NEWPORT BEACH CHRISTMAS BOAT PARADE: It seems, come December, that every vessel in every harbor along our coastline sports some sort of festive decor -- lights, bows, a mechanical Santa. But this on-the-water procession, which is marking its 106th year, is the patriarch of the pizzazz-filled parades. Or do we mean boatriach? Grab some shoreline to watch some of the glitteriest yachts, dinghies, kayaks, and beyond do their dazzling thing. Humor, sparkle, and general verve count for much, and prizes are given (though you'll likely find your own favorites). Through Sunday, Dec. 21
HANUKKAH CELEBRATIONS: Many a large menorah is now a-glow around town, from Santa Anita to Beverly Hills to the Original Farmers Market at Third & Fairfax (where an additional balloon menorah will be constructed on Dec. 21). Want to find out where to see the evening lightings, which happen through Dec. 24? Click. And be sure to make for the Skirball Cultural Center, which is hosting some special tours of its Hanukkah lamps, gems that run the gamut from traditional to pop-culture-y. It's a fine way to reflect upon the Festival of Lights.
AND SPEAKING OF THE ORIGINAL FARMERS MARKET... The holidays are big at the landmark public market -- you saw the market's LEGO menorah last year, yes? -- and with that bigness comes a green basketload of free to-dos, from listening to strolling carolers to decorating pine cones to enjoying the Mele Kalikimaka Holiday Hula Show. The stalls and green awnings are well decked out, as are the iconic clock towers, adding atmosphere. As for the holiday doings? They're on a Farmers Market from Dec. 19 through 24.
What to do, where to go and what to see
LAS POSADAS: It's a ballad-filled tradition honored each year in communities from California to Texas and all across Mexico, and further points afield. Olvera Street pauses each December over several nights, leading up to Christmas Eve, and visitors join the procession, which is led by Mary and Joseph as they search for an inn. Pan dulce and champurrado are served, and other seasonal happenings festoon the reverent and voices-together evenings. Through Wednesday, Dec. 24
MUSIC CENTER HOLIDAY SING-ALONG: There's only one sticky wicket to this joyful annual happening, and it is this: It's free, but you'll need a ticket, so arrive early, at least a half hour -- or, honestly, an hour -- before the 6:30 p.m. start time on Friday, Dec. 19. You'll wear your ugly snowman sweater, yes? You'll warble loudly, among other SoCalers, the better to summon community and cheer? Of course. You'll enjoy being out on the Plaza, the fountains, the brisk night air, the stars? Those are all part of it, too, at no cost to you.