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Weekend activities to kickstart your holiday

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This weekend be sure to kick off your holiday season with a big dose of inspiration. In the sometimes chaotic hustle and bustle of December, it is easy to lose sight of the spiritual nature of this time of year. Inspiration to keep you grounded can come in many forms. Regardless of your religion, philosophy or culture, there are activities and events that will help you maintain that holiday spirit.

Here are a few ideas for you to consider in planning your December activities.

The Inland Empire offers a variety of events from parades to street fairs, concerts to theatrical performances. Riverside's Festival of Lights is a great place to take the family for an evening of food, fun, shopping and live entertainment. You can even go ice skating for about $13 right next to the main stage where live music will keep your feet moving. Friday, Dec. 7 features the Inland Empire's best classic rock band SouthBound.

Universal Studios is presenting “Grinchmas” with Betty White. The event begins this weekend, Dec. 8 and 9, and runs nightly from Dec. 15 through Dec. 31. The show culminates with a grand “Whobilation” featuring celebrity performances and all of the Grinch characters from the Dr. Seuss classic. This is a great family outing to get you into the spirit of the holiday.

For a musical kick-off with a south of the border feel, try the Mariachi USA Christmas Show. Enjoy the traditional Mariachi style music with a holiday flare.

You and your family can experience Hanukkah with all its traditional activities at the Menorah Lighting Ceremony in El Segundo. Join the Jewish Community Center of the Beach Cities and the surrounding community for a festive evening.

Click here for a list of Orange County Hanukkah activities.

Holiday lighting is a fun way to express holiday cheer, but there is nothing like lights on the water to inspire that feeling of wonder. Check out the Christmas Boat Parade in Newport Beach. The 2012 theme is “Surf, Sand and Santa.” This parade comes complete with fireworks, dinner and auction opportunities.

If you are interested in an ancient celebration of the season, consider one of the Winter Solstice activities such as the Starhawk Workshop and Winter Solstice Spiral Dance. This event is an interesting way to experience the holidays with an earth/nature based focus.

No matter how you decide to spend your holiday, be sure to put joy at the top of your list. The greatest gifts of Spirit are joy, love and peace. It is important that we honor those gifts by expressing them ourselves during this time of year.

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