Category Archives: December

Catalina Island New Year’s Eve Celebration

47 years and counting, Catalina’s Annual New Year’s Eve Gala, held annually in the famous oceanfront Casino Ballroom. The Gala includes a buffet dinner, dancing, champagne split, one bottle of wine in a specially engraved bottle and party favors. A photographer will be onsite. Entertainment is a dinner trio and an orchestra. Coat & Tie are required; Black Tie is optional. Reservations are required.

Catalina Island, CA
Annual event: December

catalinachamber.com
(310) 510-1520

The Geminids Meteor Shower

palomar cabin

Geminid Meteor Shower

One of the better winter star shows. This well known meteor shower peaks in mid December, right in the middle of Christmas Rush. It’s a nice time to plan a desert camping trip around or a weekend away in the mountains. Look in the southern part of the nights sky these shootings stars.

The meteors from this shower are slow moving, can be seen in December and usually peak around the 13th – 14th of the month, with the date of highest intensity being the morning of the 14th. The shower is thought to be intensifying every year and recent showers have seen 120–160 meteors per hour under optimal conditions, generally around 02:00 to 03:00 local time.

The meteors in this shower appear to come from a radiant in the constellation Gemini (hence the shower’s name). However, they can appear almost anywhere in the night sky, and often appear yellowish in hue. Well north of the equator, the radiant rises about sunset, reaching a usable elevation from the local evening hours onwards.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geminids

Annual event; December

xmascabins

How to best view a Meteor Shower

California Deserts

California Christmas Cabins

Christmas in the Park, San Jose

Scene from San Jose Christmas in the Park 2011

San Jose’s Christmas in the Park

Annual event: December
San Jose, CA
www.christmasinthepark.com

Opening Night is in late November and the events go multiple nights through Christmas; held in downtown San Jose at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. The tree lighting will kick things off in style. Ongoing for over 30 years, this is a family fun holiday fest in the South Bay!

Scene from San Jose Christmas in the Park 2011

Scene from San Jose Christmas in the Park 2011

Christmas in the Park, San Jose, CA

La Posada Candlelight Parade

IMG_4703

La Posada Candlelight Parade in Monterey
Candlelight Posada and Parade

Over 30 years running; Local and long-held tradition McAllen’s Annual Candlelight Posada and Parade. Members from the community as well as out-of-towners gather in the city’s streets to enjoy a time of giving and joy with friends and family.

Christmas in the Adobes:

35,000 guests pack the streets and coastline. All gathered to witness a live nativity procession, Santa Claus and a lit parade involving more than 100 floats. As is tradition, the parade winds down at Archer Park where guests will find three stages for live entertainment.

Annual event: December
Monterey, CA
956-682-2871

exploremcallen.com/events/annual/candlelightposada

 

IMG_4496

Lighted Tractor Parade, Ferndale

John Deere Power!

Ferndale Tree Lighting

Ferndale’s Lighted Tractor Parade

Local farmers and ranchers parade fancifully decorated tractors and tractor-drawn wagons depicting holiday scenes down the Victorian Village’s historic Main Street. Sparkling country Christmas celebrations include the Tallest Living Tree Lighting, shopping and dining downtown. Romantic Christmas destination on the Northern California Redwood Coast!

Annual event: December
Ferndale, CA
707-786-4477

victorianferndale.com/events

Ferndale, CA 1998

Christmas: 2011

Seal Beach Holiday Parade

SBP 16

Seal Beach Christmas Parade

 

A ‘continuous motion’ holiday parade that highlights youth groups, sports groups, schools, businesses, first responders and other organizations from Seal Beach and surrounding coastal areas. Seal Beach is located in between Long Beach and Newport Beach on the Los Angeles coastline.

Annual event: December
Seal Beach, CA

sealbeachlions.org/christmas-parade

Seal Beach Holiday Parade, December 2009

Seal Beach Holiday Parade, December 2009

Victorian Christmas, Nevada City

Nevada City Victorian Christmas

Victorian Christmas
in Gold Country California

This annual, festive holiday tradition takes place 2 Wednesday evenings and 3 Sunday afternoons in the month of December. Features holiday activities for all ages:  carriage rides, live entertainment, savory yuletide treats and libations, and Father Christmas!

It’s a magical setting of hilly streets outlined with twinkling white lights and authentic gas lamps, wandering minstrels and carolers dressed in Victorian attire, and a myriad of visitors sharing holiday cheer and good tidings.

Annual event: December
Nevada City, CA
530-265-2692

nevadacitychamber.com/nevada-city-events/victorian-christmas/

Nevada City Victorian Christmas

Victorian Christmas Tree

Country Christmas Festival

Old Town Country Christmas 2006

Auburn’s Country Christmas Festival

From 5-9pm the whole community is invited to share in the holiday fun. Crafters and artists will have their wares on sale for that special one-of-a-kind Christmas gift. Great food and entertainment, pictures with Santa. Shops and restaurants open. Holiday Open House in all the old town village shops!

Annual event; December – multiple days
(2 different Saturday nights)

Old Town Auburn
Auburn, CA
530-888-1585

www.oldtownauburnca.com

 

Auburn California

 

Auburn California

Boat Parade of Lights

tree boat parade

Parade of Lights
Holiday Boat Parade

Christmas Boat Parades in California

 

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:

San Diego Parade of Lights
San Diego Bay
San Diego, CA
619-224-2240
www.sdparadeoflights.org

OceansideParade of Lights
Oceanside CA
Oceanside Yacht Club
www.oceansideyc.net/event-calendar/

Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights
Dana Point, CA
949-923-2255
www.danapointharbor.com

Cruise of Lights Boat Parade
Huntington Beach, CA
www.cruiseoflights.org

Christmas Boat Parade & Fireworks
Newport Beach, CA
100 years running!
www.christmasboatparade.com

sailing xmas tree

Naples Christmas Boat Parade
Belmont Shores @ Naples Canals
South Long Beach, CA
www.naplesca.com

Long Beach Parade of 1000 Lights
Downtown Shoreline Marina
Shoreline Yacht Club
Long Beach, CA
www.shorelineyachtclub.com/event

LA Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade
Long Beach Area
San Pedro, CA
310-549-8111
www.portoflosangeles.org/community/calendar

Redondo Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Redondo Beach King Harbor @ Los Angeles
Redondo Beach, CA
King Harbor Yacht Club
310-376-2459
www.khyc.org

Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade
West Los Angeles California
Marina del Rey, CA
www.mdrboatparade.org

Venice Canals Holiday Boat Parade
West Los Angeles
Venice Beach, CA
310-809-8100
www.venicechristmasboatparade.com

Oxnard Parade of Lights
Marine Emporium Landing
Oxnard, CA
805-985-5828
www.marineemporiumlanding.com

Ventura Parade of Lights Boat Parade & Fireworks
Ventura Harbor Village
Ventura, CA
805-477-0470
www.venturaharborvillage.com

Santa Barbara Parade of Lights
Santa Barbara, CA
805-963-0611
www.santabarbaraca.gov

 

pine

 

CENTRAL COAST CALIFORNIA:

Morro Bay Christmas Boat Parade
Morro Bay Embarcadero
Morro Bay, CA
805-772-4467
www.morrobay.org/events2/holiday-happenings

 

botaparade

 

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA:

Bethel Island Lighted Boat Parade
San Joaquin Boat Parade @ the California Delta
Bethel Island, CA
San Joaquin Yacht Club
925-684-9985
www.sjyc.org

Fisherman’s Wharf Lights & Sights Boat Parade
Pier 39, Aquatic Park
San Francisco, CA
415-673-3530
www.visitfishermanswharf.com

Oakland Lighted Yacht Parade
Alemeda Estuary
Oakland, CA
925-413-3845
www.lightedyachtparade.com

Petaluma Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
Petaluma River Turning Basin
Petaluma, CA
707-769-0429
www.visitpetaluma.com

Santa Cruz Harbor Boat Parade
Santa Cruz Harbor
Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz Yacht Club
831-425-0690
www.scyc.org

Sausalito Lighted Yacht Parade
Sausalito Yacht Club
Sausalito, CA
415.332-7400
www.sausalitoyachtclub.org

Delta Reflections Lighted Boat Parade
McCloud Lake @ Downtown Waterfront
Stockton, CA
Marine West Yacht Club
209-477-7653
www.mwyc.org

Truckers Christmas Parade

North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District

Eureka’s Truckers Parade
Truckers Christmas Convoy
Truckers Christmas Parade

Eureka, Northern California

BIG RIGS: The 18-wheelers stretching as long as 60 feet, include some with special parade additions that might be tacked on: bandstand platforms, dancing reindeer, flying fish, you name it. Join in this Eureka tradition, and you’ll never think of Jingle Bells in quite the same way again. The parade starts at 6 pm at Redwood Acres and goes to about 8:30 pm. Presented by KEKA country radio – Eureka Broadcasting and local sponsors.

Eureka, CA

keka101.com/info/truckers-parade/

a Corner Shoppe

Eureka California Old Town

Old Town Eureka, CA

Sawdust Winter Fantasy

IMG_2257

Sawdust Winter Fantasy Art Festival
in Laguna Canyon

The Orange County beach haven known as Laguna Beach has long been known for their surf shops, gift shops and great art galleries. Laguna Canyon Saw Dust festival grounds will be transformed into a winter wonderland where artists create, display and sell original creations over the course of five weekends. The Winter Fantasy is offers the most unique holiday shopping in all of Southern California. Art media includes jewelry, clothing, fused and blown glass, ceramics, woodwork, forged metals, painting, photography, sculpture, clothing and textiles.

Experience unique artwork from hundreds of artists, live holiday entertainment, outdoor cafes, art classes and demonstrations, petting zoo, plus Santa! With amazing art gifts, thousands of holiday decorations and picture-perfect moments.

Annual event; multiple weekends; December

Sawdust Art Festival
935 Laguna Canyon Road
Laguna Beach, CA
949-494-3030

sawdustartfestival.org

Art Appreciation

December Nights, Balboa Park

December Nights-Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park Christmas Lights
December Nights in Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park December Nights
Southern California’s premier holiday festival.

37 years running; Friday and Saturday night in early December

The event brings families and friends together to spread holiday joy, learn more about the cultural value of Balboa Park and kick-off the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9 pm both evenings and more than 350,000 visitors are expected to experience the joy of San Diego’s largest free community festival. Those who attend will participate in a truly multicultural experience, enjoying food, music and entertainment from around the world.

Revelers can watch top-notch musical and dance performances, enjoy delicious and diverse food choices and help spread a heavy dose of holiday cheer. Some of the more well-known traditions include food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages; the annual Santa Lucia Procession at the Plaza de California; unique gift shopping at the museum stores and with the artisans of Spanish Village; and musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree, and more.

Annual event; multiple nights
San Diego, CA
619-239-0512

balboapark.org/decembernights/

 

December Nights at Balboa Park

Bracebridge Dinner, Yosemite

Ahwahnee Dining Room

Bracebridge Dinner
at The Ahwahnee Hotel

Yosemite Valley, CA

Celebrated annually since 1927, the Bracebridge Dinner transforms The Ahwahnee into an 18th century English manor for a feast of food, song and mirth. The inspiration for this yuletide ceremony was Washington Irving’s Sketch Book that described Squire Bracebridge and English Christmas traditions of that period.

The Bracebridge Dinner is an elegant and artistic four-hour pageant of classic carols, Renaissance rituals and entertainment of the Middle Ages. More than 100 players create the roles of the Squire and his family, their servants, the Lord of Misrule, minstrels and other performers. The Ahwahnee Dining Room serves as the Great Hall and stage for the festivities and is decked with magnificent wreaths, an elaborate squire’s table, large banners and traditional Yuletide decorations.

Annual event, multiple nights: December

Yosemite National Park, CA

yosemitepark.com/bracebridge-dinner

 

Winter Wonderland.  _DSC1280

Ahwahnee Hotel in the Fog

Holiday Lights Train

Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train

Holiday Lights Train Ride

Santa Cruz Holiday Train

Departs from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Vintage excursion cars, adorned with thousands of colorful lights, roll through the streets of Santa Cruz as passengers lend their voices to holiday carols, sip hot spiced cider and listen to musical entertainment while Santa visits the little ones, or the young at heart! Continue the merriment with your choice of arcade games, mini-golf or laser tag at Santa’s Kingdom at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Bring the whole family for festive fun.

Annual event, multiple days: December
Santa Cruz, CA

roaringcamp.com

Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train

train at the Boardwalk

Valhalla Holiday Gala

Valhalla Grand Hall, Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Valhalla Gala

Enjoy the festive atmosphere of Historic Valhalla Grand Hall with an elegant evening of champagne, hors d’ouevres, fine wines and catered dinner at the annual Valhalla Holiday Gala Dinner. Each ticket includes a personalized handcrafted ornament, and you’ll also enjoy a silent auction before the end of the evening.

Annual event: December
Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, CA

blog.squawvalleylodge.com/events/the-valhalla-holiday-gala-dinner

 

California Christmas Tree Farms

Blue Spruce TreesOn rare occasions the local National Forest may be letting the general public cut their own Christmas trees in the nearby forests. There is usually a small fee & a list of rules. They do this for thinning of the forest, where pine trees are too close together. Free labor for the government & you are paying them for the privilege of cutting your own perfect pine tree. American traditions such as this still exist.

Call your local Rangers Office to inquire.

We love convenience & the reasonable prices of getting a tree locally. If you must buy your live Christmas Tree in the city, try your local plant nursery first. Orchard Supply Warehouse (OSH) usually has a great selection on live trees. Replant your little pine tree in your yard, or back in to a forest.

Southern California

San Diego

Family Christmas Tree Farm
El Cajon, CA

Rancho Noel Tree Farm
Potrero, CA

Highland Valley Christmas Tree Farm
Ramona, CA

LA / OC / Inland Empire

Big Bear Christmas Trees

Live Oak Canyon Christmas Tree Farm
Redlands, CA

Casazza’s Christmas Tree Farm
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Peltzer Pines Christmas Tree Farms
Silverado, CA

Nancy’s Ranch
Santa Clarita, CA

 

Gold Country California

El Dorado County Christmas Tree Growers

 

 

Perhaps you want to cut your very own real tree, the premium looking pine (Blue Spruce, Douglas Firs) – without off roading all over public lands. Locate some Christmas Tree Farms  on the link below.

christmas-tree.com/real/ca/

If you’ll hafta settle for the freshly cut tree, here is a list of California retail tree lots. cachristmas.com/RetailLotMenu

 

California Christmas Festivals

There are many celebrations for Christmas & New Years throughout California. This list is a sampling of the fun.
[Check the web links or call for dates & times of these Christmas celebrations.]

Atascadero CA
Winter Wonderland
atascaderomainstreet.org

Auburn CA
Country Christmas Festival
800-427-6463
oldtownauburnca.com

Avalon CA
New Years Eve on Catalina
310-510-2848

Bishop CA
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
760-873-8405

Boulder Creek CA
Drive-Thru Living Nativity @ 12465 Highway 9
831-338-3700

El Cajon CA
Drive-Thru Nativity @ 1630 E. Madison Ave
619-444-0763

Eureka CA
Truckers Christmas Convoy
keka101.com

Felton CA
Holiday Lights Train
roaringcamp.com

Ferndale CA
Holiday Tractor Parade
707-786-4299
707-786-4477

Fairfield CA
Holiday Night of Lights
fairfielddowntown.com

Huntington Beach CA
Cruise of Lights Boat Tour
cruiseoflights.org

Livermore CA
Trinity Live Nativity
925-449-4212
trinitylivermore.org

Monterey CA
La Posada Candlelight Parade
831-649-7111

Newport Beach CA
Christmas Light Boat Parade; 200+ boats cruise the harbor decorated in festive lights. This week-long boat parade, the largest and oldest of its kind in Southern California, lasts 2+ hours.
714-729-4400

Nevada City CA
Living Nativity during Victorian Christmas.
nevadacitychamber.com

Oakland CA
Holiday Yacht Parade near Jack London Square

Oceanside CA
Live Nativity – Martin Luther King Jr. Park
760-947-3200

Roseville CA
Christmas Keepers Faire
877-742-7066

Salinas CA
Streets of Bethlehem
831-422-9872
streetsofbethlehem.com

San Diego CA
Big Bay Balloon Parade
pacificlifeholidaybowl.com

San Jose CA
Christmas in the Park
408-995-6635
christmasinthepark.com

Santa Rosa CA
Drive-Thru Live Nativity
santarosasda.org
707-578-8883

Sausalito CA
Lighted Yacht Parade
syconline.org

South Lake Tahoe CA
Valhalla Holiday Gala
valhallatahoe.com/events.html