Delicious Thanksgiving Dining, the 29th Annual Shop Catalina Event, Christmas Tree Lighting, New Year’s Eve Gala in the Historic Casino Ballroom and Best of Winter Vacation Packages

AVALON, Calif. (November 2022) – For an ideal Southern California winter getaway during the holiday season, travelers, vacationers and locals will love journeying to Catalina Island. The island’s temperate climate, island-style dining, shopping, lounging, seaside enjoyment and sightseeing offer special opportunities to make life-long memories this holiday season. There will be special Thanksgiving meals to be shared with families and friends, the Annual Shop Catalina Event and a Tree Lighting Ceremony along with a sophisticated and elegant 49th Annual New Year’s Eve Gala. All events can be paired with exceptional Winter Vacation Packages to deliver overnight experiences at wallet-friendly prices.

“For mainland visitors to Catalina Island, our magical, festive beauty, holiday surprises and activities provide a special SoCal experience for our guests who retreat here from all over the world,” said Love Catalina Island President and CEO Jim Luttjohann.

A list of holiday happenings, events and offers follow:

Letters to Santa: From November 21 to December 16

A complimentary amenity offered by the City of Avalon, children can drop off their heartfelt letters and wish lists to be posted to Santa Claus at the North Pole. From Monday, November 21, to Friday, December 16, Santa Letters should be placed in the special holiday mailbox at Atwater Arcade, 118 Metropole Ave. More information is available by calling 310-510-0220.

Thanksgiving Dining: Thursday, November 24

Many restaurants on the island will be open on Thanksgiving, with some serving special Thanksgiving fare, including a special select à la carte menu at Avalon Grille featuring Herb Brined Diestel Turkey accompanied by Blue Lake Beans, Potato Puree and Roasted Walnut-Cranberry Stuffing, Cranberry Jam and Pan Gravy as the main course; M Restaurant is having two seatings featuring a special Thanksgiving Dinner, and Harbor Reef Restaurant at Two Harbors is serving a bountiful Thanksgiving Buffet with two carving stations. A full list of Thanksgiving dining on the island can be found online here.

29th Annual "Shop Catalina" Holiday Kick-Off December 3 through 10 and Tree Lighting on December 3

From Saturday, December 3 to Saturday, December 10, “Shop Catalina” is a week of holiday cheer, shopping and savings. Island shops offer rare discounts on island favorites including jewelry, art, clothing, unique gifts, housewares and more. Each participating retailer gives exclusive discounts and offers that are valid through December 24. There are in-store drawings and a “Virtual Treasure Card” grand prize drawing. On December 3, the much-loved Christmas Tree Lighting and Santa’s Arrival takes place at 5 p.m. at Wrigley Stage. Other festivities include:

  • Christmas craft boutique and ornament decorating for kids
  • Gingerbread house decorating contest
  • Catalina Kid Ventures Carolers
  • Holiday Carolers – "The Jingle Singers"
  • Pictures with Santa on Wrigley Stage
  • Food bank donation

The Shop Catalina page has full details and more information.

Annual New Year’s Eve Gala: Saturday, December 31

Held in the world-renowned Casino Ballroom, Catalina Island’s elegantly stylish evening of dining and dancing is a splendid way to ring in 2023. Set in a ballroom that hearkens back to an earlier time with its 50-foot ceilings, art deco design and hypnotic 360-degree views of Avalon Bay, dressed-to-the-nines guests will savor a festive gourmet buffet dinner and sip champagne, receive party favors and thrill at the party’s classic balloon drop. Musical entertainment will be provided by The Perfect Event's Christien Anthony Band, featuring nine musicians, playing everything from big band music to contemporary and pop – appealing to guests of all ages, along with DJ Izzy. A professional photographer will be available to capture the memories. Tickets for this year's event are $199 per person. Online reservations are open now. More information is available at

Best of Winter Packages Offered from Participating Hotels
A wonderful way to travel to idyllic Catalina Island is to take advantage of the island’s
unbeatable rates during the winter with Best of Winter Packages that include round-
trip transportation on Catalina Express from Long Beach, San Pedro or Dana Point plus accommodations. A full list of participating properties can be found at