Thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights reflected off the moonlit canals. The soothing warmth of a peppermint mocha in your hand. The excitement of quality holiday time with the ones you love. Nothing says Christmas like the Naples Christmas Boat Parade in Long Beach, CA. This annual Christmas Boat Parade, to be held on Naples Island December 17th, is one of the annual Christmas activities I look forward to most. I was first introduced to this Long Beach Christmas time tradition about six years ago by a tried and true girlfriend as well as fellow CSU Long Beach alumnus. The promise of a parade of twinkling Christmas lights on the water, a stroll among the ridiculously (in a good way!) decorated houses, and the chance to meet my girlfriend’s new man was too much to turn down. While I wasn’t all that thrilled with the new guy (Memo to men: A gentleman DOES help a lady out of a boat), overall it was a fantastic display of Christmas spirit, and I vowed to make it one of my own personal traditions.
The houses and boats on Naples Island, known for having one of the best displays of holiday lights in Southern California, are decorated to the nines using a theme chosen by the Naples Island Association. (Think Magic of Christmas Past in 2009 or this year’s TV Land Holidays, paying tribute to residents’ favorite holiday specials.) Those residents who like a little healthy competition are encouraged to enter their decorated houses to be judged and receive awards such as Best Use of Lights and Best Window Display. While taking in the sight of Naples Island bedecked in Christmas cheer, you can also watch the beautifully decorated boats parade around the island. The many canals and bridges lend themselves perfectly to this display and many of the residents open their doors to guests of the festivities with holiday parties. And while these residents obviously don’t offer lodging, the Ayres Hotel Seal Beach does and it is just minutes away from this holiday event. So do yourself a favor and check out my pick for one of the most entertaining holiday events in the area. It will surely keep you on Santa’s nice list!