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A San Juan Capistrano Holiday Calendar

Start penciling in your plans.

Originally published Nov. 24.

Now that Thanksgiving, Gray Thursday and Black Friday are safely behind us, it’s time to get organized for the holiday season in the month ahead.

Here’s what San Juan Capistrano has going on:

Now-Dec. 16: "It's a Wonderful Life, the Musical" is in production at the Camino Real Playhouse. Tickets can be purchased here. A matinee performance on Dec. 1 will be shown for free for military families via Homefront America. 

Dec. 1: The annual tree-lighting celebration at Historic Town Center Park begins at 4 p.m. with a pre-show, including choir, orchestra and dance performances by local high school students. The main show begins at 5 p.m. with a production directed and choreographed by David Green of Musical Theater University, along with a special performance featuring Renee Bond. The lighting of the Christmas tree takes place at 5:45 p.m.

Afterward, you can meander downtown where local stores and restaurants will offer great sales, specials and many offering free goodies. Stroll down to the Los Rios Street Historic District where there will be free photos with Santa Claus and a free Christmas train ride. A holiday marionette show will be held on Verdugo Street with two show times; 6:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Zoomars will offer free admission to their petting zoo. Zoomars will have a hay ride and a train ride also available for purchase. Pathway to Hope will have two evening performances of a live nativity at Zoomars: 6:15 p.m. and 7p.m.

For more information call (949) 493-5911

Dec. 1: Mission San Juan Capistrano also hosts activities on the same evening as the tree-lighting ceremony. From 5:30-8 p.m., the Mission features:

  • An exhibition of local music performance groups throughout the Mission
  • “Santa’s Workshop” with cookie decorating for kids
  • Food vendors serving tamales, pizza, hot cocoa, sweets and more
  • The beautiful historic Mission festively lit up for this special after-hours event, and more

Dec. 7: A Christmas Together is a holiday concert featuring many popular Christian artists. This day’s concert is at Ocean Hills Church. Tickets are $10 or $15 with the CD.

Dec. 8: Hanukkah begins at sundown and runs through Dec. 16.

Dec. 8: Go on a "mistletoe and plant walk" at the the Richard and Donna O’Neill Conservancy from 9-11 a.m. You don't need a high level of fitness. For ages 6 and older. Participants will be on the lookout for mistletoe and seasonal fruit such as the "holly berry," beloved by birds. It will be a great morning to savor the smells, sights, sounds and breathtaking beauty of December in the wildlands. You will have the opportunity to decorate and take home your own mistletoe! DONATION: $10/adults; $5/child; FREE/Supporters. For more info, go the Conservany's website.

Dec. 14: Last day to get toys to City Hall for the toy drive for the city’s adopted 1/11 Marine Battalion.

Dec: 15: Be part of the annual Christmas bird count at the Richard and Donna O’Neill Conservancy. The walk is from 7-10 a.m., is for ages 10 and older and it's free. Bring binoculars and field guide if you have them. Join experienced birders for the annual Christmas bird count. Throughout the years, more than 80 species of birds have been seen at the Conservancy. How many will we see in 2012? Visit Audubon's website to learn more about the CBC, one of the oldest "citizen science" events in the nation. 

Dec. 15: The Metrolink Holiday Toy Express Train will stop at the Capistrano Depot, Verdugo/Los Rios Street, at 6:45 p.m. A holiday show, lots of lights, and Santa Claus will arrive to perform and collect new, unwrapped toys for the ABC7 and Southland firefighters’ "Spark of Love Toy Drive."

Dec. 20: The A Christmas Together tour returns to San Juan Capistrano, playing this time at the Coach House. Tickets are $15.

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