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Get Out of the House

Tis the Season

By Rebecca Meekma

I’m writing this as another Sunday draws to a close. Early morning hike in the hills, late breakfast with the family, a few errands and we were home just as the rain began in earnest. Husband had DVD’ed the Packers game and there we were, snug as bugs in a rug on a blustery November day, watching football, baking brownies, doing laundry, catching up on reading.

This in spite of my best efforts. There were plays we wanted to see, holiday boutiques to visit, special events to enjoy. But, once again, just before I hit “Buy,” I realized that a quiet Sunday was what we needed.

So, knowing that the next few weeks would be jam-packed, here are some of my picks for seasonal fun for kids of all ages:

Laguna Beach Hospitality Night. Friday, Dec. 2, 5:30’ish ‘til you’re exhausted. Go downtown next Friday night. Say hi to everyone you know. Stroll. The El Morro & Top of the World Honors Chorus, the High School Band, Community Concert Band and that Bagpipe group provide seasonal entertainment. See the City Hall Pepper Tree light up. Watch Santa arrive. Shop. Eat. Enjoy.

Heritage Hill’s Victorian Christmas. Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Heritage Hill is in Lake Forest and it’s run by the county park system.  It’s a collection of historical buildings that show off our local history. This event includes holiday shopping, entertainment, kids’ crafts, living history demonstrations and tours of the appropriately decorated historical buildings. 25151 Serrano Road, 949-923-2230 for info.

San Juan’s Hospitality Night/Christmas at the Mission. Saturday, Dec. 3.  Always one of my favorite holiday events. Like Laguna’s, only you won’t know everyone, so you can enjoy the people you’re with. Walk downtown San Juan. Shop, drink. Eat. The hightlight? Visit the Mission at night. Music fills the air. So do the smells of tamales and hot chocolate. Last year we saw a guitarist sing a beautiful version of Silent Night next to the luminaria-lit ruins of the Great Stone Church. Magical. www.MissionSJC.com

Gingerbread classes at the St. Regis or Pelican Hill. Weekends – call the hotels for specifics. Yeah, I’ve bought the gingerbread house kits at Trader Joe’s. And the one at Michael’s. And the one at Target. You know what? They were OK. But after I bought a few extra candy decorations, and spent time mixing up frosting and holding Roof 1 onto Side 2 and supervising and cleaning up…well, that little $12.99 gingerbread kit turned into a way bigger ordeal than I wanted. Thankfully, the people at the St. Regis understand my pain and created Gingerbread House Academy. For $65, take the family to the St Regis. Dress up or not. But get ready to decorate the gingerbread house of your dreams. I especially enjoyed watching the crazed Martha Stewart-wanna-be parents shoving their kids out of the way. www.StRegisMB.com. Pelican Hill is getting in on the gingerbread scene too at $65 per child with lunch. www.PelicanHill.com.

Mission Viejo’s Mount of Olives Church’s Drive Thru-Nativity (and food drive.) Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 & 10, 6 to 10 p.m. Experience the Christmas story from the warmth of your car…members of this church stage 10 scenes from the story of Christ’s birth, including angels, shepherds and stars, and camels in the marketplace. There’s narration through your car’s radio. Bring canned or non-perishable food items to donate. 24772 Christanta Drive, Mission Viejo. 949-837-7467.

And, finally, Laguna Niguel’s Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. The parade is on Crown Valley. Free parking and shuttle service from the Ziggurat Federal Building. Who doesn’t love a parade? Grand Marshall: Magic Johnson! And the Teen Grand Marshal is Noah Munck, better known as Gibby on iCarly. Plus, marching bands, floats, horses and Santa’s appearance. www.LagunaNiguelParage.com.

Rebecca Meekma is that friend who always knows something fun to do and the Calendar Editor for Parenting OC. Follow her blog at www.ParentingOC.com or contact her at [email protected]

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