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Monarch Beach Calendar

Seasonal Offerings at The St. Regis Monarch Beach

12th Annual Tree Lighting and Sand Sculpture Dedication

Nov. 25, 4:30 p.m.; Lobby

Commemorate the start of the holiday season with warm cider, hot chocolate and festive live music from a local high school choir. The resort will also be collecting nonperishable food items to donate to the Orange County Second Harvest Food Bank.

Holiday Afternoon Tea

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in December; Motif

Warm up this winter at Motif restaurant. From noon until 3 p.m., indulge in traditional afternoon tea service with a seasonal flavor. Reservations required. (800-722-1543)

Gingerbread House Academy

Weekends in December; Monarch Ballroom

One of the resort’s signature holiday treats, the academy provides all the fixings for guests and their kids to create the gingerbread house of their dreams. Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., or Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. Reservations required. (800-722-1543)

Visit With Santa Claus

Throughout December; Visit the concierge for locations

Join the season’s celebrated couple, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, at the resort every Sunday. Photos are complimentary with a suggested $10 donation, with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Angels of Southern California.

New Year’s Eve 2013

Dec. 31; Pacific Ballroom

Ring in the new year at the St. Regis, with gourmet fare, live music, dancing, drink specials and plenty of Champagne. (For tickets, call 800-722-1543)

Valentine’s Day Specials

Feb. 14, 2013; motif and stonehill tavern

Both of the resort’s main restaurants offer elegant specials for Valentine’s Day: The sophisticated Stonehill Tavern offers a holiday menu; Motif boasts a prix fixe menu. The Lobby Lounge also creates a special Valentine’s Day cocktail for the occasion.

 

Theater

Festival Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”

Dec. 14 – 24; Irvine Barclay Theatre

It wouldn’t be the holidays without “The Nutcracker;” Festival Ballet Theatre promises a stunning rendition of the classic holiday tale that’s as magical for the 40th time as it is for the first. (949-854-4646; thebarclay.org)

“Chapter Two”

Jan. 8 – Feb. 3, 2013; Laguna Playhouse

Andrew Barnicle directs “Chapter Two,” penned by comedy bigwig Neil Simon, a semi-autobiographical tale that follows George, who’s trying to find love, and his brother, Leo, who’s trying to help him find it. The result is a witty look at the uniquely human ability to preclude our own happy ending. (949-297-4787; lagunaplayhouse.com)

“War Horse”

Jan. 22 – Feb. 3, 2013; Segerstrom Center for the Arts

The masterful and exquisite Broadway show that won five 2011 Tony Awards, including Best Play, comes to the Segerstrom stage. The World War I-era story of a boy and his horse made waves when it premiered because of the groundbreaking puppetry from South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, who breathes life into mesh, cane and plywood to create movement. (714-556-2787; scfta.org)

“Chinglish”

Jan. 25 – Feb. 24, 2013; South Coast Repertory in costa mesa

South Coast Repertory presents a hilarious new comedy from Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (“M. Butterfly”). “Chinglish,” which received rave reviews during its Broadway run last year, follows an American businessman who goes to the Orient to build his fortune making signs for English-speaking travelers. A must-see for those seeking a good belly laugh. (714-708-5555; scr.org)

Puccini’s “Tosca”

Feb. 21 – 26, 2013; Segerstrom Center for the Arts

The Pacific Symphony continues its focus on bringing high-quality, semi-staged concert opera renditions to Orange County. Following up on last year’s “La Bohème,” Puccini’s “Tosca” infuses operatic drama and tragedy into the reliably superb Pacific Symphony performances. (714-556-2787; scfta.org)

 

Exhibitions

“O.C. Collects”

Through Dec. 30; Orange County Museum of Art

In honor of the museum’s 50th anniversary, OCMA turns its focus to Orange County itself and to the community of art collectors who have supported the institution since its founding in 1962. Borrowing from the most illustrious modern and contemporary private collections in the area, “O.C. Collects” is the best of an often-overlooked society of art aficionados. (949-759-1122; ocma.net)

“The Permanent Collection”

Through Jan. 20, Feb. 24 – April 28, 2013; Laguna Art Museum

Executive Director Dr. Malcolm Warner curates this two-part exhibition highlighting the best of Laguna Art Museum’s 3,500-piece permanent collection, bringing fresh eyes to California’s most notable artists. The show takes over the main floor galleries throughout the winter and spring. (949-494-8971; lagunaartmuseum.org)

“Cut! Costume and the Cinema”

Dec. 15 – March 10, 2013; Bowers Museum

Feast your eyes on the extraordinary ensembles from renowned British costumer Cosprop Ltd. The Bowers exhibition showcases 43 costumes from 25 different films that will transport visitors from 19th century Paris in “Phantom of the Opera” to World War I Italy in “In Love and War” to the timeless and raucous world of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” (714-567-3600; bowers.org)

 

Events and Activities

34th Annual Corona del Mar Christmas Walk

Dec. 2; downtown Corona del Mar

Celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with Corona del Mar’s Christmas Walk, featuring live entertainment from a dozen different musicians and bands, a beer and wine garden, a vendor fair from local shops, tastings from nearby restaurants and barbecue lovingly grilled by the Newport Beach Fire Department. Stop by between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and take part in the festivities. (949-673-4050; cdmchamber.com)

37th Annual Boat Parade of Lights

Dec. 9 – 10, 16 – 17; Dana Point Harbor

Orange County’s most spirited boats flock to Dana Point for this annual holiday parade, only minutes from The St. Regis Monarch Beach. Fleets compete for awards that range from the most original decor to the best animation to the judges’ top overall pick. Head down to the harbor to watch the boats roll by or have a relaxing dinner at a Dana Point waterfront eatery. (949-923-2255; danapointharbor.com)

St. Joseph’s Day and the Return of the Swallows Celebration

March 19, 2013; Mission San

Juan Capistrano

Cliff swallows make their way to San Juan Capistrano each year to create their nests within the walls of the Mission, settling in for the summer. In celebration of their faithful return to San Juan Capistrano, the mission hosts a day of festivities in conjunction with St. Joseph’s Day. Catch great live music, a ceremonial ringing of the historic mission bells and an enthralling retelling of the legend of the swallows. (949-234-1300; missionsjc.com)