Top 5 Weird Holiday Traditions in Southern California


Southern California is known for having beautiful weather year-round, including during the holidays when the rest of the country is enjoying rain, snow, and sleet. You'd think this non-festive weather would put a damper on the holidays, but Californians won't let the lack of cold weather put a damper on the holidays! They still celebrate in style, including these 5 weird holiday traditions.

Surfin' Santa at Seaport Village in San Diego
Santa doesn't always have to be wearing his big red suit! Surfin' Santa dons a Hawaiian shirt and board shorts in San Diego. He cruises up on a boat decked in Christmas lights, then poses with visitors for their spirited holiday photo! Surfin' Santa is part of the bigger celebration of the season which includes a parade along the boardwalk, kids' crafts, live street performers, and holiday shopping.

9-Ton Sandcastle at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point
Californians don't have snow so we use the next best thing - sand! This huge sandcastle is on display Thanksgiving through New Year's Day and depicts a different festive scene every year. This is a unique offering at the St. Regis, along with other holiday events like the Gingerbread House Academy and pet photos with Santa.

Skating by the Sea at Hotel del Coronado in Coronado
Warm weather doesn't stop Californians from ice skating. The rink at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego overlooks the Pacific Ocean and in true Cali style, is surrounded by palm trees strung with lights. Keep the festivities going with other events like "Jingle S'mores" and "Elf Tuck-Ins" for hotel guests. They even put on a play on Christmas Eve.


California Living Museum Holiday Lights in Bakersfield
The non-profit California Living Museum displays over 2 million Christmas lights per year, surrounding the property in twinkling lights. You can even catch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and walk around with a delightful hot chocolate.


Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade in Newport Beach
Celebrating its 106th year in 2016, the boat parade runs December 14th-18th and is hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. Over 100 boats adorned with holiday lights and decorations parade around the harbor nightly while spectators watch from grassy knolls, nearby boats, hotel, and restaurants. Fireworks kick off the event, and tens of thousands of people come out to watch the parade.

Californians certainly know how to embrace the season, even without having a white Christmas. What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Author Aimee Engebretson is native to Orange County, and loves to go pick out a fresh-cut pine dress to decorate for Christmas every year.