How to Celebrate the Holidays in Santa Ana, CA!

The holidays are here, and it’s time to spread some cheer! Soak up the holiday spirit by participating in the various holiday festivities in and near Santa Ana, California. From fall gnome painting and a holiday-themed aquarium to Christmas performances and volunteer opportunities, there are so many ways to celebrate and share laughter, joy, and love. 

The best part of celebrating the holidays in Santa Ana, California, is that the nice weather provides more opportunities to get outside and be with others. Whether you are looking for an excuse to spend time with your friends, roommates, or family members, here are a few ideas to celebrate the holiday season this year near our lovely town of Santa Ana!


Shows and Performances


Opportunities to Share

Safe Celebration


There are so many fall and holiday activities in and near Santa Ana to keep you busy this season! Here are some of our favorite.

Festive Holiday Foliage Painting Activity

For our artistic, wine-loving residents, this festive holiday foliage paint and sip activity near Santa Ana is the perfect opportunity to let your creative juices flow while enjoying a drink! Spend the early evening on December 3 painting and socializing with others. The price per ticket is $45, which includes all supplies and a glass of wine.

Winter Village Tree-Lighting Ceremony

This tree-lighting event takes place at the OC Civic Center Plaza of the Flags in the heart of Downtown Santa Ana on December 10. The festivities are free and feature a tree-lighting ceremony, holiday entertainment, delicious food, beverages, and treats. The ceremony runs from 4 to 10 p.m., so come and get your lights fixation turned on.

Holiday Treats for Animals

On December 3 and 4, don’t forget to attend Holiday Treats for Animals at the Santa Ana aquarium. Enjoy festive decor, holiday shopping, snowfall in the Great Hall, appearances by Santa’s divers, and Hanukkah storytelling. Whether you’re looking for a family- or kid-friendly activity or simply are an animal lover, the aquarium will surely warm your heart and bring a smile to your face! Advanced reservations are required, so we recommend signing up early while there are still plenty of spots left.

NYElectric New Year’s Eve Party Countdown

Excited for 2023? Ring in the new year this New Year’s Eve by having an electric good time at this memorable celebration. There will be a premium open bar, party favors, casino games, and dancing, all to the perfect blend of house and top 40 hits curated by DJ Chris Garcia. If this party doesn’t get you excited, we’re not sure what will.

Shows and Performances

For those who enjoy theater or live performances, this section is for you! Embrace the holidays by attending one (or all) of the three shows below.

’Tis the Season!

’Tis the Season is an enchanting production you won’t want to miss. Watch Pacific Chorale perform your favorite live holiday music as well as other delightful surprise numbers you’ll love. One of Orange County’s favorite musical traditions, this will be the event of the season and make the perfect outing for roommates, family members, or friends. Purchase your tickets now! 

The Nutcracker

Is it really the holiday season without The Nutcracker? Don’t miss this spectacular production by the American Ballet Theatre starting on Friday, December 9. Follow Clara as she befriends a nutcracker and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King. The stunning costumes, music, choreography, and winter wonderland props will leave you and the entire audience in awe.

Concordia Christmas: The Thrill of Hope! 

Concordia University puts together a spectacular Christmas concert every year, featuring vocals, instruments, and even handbells. This event is a popular Christmas tradition, and Concordia’s Christmas concert sells out every year, so don’t delay! Get your tickets soon!

Johnny Mathis Christmas Concert

Jazz your Christmas routine up a bit this year with a performance by Grammy-nominated performer Johnny Mathis. His holiday concert consists of a mix of traditional and contemporary Christmas songs. Whatever traditions and beliefs you hold about the holiday season, you’ll undoubtedly feel the magic and peace of this special time of year by checking out Mathis’s performance.


Shopping during the holiday season can be stressful and intimidating. The good news is that there are so many places other than the mall to buy gifts for your loved ones. From small boutiques to holiday festivals, you’ll have multiple opportunities near Santa Ana to find the perfect presents.

Christmas Arts and Crafts Festival

If you’ve never been to a Sugar Plum festival, now is your chance to go. From December 1 to 4, Sugar Plum will be presenting its Christmas Arts and Crafts Festival, giving you the opportunity to complete your holiday shopping with local handmade gifts. Browse beautiful antiques and collectibles, recycled items, and other unique treasures.


Located in Downtown Santa Ana on 4th street, M.Lovewell is a boutique shop that sells stationery goods, gifts, plants, and decor. The next time you need a thoughtful gift or special holiday card, consider making a stop here and supporting this small local business.

Merry Maker Pop-Up Shop

Visit this pop-up shop for four weeks of holiday fun! Featuring locally made home goods, apparel, bath and body products, curated gifts, sweets, and more, you’ll support the community by finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones. Enjoy workshops, Santa visits, swag bags, giveaways, make & takes, kids’ activities, a festive photo opp, and so much more!

Opportunities to Share

There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than by serving others. Thankfully, our Santa Ana community and nearby cities offer a variety of service opportunities. Pick a day in the upcoming weeks and make a plan to get out and serve! Here are two of our favorite service opportunities near Santa Ana, California, that you can choose from.

Someone Care’s Soup Kitchen

Someone Care’s Soup Kitchen is a nonprofit organization that provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner to over 300 guests daily. On Christmas, the soup kitchen creates an incredible dining experience for its guests by serving exceptional holiday food to the homeless, which average about 500 individuals each holiday. The soup kitchen is always looking for volunteers all year long. Visit their website, email, or call (949) 548-8861 for more information.

Senior Santa & Friends

Senior Santa & Friends provides gifts and everyday household items to low-income and/or disabled, elderly adults. Each holiday season, the staff at Orange County Health Care Agency chooses elderly individuals who could benefit from an extra boost of love and service. Last year alone, the organization donated almost 6,500 gifts to seniors. To donate clothing, medical equipment, nutritional supplements, or other items, please call (714) 825-3111 or email

Safe Celebration

When enjoying the holiday season, it’s essential to follow safety protocols. Up to 7,500 fires are started because of household candles, and although we love smelling cinnamon and cedar fir scents throughout our community, we care that all our residents are safe! With that being said, we ask that all residents safely light candles in their homes and never leave a candle unattended. 

Another safety protocol to follow is to take special care of your live Christmas tree. Water your tree continually to prevent it from drying out, keep all open flames away from the branches, and make sure to turn off all decorative holiday lights when you leave home. Following these steps will ensure you have an enjoyable and safe holiday season!

Refer to this holiday guide if you’re looking for ways near Santa Ana to help you embrace the festive season. From activities and shopping to performances and service, you’ll be in the holiday spirit in no time!

Wed love to see your holiday fun! If you decorate for the holidays or try out one of the activities above, post a photo on social media, tag us, and use #TisTheSeasonAtAMC.

From all of us at California Palms Apartments in Santa Ana,
Happy Holidays!

Come On In


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(714) 705-4670


901 S Harbor Blvd, Santa Ana, CA  92704