California Christmas Mission Fests


CALIFORNIA: Christmas in the Missions

The religious aspect of Christmas is often forgotten as people get wrapped up in commercialism. Experience the holidays in a unique manner that only California missions can offer. Also see nativities presented by churches.

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO Capistrano Lights December 7, 2019 - January 6, 2020, 5:30-9 p.m.

Mission San Juan Capistrano
Historic Mission Grounds
(949) 234-1300
Celebrate the holidays at Mission San Juan Capistrano with nightly tree lighting, holiday music throughout the Mission, crafts for kids, visits with St. Nicholas, Christmas shopping at the Mission Store, and more. Don't miss it!

To Be Announced 2019

CARMEL: Carmel Mission I Cantori Concert December 8, 2018, 7-10 p.m.
Carmel Mission Basilica
3080 Rio Road
Carmel, CA
Join Carmel Mission Choir and Lectors in An Advent Celebration of LESSONS AND CAROLS Sunday, December 16, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Free, No Tickets Required  - Goodwill Offering at the Door

FREMONT: Mission San Jose Las Posadas December 15-23, 2018
Mission San Jose Museum
43300 Mission Blvd.
Fremont, CA |
33rd Annual Christmas at the Mission, performed by Mission Peak Chamber Singers
December 1, 2018, 8 p.m.
December 2, 2018, 4 p.m.
Tickets Online: $20 Adults, $15 Children/Students
Tickets at the door: $25 adults, $15 Children/Students
(510) 356-6727
Las Posadas December 15-23, 2018
Join Mary & Joseph's journey to Bethlehem. Since 1982 Old Mission San Jose and Fremont Cultural Arts provides an opportunity for families to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Each evening at 6 p.m. we will meet on the front porch of the to process while singing Christmas carols to a local business or site within two blocks of the Mission. A family is selected to carry the beautifully hand-carved statue of Mary and Joseph. Once inside the host business or site, Fremont Cultural Arts Council has arranged for a short musical program and then we will enjoy light refreshments courtesy of our host. Wear warm clothing and bring a flashlight to read the music sheets as we process. No-cost celebration during the Christmas season. 

JOLON: December 24 Mission San Antonio Las Posadas - Confirm before going as year was not included in date
Mission San Antonio de Padua
End of Mission Road
Jolon, CA 93928
Las Posadas in the Padre's Garden at 5:30pm. Sing Christmas carols by candlelight in the evening's frosty air at this beautiful historic Mission. Christmas Eve Mass celebration follows at 6pm. There will be NO Mass celebrated on Christmas Day and the Mission will be closed so that the staff can celebrate Christmas with their families.

LOMPOC: Mission La Purisima Concepcion Founding Day  December 8, 2018, Mass 12 p.m. & Concert 7 p.m.
La Purisima Mission State Historic Park
2295 Purisima Road
Lompoc, CA 93436
A mass at noon celebrates the founding of the mission. The public is invited to attend.  Concert December 8, 2017, 7 p.m. $6 tickets sold on
Over 500 luminaries lead the way to an evening of candlelight and music observing the  anniversary of the founding of La Purisima Mission in 1787. Enjoy the musical performance by the Santa Ynez Valley Master Chorale in the setting of the historic church by candlelight. After the performance, guests are invited to La Sala to enjoy fellowship and refreshments. Attendance is limited to 6 years or older.
Las Posadas December 15, 2018, 2-4 p.m. Las Posadas. Join costumed docents as they lead the Las Posadas procession through the mission grounds with songs in Spanish and English. This tradition dates back over 400 years in Mexico and reenacts the biblical journey of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem.

OCEANSIDE: Mission San Luis Rey Serra Center
Annual Christmas Concert and Sing-Along December 7-8, 2018
December 7, 2018, 7 p.m. $40-60,
December 8, 2018, 2 p.m. $30 door till capacity reached

Mission Tamales December 22, 2018. Go to website for ordering, pre-purchase only by specified deadline.

SAN DIEGO: Christmas Candlelight Meditation December 15-16, 2018, 7:30 p.m. 
Mission San Diego de Alcalá
10818 San Diego Mission Road
San Diego, CA 92108
Free will offering,
Mission San Diego de Alcala Choir with Classic Brass presents the 42nd annual Christmas Candlelight Meditation with songs sung by the mission choir under the direction of Gene Regard and accompanying music by organist by Howard McCullough. In addition to traditional and contemporary Christmas music and carols, special scripture messages are shared. A reception is held following in La Sala.

SAN FRANCISCO: Mission Dolores Basilica Choir Concert and Annual Sing-Along December 16, 2018, 5-7 p.m.
Mission Dolores Basilica
3321 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94114
$20-26.87 ticket, |
Be part of a San Francisco Christmas tradition as the Mission Dolores Basilic follows the concert.
Annual Mission Dolores Basilica Candlelight Christmas Concert  in the beautiful setting of the historic Mission Dolores Basilica, features the Basilica Choir  performing Christmas Classics of sacred and secular music under the baton of Jerome Lenk, Musical Director, accompanied by a full orchestra.

SAN GABRIEL: San Gabriel Mission Posadas December 15-23, 2018, 7-10 p.m. Event held nightly December 15, 16 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23, 2018. All are invited.
San Gabriel Mission
428 S. Mission Dr.
San Gabriel, CA

SAN JUAN BAUTISTA:  Mission San Juan Bautista |

  • Oriana Chorale Holiday Choir Performance December 11, 2018, 7:30 p.m. Performed at Old Mission San Juan Bautista, featuring the first performance of the Oriana Youth Chorus. Adults $15-20, Students $10, Children 12 and under Free. |
  • Annual Holiday Bonfire / Hayden Christmas Celebration December 21, 2018
    Beginning at sunset. First Street near the Mission. Santa Claus will be at the Community Hall, 10 San Jose Street, starting at 6 p.m. The annual bonfire is a tribute to the Hayden Family. During the depression era, the Haden Family pooled their money to help buy candies, toys and oranges for the community children. They erected a bonfire to bring together the people in town, and celebrated with games and songs while keeping warm. Sponsored by the San Juan Bautista Service Club.
  • Winter Solstice at The Mission December 21, 2018
    Approximately 6 a.m. Be at the Mission church at sunrise to witness a spectacular sunrise light coming through the window, lining up with the alter, then the isle, ending at the Tabernacle.

SAN LUIS OBISPO: Mission San Luis Obispo Holiday Choral Concert At The Mission December 1, 2018, 8-10 p.m.  
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
751 Palm Street
San Luis Obispo, CA
$10-$40, |
(805) 541-6797
More than 50 artists will perform classical music, contemporary songs, and traditional carols.

SAN MIGUEL: Mission San Miguel Las Posadas No info as of 11/25/18
December 16-24, 2017, 6 p.m. nightly (5:30 p.m. on December 17 before mass)
Las Posadas in Spanish means The Inns. It is the name of a religious festival celebrated in Mexico and some parts of the United States between December 16 and 24. Las Posadas commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a safe refuge where Mary could give birth to the baby Jesus.

SANTA BARBARA: Christmas at Mission Santa Barbara
2201 Laguna Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
(805) 682-4151 |

  • December 1, 2018, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mission Santa Barbara Holiday Open House includes:
    Free self-guided tours
    Free access to Mission Library
    15% discount on Gift Shop purchases
    Free cookies and hot apple cider
  • December 2, 2018, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Procession Honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe Pozole for sale in the Parish Hall at Our Lady of Sorrows - 21 E. Sola Street, SB
    5:30 p.m. Gather at De La Guerra Plaza and Rosary
    6 p.m. Procession up State St. to our Lady of Sorrows
    7 p.m. Prayer Service at Our Lady of Sorrows with Bishop Robert Barron Offering a Reflection Reception in the Parish Hall to follow the Prayer Service. There will be hot chocolate and pan dulce.
  • December 6, 2018, 5-7 p.m. Mission by Candlelight Holiday Sip & Stroll includes wine, cheese and self-guided tours. $20,
  • December 13, 2018, 1:30-3 p.m. Franciscan-led mission tour with Father Garret Edmunds. 90-minute, behind-the-scenes tour that tells the story of how Franciscan Friars came to be in Santa Barbara and why they're still here. Highlights include the Mission Church, Sacred Garden, Cemetery / Mausoleum, Tailor Shop (when available), and Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library. $40, age 12 years+ only - space limited,
  • December 14, 2018 Old Mission Santa Barbara Concert sung by the Choir of St. Barbara Parish and Mission Schola, Roy Spicer, Director and Charles Talmadge, Organist. An evening of musical reflection during the time of Advent in the beautiful Mission Church. All Are Welcome! Free will offering to benefit the Music Ministry.
  • December 15, 2018, 7-8 p.m. Christmas Caroling in front of the Mission Santa Barbara on Join in on Christmas caroling on the steps of the Old Mission.

At the Presidio an annual Las Posadas takes place.

SOLVANG: Mission Santa Ines
1760 Mission Drive, P.O. Box 408
Solvang, CA 93464
Phone: (805) 688-4815

  • Christmas Handbell Concert December 3, 2018, 10:30 a.m. Followed by lunch in the Parish Hall
  • Las Posadas December 15-23, 2018, 7 p.m. (8 p.m. on Dec.15)

SONOMA: Sonoma Mission State Historic Park Christmas at the Park December 8, 2018, 4-8 p.m.
363 3rd Street West
Sonoma, California
Holidays on the Northern Frontier Saturday, December 8 offers a traditional and festive holiday event! Family-friendly activities
take place throughout the historic buildings in downtown Sonoma. The Mission Chapel program is a ticketed event but all other activities are free and open to the community!
Christmas at the Mission sing-along program in the Mission Chapel (ticketed event).
A Soldiers' Christmas living history, refreshments, crafts and Kris Kringle in the Sonoma Barracks. Gift Shop & Bookstore stocked with holiday merchandise.
Allegro Toscana Pickle Creek String Band performs in the Toscano Hotel and docents provide tours of the Toscano Kitchen.
Yuletide at the Blue Wing Inn living history, crafts, and refreshments.

VENTURA: Mission San Buenaventura Advent-Christmas at San Buenaventura Mission.
San Buenaventura Mission
211 East Main Street
Ventura, CA 93001-2691

  • Tree Lighting in Figueroa Plaza November 30, 2018
  • Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe December 12, 2018
    Mariachi traditional songs are played at 5 a.m. in O'Brien Hall followed by Mass at 5:30 a.m. Then menudo breakfast in the Parish Center Auditorium. At 6 p.m. in the Mission Church, Aztec dancers pay tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe and a procession is held on Main Street from the Mission to Palm Street to Juniper Serra Way and O'Brien Hall. Mass includes a dramatized representation of the apparition at Tepeyac Hill in Mexico. The evening concludes with pan dulce and chocolate in the Parish Center Auditorium.

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