Snow in Capistrano: Christmas at the Mission

Decorate cookies, go sledding, and savor tamales and cocoa at the beloved landmark.

MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO... is famous for many marvels and sights of spectacular beauty, from its beautiful bells to its strollable gardens to the swallows that make a legendary cameo when springtime is on the near horizon. But the word "snow" isn't much used around the sunshiny and temperate town, on account of the fact that snowfall and Capistrano aren't a well-known pairing. But a bit of holiday magic has been known to happen come December, and while it doesn't swoop in on the wings of happy swallows, it does arrive thanks to some careful planning. Real snow, as in wear-your-mittens-and-play snow, will show up at the centuries-old landmark on...

SATURDAY, DEC. 2... when Christmas at the Mission returns to San Juan Capistrano. But the bounty of play-in-'em flakes aren't the only sweet part of the afternoon-into-evening treat. There shall be cookies to decorate, and tamales and cocoa to purchase, and live performances from children's choirs and ye olde-style carolers, and the Nativity Scene to admire, the one at the Great Stone Church. Will the gift shop be open for shopping and browsing? Count on it. Will there be chili, too, to buy, and treats if you're in a treat-munching mood? You bet. The price is $6 for a general admission adult ticket, and $4 for kids ages 4 to 11, though note that members of the military will receive complimentary admission, as will mission members and volunteers.

MORE SNOW, PLEASE: Can't make the mission before Sunday, Dec. 3? Expect that magical snow on that day, too, though the festival will have wrapped for another year.

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