As you bake gingerbread houses, catch a local nutcracker, see holiday fireworks, visit the oldest Candy Cane Lane in the country, see a veddy, veddy British Panto and ride the rails with Santa, don’t forget that next week also brings the Festival of Lights (for 8 whole crazy nights) and we found some perfect ways to celebrate. Did someone say cupcakes?


Why Not Make Your Christmas Gifts?
Take a day off from the crowds and join this expert crew of celebrated designers for a series of festive workshops that give kids all the tools they (and you!) need to make fabulous holiday gifts. Sat., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Hollywood. $100-$125. All ages. Event details.


8 Crazy Cupcakes
There are eight craaazy cupcakes, one for each sweet night of the festival of lights. Duff’s Cakemix is hosting a Hanukkah cupcake decorating soiree with edible treats that will steal the spotlight from the latke. Sat., 6:30 p.m.–8 p.m. Mid-City. $44. All ages. Event details.


Sleeping Beauty Panto
This traditional British Panto has a cast straight out of Nick and Disney to delight the kids, and a special appearance from Zena Warrior Princess to tickle your funny bone. A Panto is a traditional British Christmas show for the whole family, told with pop hits and humor—and this one has a live pony, too! Fri.-Sun., Various times. Pasadena. $24-$125. Ages 4 & up. Event details.

Christmas Tree Lane Lights Up
The “oldest large-scale Christmas lighting spectacle in the US” is actually listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, and this weekend the lights switch on for the season. Sat., 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Altadena. Free. All ages. Event details.


Gingerbread Houses & A Shadow Puppet Nutcracker
Catch a special Nutcracker shadow puppet show followed by gingerbread house making. A candy buffet helps kids create a gingerbread house masterpiece. (Also takes place on the Westside on Sunday.) Sat., 2:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Burbank. $45. Ages 2 & up. Event details.


A Hanukkah Family Festival Con Luz y Libertad
This year’s Skirball Hanukkah Family Festival highlights two major themes of the holiday—light and freedom (luz y libertad)—through the lens of Latin American culture. Music, storytelling, art making, and more family fun fill the day. Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m. West LA. $5-$10. All ages. Event details.

Hot Chocolate Nutcracker
Debbie Allen (Lydia Grant!) has re-imagined the classic Nutcracker ballet by giving it a new context, fresh lively characters, new music and spectacular dancing. Fri.- Sun., Various times. Westwood. $45-$95. Ages 4 & up. Event details.

South Bay

Fireworks for Christmas
We’ve got a few choice words for you: snow park, sled runs, snow play, snowman making, Santa, sing along, and fireworks. Oh, and one more. Free. Sun., 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Manhattan Beach. Free. All ages. Event details.

Surfing Santa and A Sing Along
Grab a hot cocoa and sing along to all of your holiday favorites. Greet Surfin’ Santa as he arrives at the pier on a fire truck to join in the festivities. Fri., 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Redondo Beach. Free. All ages. Event details.


Winter Famiy Festival
Play in more than 70 tons of snow and get into the holiday spirit at the Winter Family Festival.  It’s a local fest with live music by schools and community groups, photos with Santa, face painting, craft-making, and more. Sun., 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Studio City. Free. All ages. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Ride the Rails and Dine with Santa
Forget leaving out the cookies for Santa, what your little ones really wants to do is chow down with Santa himself! The big guy visits with you at your table, posing for photos and ready to hear every detail of that rapidly expanding wish list. Fri., 5:30 p.m. Fillmore. $26-$47. All ages. Event details.


Winter Lights Cruise
Just sit right back for a two hour trip…on the R/V Sea Explorer where you’ll take a festive holiday cruise around the beautiful Dana Point Harbor in the annual Parade of Lights.  Be part of the show as you watch it from the water. Fri., 7 p.m-9 p.m. Dana Point. $40-$50. Ages 4 & up. Event details.

This is the weekend for holiday events – we couldn’t fit a hundredth of the cool things happening in our newsletter, so please be sure to check our calendar of things to do to see all the holiday happenings in your neck of the woods the weekend.

-Meghan Rose

Photo credits: Surfing Santa courtesy of via Creative Commons and Hanukkah girl from the Skirball Center