Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade: When you reach the 108th year of practically anything, you've got everything down beautifully. Exhibit A? The historic multi-night glitter-tacular that takes to the waves around Newport Beach. It isn't just that the yachts and skiffs have a few lights around their masts; full-scale trees made of bulbs, waving Santas, and more merriment adorn the sea-ready, ready-to-be-seen vessels. Feel the wow through Sunday, Dec. 18.
Hanukkah Family Festival: If you're craving a latke, or jelly donut-type sweet, and a view of some historic Hanukkah lamps, and oodles of joyful tunes of the klezmer, world beat, everyone-dance sort, alight upon a ticket to this annual Skirball Cultural Center to-do. It's on Sunday, Dec. 18, and the story of Hanukkah, and all that it means, and a general convivial air of community cheer is at its vibrant heart.
Music Center Holiday Sing-Along: Few spots in Southern California are as Christmas-bright as Music Center Plaza, with its tall tree and dancing fountains. And few festive goings-on are as fun (or as free) as this year warble-loud happening. You don't need to know have memorized every carol (there are lyric sheets) but you should arrive early, to queue up, to score that pay-nothing ticket. It's at 6 but be in the queue before that, on Friday, Dec. 16.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Reindeer Romp: Keep your eyes to the skies around the 24th day of December and you just might spy several antlered helpers pulling Santa's sleigh. Or you can swing by the LA Zoo to find them relaxing, and looking furry and adorable, through Jan. 8, 2017. There are other picture-cute pursuits afoot (or ahoof, rather) at the zoo during the romp, including ice-carving demos on Saturdays (and tunes played live on Sundays). Ever seen a reindeer in person? Antler up and go Griffith Park.
Cocoa Concerts: No need to dash through Union Station on Friday evening, Dec. 16 (or Friday, Dec. 23); the new holiday-themed live shows are all about stopping, watching, swinging, and the sipping of warm beverages. The California Feetwarmers are up on the 16th, and La Picante's the band scheduled on the 23rd. Haven't had your dose of holiday delight quite yet? Find it downtown, for free, over the Friday nights ahead of Christmas.