NEWPORT BEACH CHRISTMAS BOAT PARADE: You don't reach age 105, as a holiday spectacular, by stringing up a few paltry lights and calling it a night. You call it multiple nights, you string up thousands upon thousands of lights on dozens of boats, and you summon throngs of bundled-up Southern Californians to enjoy the reflect-the-water show. There are plenty of spots to watch around the harbor, and some restaurants, too, so a little pre-study is handy. Through Sunday, Dec. 22
HOLIDAY SING-ALONG: Trust us, we know the scene. And the scene is this: You're at an office Christmas party, and someone breaks out with "Deck the Halls," and you do, too, but everyone else stands and stares. What the? No. Just a big no. It's time to warble some carols, one and all, and you can do so inside Walt Disney Concert Hall, with hundreds of other people who get the "all join in" concept, and special host Julie Andrews, too. Sweet, communal, and good for the golden pipes, too. Saturday, Dec. 21
LAS POSADAS: This weekend marks about the middle of the nine-night Las Posadas, the annual sing-and-stroll-and-look-for-an-inn event at Olvera Street. It is a hallowed tradition observed around the world, in many a city and town, but Olvera's touches include open shops, places to purchase food, and a lively street that makes a beautiful backdrop. It's free, too, so go.
SHELTER SANTA: A bevy of volunteers, some in their most jingle-ling-iest Santa wear, will gather up blankets and toys and food and cleaning supplies, goods all donated by pet-loving people, and head out to LA and OC pet shelters. Oh, and rescue groups, too. Want to join the good-hearted brigade? You can; Operation Santa Paws sets out on Saturday, Dec. 21.
FESTIVE FARMERS MARKET: The boughs and holly and swag and ornaments have lined the stalls and food shops for a few weeks now, but the seasonal entertainment really revs up, ho ho ho-style, from Friday, Dec. 20 through Tuesday, Dec. 24. Marionettes and carolers and a host of live bands, doing the soul-swing-twangy carol-nice thing, fill the labyrinth-like market, and all for free, too. Your cup of cocoa'll cost a few bucks, but enjoying the entertainment? Nada dollars. None. Thank you, FM! You know when we're all feeling a little spent-out.