Orange County Christmas Bucket List

After publishing a much loved Orange County Bucket List (seriously y’all…I love seeing your posts checking things off the list!) I decided it only made sense to create an Orange County CHRISTMAS Bucket List!! I am obsessed with the holidays and I love everything about the entire months of November and December. And Orange County has a lot to offer during the Christmas season…surfing Santas, tree lightings, ice skating, sledding, boat parades and the list goes on! So without further ado, the Orange County Christmas Bucket List…


Explore the Winter Wonderland of the Sawdust Art Festival Winter Fantasy (Laguna Beach, tickets required, five weekends beginning in November)

Santa watching at the Surfing Santa Competition (Laguna Niguel, FREE, mid-November)

Attend Fashion Island’s Holiday Tree Lighting (Newport Beach, FREE, mid-November)


Attend the Seal Beach Christmas Parade (Seal Beach, FREE, early-December)

Go sledding at the Christmas at the Mission (San Juan Capistrano, tickets required, early-December)

Take a candlelight walk at Heritage Hill Historical Park (Lake Forest, tickets required, mid-December)

Head out on the water for the Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Cruise of Lights (Huntington Beach, tickets required, mid-December)

Holidays Around the World (Costa Mesa, mid-December)

Watch the Huntington Harbour Boat Parade (Huntington Beach, FREE, mid-December)

Attend the Golden West College Nutcracker Performance (Huntington Beach, tickets required, mid-December)

Snoopy House (Costa Mesa, FREE, mid-December)

Travel the world at the International Celebration of Christmas (Huntington Beach, FREE, mid-December)

Watch the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights (Newport Beach, FREE, mid-December)

Drive through the Living Nativity Drive-thru at First Christian Church (Huntington Beach, FREE, mid-December)

All Season Long

Drive through Christmas lights displays (Throughout Orange County, FREE)

Go ice skating at the Downtown Disney Winter Village (Anaheim, village is FREE, ice skating requires tickets)

Enjoy the falling snow at Knott’s Merry Farm (Buena Park, tickets required)

Visit the Joyeux Noël Christmas Boutique at Roger’s Garden (Corona del Mar, FREE)

Sledding at Winterfest OC (Costa Mesa, tickets required)

Visit The North Pole at South Coast Plaza (Costa Mesa, combination of FREE and tickets required)

Watch A Christmas Carol at South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, tickets required)

Experience the Magical Flurries snow shows at Bella Terra (Huntington Beach, FREE)

Visit the Gingerbread Extravaganza at the Ritz Carlton (Laguna Niguel, FREE)

Have a cup of tea at Yuletide Tea at The Resort at Pelican Hill (Newport Beach, tickets required)

Ride the train at Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train (Orange, tickets required)

Explore the Science of Gingerbread exhibit at the Discovery Cube (Santa Ana, tickets required)

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Holiday Blog LinkUp

I can’t believe our 12 Days of Blogmas is coming to end!  It’s been a fabulous 12 days of so much Christmas goodness and I’m going to miss talking about all things Christmas here in the blog.  But alas, it’s time to go back to travel and healthy living…with a few cupcakes thrown in for good measure!  But before we head back to regular content it’s time for a holiday blog linkup and to announce the giveaway winner.

Our giveaway winner is….Valerie Hall…congratulations!!!

The holiday blog linkup is a chance for us to see all of the fabulous Christmas goodness you’ve been posting on your blogs!  So link up your favorite holiday post from this year…or your best post from the past…and then take a minute to explore all of the Christmas awesome-ness!

My favorite Christmas post this year was of course the 12 Days of Cupcakes…because you can never have too many cupcakes!

We've shared lots of amazing Christmas ideas with you and now we want to see all of your fabulous Christmas posts in this Holiday Blog Linkup!

Have a Happy Healthy Holiday!

Tis the season for holiday parties filled with calorie laden foods and drinks and a calendar so packed it might be difficult to make it to the gym.  So how do you stay healthy during the holidays…with these healthy holiday tips!

Find time to be active – The truth is you’re probably going to eat more than you should this time of year so balance the extra calories with extra exercise.  If you’re shopping at the mall, find a parking space further away to log a few extra steps, create holiday traditions that involve being active like ice skating, sledding, or a family 5k (there are some fun Santa and Ugly Sweater runs out there!)

Choose your indulgences carefully…if you’re obsessed with Aunt Rosa’s cookies, then skip the ones you only kind of like from your other relatives…don’t indulge on everything available!

Healthy holiday tips to help you stay on track with your diet and workout goals during the busy (treat filled!) holiday season!
Practice portion control – It’s okay to eat one treat at your work Christmas party, but you probably don’t need to eat ten of them!

Plate your food…If you’re at a holiday party don’t spend the whole evening grazing at the buffet table.  Grazing means you’ll end up eating way more than you should!  Instead, prepare a plate of food and then stick to that!

Bring healthy food…If you’re attending potluck holiday events, bring along a reasonably healthy dish.  This way you’ll know there is at least one healthy option to choose from at dinner time.

I’d also recommend checking out this Healthy Holidays printable

What are your healthy holiday tips?

Holiday Decor Traditions for Christmas

Ask any member of my family and they’ll tell you…I LOVE traditions!  Some of them might even tell you I’m a little obsessed.  I think a big part of why I love traditions is that I love adventures, being on the move, trying new things, and going new places and having traditions to come back to centers me and gives me peace.  Some of my most favorite traditions happen during the Christmas season and while I could talk about so many of my favorite Christmas traditions, today I’m focusing on holiday decor.  Here are a few of my favorite holiday decor traditions and tips on creating your own!

As with most of my posts, this post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Tips and ideas for creating holiday decor traditions for your family during the Christmas season so you can create memories decorating the entire house!

Decorate together.

In our family we have a pretty strict rule about not decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving.  But come the day after Thanksgiving…we go all out with the holiday decor!  I have so many memories of bringing out all of the bins of decorations the morning after Thanksgiving and spending the day decorating to all of our favorite Christmas music.  Set aside time as a family to decorate for the holiday

Add a new piece each year.

One of the things I love about my mom’s house at Christmas is looking back through the years at all of our holiday pictures.  Each year my mom gets a new snowman picture frame and adds a Christmas picture from the year.  Not everyone needs to get a new picture frame each year (although it is a pretty great idea!) but find something about your decor you can add to each year.

DIY your holiday decor.

Plenty of our decorations are store bought, but there is also something memorable about creating your own decorations.  I think one of my favorite reasons for creating your own holiday decor is that each year when you set out the decorations, you’ll be reminded of the memories you made creating the decor.  Every time I put out my holiday garland I’m transported back to the year I made this at my mom’s house.

Do you have any holiday decor traditions in your family?

See more ‘Holiday Decor’ posts from the Blogmas bloggers!

The 12 Days of Cupcakes

Today we’re talking all about baking for the 12 Days of Blogmas!  But let’s be real for a moment…if I’m going to talk about baking is there anything I would talk about other than cupcakes?!?  We’re again combining two things I absolutely adore…Christmas and cupcakes for….Christmas cupcakes!

So today we celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas Cupcakes!

We're celebrating 12 Days of Blogmas with ideas and inspiration for Christmas cupcakes that can be easy enough for kids or showstoppers.
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me one Sparkling Cranberry White Chocolate Cupcakes

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two White Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three Gingerbread Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four Snowball Elf Cupcakes

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me seven Eggnog Cupcakes

On the eigth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight Spiced Apple Cider Cranberry Cupcakes

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine Snow Angel Cupcakes

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ten Peppermint Cream Cheese Cupcakes

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

On the twelvth day of Christmas my true love gave to me twelve Eggnog Cupcakes with Butter Rum Frosting

What is your favorite treat to bake at Christmas?!?

See more holiday baking from the Blogmas bloggers!

Gift Guide: Cupcake Lovers

It’s time for Day Three of the 12 Days of Blogmas! and today I’m sharing a gift guide that is near and dear to my heart…it’s a cupcake gift guide filled with goodies the cupcake lover in your life will love!  And if you don’t have a cupcake lover in your life, feel free to pop one, or more, of these goodies under my Christmas tree!

As with most of my posts, this post may contain affiliate or referral links.

Gift Guide for the cupcake lover in your life
The Betty Crocker The Big Book of Cupcakes (Betty Crocker Big Book) – 175 cupcake recipes people…that’s like a new cupcake every other day of the year!!!

Melissa & Doug Bake and Decorate Cupcake Set – Because let’s be honest, it’s never too early to brainwash teach the children in your life all about the excellence that is cupcakes…and Melissa & Doug toys are some of my faves!

Neff Women’s Cupcake Beanie Hat – A cupcake hat…I might live in Southern California, but we have days when it drops down into the 60’s and so this would be the perfect hat!  And it’s probably even more useful if you leave somewhere it actually gets cold 😉

VonShef Snap and Stack Cupcake Storage Carrier 2 Tier – Store up to 24 Cupcakes or 2 Large Cakes – I have three of these and let me just say, they are GENIUS!  If you’ve ever needed to transport cupcakes, you need these stackable containers in your life…trust me on this!

The Children’s Place Baby-Girls G Cupcake Bodysuits Pack of 4,Iced Mint,9-12 Months – I don’t have any children but when I do, you can bet I’d have a few of these for my daughter…but in the meantime they’re great for nieces and any other baby girls you know!

Accoutrements Cupcake Bandages – Because who wants a plain old band-aid when you can have a cupcake band-aid?!?

Cupcake Lip Balm Frosting Dessert Flavored Scented Novelty Gift – Take the flavor of cupcakes with you all day…without having to run further to burn off all of the calories from eating too many cupcakes!

A few other things you should know…we’re giving away lots of prizes…like nearly $1000 worth so you’ll want to head over to day one to enter!

Other Cupcake and Gift Guide posts you might like:

Travel Lovers Gift Guide

 Cupcake Crawl: Orange County

See more Gift Guides from the 12 Days of Blogmas bloggers!