Activities Abound for Celebrating Holidays in Santa Ana, CA!

Of all the places one could choose to live or visit during the holidays, at least if you are looking to escape frigid winter temperatures, Southern California would likely rank high on the list. The temperate climate in Santa Ana provides the perfect backdrop for getting out and about to experience myriad holiday celebrations and events.

From Christmas tree shopping to toy drives, and from 75-minute cruises to a New Year’s Eve celebration on the beach, Santa Ana and its surrounding areas have a full list of things for you and your family to do during the holiday season.

Santa Ana is a diverse city, with a wide range of people honoring a multitude of traditions. Whatever brings you or your guests here for the holidays, enjoy the magic of the season with all Santa Ana has to offer.


Shows and Performances


Opportunities to Share

Safe Celebration


Families Together of Orange County Annual Christmas Together Toy Drive: This event gave away more than 20,000 toys to registered families last year. The event will match that number this season with another 20,000 toys expected to be given away. Create an unforgettable experience for children on December 18. That experience—all for free—includes carnival rides, games, raffles, entertainment, pictures with Santa, COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, holiday meals, and a variety of food options. Attendees must provide proof of Orange County residency to participate. Quantity is limited, so register early.

Winter in the Grove: Get into the spirit of the season by decking the halls, exchanging some fa-la-la-la-las, and taking a portrait with jolly old St. Nick on December 3 on Main Street in Garden Grove. It turns out Santa is coming to town to do more than deliver presents. Despite it being the busiest time of year for him, he and Mrs. Claus will be available for a portrait. In addition, the event will include snow slides, holiday crafts, performances of song and dance, and a holiday craft boutique.

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights: Experience Newport Bay like never before as homeowners and businesses deck out their boats for the 114th annual Christmas Boat Parade. The Christmas parade runs December 14–18, but 75-minute cruises are available December 2–31.

Christmas at Calvary Church: This Christmas celebration spans across December and features carols, candle lighting, and uplifting messages. Sunday services at Calvary Church in Santa Ana run throughout December, with a special service taking place on Christmas Eve. 

Gatsby’s New Year’s Eve party: Find yourself a date and get in touch with your inner, sophisticated self this New Year’s Eve with this Great Gatsby-themed party. There will be dining and dancing to the tunes of local OC DJs Peter G. and Richard Wayne. And to top it all off, it comes with the beautiful backdrop of Huntington Beach. If this isn’t the best way to ring in the New Year, we don’t know what is.

Shows and Performances

There is a plethora of holiday magic in Santa Ana this year, with some diverse performances scheduled to unfold. Concerts, circuses, cultural celebrations, and vocal performances will all brighten stages throughout Orange County. 

Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve”: Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts truly have to be seen to be believed. Lasers, pyrotechnics, and incredible lighting meld perfectly with sincere narration, storytelling, and rocked-up classical-based music in one gigantic, mesmerizing feast for the senses. TSO will be coming to Toyota Arena on December 3, so make sure you snag your tickets ASAP.

A Magical Cirque Christmas: The brave performers of A Magical Cirque Christmas will be back in LA this year to perform dazzling, high-flying feats with whimsical choreography. All performances feature live Christmas music, making it an exciting night out for the whole family.

Concordia Christmas: The Thrill of Hope!: Concordia University puts together a spectacular Christmas concert every year featuring vocals, instruments, and even handbells. This event is a popular Christmas tradition, and Concordia’s Christmas concert sells out every year, so don’t delay! Get your tickets soon!

Johnny Mathis Christmas: Jazz your Christmas routine up a bit this year with a performance by Grammy-winning performer Johnny Mathis. An iconic voice of Christmas, Mathis has recorded six Christmas albums that are enjoyed yearly during the holiday season. Whatever traditions and beliefs you hold about the holiday season, you’ll undoubtedly feel the magic and peace of this special time of year by checking out Elling’s performance.


For many, the holiday season means covering the house from roof to floor with tinsel, Christmas trees, lights, and a host of other decorations. Then, of course, there are presents: Is there anything better than seeing a loved one’s face light up as they open a holiday gift you picked out for them? Whether you’re looking for unique seasonal decorations or a special gift to show someone how much you care, Santa Ana is the perfect place to be!

Huntington Beach Winter Wonderland: Visitors get the opportunity to craft their own holiday decorations at this unique event, which also sells holiday accessories, decor, clothing, and jewelry. Gourmet foods and candy are also in large supply. Don’t miss the chance to shop for some truly unique gifts—and maybe even make some of your own!

Pumpkin City’s Christmas Trees: It’s all fir one and one fir all at Pumpkin City’s Christmas Trees near Santa Ana. A wide selection of fresh-cut trees features the following types: noble fir, grand fir, Douglas fir, Nordmann fir, and Fraser fir. In addition to trees, Pumpkin City also sells Christmas decorations and wreaths.

Sugar Plum Holiday Festival: This vintage market’s offerings will dance—if not outright take up residence—in your head. Over 165 exhibitors will be selling a mix of vintage, upcycled, chic, and handmade gifts and decorations.

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:

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 wouldn’t have otherwise had much at all.

Winter Wonderland Toy Drive: A toy drive will be held on December 10 at Huntington Park. Talk about stocking stuffers—children will be able to receive a toy, and attendees will have access to health screenings, COVID-19 vaccines, haircuts, and additional resources and information. Further, kids activities will be happening. The event is free and open to all families with a reservation.

Volunteer with The Salvation Army: Have you ever had a secret desire to play a musical instrument so exuberantly that fans felt compelled to empty their pockets of excess coinage into a festive nearby container? If so, the Salvation Army has the perfect gig for you. OK, so that instrument is a bell and the fans are harried shoppers, but the basic premise remains the same. If performing in this manner isn’t in your wheelhouse, how about helping pick out gifts for kids or serving as a personal shopper for a needy family?

Safe Celebration

Who among us has not burned a cinnamon-scented candle during the holidays? But did you know that up to 7,500 fires are started each year because of household candles? Be sure to take extra care when lighting candles in your apartment, especially your bedroom. Consider using battery-powered candles or scented spray instead to address all your aroma needs while avoiding any inherent dangers. And if you do use candles, do not leave them unattended.

Christmas trees can also create another fire hazard. If you’ve brought a real Christmas tree into your apartment for the holidays, make sure you keep it watered so it doesn’t dry out. Keep all open flames, such as candles, away from the branches, and make sure you turn all lights off when you’re not at home. Stay safe and enjoy the holidays!

With so many activities, performances, shopping experiences, and opportunities to give, Santa Ana has all you need for an unforgettable holiday season.

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 River House Apartments in Santa Ana, Happy Holidays!

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(714) 640-6357


2111 W. 17th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92706