OC Day Tripper

By Ellen Bell

OC Day Tripper
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It’s go time. 10 days before Christmas and the stress level is building.

Last minute gifts to buy, cards to mail, and holiday parties to navigate. This is the time of  year when deep cleansing breaths are necessary.

So this week, why not take a time out? A holiday from the holidays, if you will. Try one of these stress reducing suggestions so you can actually enjoy the celebrations that you’ve worked so hard to create.


Friday, December 14
Chill at the Queen Mary – Long Beach

10am – 9pm Daily through Sunday, January 6

Feeling frazzled from hectic holidays? Chill out at the Queen Mary’s giant ice sculpture extravaganza. This unique attraction features 2 tons of ice sculpted and shaped into a winter wonderland. Castles, slides and even a frozen version of the Queen Mary. Combo admission tickets include the Ice Kingdom, skating, and access to the historic ship.


Saturday, December 15th
Troutman Sanders Renegade Santa Run 5K – Irvine

6 am Registration – Hicks Canyon Elementary School

Since exercise is the best stress reducer, the Annual Santa Run 5K is the perfect solution. The mainly flat course winds through the scenic Peters Canyon Trail. Don’t worry if you’re not a seasoned runner; walkers are welcome! And everyone who crosses the finish line gets a souvenir ornament. Prizes will be given for the participant in the best holiday costume.


Sunday, December 16
The Science of Gingerbread: Discovery Center – Santa Ana

Open Daily at 10am

Learn something new about an old favorite at the 7th Annual Science of Gingerbread Exhibit and Competition. Over 100 artisan gingerbread creations will be on display showing off the sweet side of science.


Monday, December 17
Sunset Gondola Cruise – Huntington Harbor

Sunset Gondola Cruises  16730 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach

The most romantic way to unwind during the holidays is a gondola cruise of Huntington Harbor. The stars are out and the water is calm as you glide by the twinkling lights of decorated houses. Bundle up and bring a bottle of wine to toast to the season. Tours vary from 40 minutes to 2 hours.


Tuesday, December 18
“A Christmas Carol” South Coast Repertory – Costa Mesa

7:30pm Show   655 Town Center Drive

A perennial classic, Hal Landon Jr.’s portrayal of Ebeneezer Scrooge will teach you the true meaning of the holidays. This year, SCR celebrates 30 years of The Christmas Carol. Most shows are sold out, but there is still availability of Tuesday, December 18 and Wednesday December 19. Call the Box Office at ( 714) 708 – 5555


Wednesday, December 19
Dare to Dream Hair Cutting to Benefit Wigs for Kids – Anaheim

4 – 5pm Honda Center

The best way to change a sour mood to sweet is to give to others at the holidays. Disney On Ice is partnering with Toni & Guy Salon and Wigs for Kids to make Dreams Come True. Donate at least 12 inches of hair to make a life-changing difference to a child suffering from hair loss. The first 25 donors will receive a pair of tickets and a VIP Princess Meet and Greet that night to “Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream,” playing at the Honda Center, December 19-23. Hair collected will be donated to Wigs for Kids to create Hair Pieces and wigs for children at no cost to their families.


Thursday, December 20
Christmas Boat Parade – Newport Beach

Parades Begin at 6:30pm  Dec. 19 – 23

The Grandaddy of them all, The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade has been entertaining locals for nearly 100 years. Parades begin on Wednesday, December 19 and end Sunday, December 23. The parade starts off Bay Island at 6:30 pm and finishes at the same site at approximately 9:00 pm each evening. Great views can be seen from all over Newport Harbor, but my favorite spot is watching from Balboa Island where you can enjoy lights  from the parade as well as the beautifully decorated homes.


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