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Inventive Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Orange County

Irvine Spectrum Christmas

It’s fair to say 2020 has been a less than favorable year. And with many California counties on stay-at-home orders, celebrating the holidays will be wildly different.

However, rather than mourning the traditional holiday celebrations we’re used to, we’ve decided to put together a list of alternative ways to celebrate the festive season. This holiday is a great time to mix things up and try new traditions. You can still make it special!

Improv Drive-Up ComedyDrive-In Movies & Improv Comedy at Irvine Spectrum Center

Watch a holiday movie, or enjoy a night of stand-up comedy under the stars! Now through December 27, Irvine Spectrum Center is hosting special drive-in entertainment experiences.

Drive-In Movie Tickets

Improv Tickets

Curbside Pickup IrvineShop Safely, Buy Nearby

Avoid online shipping delays and support local businesses! Many OC retailers feature buy online with in-store or curbside pick-up, as well as shopping by appointments, and virtual line queues. Here is a list of Orange County stores that offer these alternative shopping solutions, and are limiting their in-store capacity in accordance with orders and have adjusted their regular business hours to allow time for additional cleaning and restocking items.

Shop Fashion Island

Shop Irvine Spectrum

Shop The Market Place

Shop Other OC Retailers

Hiking in Orange CountyMorning Hike

The upside to living in Orange County is that winter weather is rarely an issue! Start a new tradition by going on a morning hike. The Irvine Company has preserved tens of thousands of acres and opened over 40 hiking trails including the famous Back Bay Loop Trail, which winds around Upper Newport Bay, with scenic stops at places like Upper Castaways Park, the Back Bay Science Center at Shellmaker Island, and Big Canyon Inlet.

Irvine Parks Guide

Holiday Zoom CallHost a Virtual Holiday Celebration 

With stay-at-home order to last through the holidays, many people in Orange County are opting to meet virtually. Gather the family virtually and have everyone decorate cookies, or use the Netflix Party app to watch a classic holiday movie together. If you are exchanging gifts, buy them online and have them shipped to everyone’s homes – and open them in front of each other at the meeting! You can even do a fun White Elephant exchange! Use this online White Elephant platform to manage the process.

Wreath Making Party

Order and send out all your wreath making supplies online. Set up your station before your virtual call and be sure to lay down newspaper or plastic as it can get a little messy. Your local online craft store should have everything you need like wreath rings, wire, pine cones, and ribbon. Don’t forget the hot glue!

Turn Your Yard or Patio/Balcony Space Into a Winter Wonderland

This can be fun for the whole family! And if you’re celebrating with extended family via zoom, you could all decorate and turn it into a contest. Order winter supplies online – think: snowflake paper lanterns, fake snow, snowflake string lights, and lighted birch trees. Keep warm with blankets, hot chocolate or cider, a fire pit, and outdoor heaters. Host your virtual meeting from your Winter Wonderland and vote on which household has the best background. 

Find Your New OC Apartment Home

Drive-By Holiday

One of our favorite social distancing ideas is a drive-by holiday party. Find a neighborhood that has great lights and drive through with your family in-tow. Consider hosting a caravan or a socially-distant (with members outside of your household) neighborhood stroll to take in the holiday lights. 

Sushi Roku at Fashion IslandEat Well – Orange County Restaurant Take-Out & Delivery

Just because restaurants are closed for dining-in, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat deliciously! Fashion Island and Irvine Spectrum Center websites include specific curbside pickup lot numbers and links out to Google Maps so customers can easily drive to the correct lot. Most are open for pick-up or delivery! Here are the list of our favorite restaurants that offer these services:

Fashion Island Restaurants

Irvine Spectrum Restaurants

The Market Place Restaurants

Other OC Restaurants

Night Of Lights, OC

From the amazing team behind Winter Fest OC, Night of Lights is a live-action drive-through experience, with one-mile, one million light celebration at OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. This event runs now through January 10!

For a full list of holiday activities in Orange County, check out the list of to-dos offered by Oh What Fun! In The OC.

Oh What Fun!