zoo!”
Included with Zoo admission (Ages 13+ are $12, Seniors 60+ and Children 3-12 are $9). Free for children 2 and under and Zoo members. On December 16 only Santa Ana residents can visit the Zoo and enjoy this event for FREE! Proof of residency is required.
From their website: “Enjoy the lively and colorful performance of Ballet Folklorico Mi Herencia as they bring the magical meaning of Christmas to life through Folklorico song and dance.” This is just one of many amazing and special events happening at Bella Terra this month. Earlier in December they’ve got a How The Grinch Stole Christmas Storytime event, Hanukkah Menorah Lighting, Holiday Music Celebration featuring two local OC children’s choruses and more!
Free to attend and to park.
December 20-January 6
Billed as SoCal’s Ultimate Festival, this year’s event transforms the OC Fairgrounds into a winter wonderland. New for 2018 is Alpine Village, which features fresh snow blown in daily for snow play and snow slides, and a model train exhibit. Live entertainment and meet & greets from favorite characters like the Paw Patrol gang, rides, snowmaze, ice skating and more. After dark, there’s holiday lights, a holiday parade, snowfall, fireworks, and even Santa flying overhead (until December 24th).
Tickets start at $12 for ages 10+, $6 for children under 10 years old. Parking is $8 per vehicle. Carnival ride tickets each cost $1. Special discount days for Community Heroes (teachers, military/vets, first responders).
Pretend City celebrates many special world holidays, and is ending its jam-packed calendar of December events with Kwanzaa! Join them each day to light a candle on the Kinara and celebrate a new principle through various activities such as a Kufi craft, Kwanzaa storytimes, coloring activity and more each day. If you’d like your children to learn the cultural importance of this holiday, or are looking for a family-friendly place to celebrate it together, Pretend City is a great place to do so!
Included with museum admission. $13.75 adults and children over 12 months. Military and their families $10.50.
Looking for a fun kid-friendly activity to do with your family this New Year’s Eve? Winter Fest will be celebrating NYE twice! Take the kids for a day of snow fun, then stay to ring in 2019. The first celebration takes place at 6pm and includes a 3,000 balloon drop, fireworks, and other celebratory fun. Then, for the die hard night owls, it all happens again at midnight!
Included with Winter Fest December 31st admission and Season Pass. Tickets start at $12 for ages 10+, $6 for children under 10 years old. Parking is $8 per vehicle. Carnival ride tickets each cost $1. Special discount days for Community Heroes (teachers, military/vets, first responders).
All of us at Orange County Moms Blog wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season!