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The 11th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel Was More Than Lit

They Brought the Snow to the Sand While Santa Upgraded His Sleigh to Something a Little More Surf-Friendly.

Written By: Jane Adler Photography By: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel and Pacific Dream Photography

The 11th Annual Tree Lighting at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel, is the true embodiment of a California Christmas. Walking up the hotel driveway to the tune of The Beach Boys, you can’t help but want to ride this holiday wave where whipped cream peaks are stiff, drinks are stiffer, and the yuletides never change—see what we did there?

More than 2,000 people attended this year’s spirited soirée, an event that took nearly five days to set up and lasted from 4-6 p.m. this past Sunday, Nov. 18, before business returned to usual at this oceanfront resort. The pièce de résistance of the evening was a 47-foot-tall tree adorned with all the trimmings that seemed to dwarf its wide-eyed onlookers. The evergreen itself was flanked by a posse of palm trees, a subtle nod to its coastal setting.

When asked about all the work that goes into creating this west coast winter wonderland, Jenna Duran, Marketing Communications Manager for the hotel, explains that the Ritz Carlton really strives to create an inviting environment for friends and family to indulge. “Our hotel is very community driven and oriented. We really want to feel like an extension of peoples living rooms,” she said.

And this is one living room that leaves quite the impression. Attendees were encouraged to enjoy a complimentary cup of hot cocoa and a cookie (or two) while taking in the sights and sounds including live tunes and their famed Gingerbread Extravaganza display. This edible exhibit took over 500 hours to create and includes everything from lime-candy landscapes to sugar cereal structures to the North Pole plied with Necco wafers. It is a mouthwatering masterpiece that never fails to impress the masses.

During the ceremony, General Manager Bruce Brainerd welcomed guests Izzy and Danielle Paskowitz, founders of Surfers Healing, a non-profit that provides the gift of surfing to children with autism, which the resort benefits with the annual Surfing Santa Contest and Holiday Surfboard Auction, available for bidding at now until December 31.

To cap off the evening, jolly old Kris Kringle made a cameo cruising down the drive in a vintage Woody as snowflakes seemed to sprinkle from the sky. Of course, the weather only dipped down to around 65 degrees, forsaking the flurries, but the effect was nonetheless unforgettable. They say don’t bring Santa the beach, but we’ll make an exception this time! Again, see what we did there?

Native Knowledge: The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel is a pet-friendly hotel and welcomes your wagging one with open arms! Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

The Ritz Carlton, One Ritz Carlton Dr Dana Point, CA 92629 949.240.2000

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