By Matt Coker
By R. Scott Moxley
By Charles Lam
By Nick Schou
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gustavo Arellano
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
Charles Phoenix's Retro Holiday Slideshow.Oh, the ways we was: 1960s photo salvager Charles Phoenix takes a break from general cultural archaeology to play the Ghost of Christmas Past with a presentation of found holiday slides from the I Love Lucy era. Phoenix's famous presentations offer kitsch hounds a heartbreaking holiday sampler—pink aluminum Christmas trees!—and offer nostalgia junkies everything but the string section and the box of tissues—remember when Grandpa had a haircut like that? And hair?—and, of course, offer wintertime-sappy red-blooded Americans a chance to reminisce about their warm-fuzzy California childhoods and maybe learn a little something along the way. Anthropology cloaked in pleather and polyester: How many times has that Christmas wish gone unfulfilled? Curtis Theater, 1 Civic Center Circle, Brea, (714) 990-7722. Dec. 9-10, 8 p.m.; Dec. 11, 2 p.m. $20-$27.
Heritage Hill Candlelight Tour.Don't ask what bagpipers have to do with our county's history. Just be prepared for them—and the carolers, hand bells, harpists and flamenco guitarists—as you stumble down the flicker-lit park paths, stoned on eggnog and blinded by the thousand or so candles lining the paths. The Amigos de la Colina host, providing cookies, cocoa and the boring kind of cider. And, yes, Virginia, there will be a Santa Claus. Heritage Hill Historical Park, 25151 Serrano Rd., Lake Forest, (949) 923-2230. Dec. 10, 5:30-9:30 p.m. $4; kids ages 3-12, $3.
Pub Crawl. There are charity events, and then there are excuses to get obliterated for charity. Case in point: the Fourth Annual Downtown Fullerton Crawl Before Christmas, an organized pub crawl with games, contests and prizes. It's a wild, drunken party—and every participant is given a discount on a cab ride home. All proceeds benefit the Fullerton Boys and Girls clubs and other local charities. Teams are almost full, but you're welcome to tag along, drink with them and try to steal their wallets—for charity, of course. Begins at the Slide Bar Café, 122 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 420-7840. Dec. 10, 3 p.m.
Wreath Workshop. Bring an apron and shears to the Fullerton Arboretum for a crash course in wreath making. Certain abstract thinkers have discovered that the wreath, traditionally worn on the head, can actually be hung on a wall as some sort of odd display piece. The more pine cones and fake birds woven in, the better. Here's an idea: take all the Star Trek memorabilia you can find, especially anything related to the Klingon Empire, and see if instructor Makiko can help you integrate it into (wait for it) the Wreath of Khan. Fullerton Arboretum, 1900 Associated Rd., Fullerton, (714) 278-3579. Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-noon. $50.
The Virgin of Guadalupe.If your gardener seems wearier than usual on the morning of Dec. 12, cut him some slack: he probably just came from a 4 a.m. Mass honoring the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico and the New World. Better yet, join in venerating the Empress of the Americas that morning: the procession of Aztec dancers down the church aisle in honor of la morenita's indigenous heritage; the opening, melancholy trumpet notes of "La Mañanitas" ("The Little Mornings"), the traditional mariachi song that Mexicans sing to welcome the sun; the harvest of flowers Mexicans place at Her altar, delivered usually by walking hundreds of feet on their knees. But salvation truly comes through the canela (cinnamon tea), atole (corn drink) and tamales that vendors hawk outside after Mass. Venerations of the Virgin of Guadalupe will occur in every Catholic church, but the best will take place at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Santa Ana's Delhi barrio: this church is so Mexican it's the image of Guadalupe, not the crucifix, that's most prominently displayed behind the altar. Our Lady of Guadalupe, 541 E. Central Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 540-0902. Dec. 12, 4 a.m.
Winter Solstice Celebration.This is your average all-singing, all-dancing Gaia Girl celebration for girls aged 6-13, moms, grandmothers and aunts. The sweet little pagans will study seasonal change, herstory, Goddess folklore, altar building, and of course singing and dancing, with a focus on ancestor worship. Don't forget a picture of your most worshippable ancestor. Goddess Temple of Orange County, 17905 Sky Park Circle, Ste. A, Irvine, (949) 310-3226. Dec. 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. $40. Register by Dec. 12.
It's a Wonderful Life. The Save the Fox people need to raise $10 million to convert the Fox Theatre, a 1920s movie palace, into the premier multicultural arts venue in North Orange County. Showing movies for free on the east wall of the building doesn't seem the best way to get there, but it does keep the Fox in the public eye. On Dec. 15, the Foxers are screening It's a Wonderful Life—also free. It's like watching a movie in your house, except you're outside with a bunch of other people freezing your ass off because you forgot your coat. Fox Fullerton, 500 N. Harbor, Fullerton, (714) 870-0069; www.foxfullerton.org. Dec. 15, 7 p.m. Free.
Santa at the Zoo. On Dec. 17, treat yourself to face painting and making gifts by hand. Watch children made up like jungle cats chase each other through the Orange County Zoo and feel your whiskers twitch. Santa will be on hand to spread the holiday cheer and field gift requests, though I doubt he'll give the animals the one gift for which they yearn: sweet freedom. Orange County Zoo, 1 Irvine Park Rd., Orange, (714) 973-6847. Dec. 17, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free with zoo admission ($2; children under ?2, free).