The Christmas Holiday season is here.  The air is crisp.  The streets boast wreaths and ribbons. The stores are filled to the brim like Santa’s stockings overflowing by the fire on Christmas morning.  Shoppers are enjoying our winter holidays and events without the snow. Christmas in Carmel and Monterey is a magical time.  Come live, love, and laugh in Carmel and the Monterey Peninsula this Christmas holiday season.  Here is our top list of Christmas Holiday events and things for you to do!  And be sure to check out our fun Christmas Holiday video at the end of this post!

Christmas Holiday Events and Activities by Date

December 3, 2015 (Thursday)

Fourteenth Annual Pacific Grove Holiday Parade of Lights: Pacific Grove CA

  • Starting at 6pm on Thursday, December 3, you won’t want to miss the lighted parade, dancers, carolers, equestrians, and entertainment in Pacific Grove.  Watch the parade, then wander along the holiday streets as the stores stay open,and you can get wagon rides and photos with Santa.  This is a fun way to start off your Christmas holiday! Visit Pacific Grove for more details.

Nielsen Brothers Market Champagne Tasting

  • Come enjoy complimentary champagne tasting at Nielsen Brothers Market at the corner of San Carlos and Seventh.  Starting at 4pm, you can savor the bubbly served by the friendly staff in their large wine room.  Get an early start to your Carmel Christmas holiday!

Kris Kringle Shop: Carmel CA

  • Not really an ‘Event’, but Kris Kringle should make your list for a Christmas activity.  On Ocean Avenue and San Carlos at the Doud Arcade, the Kris Kringle Shop will bring your holiday spirit to life with magical ornaments, giant nutcrackers, chugging choo choos, and sparkling Christmas holiday decorations.  Not to be missed!  Kris Kringle is open daily from 9:30am – 5:30pm, except Sunday when they are open from 10am – 5pm.  When you stop by be sure to say ‘hello’ to owner Carol and tell her you heard about Kris Kringle from

December 4, 2015 (Friday)

Christmas Holiday Tree Lighting: Carmel by-the-Sea CA

  • On Friday, December 4, put on your Santa hat and bring your sweetie or the kids and doggies to the Christmas tree lighting festivities.  The fun starts about 3:30 with refreshments and entertainment.  Meet up at Devendorf Park on the northwest corner of Junipero and Ocean.   Join the carolers as they belt out your favorite holiday tunes. Enjoy ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’, recited by Stephen Moorer. Get ready to greet Santa, who will arrive courtesy of the Monterey Fire Department. At 5:45 Mayor Jason Burnett will light the Christmas tree.  Then hop on over to the Carmel Plaza where the party continues with their annual open house, refreshments and entertainment in the plaza until 7pm.

Annual Sunset Center Holiday Party: Carmel by-the-Sea CA

  • From 3-5pm, before the City of Carmel Christmas holiday tree lighting, stop by the Sunset Center on the corner of San Carlos and Eighth.  There will be live music, complimentary sparkling wine, cookies and coffee from the Carmel Valley Roasting Company.

Monterey Holiday Christmas Tree Lighting: Monterey CA

  • Also on Friday, December 4, you can ring in the holiday season in front of Colton Hall in Monterey from 5pm-6pm.  Enjoy cider and cookies and listen to carolers as the beautiful holiday tree is lit.  Colton Hall provides a recreation of the meeting where the Constitution of California was first drafted in 1849.

**Don’t forget to check out our Christmas Holiday Video at the end of this article.

December 5, 2015 (Saturday)

Twenty-second Annual Stillwell’s Fun in the Park: Pacific Grove CA

  • On Saturday, December 5 from 10am – 4pm, come on out to this fun and festive event in Pacific Grove.  Activities are in Caledonia Park, just behind the Pacific Grove Post Office.  There will be hay rides and a petting zoo.  Santa will arrive on a Pacific Grove fire truck.  There will be plenty of Christmas holiday entertainment for the whole family.  More details are available at Pacific Grove.

Hofsas House Annual Gingerbread Making Fundraiser, 10:30am and 1:30pm: Carmel CA

  • Bring the kids and let them get their own gingerbread house to decorate.  While they are decorating, enjoy a glass of wine from Twisted Roots Winery and nibble from a gourmet cheese and fruit tray.  Kids receive the gingerbread house kit, hot cider and a cookie (probably from Carrie’s special Christmas Cookie Recipe) for a $25 donation to the Carmel Public Library Foundation.  Adults $10 for wine and munchies.  $5 for additional wine.  Call Carrie at 831-624-2745 to reserve a spot at either the 10:30am time or the 1:30pm time.  Hofsas House has been a Carmel tradition for years and Carrie knows how to throw a Gingerbread party!

Carmel Art Association Annual Miniature & Small Painting Show, 5pm – 7pm: Carmel CA

  • If you enjoy art, then reserve a spot on your calendar for Saturday, December 5 and attend the opening reception and holiday open house at the Carmel Art Association.  Admire the art as you enjoy live music, food, wine, and cocktails.  Located on Dolores Street between Fifth and Sixth in Carmel.

The Christmas Ballet: Sunset Center, December 4th at 8pm, December 5 at 2pm: Carmel CA

  • Traditional ballet and contemporary dance collide in this amazing production of The Christmas Ballet.  Shows are on December 4 at 8pm and December 5 at 2pm at the Sunset Center in Carmel.  Check out the Sunset Center website for details and to order tickets.

December 6, 2015 (Sunday)

Carmel Dachshund Club Holiday Event, Carmel Beach City Park – the Cove at Scenic and Thirteenth on the beach.  11am – 2pmish: Carmel CA

  • Got a Weiner Dog?  Love Weiner Dogs? Just like Dogs?  Then come to the Carmel Dachshund Club’s Holiday Party at the Cove at Scenic and Thirteenth.  Meet Sasquatch Santa, who will be handing out dog treats. Get your photo with Sasquatch Santa.  Enjoy treats, photo ops, socializing, and a doggone good time!  RSVP to the Carmel Dachshund Club at Carmel Dachshund Club.

Carmel Inns of Distinction Tour, 2pm-5pm: Carmel CA

  • Carmel by the Sea is known for charming cottages and quaint shops.  But they are also known for some beautiful and often historic inns.  The Inns of Distinction Tour is sponsored by the Carmel Heritage Society.  Tour these lovely properties while you enjoy wine tasting and food from some of the finest Carmel restaurants.  Tickets can be purchase at the First Murphy House on Lincoln and Sixth between 11am-2pm on the day of the tour.  Or you can call 831-624-4447 for information or visit the Carmel Heritage website at Carmel Heritage Society.  Each ticket includes a commemorative wine glass as well as a chance to enter a drawing to win an overnight stay at one of the inns and dinner for two at a Carmel restaurant.  This tour is a wonderful way to walk and see Carmel and enjoy some great food and wine served at each location.

Brighten The Harbor Boat Parade: Monterey CA

  • Head on over to the Monterey Harbor on Sunday, December 6 and watch the decorated boats as they parade along the harbor.  It’s a fantastical festival of lights from 5:30pm – 8pm put on by the Monterey Yacht Club.  Check out their picture in the video at the end of this article.

December 11, 2015 (Friday)

CSU MB Basketball at the Kelp Bed, starting at 5:30pm: Marina CA

  • Looking for a little action for your Friday night?  Come on out to CSU MB and watch the women’s and men’s basketball teams take on Stanislaus State.  Take Highway 1 north to the Lightfighter Exit.  Head east to the first light, then left.  You’ll see the basketball gym on your right after a couple of blocks.

Annual Christmas in the Adobes: Monterey CA

  • This is your only time each year to see the historic Monterey adobes.  For two days, on December 11 and 12 from 5pm – 9pm, the adobes are opened for a festive, holiday tour.  Wear comfy shoes and plan to wander through Monterey to visit these charming adobes.  You’ll be greeted by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers dressed in period clothing.  If you haven’t seen the adobes at Christmas, you’re missing a very special part of Monterey California history.  Call 831-649-7120 for information.

December 12, 2015 (Saturday)

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk: Pacific Grove CA

  • Want to get in shape for the holidays and support a great cause?  Wear your Christmas hat and come on over for the annual 5K run that starts at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove.  This is a fun event for the whole family.  And you’ll enjoy running/walking/pushing your stroller/walking your dog along the scenic Pacific Ocean.  Funds go to support the Arthritis Foundation.  For more information call Alex Fallon at 831-620-1699.  Or go to Jingle Bell Run to sign up.  We did!

The Nutcracker: Sunset Center, Carmel by-the-Sea CA

  • Everyone loves The Nutcracker.  Enjoy this fantastic presentation on December 11 or 12 at 7pm or December 13 at 2pm at the Sunset Center.  Contact the Sunset Center for ticket information.

December 19, 2015 (Saturday)

Breakfast With Santa

  • On Saturday, December 19, from 8am – 11:30am you can get your fill of pancakes and visit with Santa at the Annual Pancake Breakfast sponsored by the Mission Trail Lions.  Get to the Carmel Youth Center early for your fill of this yummy Christmas tradition.  Questions?  Contact Lion Jean Westcott at 831-624-5783.  Adults $7, Kids $4.

Windy Oaks Estate Holiday Open House: Carmel CA

  • Want to enjoy some wine tasting?  Stop by Windy Oaks Estate Winery tasting room on the west side of Dolores between Fifth and Sixth in the Su Vecino courtyard for new releases, holiday music, and cheese from the Cheese Shop!  It’s a nice way to relax after a day of shopping in Carmel.

December 31, 2015 (Thursday)

First Night Monterey: Monterey CA

  • On Thursday, December 31, come celebrate First Night Monterey.  This year’s theme is ‘Art Connecting Communities’.  From 3pm until midnight you’ll see art and entertainment in Historic Monterey, culminating by ringing in the New Year at the Custom House Plaza.  To buy admission buttons, visit First Monterey for some fun pictures from last year and lots of information about this year’s, family-friendly event.

January 1, 2016 (Friday)

Rio Grill’s Resolution Run: Carmel CA

  • Start the New Year off with a view-inspiring run that begins outside Rio Grill at the Crossroads Shopping Center and takes you either 6.2 miles or 3.1 miles along the scenic coastline.  Return after the run to the Crossroads shopping center for brunch and awards.  Visit Rio Grill’s Resolution Run for details.  Happy New Year!


 Now it’s your turn.  If you know of a special holiday event on the Monterey Peninsula, please share it in the comments below.  
Image of Otter for I Love Carmel California

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