Discover Twelve Days of Free Christmas in Orange County, CA

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Give yourself the gift of free holiday entertainment in The O.C. A hip new local interest guide provides the details.

‘Tis the Season to spend and splurge in The O.C., but what if you haven’t got a ha-penny for little luxuries like holiday entertainment?

Unwrap a year of free fun things to do when you open the pages of a unique new travel guide, “Free Orange County (O.C.) The Ultimate Free Fun Guide to the California Riviera” by Robert Stock. Put the $12.95 guide to 350 free O.C. museums, festivals, gardens, art walks, sand & surf events, concerts and films on your wish list. Or tuck it into someone else’s stocking.

Since this is the season of giving, CorleyGuide, the publisher of Free Orange County (, is giving away Twelve Days of Free Christmas in The O.C.:

Jump start your holidays with the dramatic lighting of O.C.’s most spectacular Christmas tree -- a majestic 115-foot white fir at Fashion Island’s Bloomingdale’s Court in Newport Beach. About 17,000 lights and ornaments flash their brilliance and Santa Claus makes his first appearances at 6 p.m. Nov. 18 & 19.

Santa arrives in Ritzy fashion -- either by horse-drawn carriage or Mercedes-Benz convertible -- when the Ritz-Carlton at Laguna Niguel dazzles visitors with 350,000 lights, ornaments and nutcrackers leading to a 50-foot evergreen. Park in the beach lot to save a $10 valet parking fee and enjoy holiday music, strolling carolers and free refreshments starting at 4 p.m. Nov. 20.

After hanging at the Ritz try “Puttin’ on the Glitz” 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 26 on Downtown San Clemente’s Avenida del Mar. The “Spanish Village by the Sea” offers free trackless train or carriage rides, free photos with Santa, carolers and more while merchants stay open late for early holiday shopping.

Sing a song of Christmas at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda, Sundays at 2 p.m. Join the community sing-along of Handel’s Messiah Nov. 28, Paul McNeff’s Kid Singers Dec. 4, Yorba Linda Senior Chorus Dec. 11 and Patrick-Orozco-Green Annual Christmas Concert Dec. 18.

Ignite your holiday spirit at 6 p.m. Nov. 28 during an O.C. holiday tradition, the lighting of a live 90-foot Christmas tree in Costa Mesa’s Town Center Park, adjacent to The Westin South Coast Plaza. Adorned with 15,000 colored lights, the brilliantly lit tree helps Santa find his way to the plaza so he can take kids’ orders for Christmas.

Dive into the holiday season where the Dana Point Harbor merchants put the tide in Yuletide. On Dec. 2, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., stores serve free refreshments, kids create holiday crafts and for a mere $1 visitors board the Sum Fun for a 15-minute harbor cruise with Santa and his dolphin helpers (rides continue 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 3 – Dec. 4) and parking is free.

Experience Christmas at the Mission San Juan Capistrano’s open house with Santa’s Workshop, kids’ holiday crafts, choirs singing holiday favorites and docents serving free hot chocolate, cider, coffee and baked goods 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 3. A half-hour before, the city lights the Christmas tree in nearby Historic Town Center Park, with Santa Claus and free admission to Zoomars Petting Zoo and train rides.

Frolic in 20 tons of snow brought in for the Fullerton Winter Festival that condenses the Christmas season into six hours at the Downtown Plaza noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 3. Free photos with Santa, holiday entertainment, Christmas tree lighting plus special activities at unique shops and a request to bring an unwrapped gift for the toy drive.

Prepare for La Navidad with a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for posada (shelter) during Placentia’s Las Posadas & Tamale Festival 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 13 at Placita Santa Fe. Listen to mariachis sing traditional Christmas caciones, stop by the crafts fair for gift ideas and tell San Nicolàs what regalos you want for Christmas.

Dashing through the O.C. surf is one of the nation’s top ten holiday happenings, the 97th annual Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade Dec. 14-18. About 200 illuminated yachts, sailboats, canoes and kayaks with animated decorations and costumed carolers, follow a 14-mile route around the harbor, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Collins Islands.

Sail into the season when O.C. boaters dress their watercraft (and themselves) in holiday finery for Dana Point's 31st annual Boat Parade of Lights for two weekends, Dec. 9 - Dec 10 and Dec. 16 - Dec. 17. Viewed for free anywhere around the harbor, the Aloha Holiday-themed parade floats 100 lighted boats starting at 7:30 p.m.

Board the Queen Mary luxury liner for free Dec. 7, snack on complimentary holiday treats and watch the Christmas tree lighting on the ship’s Sun Deck, just a wave away from The O.C. coast. Permanently anchored in Long Beach Harbor, the “Grey Ghost” welcomes its holiday guests starting at 4:30 p.m.; tree lighting ceremonies from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The content of this press release may be reprinted as long as credit is given to “Free Orange County: The Ultimate Free Fun Guide to the California Riviera, Copyright 2005, CorleyGuide.”

Free Orange County by Robert Stock (CorleyGuide; $12.95; ISBN 0970624220) is available at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Auto Club of Southern California and Check out the companion guide, Free L.A. The Ultimate Free Fun Guide to the City of Angels ISBN 0970624212.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Review copies and high-resolution photos are available. Free O.C. content is also available for syndication.


Troy Corley


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