With less than ten days left until Christmas, this weekend’s bright spots include fighting the dark side, celebrating winter and of course embracing the holiday season for the third weekend in a row. Scroll down to find out what to do, where to catch a little bit of snow and of course, how to have cocoa with Santa!


photo: White77 via Pixabay

Los Angeles

The Last Jedi at El Capitan
It’s finally here! 
The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. This is the place to see it! Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Stars in the Sky Party
Los Angeles is the place for stargazing, and this time we don’t mean celebrities! Actual celestial bodies are ready for their close-up at this cool opportunity for the whole family to look at the sun, moon, stars and more, to try out tons of telescopes, and to talk to astronomers. Sat. Event details.

Holly Jolly Day
Families and friends are invited to The Mixing Room for sweets, skating and visit with Santa at the Marriott at LA Live. Tickets include private access to the L.A. LIVE ice skating rink followed by Hot Chocolate & Holiday Sweets in The Mixing Room and a special visit from Santa Claus, making an appearance in the hotel’s life-size Gingerbread House from 10 a.m. –noon for photos and a meet-and-greet. Sat. Event details.


Bah, Merry Grinchmas!
Grinchmas is here ’til the end of the year! Anyone with a case of the bah-humbugs (or the bored vacation bugs) should hop over to Grinchmas at Universal Studios features photo ops with Grinch and his dog Max, story time with Cindy Lou-Who, cookie and ornament decorating at Universal Plaza, and the chance to stand beneath the 60-foot Grinchmas tree. Then join the Whos as they sing and dance through Who-ville during the Studio Tour Backlot Grinchmas Who-bilation. You can also catch some holiday spirit when you swing through Harry Potter’s world for some  hot Butterbeer, and find some holiday Minion mayhem happening in their super silly world. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Long Beach

Homeschool Holiday at the Aquarium
Brrrrrring in winter; with winter-themed activities, kids learn about the amazing ocean and how animals cope with cold water. Enjoy special activities throughout the Aquarium where students of all ages can investigate, experiment, and discover. Fri. Event details.

Cocoa with Santa at the Rancho
Enjoy cocoa and treats, make crafts, listen to stories, and meet Santa at this fun, intimate event. Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site is an adobe home (built in 1844) and grounds are a National, State and Long Beach Historic Landmark. Fri.-Sat. Event details.


Moonlight Hike with the Tree People
Come howl at the moon and explore Coldwater Canyon Park at night. Families welcome during this hour-long guided hike. You must pre-register to attend and check-in begins at 6:30 p.m. Fri. Event details.

Gingerbread House Decorating!
Get ready for some gingerbread house decorating at Baby Bea’s Bakeshop.  No mess, clean up or extra candy to eat after the kids go to bed… Every purchase includes 2 guest passes + 1 pre-assembled gingerbread house to share, and unlimited icing, candies, and sprinkles. Sat. Event details.

A Very Merry Magicmania
Add a little magic to your holidays! Celebrate the season with a festival of 30 different magic and variety acts over the course of nine shows and two weekends. Every show is different! Featuring the world’s greatest award-winning magicians and variety acts from The Magic Castle, America’s Got Talent and Penn and Teller’s Fool Us. Fri.-Sun. Event details.

Worth the Drive

Holiday Snow Days at Legoland
This is the time of year when Legoland is brimming with holiday cheer! Enjoy festive entertainment from The Yule Tides and say “hello” to the life-sized LEGO Santa and his reindeer. There are also loads of twinkling lights, the biggest LEGO Christmas Tree in the world and even a tree lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. And don’t miss the winter holiday market on Dec. 16. Fri.-Sun. Event details. 

Which holiday extravaganza are you going to? Share with us in the comments below!

—Andie Huber