An Orange County Christmas


Little Brantley has headed home for the holidays! I understand that Southern California probably doesn’t sound like the most “winter-y” place to celebrate Christmas, but it really is quite magical here. If you find yourself in Orange County or thinking of heading to Orange County for the holidays, then you’ll definitely need to add these four events to your schedule 🙂

  1. Visit the Tree at Fashion Island: This outdoor shopping center is covered in festive decorations even before Thanksgiving! My friends and I love to get a takeaway hot chocolate and head over to the giant Christmas tree in the center of the mall. It’s great for photos and always marks the beginning of the holiday season.
  2. Newport Beach Boat Parade: Weather you decide to watch from the harbor or go on a boat, the parade is definitely a holiday must! It goes from the 16th to the 20th of December, but you can cruz around the harbor all throughout the month of December to see the beautifully decorated Newport homes. For the actual parade, the owners cover their boats in extravagant lights and decorations for all to see. (It begins at 6:30 and goes until 9:00 pm)
  3. Ice Skating at the Spectrum: The Irvine Spectrum is another outdoor shopping center (are we sensing a pattern here?) that I love to go to. It has a large ferris wheel that is up year-round and just behind it is the ice skating rink that’s brought in for the holidays. I would suggest getting dinner at one of the many fabulous restaurants in the shopping center and then going for a skate. There is also a movie theater at the Spectrum if you want to make a fun date night out of it. (Also perfect for any last-minute shopping).
  4. Nellie Gail Christmas Lights: Since I was a child, I’ve loved getting in my parent’s car with a bowl of popcorn, a mug of hot chocolate, and the radio turned to the christmas station as we headed to Nellie Gail Ranch. This is a nice neighborhood in Laguna Hills with some of the most elaborately decorated houses you have ever seen (and I mean elaborate).  A few of the houses even have their lights connected to a radio station so that as the song plays, the lights on their house flash to the beat!

Happy holidays and feel free to share your favorite holiday traditions in the comments below! (Sorry I wasn’t home early enough to take pictures of these places, so I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it) 🙂


Little Brantley Abroad

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