Things to do in Irvine in December
First Glimpse: The Buck Collection at UCI
When art collector Gerald Buck bequeathed his collection of California art to UCI, it set off shockwaves in the art world. See works that will, along with the Irvine Museum Collection, be the center of the future UCI Institute and Museum for California Art.
Holiday Toy Drive
Celebrate the reason for the holiday season by giving to
2/11 Marine Battalion families “adopted” by the city of Irvine. Donate a new, unwrapped gift suitable for infants or children up to age 12 at Irvine Civic Center, Irvine Police Department and Orange County Great Park Visitors Center.
Ella de Búrca exhibit at UCI
See new works by artist Ella de Búrca in her first U.S. solo exhibition “Flat as the Tongue Lies” at UCI’s Room Gallery. It’s an installation of sound, text, and kinetic sculpture and video that explores the formation of meaning through reading, writing, and speech.
Skating under the Stars
The ice rink at Irvine Spectrum Center is open daily in the center’s Giant Wheel Court. Plus, every Thursday starting at 6 p.m. there’s a theme (Dec. 13 is Christmas Jammies Night, for example), come dressed to it and get $5 off.
WPA Design exhibit at Great Park
President Franklin D. Roosevelt developed the New Deal to provide economic relief during the Great Depression. Agencies like the Works Progress Administration (WPA) were established to fund programs, including the Federal Art Project, to alleviate unemployment. These programs commissioned thousands of artists and designers to create work across mediums. Federal Art Project: American Design surveys the visual culture of graphic illustrations to celebrate this critical era of American art history.
Don’t miss the annual holiday must-see dance event from Festival Ballet Theatre at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. The full-length traditional production features Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, renowned guest dancers, and choreography by Festival Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla. There’s also separately-ticketed Nutcracker Tea Party prior to performances.
Home for the Holidays Pet Adoption
Bring something cute the 12th-annual Home for the Holidays pet adoption fair. More than 40 pet rescue groups and animal shelters will bring about 600 homeless dogs, cats, rabbits and small animals for adoption. The fair also features pet-related vendors, gourmet food trucks, silent auction and a raffle.
The university’s annual Christmas celebration service includes carols, a special reading and gifts for young kids, and concludes in candlelight.
Celebrate the Solstice at Pretend City
It’s officially winter! Bring your kids to learn all about winter solstice and the changing of seasons. There will be winter-themed art and activities for little ones to join in the winter wonderland fun. Also at Pretend City in Dec.: Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, visits with Santa, and other celebrations.
Christmas Brunch at Hotel Irvine
The Backyard at the hotel will feature a holiday feast with seatings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Kids will love pictures with Santa, live music, kids craft table with face painting and a balloon artist, a photo booth and lawn games, while parents may be interested in bottomless mimosas. $75 per adult; $35 child ages 5 to 12.