Santa Claus is coming to a town near you.
Irvine Park Railroad’s Christmas Train
Sunday December 1-Monday December 23
Take a little ride to the North Pole to meet Santa, share your wish list, and have a photo with him. Santa’s Village presents more holiday merriment: carnival games, cookie decorating, Rudolph Racers, Blizzard Ball, and a Mrs. Claus storytime. Hours are 4 pm-8 pm weekdays and 10 am-8 pm weekends. Some activities have an extra charge.
Irvine Park Railroad, Irvine Regional Park | 1 Irvine Park Rd., Orange
714-997-3968 | irvineparkrailroad.com
The District’s Winter Wonderland
Saturday December 1-Wednesday January 1
Throughout the month, families can visit the Wonderland Holiday House, an enchanted forest of life-sized candy canes, penguins, and reindeer. Bring along your pet on December 7 (12 pm-2 pm) for a photo with Santa (benefiting Orange County Animal Care) and December 14’s Winter Wonderland party (5 pm-7 pm) containing entertainment, LED Elves, kids crafts, and Santa photos (benefiting Miracles for Kids).
The District at Tustin Legacy | 2437 Park Ave., Tustin
714-259-9090 | thedistricttl.com
Queen Mary Christmas
Wednesdays-Sundays December 1-December 22; Monday December 23-Wednesday January 1
The Queen Mary’s boatload of exciting holiday attractions include Christmas Village (with elf-aided stocking decorating and gingerbread house workshops) and North Pole Village (featuring trackless train rides and live entertainment). The big ice rink, grand carousal, and giant rocking horse are other favorites. Make sure you visit Santa in his Captain’s Quarters and enjoy Mrs. Claus’ storytime.
The Queen Mary | 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach
877-342-0742 | queenmary.com
Mission Viejo’s Santa Visits
Sunday December 1, Wednesdays, Saturdays-Sundays December 4-December 19
Santa and a live reindeer are the city’s special guests at December 1’s fun-filled tree-lighting ceremony (3 pm-6 pm). After that, he’ll be visiting the City Hall three days a week with Mrs. Claus and his elves (4 pm-6 pm, December 4-19), and visitors can say hi, get a peppermint candy cane, and a photo.
Mission Viejo City Hall | 200 Civic Center Dr., Mission Viejo
949-830-7066 | mvactivities.com
Westminster’s Christmas Events
Monday December 2, Saturday December 7
Catch the holiday spirit December 2 with caroling, Santa visits, and a joyous tree lighting in Westminster’s Civic Center Sunken Garden (6 pm) — and please bring something to donate to its food drive. On December 7, children can enjoy breakfast with Santa (9 am-10:30 am) in the Community Services Building (8200 Westminster Blvd.) — and reservations are recommended.
Westminster Civic Center | 8200 Westminster Blvd., Westminster
714-895-2860 | westminster-ca.gov
Santa Visits At Pretend City
Wednesday December 5, 16; Thursday December 12, Friday December 20
Youngsters can meet Mr. Claus, tell him their holiday wishes, and get a photo with him on December 5, 12 and 20 (times vary). Sensitive Santa will visit during December 16’s Family Autism Night (5 pm-7:30 pm; reservations requested). More holiday merriment (sans Santa) happens during the Museum’s Christmas Countdown December 12-23.
Pretend City | 29 Hubble, Irvine
949-428-3900 | pretendcity.org
Friday December 6
The City of Laguna Beach again hosts its traditional holiday block party on the first Friday of December (5 pm-10 pm). Local groups will perform throughout the night and folks can enjoy crafts, cookie decorating, and writing letters to overseas troops. Santa Claus will arrive before the 6:10 pm tree lighting ceremony and he’ll listen to children’s Christmas wishes until 9:30 pm in Santa’s Hut.
Downtown Laguna Beach | Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach
949-497-0304 | visitlagunabeach.com
Dana Point Harbor’s Santa Fun
Friday December 6-Sunday December 8, Friday December 13-Saturday December 14
Santa photos are among the family festivities during the Boat Parade of Lights weekends. Also, Santa Paws’ pet photos (December 7) raise money for the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter, while cool Boat Rides with Santa (December 7-8) benefit the El Camino Real Junior Woman’s Club. Get full details on its website.
Dana Point Harbor | 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point
949-923-2255 | danawharf.com
A Kaleidoscope Christmas
Saturday December 7
Orange County School of the Arts’ celebrated performance ambassadors MONTAGE! are joined by a lineup for winter-time all-stars — Frosty, Rudolph, and Santa Claus — for Kaleidoscope’s jubilant tree-lighting ceremony (5 pm-8 pm). The free, family-friendly festivities also feature carolers, a holiday ornament craft, face painting, balloon art, a caricature artist, and photos with Santa.
Kaleidoscope | 27741 Crown Valley Pwy., Mission Viejo
949-542-4407 | facebook.com/events/554721341956962
Villa Park’s Santa Tour & Winter Wonderland
Saturday December 7
Santa and his elves will board a Villa Park fire truck and tour the town, sharing candy canes, listening to children’s Christmas wishes and posing for photos (8 am-3:30 pm). Santa will stick around for the city’s Winter Wonderland (4 pm-8 pm), which features snow, ice (as in a unique skating rink) and more seasonal fun.
Villa Park Town Center | Wanda Road and Santiago Boulevard, Villa Park
714-998-1500 | villapark.co/santa-tour-fire-truck
Breakfast With Santa
Saturday December 7-Sunday December 8
A tasty continental breakfast, a creative craft project, complimentary museum admission, and a keepsake photo with Santa are on the menu at this Museum tradition. Seating times are 8:30 am, 9:45 am, and 11 am. Also, Mrs. Claus hosts a Tea Party December 14 (10 am-11:30 am). Make your required reservations by calling or emailing the Museum.
Children’s Museum at La Habra | 301 S. Euclid St., La Habra
562-383-4240 | lhcm.org
Candy Caneland & Craft Faire
Saturday, December 7
“Santa’s Candy Shop” returns for the 49th year today (10 am-4 pm). This spirited holiday event comes stocked with snow slides, a petting zoo, live entertainment, jump houses, games, and of course, Mr. Claus himself. Parents will want to check out the more than 100 artisan craft booths, while everyone can try to hope to win at the free raffle.
Ehlers Event Center | 8150 Knott Ave., Buena Park
714-236-3860 | buenapark.com
Saturday December 7
You’ll find Santa hanging out all day long at Fullerton’s Downtown Plaza’s free Yuletide party (12 pm-4 pm). Besides photo opps with Ol’ Saint Nick, folks can enjoy holiday entertainment, kids activities (including bounce house and face painting) and food & crafts vendors. Please bring new, unwrapped toys to donate to the Fullerton Firefighter’s “Spark Of Love” Toy Drive.
Fullerton Downtown Plaza | Wilshire Avenue, between Harbor Boulevard &
Pomona Avenue | 714-738-6545 | cityoffullerton.com
Dana Point’s Tree Lightings
Saturday December 7, Monday December 9
December 7’s Winter Festival (12 pm-5:30 pm) presents holiday entertainment, carnival rides, kids crafts, and a Lego Santa Village. Pines Park’s Tree Lighting (3 pm-5 pm, December 9) offers carolers, games and a dog costume parade. Both events host Santa visits and end with a tree lighting and free hot chocolate and cookies.
La Plaza Park | 34111 La Plaza St. | Pines Park | 34941 Camino Capistrano,
Dana Point | 949-248-3530 | danapoint.org
Santa’s Village by the Sea
Saturday December 7
San Clemente hosts three holiday extravaganzas today (2 pm-9 pm). Sledding, caroling, and games highlight the Holiday Hoopla. Children’s crafts, holiday music and hot cocoa warm up Christmas at Casa Romantica, while downtown’s Putting on the Ritz offers carriage and train rides, and a silent disco. Santa is appearing at all three events, including the city’s tree lighting. Complete details online.
Downtown San Clemente | Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente
949-361-8264 | san-clemente.org
Mission San Juan Capistrano Christmas
Saturday December 7-Monday January 6
December 7’s opening night festivities (5:30 pm-9 pm) includes Christmas music, cookie decorating, the reading of the First Christmas, and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. “Selfies with Santa” happen December 14-15, 21-22 (4 pm-6 pm), while December 21-January 5 hold kids crafts activities. Plus, tree lightings and the holiday lights display occur every night.
Mission San Juan Capistrano | 26801 Ortega Hwy., San Juan Capistrano
949-234-1300 | missionsjc.com
OC Autism Foundation Breakfast With Santa
Saturday December 14
For the 10th year, OC Autism hosts this unique holiday event for those afflicted by autism and other disabilities. From 10 am-2 pm, guests can enjoy breakfast, a wrapped gift, live entertainment, and a photo with Santa. The event also features an informative resource fair. Tickets are available at the OC Autism Foundation (14501 Magnolia St., Westminster).
Atlantis Play Center | 13630 Atlantis Way, Garden Grove
714-891-0080 | ocautism.org
Saturday, December 14-23
Snoopy and Santa make for a popular pairing at the Costa Mesa City Hall this month. A holiday display featuring scenes populated by “Peanuts” characters will be on view there December 14-23 from 5:30 pm-9 pm. As an added Yuletide treat, Santa Claus makes nightly appearances from 7 pm-9 pm. Free train rides for kids and live music add to the merriment.
Costa Mesa City Hall | 77 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa
714-754-5347 | costamesaca.gov
“Light a Light of Love” Holiday Celebration
Sunday December 8
This annual holiday pier party, benefiting Waymakers Huntington Beach Youth Shelter, presents local performers (3:30 pm-7 pm) and at 4 pm, the always-amusing Children’s Holiday Parade with Surf City Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will take photos with kids afterwards. The night’s centerpiece is the 6 pm lighting of over 80 sublime 6-foot “snowflakes.”
Huntington Beach Pier Plaza | Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway,
Huntington Beach | 714-842-6600 | waymakersoc.org
By Michael Berick