Dec. 4, 2019

Media Release

Jim Luttjohann
Images available on request

Celebrate the Holidays on Catalina Island

Avalon, CA – With its swaying palm trees, moderate weather and spectacular seascapes, Catalina Island feels more like a tropical paradise than the chilly North Pole, but thanks to a veritable buffet of holiday events, Catalina Island is quickly becoming Christmas Island.

The holiday festivities kick off this weekend, with a quartet of holiday events.

It all starts Friday night at the Catalina Island Museum’s First Fridays holiday celebration. Carolers, a custom ice sculpture, ornament decorating and a visit from Mr. & Mrs. Claus make this event the perfect way to get in the spirit of the season. The Dec. 6 holiday celebration will also feature a Museum Store sale, after-dark hours and adult beverages.

Next up is the 15th annual Catalina Ladies Christmas Brunch, December 7, 9:30 am., at St. Catherine’s of Alexandria Church.  Beautifully decorated tables fill the Parish Hall. Hostesses serve coffee and a delicious breakfast while all enjoy holiday music, door prizes and a special message from guest speaker Katie Herbst. Dust off your reindeer sweater and add some sparkling attire. Bring a friend and feel the love of the season surround you with Christmas cheer.  Tickets available in advance at The Steamer Trunk, Avalon Community Church or St. Catherine’s Catholic Church.

For 26 years, the popular Shop Catalina event has been the ideal antidote to both on-line shopping and mall madness, spotlighting Avalon’s small-town charm and unique shops with discounts, raffles and strolling carolers. This year, its popularity has led to increased hours on Dec. 7. “Shop Catalina encourages the spirit of the season for both visitors and locals,” said Jim Luttjohann, the President of the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. “The beauty of the lights reflecting in the harbor makes the perfect backdrop for strolling along the waterfront shops.” This year 40 businesses will be open to shoppers and visitors offering specials and holiday cheer between noon and 8 pm.  A full list of participating businesses may be found at

During Shop Catalina, the City of Avalon makes the holiday season official with the lighting of the community Christmas tree, replete with a visit from St. Nick and the Mayor of Avalon. Shop Catalina also features photos with Santa and a food drive sponsored by Antonio’s Pizza and Cabaret.

Shop Catalina isn’t the only unique shopping event on the island. For most of December, the Catalina Art Association will host a Christmas Craft Boutique showcasing island arts and artisans. With new crafts available daily, the new boutique promises to be an intriguing shopping experience. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 1 to 22 in the Glenmore Plaza Hotel conference room.

Families with children won’t want to miss the Kids Holiday Party at the Toyon Grill from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 8. Cookie decorating, a gourmet hot chocolate bar and Christmas crafts are included, as are a holiday movie, kids’ lunch and a goodie-bag. The day wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Saint Nick. Tickets are $20 and available at Toyon Grill.

On Dec. 31, the holiday revelry gets into high gear at the annual New Year’s Eve Gala in the famous Casino Ballroom. A truly memorable way to end the year – and the decade -- the black-tie optional event features a gourmet dinner, live band and party favors. 

Throughout the winter, Catalina Express offers the Best of Winter packages with island hotels and resorts making your island winter getaway very affordable.  Look for hotel packages on