Get Out and Enjoy Holiday Activities in Anaheim

With perfect temperatures, sunny skies, and a slate of holiday-themed events, it’s not hard to believe it’s the most wonderful time of the year in Southern California! 

You’ll find all kinds of holiday activities in Anaheim, from festivals to tree lightings and shopping to special performances. Our area has everything you need to enjoy a magical holiday season, so keep reading to find out how you can fill your calendar this holiday season.

Tree Lightings

Activities

Shows and Performances

Shopping

Opportunities to Share

Safe Celebration

Tree Lightings

Kick off your holiday season right with a traditional tree lighting ceremony and festival.

Anaheim: On Saturday, December 3, Center Street Promenade will kick off the holiday season with its 28th Annual Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Shopping Village. The full-day event features performances, an international food fair, a holiday bazaar, and photos with Santa. There will also be free activities, including crafts, train rides, and snow. The activities culminate with the tree-lighting ceremony. 

Placentia: Our neighboring city hosts its holiday tree lighting ceremony on Thursday, December 8, from 4 to 10 p.m. with a tamale festival! This event includes pictures with Santa, a beer garden, a kid’s games area, and, of course, a magical tree lighting.

Garden Grove: You won’t want to miss Garden Grove’s annual Winter in the Grove on Saturday, December 3, at Village Green Park. From 3 to 7 p.m., this event features sliding on fresh snow and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Then it ends with the GGCF Tree Lighting Spectacular. 

Activities

There are so many exciting events happening this holiday season in Anaheim.

Breakfast with Santa: This holiday season, Catal in Downtown Disney is hosting Breakfast with Santa on select dates. Attendees get to meet Santa, receive a stuffed animal, take home a tasty treat, and more. Guests 10 and younger also receive a custom stocking! During the family-style breakfast, you’ll be entertained by Christmas carolers and drink hot cocoa (or mimosas if you’re over 21). Reserve your seats now!

Holiday Festival: On December 18, head to the Muckenthaler Cultural Center at 1201 W. Malvern Avenue in Fullerton. This festival features live music, art workshops for kids, family-friendly activities, and an arts and crafts sale. The event goes from 12 to 4 p.m.

Living Nativity: For a more religious holiday season celebration, you can check out a live nativity at Village Bible Church in Garden Grove. Visitors can walk through Bethlehem and watch a reenactment of the first Christmas. The live nativity will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. December 17–18. 

Christmas Train: Don’t miss your chance to ride Irvine Park Railroad’s annual Christmas Train! The train travels through the historic Irvine Regional Park before dropping off passengers at the North Pole to meet Santa. After taking pictures and sharing your Christmas list with St. Nick, you’ll hop back on the train, traveling through Christmas displays and a Tunnel of Lights back to the station. The train runs November 25 through December 23, from 4 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. The train station also transforms into Santa’s Village during the holidays with special activities. You can purchase activity tickets for $6 each or $80 for 15. 

Shows and Performances

If you’re looking for entertainment-related holiday activities in Anaheim, you won’t be disappointed. 

The Nutcracker: Watch Anaheim Ballet perform The Nutcracker, with music provided by Symphony Irvine. The full-length ballet features everything you know and love about The Nutcracker—Clara, menacing mice, the prince-turned-Nutcracker, brave soldiers, waltzing flowers, and more. It also includes updated staging to keep the performance fresh year after year. The Anaheim Ballet performance will take place on Friday, November 25, and Saturday, November 26, at City National Grove of Anaheim. 

Switchfoot: This Is Our Christmas Tour: Enjoy an exciting night of rock Christmas music with Grammy award-winning Switchfoot at their Christmas tour in the Anaheim City Hall on December 17. The band will be playing holiday hits from their new Christmas album. You won’t want to miss this!

A Magical Cirque Christmas: Featuring high-flying feats and whimsical choreography, this dazzling holiday performance is sure to entertain people of all ages! All performances are set to live Christmas music. The circus will be performing at the Dolby Theatre on November 25–27. Tickets are on sale now, so don’t wait to reserve your seat!

Shopping

Online shopping makes it easier to check off all the items on your Christmas list, but there’s nothing like in-person shopping during the holiday season. So check out these seasonal markets for holiday activities in Anaheim and our neighboring cities.

Fullerton Winter Market: Every year, the Downtown Fullerton Plaza hosts a winter market on Wilshire Avenue between Pomona and Harbor. There will be free pictures with Santa, vendors with unique gifts, a beer and wine garden, face painting, and more. The best part of the event, though, is that it collects donations for the Spark of Love Toy Drive, hosted by Toys for Tots and the Fullerton Fire Department.

Sugar Plum Holiday Festival: This vintage market is host to over 165 exhibitors selling an eclectic mix of vintage, upcycled, chic, and handmade gifts and decorations. The festival will also have an opportunity for free pictures with Frosty the Snowman!
Huntington Beach Winter Wonderland: This unique event offers visitors the chance to craft their own holiday decorations and buy holiday accessories, decor, clothing, and jewelry. There’s also a selection of great gourmet foods and candy. Don’t miss the chance to shop for some truly unique gifts—and maybe even make some of your own!

Opportunities to Share

Receiving gifts is great, but the true meaning of the holiday season is giving to others. If you have the means or the time during this special time of year, consider giving to those less fortunate so they too can feel the joy of this winter season. Here are some great volunteer opportunities in Santa Ana, CA.

Operation Santa Claus: Unfortunately, thousands of children in Orange County won’t be having a very merry Christmas without our help. This holiday season, donate toys and gifts to children and families in need. Last year, Operation Santa Claus distributed over 39,000 toys and gifts, bringing happiness and hope to our most vulnerable children in Orange County who otherwise wouldn’t have had much at all.

Volunteer with The Salvation Army: Whether you like to get out and interact with the community or work behind the scenes, the Salvation Army is the perfect place to volunteer. Dress up as Santa Claus and help collect donations with the jolly ring of your bell. If a red jumpsuit isn’t your style, you could help pick out gifts for kids or be a personal shopper for a family in need. 

Safe Celebration

While you’re out enjoying holiday activities in Anaheim, don’t forget about safety in your apartment. 

Holiday-scented candles can help you get into the holiday spirit, but they can also be dangerous. Every year, candles are responsible for an estimated 7,610 house fires, with Christmas being the peak day for candle fires. So if you decide to light a candle, please do so responsibly: Keep them at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and never leave them unattended. 

Also, consider your tree: Every year, firefighters respond to an estimated 160 house fires that start with Christmas trees. The cause is usually electric—lighting equipment, wiring, cords, etc. The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing light strings if the cord is broken or worn, using lights listed by a qualified testing lab, never using lit candles on a tree, and turning off the lights before going to bed or leaving.

If you’re looking for holiday activities in Anaheim, you won’t be disappointed. There are festivals, tree-lighting ceremonies, performances, incredible home light displays, and so much more!

We’d love to see your holiday fun! If you decorate for the holidays or try out one of the activities above, post a photo on social media, tag us, and use #TisTheSeasonAtAMC.

From all of us at Pacific Palms Apartments in Anaheim,
Happy Holidays!

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