For many people, this year’s Christmas could not come soon enough. For others, the fact that it’s tomorrow has not even registered. Whether you have been planning for this holiday months in advance or are just now realizing that you have not finished gift shopping, there is still time to plan a fun-filled day.

Just as little kids eagerly and annually wait for Santa on this very night, Orange County churches have also been anticipating the craving for Christmas spirit, especially given the restrictive traveling circumstances of the past couple years.

These Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services promise to sound the night with Christmas carols, light the worship halls with candles, fill mouths with hot cocoa and infuse individuals with hope. Visitors are encouraged to bring their families, friends and neighbors, and are welcomed to the non-religious holiday alternatives on the list as well.

Because COVID-19 cases have been increasing and most Christmas services will be held inside a worship center, the California Department of Public Health mandates that every individual wear a mask until Jan. 15. For those who want to avoid indoor public spaces, there are outdoor Christmas lights-viewing and ice-skating options below too.

With that being said, here are 20 last-minute Christmas services and other holiday-related activities for you to participate in this season, organized by region:

North County

Salem Lutheran Church

When: 3 and 5 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 6500 E. Santiago Canyon Road, Orange
Contact: (714) 633-2366, salemorange.com

Salem’s candlelight Christmas Eve services will be filled with uplifting music, hot cocoa, coffee and cookies. Salem will be offering free childcare for children aged 0 to 5 at both services, and an RSVP at its website is recommended to reserve seating. Those who cannot attend may view the service online here.

Attend one of Salem Lutheran Church’s Christmas services on Dec. 24 at 3 or 5 p.m. to enjoy hot cocoa, cookies and coffee. Credit: KIM PHAM, Voice of OC

First Presbyterian Church of Fullerton

When: 3:30 and 8 p.m. Dec. 24, 9:30 a.m. Dec. 26
Where: 838 N. Euclid St., Fullerton
Contact: (714) 526.7701, fpcfullerton.org

The First Presbyterian Church of Fullerton will be offering three different services in celebration of Christmas. Its first event on Christmas Eve will be a family service, followed by a candlelight service at night. While the church is closed Christmas Day, it will be hosting a Christmas music service the following morning.

Saddleback Church of Brea

When: 4 and 6 p.m. Dec. 24, and 9 and 11 a.m. Dec. 26
Where: 145 S. State College Blvd., Suite 180, Brea
Contact: (714) 582-5537, saddleback.com/visit/locations/brea

This year’s Christmas at Saddleback focuses on “coming home for Christmas,” according to its website. All services include kids programming, hot chocolate and candy canes.

Richfield Community Church

When: 5 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 5320 Richfield Road, Yorba Linda
Contact: (714) 524-1744, richfieldcommunitychurch.com

Bring the whole family to join Richfield Community Church for a Christmas Eve service, or visit its website to access content from its three-week Christmas series here.

Eastside Christian Church

When: 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 3330 E. Miraloma Ave., Anaheim
Contact: (714) 871-6844, eastside.com/anaheim

Eastside Church is hosting in-person Christmas Eve services in Anaheim and other cities outside Orange County including Park Rapids, Redlands and Bellflower. It will also be offering online services at the same times as its in-person services here.

Magic of Lights

When: 5-10 p.m. Dec. 24-26
Where: 2000 E. Gene Autry Way, Anaheim
Cost: $45 per ticket
Contact: magicoflights.com

Enjoy a unique light display and experience by driving through the “Magic of Lights” holiday event at Angel Stadium. From popular holiday scenes to iconic Christmas characters, these LED-powered and digitally-animated scenes are safe to view from the comfort of your vehicle.

Central County

Watermark OC Church

When: 4 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 3186 Pullman St., Costa Mesa
Contact: watermarkoc.com

Watermark Church invites families and friends to its Christmas Eve service to celebrate more than just the physical presents sitting under their Christmas trees.

Calvary Church of Santa Ana

When: 4 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 1010 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana
Contact: 714-973-4800, calvarylife.org

Calvary’s Christmas Eve candlelight services will run for 70 minutes as visitors gather to wrap up the advent season. The service will consist of Christmas music, lighting of the advent candles and a Bible discussion. Its Dec. 23 and Dec. 24 candlelight services can both be viewed here for those who can’t attend in person.

Liberty Baptist Church

When: 5 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 1000 Bison Ave., Newport Beach
Contact: (949) 760-5444, libertybaptistchurch.org

Liberty Baptist Church will be open on Christmas Eve with a special service in the evening. Check its Instagram page to stay updated on details about future events and special services.

Mariners Church

When: Dec. 24 at various times
Where: 5001 Newport Coast Drive, Irvine
Contact: (949) 769-8100, marinerschurch.org

Mariners Church will be hosting six candlelight Christmas Eve services from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with kids’ programming available for children 0-5.

Red Hill Lutheran Church will be offering Christmas services filled with family worship, traditional worship, candle lighting and more. Credit: KIM PHAM, Voice of OC

Red Hill Lutheran Church

When: 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Dec. 24, 10 a.m. Dec. 25, and 10 a.m. Dec. 26
Where: 13200 Red Hill Ave., Tustin
Contact: (714) 544-3131, redhillchurch.org

Celebrate the holiday on Red Hill with family worship and live music at the 3 and 5 p.m. services, or join the church at 7 p.m. for traditional worship, a string quartet and candle lighting. One 10 a.m. service will be offered on Christmas Day and the day after, and livestream links can be found on its website.

Hikari – A Festival of Lights

When: 4:30 to 10 p.m. Dec. 26-30
Where: 5380 3/4 University Drive, Irvine
Cost: $10 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 653-2100, tanakafarms.com/hikari

“Hikari” translates to “shine” in Japanese, which is what Tanaka Farms decided to name its spirited decorations after glamming it up with over a million sparkly lights for this holiday season. The fun doesn’t stop at general admission into this farm’s festival. Further perks such as the holiday wagon ride and gingerbread forest can be accessed with further purchases.

Revel in Hikari, a festival of lights, at Tanaka Farms before it wraps up its festivities at the end of the month on Dec. 30. Credit: KIM PHAM, Voice of OC

West County

Christ Cathedral

When: Dec. 24-25 at various times
Where: 13280 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove
Contact: (714) 971-2141, christcathedralcalifornia.org

Christ Cathedral will be offering six Christmas Eve mass times from 4:00 p.m. to midnight in various languages including English, Vietnamese and Spanish, in addition to a “Celebration of Carols” at 11:30 p.m. Christmas Day mass times are offered from 6:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Check its event page for more information about your preferred mass time and language.

Cornerstone Christian Fellowship

When: 4 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 17575 Euclid St., Fountain Valley
Contact: cornerstonefv.com

This year’s Christmas Eve at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship will begin with refreshments on the patio and end with a message from the pastor. It is recommended that visitors bring a jacket during the outdoor portion of the service and park off-site if possible to increase visitor accessibility.

Crosspoint Baptist Church of Huntington Beach

When: 4 and 6 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 7661 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach
Contact: (714) 848-5511, crosspointhb.org

CrossPoint’s Christmas Eve service will be 65 minutes of holiday music and Christmas spirit. A kids’ ministry will be available for kids pre-K at its worship center as well.

St. Pius Catholic Church and School

When: 3:30 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 7691 Orangethorpe Ave, Buena Park
Contact: (714) 522-2193, stpiusvbp.org

St. Pius Church’s Christmas Eve service will start with a presentation of the Christmas story and be followed by mass at 4 p.m. A Spanish version of the same service will start at 6 p.m. English and Spanish mass times are offered at various times on Christmas Day and the week after as well. Click here to verify details.

Cottonwood Church

When: 6 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 4505 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos
Contact: (714)-947-5300, cottonwood.org

Christmas at Cottonwood started at the beginning of the month, but don’t miss out on the festive fun any further. Join Cottonwood Church on Christmas Eve for a candlelight family service as it prepares to celebrate one of the most exciting events of the year.

Saint Columban Catholic Church

When: Dec. 24-25 at various times
Where: 10801 Stanford Ave., Garden Grove
Contact: (714) 534-1174, saintcolumbanchurch.org

Join one of Saint Columban Catholic Church’s four Christmas services on Dec. 24 from 3:30 to 9:30 p.m., or choose from eight different times on Dec. 25 from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Services are offered in English and Vietnamese on both days and only once in Spanish on the 25th at 1 p.m.

People of all ages can enjoy Huntington Beach’s Surf City Wonderland until Jan. 2 and ice skate next to the beach for a limited time. Credit: KIM PHAM, Voice of OC

Surf City Winter Wonderland

When: Dec. 24-Jan. 2
Where: 325 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach
Cost: $13.50-$20 per ticket
Contact: (714) 536-5486, scww.simpletix.com

Skate next to the beach on Huntington Beach’s holiday ice rink, rain or shine. The attraction opened on Nov. 25 and will remain that way, including on holidays, until Jan. 2. The ticket price varies depending on the inclusion of skate rentals or when buying in a group.

South County

City Harvest Church

When: 6 p.m. Dec. 24, and 4 and 5:30 p.m. Dec. 25
Where: 27111 Aliso Creek Road, #100, Aliso Viejo
Contact: (949) 265-0440, chcus.org

The ​​City Harvest Church invites visitors to celebrate Christmas with it by singing carols, lighting candles and drinking hot cocoa. While the church normally live streams its services, this candlelight holiday service will be in-person only.

Pacific Coast Church

When: 3 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 2651 Calle Frontera, San Clemente
Contact: (949) 940-2600, pacificcoastchurch.org

Pacific Coast Church wants to unwrap this year’s Christmas meaning through festive music, familial celebration, prayer and candle lighting. Infants through pre-K will also have access to the kids’ ministry while those who can’t attend can click here to join virtually.

Harbor Point Church

When: 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 24
Where: 32222 Del Obispo St., San Juan Capistrano
Contact: (949) 308-7910, harborpoint.church

Harbor Point’s Christmas services are expected to cap out quickly so be sure to RSVP here. Visitors can view the church’s up-to-date indoor and outdoor seating capacity by reading the charts displayed at the same link. A Christmas Eve kids program will be available for infants through pre-K children to attend at any of the service times.

St. Kilian Catholic Church

When: Dec. 24-25 at various times
Where: 26872 Estanciero Drive, Mission Viejo
Contact: (949) 586-4440, stkilianmissionviejo.org

Five Christmas Eve services and four Christmas Day services will be offered at St. Kilian Church this holiday season, including a Christmas pageant at 6 p.m. and a Spanish mass at 7:30 p.m. On Christmas Eve, its last service will start at 11 p.m. and end at midnight.

Vineyard Church

When: 5 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 27632 El Lazo, Laguna Niguel
Contact: (949) 425-3787, vcchurch.com

Vineyard Church’s Christmas Eve service is an hour of live worship with carols, candles and the sharing of the Christmas story.

Celebrate Christmas at Foothill Family Church by singing Christmas carols and lighting candles at its holiday service on Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. Credit: KIM PHAM, Voice of OC

Foothill Family Church

When: 6 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: 19432 Bake Parkway, Lake Forest
Contact: (949) 581-5070, foothillfamily.com

Foothill Family Church promises a heartfelt Christmas Eve service with an important message from the pastor. From Christmas carols to candle lighting, it has got all the necessary ingredients to draw out the Christmas spirit.

Capistrano Lights and Christmas Mass at Mission San Juan Capistrano
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 24-30
Where: 26801 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano
Cost: $14 General admission
Contact: (949) 234-1300, missionsjc.com

Orange County’s only mission opened its doors to families looking to enjoy Christmas festivities for all ages with its holiday program, “Capistrano Lights.” Though admission has been open to the public since Dec. 4, it is not too late to catch a glimpse of the large-scale wreath, among other attractions, before the event concludes at the end of the month.

Consider continuing your exploration of the Mission further by attending one of its Christmas services on Dec. 24 or 25. Christmas eve masses are scheduled for 4 and 10 p.m. in English and 7 p.m. in Spanish. Christmas Day masses are scheduled for 7:30, 9 and 11 a.m. in English and 1 p.m. in Spanish.

Kim Pham is a writing fellow for Voice of OC Arts & Culture. She can be reached at kimhphm@gmail.com.


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