🎄 Save the dates for these holiday events – Daily Bulletin

Welcome to the first edition of Holidays and Nights. We’re Charlie Vargas and Vanessa Franko from the Southern California News Group’s Entertainment Squad, and we’ll be the elves in your inbox this holiday season, sharing what you need to know to celebrate. (Here’s how you can sign up to get Holidays & Nights delivered to your inbox.)

The pandemic isn’t over, but as vaccines have rolled out, in-person events have implemented guidelines that allow for a bit more flexibility. This year’s holiday options aren’t exactly back to “normal,” but we’re not under any shutdown orders, which puts us in a brighter place than 2020.

We’ve got a super-sized debut edition of holiday events and happenings already underway or coming soon.

Holiday cheer happening now

Note: We are still in a pandemic. We will aim to keep you updated as things change, but please check with event organizers to confirm details and COVID-19 guidelines.

Robert Garcia sets up lights and decorations Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, for the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa Festival of Lights in downtown Riverside. (Photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)


Time to get lit 

If you want to literally make your season bright, you won’t want to miss the Festival Of Lights at the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, which starts Nov. 26. This year’s event won’t include the usual food vendors, switch-on ceremony, and live entertainment presented pre-pandemic, but it’s worth a gaze if you’re a Christmas lights enthusiast.


Cheese-Filled Filo Fingers are served with dill yogurt and tomato salsa (Photo by Yakir Levy)

Feast of lights

Hanukkah has been known as the Festival of Lights long before the Mission Inn ever existed and the holiday begins at sundown on Sunday. If you’re looking to celebrate with delicious eats beyond potato latkes, we have recipes for Challah Fritters with Sweet Tahini Sauce, Saffron Tomato Eggplant with Feta Cheese, Oven-Fried Spiced Cauliflower and Cheese-Filled Filo Fingers.


A very colorful boat sails through Newport Harbor for the 102nd Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. (File photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Together again

Community events such as parades, tree lightings and more are back on this season as we transition through the pandemic. Here are some options around Southern California, from boat parades to fireworks to breakfast with Santa Claus.


The Young Americans will be giving 10 performances of “The Magic of Christmas” at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts from Dec. 10 through Dec. 19. (File photo by Bill Alkofer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Holiday jams

For music fans we have dozens of holiday concerts on the horizon. We’ve rounded up 28 shows, with something for everyone — from pop to mariachi, or should we say Merry-achi?  Last year, most holiday concerts saw cancellations or virtual alternatives because of the pandemic, but now they’re happening IRL.


American Ballet Theatre’s annual production of “The Nutcracker” will be on stage at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa for 12 performances Dec. 10-19. (Photo by Gene Schiavone)


A nutty good time

Even though the last year-and-a-half has seemed as surreal as the plot of “The Nutcracker,” many local ballet companies skipped their performances in 2020. However, Sugar Plum Fairies will once again dance across Southern California in these productions.


South Coast Repertory’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol” is returning this year, but with a new actor portraying Ebenezer Scrooge. (Photo by Henry DiRocco, South Coast Repertory)

Ghosts of Christmas past

What’s the holiday season without ghosts telling Ebenezer Scrooge how he has to change his ways? “A Christmas Carol” is back on Southern California stages in a big way this season, as are other theatrical productions. See everything from “It’s A Wonderful Life” and “Love Actually Live” to Charlie Brown and Motown around the region.

Even more cheer

An example of a letter to Santa at the Encino Post Office on Tuesday during a news conference about the USPS’ Operation Santa. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)


Want to bring smiles to faces of those in need this holiday? The United States Postal Service’s Operation Santa program is underway. Here’s how you can help get letters to Santa at the North Pole this year.

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