Holiday: After a week of holiday parties, festivities continue this week with boat parades and Santa visits. Courtesy photos

MATTHEW HALL & Jamie Paige

Daily Press Writers

Looking for places to get your Christmas spirit in full swing? There are some good events and how much you participate is up to you!  Boat parades, singalongs and surfing are all available this weekend and next!

December 10

Candy Cane Drive — Santa Claus is coming to town with Santa Monica’s police officers & fire fighters leading the way. Santa and his public safety helpers will be distributing good cheer and thousands of candy canes as part of this year’s  30th Annual “Candy Cane Drive.”

Everyone is invited to join in the festivities sponsored by the Santa Monica Police Officers Association and  Santa Monica Fire Fighters, Local 1109 .

To ensure everyone has the opportunity to visit with Santa, this year’s scheduled stops include one per police beat.

10 – 10:45 a.m. Douglas Park – 2400 California Ave (Beat 4)

11 – 11:30 a.m. Christine Reed Park California Ave & 7th Street (Beat 1)

1:30 – 2:15 p.m. Virginia Avenue Park – 2200 Virginia Ave (Beat 3)

2:30 – 3:15 p.m. Clover Park – Ocean Park & 25th St (Beat 2) 

Santa Monica children are encouraged to look and listen for the lights and sirens of the public safety vehicles, while parents are encouraged to bring their cameras. For more information, call the Santa Monica Police Department, Community Affairs Unit at (310) 458-8474.

MDR Boat Parade — Let the boat parades begin with the Marina del Rey parade.   There are fireworks by the water to begin the festivities around 6 p.m. and then a myriad of boats will make their way near the jetty and the main channel entrance.  It’s everything from kayaks to yachts all dressed up for the holidays.

Christmas Run — The Venice Christmas Run at 8 a.m. is one of the most popular, and largest, of the holiday running events.  Starts at the VENICE sign at Pacific and Windward.

Miracle on Main Street — Happening on Saturday, Dec. 10, it takes place at the California Heritage Museum lawn. There will be a kids corner with face painting and activities at 3 p.m.  Santa will arrive at 4 p.m. The traditional tree lighting countdown will happen at 5:30 followed by a candle-light walk to the Edgemar center for the Shopping Cart Tree lighting at 5:45 p.m. Street wide holiday parties kick off at 6 p.m.

Santa Monica College Holiday Glass Sale — 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. along with the YMCA Christmas Tree Sale at Palisades-Malibu YMCA’s Simon Meadow at Temescal Gateway Park, located at 15601 Sunset Blvd. (corner of Temescal and Sunset), Pacific Palisades. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the SMC Art Department and the Palisades-Malibu YMCA.

December 11

Meet Me Under the Fig Tree — The holiday season in Santa Monica continues on Sunday, Dec. 11 at Meet Me Under the Fig Tree, hosted by MSD Partners and Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, from 2 – 5 p.m. After three years of virtual events, this free, family-friendly annual event will return underneath the historic Moreton Bay Fig Tree at the Miramar Hotel.

Attendees can play in the snow, enjoy a puppy station hosted by Wags and Walks, take their picture with Santa, and enjoy great food and drinks from FIG Restaurant and other local favorites including 1212 Santa Monica, Fia Restaurant, Emporium Thai, Michael’s Santa Monica, Wally’s & desserts served by Vanilla Bake Shop and The Butter End. There will also be music by the Santa Monica High School Chamber Orchestra and Grammy-winning jazz artist Bill Cunliffe, seasonal crafts, bounce houses, and activities for the entire family. Guests can also enjoy photo opportunities with a classic fire truck from the Santa Monica Fire Department and horses from the Santa Monica Police Department.

Attendees are once again encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to contribute to this food drive benefiting the Westside Food Bank and they are partnering with Santa MoniCARES for a business clothing donation drive that will benefit Chrysalis, a non-profit that helps low-income and homeless individuals find and retain employment. Organizers are asking attendees to also bring new or gently worn business clothing to the event to help provide ready-to-wear interview clothing and accessories to Chrysalis. 

For more information visit:

Surf-A-Thon — For surfers, the Surf-A-Thon will take place at the Venice Pier on December 11th.   It’s their 29th annual event and surfers of all ages participate in the contests.  

Venice Canals boat parade — One of the most festive events around is the Venice Canals boat parade. This is their 41st year and the theme this year is Come Together. It’s on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 3:45 p.m. Boats will all start from the Eastern and Carroll Canals. The spectacle is put on by the Venice Canals Association.

December 15

Local’s Night — The holidays highlight home, family, friends, and the value of gathering together, which is precisely the same theme of the Santa Monica Pier’s Locals’ Night series. On Thursday, Dec. 15 the Pier combines both of these to present the first annual “Locals’ Night: Holiday Cheer on the Pier Edition”!

December 16

Santa Monica College Annual Holiday Art Sale — Santa Monica College’s 44th Annual Holiday Art Sale, featuring a wide range of creative works in various media, will be a three-day event again this year. The sale will be held Friday, December 16, through Sunday, December 18. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The popular sale will be held in the East Wing Music Hall, located at the SMC Performing Arts Center, 1310 11th Street (at Santa Monica Boulevard), Santa Monica. Ample free parking on premises.

December 17

Venice Community Choir — Another one for your calendar is the first concert of the newly formed Venice Community Choir.  On Saturday, Dec. 17, they will perform at 6 p.m. at the First Lutheran Church in Venice. It’s a sing along and bound to be fun.

December 18

Polar Bear Swim — The annual Polar Bear Swim at the Annenberg Community Beach House will take place on Sunday, December 18, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. The Beach House Polar Bear Swim has become a tradition just as cold water swims have been for centuries across the globe. 

The Polar Bear Swim is a no-judgment zone with all ages and abilities welcome. Participants can choose to dip their toes in the ocean, take a quick plunge, or go for the 300-yard swim around the buoy. After the ocean experience, attendees can warm up with a hot chocolate, take a dip in the Beach House historic heated pool, or take a selfie with the event’s very own polar bear mascot. Creative swimwear is encouraged.

Registration includes admission to the Annenberg Community Beach House heated pool and hot showers as well as hot chocolate on the pool deck. Regular pool rules apply at this event. Youth under the age of eight and under four feet tall must be accompanied by an adult in the pool at all times.

Admission: $10/adults, $5/senior adults 60+, $4/youth ages 1-17. In-person registration will be available but may be limited on the day of the event. 

For more information about the Polar Bear Swim and the Annenberg Community Beach House, call 310-458-4904, email or visit

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...