It’s warm, brilliant and gorgeous in all 96 feet of its majestic height. Our giant outdoor Christmas tree, along with its two other towering siblings indoors, are ready to evoke wonder and get everyone in a holiday mood. Our fir in Town Center Park was unveiled Nov. 18 during the 40th anniversary of our Tree Lighting, a complimentary annual event featuring a musical show and a countdown to the tree’s illumination presented by the Segerstrom Family, owners of South Coast Plaza.
South Coast Plaza is the only shopping center in all of California with a trio of magnificent giant Christmas trees – one located outside and the other two inside, in Jewel Court and the Crate and Barrel/Macy’s Home Store wing. Each tree is unique and beautifully decorated with a theme, making all of them popular sites for our guests’ selfies and photos with family and friends throughout the holiday season.
Our fabulous tree trio up close:
Our outdoor tree from Shasta County in Northern California comes alive at dusk and is purposely decorated entirely with more than 94,000 colorful lights and a radiant star, giving it picturesque brilliance. It’s bright enough to be visible like a welcome beacon to passengers on planes descending westward toward John Wayne Airport on clear fall evenings. Located in the middle of Town Center Park, the tree can be reached by crossing Unity Bridge next to Claim Jumper in the Din Tai Fung wing.
The Segerstrom Family’s Annual Tree Lighting Celebration
The tree was unveiled in spectacular fashion at the end of a special show produced by one of South Coast Plaza’s longtime arts partners, the Orange County School of the Arts and hosted this year by Broadway and TV star Matthew Morrison, an OCSA alumnus. Morrison performed two songs, even accompanying himself on the ukulele while singing the charming classic Hawaiian Christmas Song, Mele Kalikimaka.
The high school student dancers, singers and musicians of OCSA’s performing arts troupe Montage delivered a high-energy repertoire of holiday classic favorites, including Winter Wonderland and Let it Snow (and “snow” did fall), and contemporary songs such as Hot Chocolate from the 2004 animated film Polar Express.
Always delighting little children when he makes a surprise visit every year, Santa arrived in time to lead the countdown to the illumination of the tree – the finale of the evening. Visit the tree beginning just before sunset for the best photos.
MOMENTS FROM THE 2021 TREE LIGHTING SHOW
This colorful tree filled with carved figures stands three stories tall and has a distinct Santa theme with numerous delightful details children will love. Two giant Santa figures dramatically rise 15 feet tall from a Victorian miniature village on a mountain nestled in the tree’s roots. At regular intervals, two vintage steam engine trains pass through and around 12 small Victorian houses. The giant tree also features 13 carved smaller trees adorned with 700 ornaments, while the canopy is decorated with more than 7,000 LED lights.
Here’s a fun family activity: View the tree from levels 2 and 3 and see if you can figure out who’s who among the 14 figures in the big canopy: Pere Noel, Thomas Nast Santa, Dun Che Lao Ren, Father Christmas, Julnisse, Jultomten, Weihnachtsmann, Christkindl, Ded Moroz, Belsnickel, Baboushka, Pelznickel, Knecht Ruprecht, Santa Claus. Crowning the tree is a gold star supported by a vertical icy swirl and white and blue frosty figures representing winter winds. Keen eyes will spot a wintry snow globe.
Undoubtedly a South Coast Plaza guest favorite and the most photographed among our giant trees year after year, our dazzling tree in Jewel Court is lavishly decorated with giant iridescent finial, round and other vintage-inspired traditional ornaments in red, green, yellow and silver. The polygonal muted gilt base is covered with elegant bas-relief panels featuring toy soldiers inspired by The Nutcracker. The toy soldier theme is especially fitting because South Coast Plaza is a longtime supporter of the American Ballet Theatre’s annual December production of The Nutcracker at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
Crowning this knockout of a tree is a large gold star topper, but continue to look upward to view the stunning mosaic dome by Los Angeles artist Marion Sampler, encircled for the holiday season by a gleaming ornament-festooned garland from which a radii of twinkling lights emanate. The result is opulent and splendid.
Perfect for Photos: Our Poinsettia Trees
As you walk through South Coast Plaza, stop by our trees made from tiers of red poinsettia plants. Located throughout the center, they’re festive and ideal for photos.
A Holiday Tree Walking Experience
To walk through the South Coast Plaza campus to view all our three trees, we recommend beginning at dusk. Start with the tree at Town Center Park (illuminated just before sunset), followed by the tree in Jewel Court. Take the Bridge of Gardens and end at the Great Tree in the Crate and Barrel/Macy’s Home Store wing. You also can reverse the order.