Sparkling Lights and Christmas Magic: The Best Holiday Events in Orange County
Arts & Culture / / Dec 07, 2016
The holidays are my absolute favorite time of year! I subject my roommate to Christmas card planning mid-November, and send out personalized holiday cheer via snail-mail the day after Thanksgiving. My Christmas tree and decorations are up the weekend after Turkey Day, and I play the holiday station on my Pandora non-stop at an obscenely loud volume for the next month. I’ve almost perfected the high notes in Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is you.” I am Mrs. Claus reincarnated in a 24 year old body. My friends, however, are basically The Grinch. We all know the story.
The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
Now, I don’t necessarily think my friends’ hearts are two sizes too small, but they definitely need a small push in the direction of holiday cheer. If you, too, are in search of that Christmas spirit, grab some peppermint hot cocoa, turn up the volume on your holiday music playlist, and check out these tips and upcoming Orange County events!
Location: 1851 W. Orangethorpe Ave. Fullerton, CA 92833
Price: $22.00 for one walk through, $32.00 for an all night pass
Dates: Dec 9th-10th, 16th-17th 7PM to Midnight
For those of you who need to ease into the Holiday spirit slowly, this attraction is perfect for you. Every year, Sinister Pointe overhauls their Halloween haunt into a Holiday themed horror fest.
Pro-tip: Spring for the all night pass. This attraction offers 4 different paths to walk through, and with a general ticket you will only see one of the trails.
Location: OC Fairgrounds
Dates: Dec 16th – January 1st, Check website for times
OC Winterfest offers outdoor ice-skating, reindeer feeding, ULTIMATE Ice tubing (which is just as rad as it sounds), carnival rides and more.
Pro-tip: Last year we saved this event until after Christmas, and had the entire park to ourselves. We spent a lot of time talking to the Reindeer Caregiver and learned a lot about the beautiful animals. It was truly an amazing experience. Also, you’re never too old to slide down a giant ice slide on an inner tube. Never.
Location: 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802
Price: Online tickets start at $35.00
Dates: November 23rd – Jan 8th, Check website for times
The Queen Mary is transformed into a literal Winter Wonderland, with Ice skating, Ice tubing, an interactive experience with Alice in Winterland, a snowzone, and an entire North Pole Village.
Pro-Tip: On certain dates, a DateNight package is available with 2 general admission tickets and access to the ship starting at $59.00!
Location: The Balboa FunZone is a great place to view the parade from, and admission is free. There is plenty of nearby parking in city lots.
Dates: December 14th – 18th, Parade starts around 6 PM
Location: Rivo Alto Canal, Long Beach, CA 90803
Dates: Dec 14th – 25th
Hands down, no questions asked, my absolute favorite place in the world. Bundle up, grab your sweetheart or a group of friends and road-trip over to Long Beach, because this is a MUST SEE. Every house that lines the canal goes ALL OUT with Christmas lights and decorations. We went twice last year because we literally could not see it all in one trip. The reflection of the colorful lights in the water is absolutely magical.
Pro-Tip: Parking is free, but on residential streets, so check for tow signs, and be very respectful of the surrounding neighborhoods. I guarantee that even if you have to park a mile away, it is well worth the walk. The time, effort, and money that goes into these displays is incredible. Furthermore, the idea that an entire community bands together to make this possible, is a true heartfelt example of the Christmas spirit.
However you choose to spend this holiday, remember:
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
And what happened then? Well…in Whoville they say,
That the Grinch’s small heart, grew three sizes that day!
-Excerpts are taken from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, by Dr. Seuss