As Catholic families make spiritual preparations for the coming Advent season, a host of seasonal events perfect for families are offered throughout Orange County.
Nearly every city has its own tree-lighting ceremony in mid-November. South Coast Repertory Theater performs “A Christmas Carol” annually. There are numerous local ballet performances of “The Nutcracker.” And if you don’t mind the chill, Newport Beach, Huntington Harbor and Dana Point offer nightly parades of boats festooned with holiday lights.
Those are just a few of the holiday happenings; read on to see what sounds fun for you and your family.
Sing-along with the “Messiah”
The Richard Nixon Library holds its annual Handel’s “Messiah” community sing-along at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday, November 25. Audience members are invited to sing with the Master Chorus and Orchestra; singers may bring their own music scores or borrow one of a limited number. Admission is free. For more, visit https://messiahsingalong.shutterfly.com.
Take in a Christmas concert
Chapman University presents is annual Holiday Wassail Concert at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, December 8-9. The concert features holiday season favorites performed by the Chapman University Singers, University Choir, and Women’s Choir along with music performed by The Chapman Orchestra. Visit www.chapman.edu/events/wassail for more information.
Celebrate the season at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 14 with the choirs of Christ Cathedral, including The Diocesan Choir. This year’s selections include John Rutter’s “Candlelight Carol,” dedicated to Music Director Dr. John A. Romeri, and Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” one of the major choral masterworks of the baroque. The concert also features guest tenor, Cesar Sanchez. Tickets range in price from $10-$75. Get tickets early; last year’s show sold out. https://christ-cathedral-concerts.ticketleap.com/christmas-at-the-cathedral-2018/dates/Dec-14-2018_at_0730PM
Enjoy a snow day
Winter Zoobilation & International Snow Day with the Critters takes place from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday December 15-16 at the Santa Ana Zoo.
The zoo will be transformed with snow, lights, music, and festive decorations. Zoobilation also features international stations and activities, educational crafts and games, zoo animals and entertainment. It is free of charge with the price of zoo admission. The zoo also has a gift shop with unique items for holiday giving. More information: https://www.santaanazoo.org/newsevents.
Christmas at Mission San Juan Capistrano
Mission San Juan Capistrano always offers family-oriented events, which at the holidays include its first-ever Christmas Tree Lighting program as part of the long-standing annual “Christmas at the Mission” event. Tree lighting is at 7 p.m. and begins with a reading of “The First Christmas” by Mission Pastor, Msgr. J. Michael McKiernan.
The evening also features performances including Dickens-era carolers, a local orchestra, and mariachis. Tamales, snacks, and hot cocoa will be sold. For tickets, visit www.missionsjc.com/events-venue.
New Year’s Eve for kids
Kids can celebrate New Year’s Eve early in the day on December 31 at the Kidseum, where they will create handmade, reusable confetti poppers and colorful noisemakers for the real countdown. The kids will practice countdowns every hour to be ready for New Year’s Eve. In the Glow Cave, they can make glowing wish wands. At 1:30pm, after the practice countdown and blasting of colorful confetti, a balloon drop takes place in the center of the venue. For details, visit www.bowers.org/index.php/education-programs/family-programs.