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Christmas events in Los Angeles

Your guide to the best Christmas events and activities in LA, from tree lightings to holiday performances

Photograph: Courtesy Los Angeles Ballet

You won't find snow-covered trees and below-zero temperatures in LA, but there are still plenty of Christmas events and holiday activities to get you in the festive mood—even when it's 70 and sunny in December. From meeting Santa and his (real) reindeer in Malibu to singing Christmas carols and scooping up crafty gifts at holiday markets—our list of the city's best events and things to do this season will help make LA a winter wonderland all month long.

RECOMMENDED: More Christmas in Los Angeles

Our favorite Christmas events and holiday activities

Culver City Downtown Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration

Downtown Culver City lights up the holiday season at Town Plaza (Culver Blvd and Van Buren Pl). The city flicks the switch on its respectably "green" tree: a 22-foot artificial Rocky Mountain pine with over 7,500 LED lights. Stick around for hot cider, hot cocoa and cookies, along with a special visit from Santa. Park free for two hours in the nearby municipal lots.

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Various locations in L.A. , Los Angeles Thursday December 3 2015

Love Actually screening

Critics' pick

Love Actually accomplished a rare feat by becoming one of the few modern holiday classics with staying power. The all-star ensemble romcom follows a prime minister, pop star, office worker, married couples and more as they all deal with relationship issues in the month leading up to Christmas. The cast reads like a who's who of every English hottie and/or esteemed actor: Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Rowan Atkinson and Keira Knightley, as well as Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln and the Hobbit's Martin Freeman. Bundle up and cuddle up in the car with your sweetie to enjoy the film the first weekend of December. Gates open at 3:30pm and the movie starts at 5pm.

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Electric Dusk Drive-In Saturday December 5 2015

Los Angeles Harbor Holiday Afloat Parade

Sailboats and harbor craft of all kinds will light up the waterfront during the annual Los Angeles Harbor Afloat Parade. For more than 50 years, this holiday tradition has brought elaborately decorated boats to the harbor. You can watch from atop the Battlehsip Iowa ($20 adults, $10 kids) with hot cocoa, cookies, crafts, carolers and a visit from Santa. Otherwise, you'll find free viewponts scattered around the harbor; check the website for the full schedule.

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Battleship Iowa , San Pedro Saturday December 5 2015

Unique USA LA Holiday Market

Described as the largest made-in-America shopping event in the country, the 8th annual Unique USA holiday market features clothes, accessories and art pieces from a number of quality handmade brands. Check out local products and rub elbows with the different designers and artists showcasing their work. Take a break with locally-made food, plus free drinks and photo booth portraits.   

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California Market Center , Downtown Saturday December 5 2015 - Sunday December 6 2015

Angel City Chorale Holiday Concert and Sing-Along

Warm up your vocal chords this December and head over to the Wilshire Methodist Church to listen (and sing along to) Christmas and Hanukkah classics. The 160-member Angel City Chorale, famous for its mish-mash of classical, pop, world, contemporary and gospel genres, is putting on "Sing Joy," its annual holiday concert. So break out the fa-la-la-la-la's and join in on the holiday tradition.

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Wilshire United Methodist Church , Downtown Saturday December 5 2015 - Sunday December 6 2015

Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show

Critics' pick

The Harvest Festival isn't your average humble craft fair: over 24,000 original works, from hand-pressed olive oil to handmade jewelry, invade this long-running seasonal fest. Play in a pumpkin patch or get your purchase personalized while you're there—a single ticket is good for the entire weekend, and you can get $2 off by bringing a canned good. The fest will make three stops in the LA area: the Ventura County Fairgrounds and Anaheim Conventin Center in October, and the Pomona Fairplex in December.

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Fairplex Friday December 4 2015 - Sunday December 6 2015

Ukulele Christmas Orchestra

Critics' pick

Ukulele-playing Angelenos, this is your moment to shine. The Music Center is celebrating the holidays with a twang thanks to the Ukulele Christmas Orchestra. Amateur musicians 18 and older are invited to perform in the free program; this year's theme is Americana. Seating is limited and the event is only for those performing—you'll need to bring your own uke and music stand—so make sure to RSVP beforehand. Beginners are welcome, though you'll need to be able to strum in rhythm while playing these 5 chords in this order: C, Em, F, D7 and G7.

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Music Center , Downtown Friday December 11 2015

Festival of Carols

This season, we'll leave the singing to the pros. Join the Los Angeles Master Chorale for all of your favorite holiday carols in concert at the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall. One hundred and ten singers will belt out Deck the Hall, Silent Night, the First Noël, White Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and more to get you in the festive spirit. Pulling out all the stops, the Disney Hall's pipe organ will also participate in the magical concert, and kids can visit with Santa after the show.

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Walt Disney Concert Hall , Downtown Saturday December 5 2015 - Saturday December 12 2015

Marina Del Rey Boat Parade

Feel as though you've escaped to a small-town fishing village with the 52nd anniversary of the Marina Del Rey Boat Parade. Bring a blanket and gather around Fisherman's Village or the Burton Chace Park to watch as the 70 boats glide through the marina with holiday lights and decorations in competition. Categories include Best Theme, Best Animation, Best Band, Best Lights and more. The festivities begin at 5:55pm with fireworks, and the boat parade starts at 6pm, rain or shine. RECOMMENDED: Where to see Christmas lights in Los Angeles

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Fisherman's Village , Los Angeles Saturday December 12 2015
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