By the edhat staff
December often flies by faster than a juvenile on an electric bike and everything is so expensive.
So we’ve compiled a list of free holiday events for you and your family to take part in the festive and jolly spirit.
Anything you’d like to add? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included to this list.
December 2, 2022
Downtown Santa Barbara Annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Block Party
Come on down to the 1300 block of State Street from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. to enjoy holiday performances by a variety of community organizations and DJ Darla Bea! Enjoy a visit from Santa, holiday vendors and more.
Families will be able to take home a part of the downtown Christmas tree by creating their own holiday wreaths at a free craft station. All of these activities and more will be happening under the marquee of the Arlington Theatre at 1317 State Street and part of the street in front of the theatre.
The “Prince & Fairy” will be lighting the tree accompanied by a community countdown at about 5:30/5:45 pm.
Lompoc Valley Children’s Christmas Season Parade
From 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., join the community for a festive parade, tree lighting, and treats. Located at Centennial Square (119 E. Cypress Ave., Lompoc), the corner of H St. and Pine Ave.
Solvang Julefest Tree Lighting Ceremony
Time: 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Solvang’s annual Tree Lighting will include music, Santa, and more. The Lighting will take place at Solvang Park (First Street and Mission Drive), in the heart of Downtown Solvang. Learn more here.
December 3, 2022
Old Fashioned Christmas in Los Olivos
From 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. enjoy photos with santa, cookie decorating, wine tasting and more in downtown Los Olivos.
Art From Scrap Holiday Market Place
Celebrate the holiday season with Art from Scrap’s family-friendly Holiday Market. Buy local this year by visiting our outdoor Marketplace filled with local makers and artists selling their beautiful handmade wares.
The Creative Reuse Store will be open that day between 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Stop by to discover treasures perfect for gifts and arts and crafts.
Julefest Parade in Solvang
Time: 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Join participants as they march around downtown Solvang and bring more Hygee in your Holiday season! Learn more here.
December 4, 2022
Grab a drink and join Opera Santa Barbara’s Chrisman Studio Artists at Wylde Works on Sunday December 4 at 2 PM for an afternoon of operatic favorites, musical theatre hits, and some of your favorite holiday numbers!
Located inside Night Lizard Brewing at 609 State Street.
December 5, 2022
Santa Paws: Pet Night with Santa!
Get your four-legged family member’s photo taken with Santa in the La Cumbre Plaza (121 S. Hope Ave). Please come prepared to clean up after your pet.
Reservations are recommended, 4:00-7:00 pm. Learn more here.
December 9, 2022
Westerlay Orchids Christmas Open House
From 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., gather at the Westerlay Orchids Showroom to take photos with Santa, enjoy treats, and enter a raffle. Learn more here.
Una Noche de las Posadas
Una Noche de Las Posadas (“The Inns”) is the time-honored reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging in Bethlehem as it is observed throughout Latin America. This free event will begin at the Chapel at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park, with the procession ending at Casa de la Guerra with the singing of holiday songs in Spanish.
Rudy’s Presidio Mexican Restaurant will be co-sponsoring this event by serving traditional Posadas food and the Mujeres Makers Market will be curating a special evening market full of vintage and handmade goods! Mujeres Makers Market opens at 5PM at Casa de la Guerra. The procession begins at 7:00 p.m. at the Chapel at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara SHP (123 East Canon Perdido Street). Learn more here.
December 10, 2022
Holiday Artisan Market at Victoria Market
The Victoria Court Holiday Artisan Market returns this December 10th with an AMAZING group of artisans from Southern California. Handmade ceramics, linens, leather bags, jewelry, clothing, woodwork, pantry food items, candles, and apothecary products are among the many items you will find. This year we will also host a local author’s table, a kids area with crafts and storytime as well as some live music. Learn more here.
Milpas Holiday Parade
The Santa Barbara Eastside Society is sponsoring the 68th Annual Milpas Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 10th, from 5:30-7:30 pm, on the Milpas Street corridor. The parade begins at De La Guerra Street and finishes at Mason Street. The year’s theme is Surfing Santa, so wear your best Hawaiian outfit. Learn more here.
Goleta Holiday Parade
Originally scheduled for December 3, the Goleta Holiday Parade was rescheduled to December 10 due to a rainstorm.
The Santa Cruz Market 5th Annual Goleta Holiday Parade Presented by Fuel Depot will start at 6:00 p.m. The parade route is on Hollister Avenue from Orange Avenue to Kinman Avenue. Hollister Avenue from Fairview Avenue to Kellogg Avenue will be closed to traffic, including e-bikes, starting at 5:00 p.m. on December 10 and will re-open around 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. Public parking is available in the Yardi parking lot at 430 S. Fairview Avenue. Learn more here.
Carpinteria Holiday Spirit Parade
Holiday-focused fun and festivities will make downtown Carpinteria merry and bright on Saturday, Dec. 10. The well-loved Holiday Spirit Parade will take place on downtown Linden Avenue at 3 p.m., followed at 5:30 p.m. by Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Light Up a Life event at the Seal Fountain. Prior to the parade, the Carpinteria Community Library will hold its Frosty Fest from 10 a.m. to noon at 5141 Carpinteria Ave. and the Lynda Fairly Carpinteria Arts Center will host an Arts & Crafts Faire from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 855 Linden Ave.
December 11, 2022
36th Annual Parade of Lights!
On Sunday, December 11, come enjoy one of Santa Barbara’s signature holiday events – the 36th Annual Parade of Lights. All event activities are FREE!
Beginning at noon families can visit a Winter Wonderland on the City Pier in Santa Barbara Harbor. There will be holiday elves, 10 tons of snow, festive music and photos with Santa. Learn more here.
December 17, 2022
Big Christmas Brass Show
Enjoy a special holiday performance by Big Christmas Brass Show on December 17 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Located in Storke Placita (next to McConnell’s Ice Cream), 700 block of State St. Seating will be provided.
December 19, 2022
Family Chanukah Party
Join for candle-lighting, games, crafts, and great food including latkes and jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot)!
December 21, 2022
All Holy Night Candle-Lighting Extravaganza
Come for a night of music from the Unity Singers and the lighting of the candles from 7-9pm. at Unity of Santa Barbara (227 E. Arrellaga St.) Learn more here.
Photos with Santa & Nightly Snowfall at Paseo Nuevo
Santa returns to his cottage in Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center’s Center Court this year next to the jolly ole Christmas Tree! Bring the entire family for a chance to meet and take a photo with Santa. Don’t forget to bring your wish list!
Friendly family pets are welcome too with Pet Nights on December 6th, 13th & 20th from 5:00 PM to closing. First come-first served, no appointments required. Click the button below to learn more about Santa’s schedule!
Also, play in the nightly snow, which is made from vegetables and is gluten-free, nontoxic, and non-damaging. Each snowfall lasts 10 minutes and will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. through December 31st at the Center Court of Paseo Nuevo. LEARN MORE
Living Nativity Scene at First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara
The Living Nativity will be held for 3 nights: December 20, 21st and 22nd from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. It’s a free community event at First United Methodist Church in Santa Barbara at 305 E. Anapamu Street.
For 31 years the congregation of the First United Methodist Church has offered a beautiful seasonal gift to the community by staging a re-creation of the Holy Night for three nights just before Christmas.
Photos with Santa at the Montecito Mart
Reservations to snap a pic with the big guy himself are filling up! Show up this weekend and make some memories.
Dates: Sunday, December 4th (12 to 3pm) / Sunday, December 11th (1 to 4pm) / Sunday December 18th (12 to 3pm). Reserve a spot for December 11th or 18th
39th Annual Light Up a Life
Join this heartwarming ceremony of light, love, remembrance, and unity to honor the many who are missed this holiday season. The Trees of Remembrance with stars available for purchase 30 minutes before each program will be at the following locations:
December. 4, 5:30pm, Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St
December 7, 4pm. Upper Village Green, corner of San Ysidro and E. Valley Rd., Montecito
December 10, 5pm, Seal Fountain, Linden Ave., Carpinteria
December 11, 5pm. Camino Real Marketplace, 7004 Market Place Dr., Goleta.
Learn more here.
Photos with Santa at La Cumbre Plaza
From December 1-24, Santa will be taking photos with shoppers in the La Cumbre Plaza (121 S. Hope Ave).
Make a reservation here: shoplacumbre.com/SantaPhotos