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 near Santa Ana to keep you busy this season! Here are some of our favorite holiday activities happening near Santa Ana, California.

Fall Gnome Painting Activity

For our artistic, wine-loving residents, this fall gnome painting activity near Santa Ana is the perfect opportunity to let your creative juices flow while enjoying a drink! Spend the early evening at Bea’s Natural Store on November 13 painting gnomes and socializing with others. The price per ticket is $28, which includes all supplies and a glass of wine. 


Holiday Home Tour

Do you love touring holiday-decorated homes? Don’t miss the Holiday Home Tour at Floral Park in Santa Ana on November 13. Stop by for a refreshing beverage, stroll through the beautiful fall and holiday-decorated houses, and shop the holiday market. All profits derived from this activity will help provide scholarships to Santa Ana residents attending a high school in the Santa Ana Unified School District or Santa Ana College.

Holiday Treats for Animals

From December 4 to 23, 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 Diver, 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.

Plaza Navideña: This tree lighting event takes place at Plaza Calle Cuatro in the heart of Downtown Santa Ana on November 20. The festivities are free and feature a tree-lighting ceremony, holiday entertainment, delicious food, beverages, and treats. Plaza Navidena runs from 5 to 8 p.m., so come and get your lights fixation turned on.

Snow Day with the Critters: This mid-December fete features winter activities and crafts for families, accompanied by holiday music and stories. Rumor has it that some cute animals will also be tasting winter treats. Who among us has the willpower to resist that? Santa Ana residents can enjoy free admission on December 16.

NYE at the Beach “Orange Country”: Lasso yourself a date and get in touch with your inner urban cowboy this New Year’s Eve by having a rip-snortin’ good time at this country music-themed howdy to 2022. There will be dining, dancing, and boot-scoot boogie-ing to the country music stylings of Redneck Rodeo, Scotty Mac Band, Timmy McKeever, and DJ David Bugenske. And it all comes with the beautiful backdrop of Huntington Beach. If that doesn’t put a little bounce in your giddyup, 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.

A Magical Cirque Christmas

A Magical Cirque Christmas is an enchanting production you won’t want to miss. Watch dazzling cirque artists perform to your favorite live holiday music. From juggling to dancing and singing, this will be the event of the season and would 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 10. 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: Repeat the Sounding Joy!: 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!

The Beautiful Day: Kurt Elling Sings Christmas: Jazz your Christmas routine up a bit this year with a performance by Grammy-winning performer Kurt Elling. 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 Elling’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.


Vintage Market

If you’ve never been to a Sugar Plum festival, now is your chance to go. From November 11 to 13, Sugar Plum will be presenting Yester Year’s Best Vintage Market Place. Browse beautiful antiques and collectibles, recycled items, and other unique treasures. If you miss the November festival, there’s no need to worry: From December 1 to December 5, Sugar Plum will host their Christmas Arts and Crafts Festival, giving you another opportunity to holiday shop.


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 a special holiday card, consider making a stop here and supporting this small local business.

Sugar Plum Holiday Festival: This vintage market’s offerings will dance—if not outright take up residence—in your head. Over 165 exhibitors will be selling a mix of vintage, upcycled, chic, and handmade gifts and decorations.

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 certain holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas, the soup kitchen creates an incredible dining experience for its guests by serving exceptional holiday food to the homeless, which on average, is 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!

We’d 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!

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(714) 705-4670


901 S Harbor Blvd, Santa Ana, CA  92704