Press "Enter" to skip to content


(by) Donna McCrohan Rosenthal December means seasonal festivities and observances galore, as you’ll read in this month’s round-up of tips for hops and short trips around the Golden State.

To the southwest in Anaheim through Saturday, January 7, Disneyland revels in the sights and sounds of Christmas, Navidad, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa and Three Kings Day. Highlights include Mickey’s Happy, Disney Character sightings, Mostly Kosher with an eclectic blend of musical styles from klezmer and jazz to Latin and rock, and a foods marketplace representing diverse cultures (714-781-INFO).

Down the road from the Magic Kingdom in Buena Park through January 7, Knott’s Berry Farm features thousands of twinkling lights, miles of themed garland, jumbo snowflakes, and the return of the beloved ice show starring the Peanuts Gang and a cast of world-class ice skaters (; 714-220-5200).

South of us in Riverside through January 7, the Mission Inn’s Festival of Lights enters its 31st

Donna Rosenthal

year of one of the nation’s largest holiday light collections, voted “Best Public Lights Display” by USA Today (951-784-0300).

Head south, too, to Costa Mesa for everything musical: Handel’s “Messiah” Sunday, December 3 (Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall); American Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” with Pacific Symphony, Friday-Sunday, December 8 – 17 (Segerstrom Hall) with a limited number of exclusive Sweet Seats available for the weekend performances. Tickets pair prime orchestra seating with a Segerstrom Center keepsake ornament, a collectible poster, luxurious Laderach chocolates and a holiday cookie – all in a Segerstrom Center tote bag!; Holiday Organ Spectacular, Tuesday, December 19 (Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall), with world-class organist Todd Wilson and members of the Pacific Symphony performing a mix of sacred and holiday music. Favorite Christmas carols share the bill with traditional organ works that showcase the 4,322-pipe William J. Gillespie Concert Organ and “Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” in Segerstrom Hall Tuesday-Sunday, December 19-24 (714-556-2787).

For illuminated boat parades and some with fireworks, check out Ventura’s Harbor Village Friday-Saturday December 15 -16 (805-477-0470); the 115th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights, Wednesday-Sunday December 13-17 (949-729-4400); and the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights Sundays December 10 and 17(; and Dana Point’s R/V Sea Explorer Parade of Lights Cruise Friday-Sunday December 8-10. Desserts come with the ticket (949-496-2274).

Across the Sierra in Bakersfield, HolidayLights at CALM (California Living Museum) through Saturday, December 30, runs 5:30-9 p.m. nightly except Christmas Day off Harrell Highway (call or text 661-524-7416 – texts preferred).

Up north, announces for Yosemite’s sumptuous and historic annual Bracebridge Dinner in the Ahwahnee Hotel, “Due to the Historic Seismic Project happening at The Ahwahnee in 2023, we are not hosting The Bracebridge Dinner. We look forward to the completion of this project and bringing The Bracebridge Dinner back in 2024.”