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Christmas in Riverside: Your weekend guide to holiday events for Dec. 10-12

The Gazette compiled six festivities happening across Riverside for you and your family to enjoy.

A photo of a nighttime light display of Downtown Riverside building.
Downtown Riverside prepares for the holidays with multiple nighttime light displays across the city.

After more than a year of masks, mandates and unforeseen challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are eager to get outside and make up for what is left of 2021. With the holiday season already here, what could be better than a bit of ornament-filled cheer? At the Gazette we hope you make time to celebrate with your friends and families so we’ve rounded up a short list of holiday activities taking place this weekend in Riverside that will give you a reason to rejoice and be merry.

Whether you are in the mood for family-friendly fun or kicking it solo this year, let us be your guide. Take a look at the festive events happening Dec. 10-12 near you, below.

Friday, Dec. 10

The Living Nativity 2021

Magnolia Church is inviting you and your family to experience the story of Christmas with a live Nativity scene. From 6-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday attendees can walk through the display equipped with live animals. Top off your evening with holiday music from carolers and complimentary hot cocoa as an added Christmas bonus.

Tickets to both events are divided by 30-minute time slots and must be reserved in advance. The first time slot begins at 6 p.m. RSVP at Eventbrite.

Saturday, Dec. 11

Riverside Holiday Toy and Flu Vaccine Drive

Join Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center on Saturday from 10 a.m. to Noon to receive a free toy gift and/or flu shot from these local community partners: Regal and Lakeside Medical Groups, Health Net, WellCare, and the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce.

The first 150 participants to RSVP for the flu vaccination will have the option to receive a free toy at the site if a child is present. Attendees may also receive free promotional items with the chance to enter multiple giveaways.

Masks are required. To register, scan the QR code at Eventbrite.

The Nutcracker

Beginning this weekend at the Fox Performing Arts Center, the critically acclaimed ballet troupe Inland Pacific Ballet will perform its production of The Nutcracker accompanied with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s famous score. The perfect family experience, the dance will include toy soldiers, life-sized dancing dolls and more!

Saturday will include two performances, opening at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. One performance is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.

Proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test are required upon entry.

Sunday, Dec. 12

Riverside Plaza Holiday Spectacular

For a family outing after brunch, head over to the Regal Riverside Plaza Courtyard and enjoy an afternoon filled with storytime from Mrs. Claus. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the event will feature Christmas carolers and kids’ holiday craft booths, including airbrush tattooing and cookie decorating. Pictures with the Grinch character will also be available.

No registration is required to the event. Cost is free.

Heritage House Victorian Christmas Open House

From Noon-4 p.m. join the Museum of Riverside’s Heritage House for the free Christamas opening to one of the city’s most historic homes. The Victorian-era house will be decorated with festive and handmade decor and mistletoe. The event will run through Jan 9, 2022. The house will be closed Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31-Jan. 1.

Reservations are divided into 10-minute slots and are only required for entry to the main house. Attendees may enjoy other on-site festivities without a reservation. Masks are required. RSVP here.

Friday – Sunday, Dec. 10-12

Mission Inn Hotel & Spa’s Annual Festival of Lights

Riverside’s biggest light display is back…sort of. With safety measures still in place, the beloved event was scaled down for the second year in a row. The day after Thanksgiving switch-on ceremony was again canceled on Nov. 26 as well as the usual live entertainment, food vendors and horse-drawn carriages. Despite setbacks, you can still enjoy the light display this weekend and each consecutive night through Jan. 6, 2022.

The five million lights at the Mission Inn are switched on nightly at sunset. Cost to the display is free.