Holiday To-Do List

I’m making a list and checking it twice. I’m making my list of everything nice. Whether you’re entertaining guests or keeping the kids busy, these unique events are sure to add sugar and spice to this happiest of seasons.

1. Science of Gingerbread

What’s behind all that mixing going on in the kitchen? Brush up on how-tos, get a whiff of spices and build a gingerbread house! Nov. 25 – Jan. 1 at the Discovery Cube in Santa Ana.


2. Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy

The famous festival grounds in Laguna Beach transform to a winter wonderland complete with magical village, live entertainment and arts ’n’ crafts galore. Five weekends: Nov. 19 – Dec. 18, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

3. Harvest Club

Roll up your sleeves and give a bit back by picking fruit for those in need. Saturdays and Sundays during the fall. Shifts (1.5 to 2.5 hours) begin at 10 a.m. at harvest locations across Orange County. (Minimum age 10; 10 to 15-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult.)


4. OC Chill Ice Rink

Strap on your rental skates, and check out the palm trees for an only-in-SoCal holiday treat at Irvine Spectrum Center® in Irvine. Open daily, mid-October through early February. Closed holidays.

5. Roger’s Gardens Christmas Boutique

This Corona del Mar home and garden design center will transport you into a palace of snowy silvers and whites featuring themed Christmas trees adorned with glass ornaments. Fill stockings with an array of festive treasures from around the world. Opens Oct. 7.


6. Kris Kringle Story Time Mingle

Santa lands at The Resort at Pelican Hill® for story time and photos around the gingerbread display. Nov. 25 – Dec. 24 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 3 p.m.

7. 20th Annual Tree Lighting

Christmas on the beach? Don’t miss Crystal Cove’s enormous tree as its lights shimmer across the night sand and sea glass jewels become memorable holiday gifts. Dec. 3 at 5:15 p.m. Historic District, Crystal Cove State Park.

8. Nights of a Thousand Lights

You may need sunglasses when you visit Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar. The 2.2-acre historic retreat sparkles while tradition radiates from every nook and cranny. Dec. 8 – 10.

9. Newport Beach Boat Parade of Lights

The holiday spirit fills Newport Harbor with color and sparkle from more than 250 decorated boats, plus dazzling decorations on harborside homes. View the 109-year-old spectacle from shore or by ship. Dec. 14 – 18.


10. Nutcracker Ballet

Create magic and memories watching the Sugar Plum Fairy, heroine Clara and the Nutcracker dancing to Tchaikovsky’s score by Festival Ballet Theatre at Irvine Barclay Theater in Irvine. Dec. 10 – 24.

11. Noon Year’s Eve

Kids celebrate New Year’s Eve as the countdown begins. Hats, streamers and ginger ale bubbly, not to mention “sciencey” learning stations. Dec. 30 and 31 at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. at the Discovery Cube in Santa Ana.

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