Holiday Gift Guide – Turn Your Bucket List into a Wish List

No matter how old you are, waking up on Christmas morning only to find a piece of coal in your stocking and a pair of socks under the tree is enough to dampen anyone’s festive spirit. It’s a good job then that we’ve scoured the internet landscape to bring you unique Christmas gift ideas – whether it’s for mom, dad, spouse, kids or even your furry friends.

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No Preparing for The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged)

There are no words to describe The Ultimate Christmas Show by The Reduced Ultimate Christmas Show Shakespeare Company that would truly prepare you for what’s to come. The slapstick interfaith holiday variety show and pageant sounds cute and family friendly, but the level of inappropriate social irreverence was extremely shocking yet absolutely hilarious. Continue reading

Happy Holidays! Too Soon? Not if You’re Doing a Holiday Card at Shutterfly

Now that we have a baby, we’re actually considering a personalized holiday card for our Shutterfly photofamily. Don’t get me wrong, we’re a far cry from matching, red, knitted sweaters but the idea of sending our parents, siblings, and grandparents a family picture is appealing. After all, they ask for pictures daily and they do live in another country and miss Athena, and us, dearly. Continue reading

Tis the Season to Celebrate, Rejoice, and Reflect with Pacific Chorale

Last night, an over-flow of powerful emotions was erected inside of me as I entered the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and took part in the Pacific Chorale’s Christmas concert, Tis the Season! Pacific Chorale’s annual Tis the Season! concert features Pacific Chorale, the Southern California Children’s Chorus, and members of Pacific Symphony in the favorite selections from John Alexander’s years of holiday programs. To celebrate this anniversary year, John Alexander has chosen audience favorites from the last 40 years of Christmas concerts he has conducted, making this year’s concert one that evoked emotion and my fondest memories of Christmas. As I sat in the audience, I was transported back to my childhood and engulfed in the visual and auditory beauty that surrounded me. Continue reading

“Feelin’ Christmas-Sea in Newport Beach!”

We joined over a million viewers as we watched beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks, and canoes sail along the harbor in the 103rd Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. The Christmas Boat Parade is a magical holiday tradition for all ages. Many people view the Newport Beach Christmas boat parade from the shores lining Newport Bay. The parade is free, so viewing from the shoreline is both an entertaining and a cheap family holiday activity. Instead of standing along the shore and fighting for a spot, however, we participated in the actual Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade on a beautifully decorated Davey’s Locker cruise. Many people assume, like I did, that the popular Newport Harbor tours would suspend their operation while the large boat procession was in progress, but, that’s not the case. In fact, taking the harbor tour was the best way to see the boat parade. We were able to get up close and personal with the other boats, making it easier to see the details of the floats and snap photos. The unique experience of being on the water viewing what the New York Times stated as “one of the top 10 holiday happenings in the nation” made a unique, lasting Christmas memory for Darren and I. Continue reading

Visions of Sugar Plums – The Festival Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker

Oh, the magic of it all. Living dolls. The Sugar Plum Fairy. The Snow Queen. Dancing snowflakes. A Christmas tree that grows to spectacular heights. It’s The Nutcracker, in all its magic, beauty, and holiday charm. With music by Peter Tchaikovsky and stunning scenery and costume design by Simon Pastukh and Galina Solovyeva, Salwa Rizkalla’s production has something to delight every family member. It’s not everyday you have a chance to create a new tradition, a custom, of enjoying performing arts, but The Festival Ballet Theatre has found two regulars in their spectacular production. There are few things that personify Christmas like The Nutcracker and I can’t wait to share that experience with my family for years to come. Continue reading