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Best Activities This Week In Orange County - December 12

With less than two weeks until Christmas, festive holiday events are in full force. Whether you're creating your own reindeer painting while sipping hard cider or watching the dazzling lights float by in the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, there are plenty of options for a night out. Get in the holiday spirit by donating to Habitat for Humanity's local food drive. Once the second half of the week rolls around, be prepared to find a stage show to check out—there are plenty of options. Whether it's a season show like "The Nutcracker", "Elf. Jr." or "The Holiday GEM" or The Sounds' album anniversary celebration, each night has something new to offer.
Monday, December 12
holiday-paint-and-libate - verified ashley
(Credit: Cory Vest)

Holiday Paint & Libate
Phantom Ales
1211 North Las Brisas Street
Anaheim, CA 92806
(480) 330-6943

Start your week off with creativity and tasty drinks. Phantom Ales in Anaheim will host Holiday Paint & Libate, a merry holiday event where guests can create their own themed painting while enjoying the brewhouse's offerings. Pair craft beers or fruity ciders with guided instruction on creating your own reindeer—complete with ornaments hanging from its antlers. The talented Anna Marcantel of AM Original Art will lead the workshop. All materials will be provided and guests will be able to take advantage of drink specials offered exclusively during the event. Whether you keep your design for some festive home decor or gift your painting to a loved one, the event will surely get you in the holiday spirit.

Tuesday, December 13
habitat-oc-restore-holiday-food-drive-3-karen-thoms - verified ashley
(credit: Karen Thoms)

Habitat OC ReStore Holiday Food Drive
Anaheim ReStore
1656 West Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92802
(714) 434-6266

Help those in need this week. Through Friday, December 23, Orange County residents can participate in Habitat OC's holiday food drive. With donation centers at both the Anaheim and Santa Ana ReStore locations, they are requesting personal care items like toilet paper and toothbrushes as well as non-perishable canned goods including canned fruit and vegetables, whole grain pasta, soup, rice, canned meats and healthy snacks liked dried fruit and raw nuts. Those that donate at least three items will receive a discount coupon that can be used in the stores, where they sell discounted home improvement materials like carpet, lighting, furniture, sinks, cabinets and cleaning materials.

Wednesday, December 14
newport-beach-christmas-boat-parade-1-visit-newport-beach - verified ashley
(credit: Visit Newport Beach)

Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Newport Harbor
Newport Beach, CA 92625
(949) 729-4400

The remarkable Newport Beach Holiday Boat Parade has maintained its status as a popular holiday tradition in Orange County for over 100 years. Various types of boats are decked out in the finest holiday decor - from colored lights to inflatable Santas. Crowds line the waterside to catch glimpses of the sparkling ships, but guests can also enjoy the parade from local restaurants and even on the water with organized evening cruises. Each night will feature different Grand Marshals, including Mickey Mouse, contestants from "The Voice", the USC marching band, local Olympians and hometown heroes from our military. Wednesday night's festivities will include a special opening ceremony with fireworks before the parade. This year's event concludes Sunday night with a post-parade fireworks show.

Thursday, December 15
the-sounds - verified ashley
(Credit: The Sounds)

See The Sounds In Concert!
The Observatory
3503 South Harbor Boulevard
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 957-0600

The Sounds return to one of Orange County's most notable venues, The Observatory. The Swedish-based indie rock band has all of its original members, including Maja Ivarsson on vocals. Although they haven't released an album since 2013, the current tour is a celebration of their 2006 release "Dying to Say This to You." They will play the sophomore release in its entirety as well as a new single and some scattered tracks from their first and third albums. The tour marks the ten-year anniversary of the album but one thing remains true—the band's popularity has continued to grow throughout the last decade.

Friday, December 16
the-nutcracker - verified ashley
(Credit: Dave Friedman)

See "The Nutcracker"
Irvine Barclay Theatre
4242 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
(949) 854-4646

One of the most beloved Christmas shows comes to life at the Irvine Barclay Theatre this December. Now through Christmas Eve, catch one of the Festival Ballet Theatre's performances of the classic ballet "The Nutcracker," a story that takes a little girl on a whimsical adventure through a land filled with festive friends and foes. The shows will feature a variety of well-known dancers from both San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet as well as former principals from American Ballet Theatre. Local children and dancers from the OC-based Festival Ballet Theatre will also be performing. A world-famous Tchaikovsky score, impressive sets and dazzling costumes accompany the brilliant story of adventure.

Saturday, December 17
elf-jr - verified ashley
(Credit: Jen Tomasick)

"Elf Jr."
Ebell Society of Santa Ana Theater
625 French Street
Santa Ana, CA 92702
(714) 542-6939

The story of Buddy the Elf leaving his home in the North Pole to find his real father in New York has touched the hearts of those across the nation in the Will Ferrell-fronted 2003 comedy. But the stage adaptation has gained just as much popularity, securing its place as a Christmas classic for years to come. Broadway on Tour, a local youth theater, presents "Elf Jr." this holiday season with Ryan Lee in the role of Buddy the Elf. The one-hour production is the company's last show of the year, with showings at 2 p.m. today and tomorrow. Broadway on Tour will host a hot cocoa party an hour before the show starts, complete with a visit from Mrs. Claus.

Sunday, December 18
gem theatre
(credit: Alana T./yelp)

"The Holiday GEM"
The GEM Theater
12852 Main Street
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 741-9550

Today marks the last night of One More Productions' Holiday GEM, a spectacular show directed by Damien Lorton. Two separate acts present double the fun—with two very different themes. Up first, the audience will be transported to Christmas Fantasy Land, a world filled with tap dancing elves, festive costumes and Santa Claus himself. Live musicians will play a mixture of classic and contemporary songs before the second act starts. The latter half of the production takes place in Victorian England, channeling Charles Dickens' famous "A Christmas Carol." While classic Christmas songs will still be playing, the costumes will change from holiday designs to elegant ball gowns and top hats.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.


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