Get Jolly at the Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting & Holiday Village, December 2Center City sparkles with shopping, snow, Santa, feasting and carols ’round the 50-foot Christmas tree.

In the two decades since Anaheim hosted its very first Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, the tree’s gotten quite a bit taller. Now, wrapped in tens of thousands of twinkle lights, anchoring the traffic circle at the west end of Center Street Promenade, it’s the centerpiece of a beloved Anaheim tradition. This December 2, have a cool Jul kicking off the 23rd annual holiday celebration in Center City. The family-friendly winter-themed event runs 10am-7pm. Parking is available in the Center Street parking structure.

Got a lot of people on your nice list? They’ll swoon over unique gifts from the eclectic Holiday Shopping Village. So much better than Amazon! Or hit the charming mom and pop shops arrayed along Center Street Promenade to score ‘I shop local’ bragging rights along with your stocking stuffers. Work up an appetite toting your treasures, then indulge at the International Food Fair. One word: glogg.

Kids get the full winter wonderland experience tossing snowballs in the free snow play area. There’s also crafts and train rides for the wee ones, and carols in the air as the Loara High School Marching Band and Anaheim Union High School Combined Choirs provide live entertainment. Feel like joining in? Go for it! This is no silent night.

Santa and his main squeeze, Mrs. Claus, pose for family photos between 3-5:30pm (limit one per family, please). Then, at 5:45pm, the procession down Center Street Promenade begins, ending at the decorated 50-foot redwood tree. Wondering why it’s called the Nutcracker Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony? When dancers from the Anaheim Ballet pirouette onto the scene, all questions will be answered. The tree-lighting ceremony lasts from 6-7pm. Then it’s off to bed for visions of sugar plums.

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