Christmas at the Mission

Event Info
Event Schedule & Map
Snow at the Mission
Food Drive

Mission Store
Food Vendors
Downtown San Juan Capistrano & Tree Lighting


Event Info

Celebrate the holidays with Mission San Juan Capistrano! Held in conjunction with the City of San Juan Capistrano’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and community-wide holiday celebration, Mission San Juan Capistrano will host Christmas at the Mission on Saturday, December 1, 2018 from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  Bring the family and enjoy this fun, festive and memorable evening together at the beautiful Mission!

Christmas at the Mission features:

  • Real snow sledding and play area – bring mittens! $3 for Members and $5 for Non-Members
  • Dickens Carolers
  • Children’s and School Choirs
  • “Merry-achi” Music
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Photo Opportunity with Father Christmas
  • Nativity Scene in the Great Stone Church
  • Cookie decorating for kids – free while supplies last!
  • Tamales, chili, sweets, spiced cider and hot cocoa
  • Handcrafted gifts and more at the Mission Store – Members receive 10% off!

Download the 2017 Christmas at the Mission Event Program 

Download your own 2017 Christmas at the Mission Flier 

Information for 2017 Performers and Performers’ Parents

View 2017 Christmas at the Mission photos



Christmas at the Mission is FREE for Mission Preservation Society Members!

Admission is FREE for the following groups:

  • Mission Members with Member I.D. Cards
  • Parish Members with Active Parish Pass
  • Mission Volunteers with I.D. Badges
  • Active Military with I.D. Card – Free military prayer coin for military personnel

Mission Members attend Christmas at the Mission for FREE and receive 10% off at the Mission Store all year. Join now! Join or renew your membership now to make sure you receive your membership ID card in time for the event!


Admission: $6.00 Adults; $4.00 Children (Age 4 – 11)


ONLINE: Purchase and print your tickets in advance to avoid ticket purchasing lines the night of the event. Tickets are available for purchase online until Thursday, November 30 at 12:00 p.m. Then you can still purchase tickets in person at the Mission and upon entry to the event.

PHONE: Call (949) 234-1317 to purchase tickets Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The last day to purchase tickets on the phone is Wednesday, November 22. Tickets purchased on the phone are subject to a $2 mailing fee. After November 22, you can still purchase tickets in person at the Mission and upon entry to the event.

AT THE MISSION: Tickets are available for purchase in person at the Mission Gate House seven days a week between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You may purchase tickets in advance or upon entry to the event. Tickets will not sell out.

Ticket Policy Regarding Rain
Please Note: Christmas at the Mission will be held rain or shine. Ticket purchases for Christmas at the Mission are final. No refunds, exchanges or transfers will be honored. Thank you for your understanding. If you are unable to attend Christmas at the Mission, please consider the cost of your tickets a charitable donation in support of Mission San Juan Capistrano, historic California landmark #200 and 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization #95-1904079.


There are three entrances to Christmas at the Mission. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.

GATE HOUSE: Main entrance to the Mission located at 26801 Ortega Highway. The longest line forms here. Visit another location for faster entry!

QUICK ENTRY GATE: Ticket holders and Mission Members enter here! Located at the corner of Ortega Highway and Camino Capistrano across from The Trading Post.

EAST GATE: Shortest line forms here! East Gate is near to Serra Chapel, located on El Camino Real across from San Juan Elementary School. After the Tree Lighting Ceremony at Historic Town Center Park, head North on El Camino Real to find this entrance. PERFORMERS enter at this location and admission tickets available for purchase for the public.


We are proud to welcome local music programs to participate at Christmas at the Mission! Music performances for 2017 include:

  • Capistrano Valley Christian School Choir
  • Capistrano Valley High School Chamber Orchestra and Ensembles
  • Fireside Carolers
  • JSerra Catholic High School Orchestra
  • Mariachi Nuevo Capistrano
  • Mission Basilica School Choir
  • Singers Company – Preschool Singers
  • Tushmal Singers Native American Womens Chorus

Roam the Mission grounds at Christmas at the Mission to enjoy these live music performances. Download the Full Event Program to see the schedule of performances.

Snow at the Mission!

Experience real snow sledding and snow play at Mission San Juan Capistrano! Snow is offered at Christmas at the Mission on Saturday, December 2 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. AND on Sunday, December 3 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. ! Download the Snow at the Mission Flier

Tickets for the snow area are $3 for Members and $5 for Non-Members. Tickets for the snow area may be purchased at the Mission on Saturday and Sunday, no advance purchase required.

If you can’t make it to Christmas at the Mission, come on Sunday, December 3 to celebrate the season in San Juan Capistrano! Make a day of it to enjoy snow at the Mission, crafts for kids and holiday shopping at the Mission Store. Plus, after the Mission, discover charming destinations in the historic downtown for dining, shopping and exploring to ring in the holiday season. Pick-up a free walking map of the downtown while at the Mission! Click here for more information about Snow at the Mission on Sunday, December 3.

Serra’s Pantry Food Drive

November 20 – December 20, 2017
Spread goodwill and the spirit of Christmas by donating to the Serra’s Pantry Food Drive!

Drop off a food donation anytime during the holiday season to the Mission Gate House 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. or upon entry for Christmas at the Mission.

The following items are usually in short supply and are much appreciated: cooking oil, cereal, tuna, one pound bags of sugar and flour, peanut butter, jelly, dry pinto beans, canned vegetables and fruit, rice, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce and pop/flip top food items. Hygiene items in demand: toothpaste, deodorant, shaving cream, bar soap and toilet paper. Learn More About Serra’s Pantry

Mission Store

Christmas at the Mission features holiday shopping for unique gifts, nativity scenes and beautiful handcrafted items from around the world. Visit the Mission Store and also the Mission Store Trunk Show, a special extension of the Mission Store located in the recently conserved Sala Building inside the Mission grounds.

Learn more about the Mission Store

Food Vendors

Enjoy warm food and treats at Christmas at the Mission from our local restaurant partners:

3:16 Bakery Shop
3:16 Bakery Shop
Serving holiday treats

The Riders Club Cafe
The Riders Club Cafe
Serving chili

Las Golondrinas
Las Golondrinas Mexican Food
Serving tamales
Pre-order your tamales for the holidays and pick them up at Christmas at the Mission! Call (949) 240-3440 to order in advance.

Mission Volunteers
Mission Volunteers
Serving spiced cider, water and sodas

Enjoy Historic San Juan Capistrano

Tree Lighting Ceremony
Christmas at the Mission is part of a community-wide holiday celebration in San Juan Capistrano. Before and after visiting the Mission, plan an evening full of fun, festivity and memories in historic San Juan Capistrano, home to the Jewel of the Missions.

Tree Lighting Ceremony width=

City of San Juan Capistrano’s Tree Lighting Ceremony: An annual tradition celebrated in Historic Town Center Park. Tree Lighting Ceremony begins at 4:15 p.m. on December 2nd and is followed by a variety of free activities for families in the downtown walking area. Check out the full program of downtown activities here: City of San Juan Capistrano 2017  Tree Lighting & Festivities

Shopping and Dining in San Juan Capistrano: Enjoy a whole evening of holiday festivity, dining and entertainment in beautiful, historic San Juan Capistrano. Many restaurants and shops are open late and offer special discounts or entertainment for this community-wide celebration. Check out our list of recommended restaurants here: Restaurant Members.

Plan your visit by clicking here for San Juan Capistrano Historic Downtown 2018 Map & Guide

Getting to San Juan Capistrano: There will be a free shuttle service in San Juan Capistrano from 3:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. for the Tree Lighting Ceremony & Festivities. Click here for details: Shuttle Service Map. The Metrolink is also a great way to get into town with a train station located just two blocks from the Mission. Click here to check train schedules: Metrolink.

Thank You to Our 2017 Sponsors for their Generous Support

Click here to see 2017 Christmas at the Mission Sponsorship Opportunities

Holiday Cheer – Entertainment Sponsors:

Eve and Mike Ruffatto

San Juan Hills Golf Club


Santa’s Workshop – Activities Sponsor:

Laura and James Baratta


Thank You to Our Event Partners for Their Generous Gift-In-Kind Support


Baked in the Sun
Baked in the Sun

DM Color Express
DM Color Express Inc.

Shine! Lighting

Sierra Springs Water Company
Sierra Springs Water Company

Signature Party Rentals
Signature Party Rentals

For sponsorship opportunities, please contact the Events Department at (949) 234-1317.