Our Top 4 December Holiday Events in Oceanside, CA

north coast village christmas lights

If you're planning on staying with us during December, then you are sure to find plenty of holiday events to enjoy when not taking in our beautiful beaches! And if you have a family gathering in mind, what better place to spend a coastal vacation then in Oceanside? 

The Christmas season is our favorite season! Oceanside has a never-ending list of things to do throughout the year. But, the city has special events just for the holidays! When visiting the area for a family, couples getaway or staycation, be sure to check out our top 4 events below.

    1. Shop Local Holiday Passport 

 One of the most charming qualities of Oceanside is the ever-growing list of local merchants who open their doors to share specialty crafted products, culinary delights, and experiences. To honor our local businesses, MainStreet Oceanside, Visit Oceanside, City of Oceanside Economic Development, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce and South Oceanside Business District, have partnered to sponsor this annual event. For roughly the first 2 weeks of December, shoppers earn stamps for visiting specific local shops on a unique passport that can be entered to win special, one-of-a-kind prizes. 

Many locations also offer in-store promotions and discounted wares. Multiple artisans are featured such as the Stratford at the Harbor in the oceanside harbor village; downtown favorites like Otterlei Coastal, Sandy Toes Gift Store, So Cal Trading Co., and Petite Madeline Bakery by the Beach. Not to mention eclectic merchants in South O' such as Clothe + Arrow, Gypsy Den Boutique, Revolution Roasters, and The Rising Co

If you're planning on taking a few souvenirs back home, now is the time! Check out more information on this fun event by visiting the Shop Local Passport site here.

     2. Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony & Gift Market

Another fun event is the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony sponsored by the City of Oceanside. This family-centric event is held typically on the first Thursday Sunset Market in December and includes activities for all ages! 

Held at the Regal Cinema plaza, the event kicks off with kid's activities starting at 5:00 pm with kid's craft tables, milk and cookies, a kid's zip line, bungee run, and obstacle course. Santa makes an appearance on his fire truck and the tree lighting commences at 6:00 pm. 

In addition to the Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on the first Thursday, the Holiday Gift Market occurs every Thursday in December. The market features unique and eccentric holiday gifts from local makers, delicious warm food including sweets like cake pops, roasted nuts and pies; and holiday entertainment. 

If you're staying in one of our comfy oceanside beach rentals during this week, be sure to travel out for an evening of holiday cheer and gourmet delights! 

    3. Coaster Holiday Express 

Now, this event is a unique Oceanside attraction! On select dates, the North County Transit District provides a special 65-minute Holiday Express trip. Beginning at the Oceanside Transit Center off S Tremont St, conductors will take participants down our beautiful coast to Solana beach, and back. On the trip, travelers can visit with Santa, enjoy magical holiday carolers, elves and princesses. Find out more about this unique coastal event here!

    4. Parade of Lights

By far, one of our favorite events as locals is the Parade of Lights. An Oceanside tradition, the oceanside harbor is transformed into a sea of winter wonderland lights and merry-making. Boats, dinghies, and even kayaks are decorated in holiday fashion and will circle the harbor. Many captains dress up as Santa, and holiday caroling will be had. The Parade of Lights is an annual event that brings families and locals, together for a fun, festive night. 

If you happen to be staying at one of our North Coast Village vacation rentals, the Oceanside Harbor Village is a 5 min walk and just over the San Luis Rey jetty. Bring your beach chairs and wagon over to watch the parade. You can even enjoy the parade from our harbor-view F-2 Seascape Nirvana cottage! This (free) event is happening on December 14th this year and we highly suggest you check it out!

And there you have it! There are plenty of holiday events to take part in while visiting Oceanside in December. Not to mention all of the regularly recurring events at local restaurants and shops. For a full list of events, check out the Visit Oceanside Event Calendar for more details. 

We hope you will take part in some of these activities and we look forward to hosting you soon!