If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas here in Southern California, you’re going to have to get creative!  Luckily, our area theme parks take most of the reigns for that creativity.  You can enjoy the holidays just like your family back in New England with real snow, giant Christmas trees, the lights, the nativity scenes, the elves and Santas, and everything else you could want out of the holiday.

The theme parks will be busy with delighted children and enthusiastic adults, so be prepared to wait in lines, but the Yuletide merriment will be so abundant and plentiful you’ll hardly notice.

Here are the must-see Christmas events in Southern California’s theme parks.

San Diego’s SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

SeaWorld may not be the most politically correct theme park, but you can put that aside for the holidays and see Shamu and Santa together at last.  They will have their 320-foot Christmas Tree of Lights as they have for every year since 1969.  It’s Southern California’s largest Christmas tree, and it’s worth seeing despite SeaWorld’s negligence toward animal rights.

LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad


Bring the kids as they will never have experience a winter celebration like this.  LEGOLAND goes all out for the holidays and actually makes its own snow for a snow tube rink and ice skating on actual ice.  Their holiday tree may not be 320 feet tall like SeaWorld’s, but a 30-foot tree made entirely of LEGOS is pretty amazing as well.  There are fireworks every night during the holidays and they even have a 2pm “New Year’s Eve” party for you and the kids to enjoy without staying out all night.

Disneyland Resort

Of course, if there’s an opportunity to do and outdo, Disney will take it.  Disneyland of course does the holidays in its typical grandiose style.  Mickey and his amigos love the holiday season and showing off their splendor with parades and lights and so many delicious treats.  There is a huge tree of course, fireworks galore, and you cannot go the season without beholding Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and how it is decked up for the annual holiday.  Disneyland is a great time any time of year, but it’s particular magical in the fake ice and snow.

Knott’s Merry Farm in Buena Park

You can always count on the good folks at Knott’s to come up with a season-specific play on their name (See: Knott’s Scary Farm) and the holidays are no exception.  Knott’s Merry Farm, not Knott’s Berry Farm, is a fantastic outing for you and the kids, and the Charlie Brown theme is particularly enjoyable.  Hang out with CB himself and Lucy and Linus, Snoopy and the whole gang.  Sing your favorite tunes and watch the fun ice skating shows.  There is a daily Christmas tree lighting with Snoopy and many elves and toy soldiers, plus enough decadent snacks to get started on a lifelong weight issue for the whole family.  Don’t miss Ghost Town, either!