It’s finally that time of year again

Best ways to celebrate the holiday season

Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is on repeat, Starbucks brings back their peppermint hot chocolate and the countdown until winter break begins; it’s the holiday season and no matter what you celebrate, there are plenty of ways to find some holiday cheer. 

The Nutcracker

The annual Nutcracker performance located at the Civic Arts Plaza is a great way to celebrate the holidays. Local community members and stars from across the country come together to perform this great Christmas classic. This year marks the 27th Nutcracker season at the Civic Arts Plaza as it continues the legacy of this famous ballet. Performances are on Dec.17 and 18 with two shows a day beginning at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets range in price but start as low as $35.

Ice Skating

Although cold in Southern California is considered any temperature under 80 degrees, there are still plenty of places to find ice. The Iceoplex in Simi Valley is open year-round for hockey teams and figure skaters to find a place to skate, but a great local rink to go ice skating. Be sure to check their calendar to see when the public skate sessions are. Also, the annual pop-up ice rink at The Lakes in Thousand Oaks is a Ventura County holiday staple. (add more info when it gets released) Whether you’re an experienced skater or it’s your first time on the ice, you will have a great time. 

Promenade Tree Lighting

Christmas at the Westlake Promenade is a great local holiday experience. The annual tree lighting ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. on Nov. 18. In addition to the tree lighting, special performances, a firework show and Santa’s village will be at the Promenade. The event is free entry and a great place to grab dinner, go shopping and experience the holiday magic.

Hanukkah Celebrations

During the weeks leading up to the eight-night holiday, various festivals and menorah lighting ceremonies will be hosted across Los Angeles. On Dec. 18, head to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles for a celebration full of latkes, holiday-themed photo booths and a community candle-lighting ceremony at sundown. Additionally, the Third Street Promenade and The Grove will hold candle-lighting ceremonies during the eight nights of the Festival of Lights. For a more local celebration, The Commons at Calabasas will be having a menorah lighting ceremony each night starting Dec. 18 through the 26.

Visit Decorated Streets

We all love decorating for the holidays, but some households love to go all out. Driving or walking through neighborhoods to see Christmas lights is a fun, family-friendly holiday activity. A great location to see lights is an area known as “Candy Cane Lane.” This location consists of multiple streets worth of houses that collectively decide to create a holiday display of lights and decorations each year. It’s definitely something you will not want to miss. Also, starting Nov. 18, the annual LA Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow returns to the Los Angeles Zoo. The immersive experience features lantern sculptures of animals, plants and more. The experience is estimated to take an hour and tickets are separate from daytime admission starting at $34 for adults (13+). 

Amusement Parks

During the holiday season, amusement parks transform into a world full of lively music and holiday cheer. Visit Disneyland starting Nov. 11 to experience the Haunted Mansion’s transformation into the “Nightmare Before Christmas,” holiday parades and sweet treats. Universal Studios takes park goers into a new world as Christmas comes to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and “Grinchmas” returns to the park. In addition, Knott’s Merry Farm, LEGOLAND California’s holiday season and Six Flags’ Holiday in the Park are also sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Prices differ between the parks so be sure to check their prices individually. 

Have a Night In

What better way to celebrate the holidays than grabbing a hot chocolate, cozying up by a fire and watching a Christmas movie. Throwing on a cheesy Hallmark movie or a holiday classic like “Elf” will surely get you in the holiday spirit. Invite your friends to decorate gingerbread houses or cookies for holiday fun. While going out to amusement parks and going ice skating can be fun, staying in is the perfect way to celebrate what the holiday season is all about: quality time with friends and family.

Check out the Ventura County Events calendar for specific dates and times for more events throughout the holiday season.

Be sure to check our website,, for easy access to information about the celebrations.