Whether you’re ready for it or not, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is barreling down the tracks at us. You’ve already seen it begin with holiday décor and holiday ads but it really gets into  full-fledged, endlessly-cheerful caroling mode this coming weekend.

The Surfing Santa Contest is back, for starters.
Surfing Santa, the annual Stand Up Paddle & Surfin’ Santa Competition at Salt Creek Beach is back in play on Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18th. Sponsored by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, it’s an easy way to get your early holiday love on in this charity benefit for Surfers Healing. The prizes are pretty awesome, too.

Worldwide Surf Camps for Autistic Kids
Surfers Healing is the original surf camp for children with autism. The non-profit entity was founded in 1997 by Izzy and Danielle Paskowitz, parents of Isaiah, now a 26-year-old autistic adult. Izzy is a former professional Longboarder who won several of the biggest surf contests in the world, and he and Danielle are stars of the reality show, The Swell Life, which aired on Oprah’s television network, OWN.

Last year, Surfers Healing celebrated its 20th anniversary with an initial single camp day that grew into many around the world, from New Zealand to Montauk, NY, and from several points in Hawaii to its founding city, Dana Point. In the camps, surfers take autistic kids out for surf lessons and ride alongs. Some are current pros or former players, and all are hand-picked by Izzy.

More than 4,500 surfers and kids participated in the camps last year, and the “swell” continues to grow. It’s quite the day to see for participants and their families, alike.

Surf … and Then Tree Lighting
This coming weekend, the Surfing Santa event raises funds to support the worldwide camps and messaging. There are 11 total surfing and SUP contests with a $60 entry fee that includes lunch and a goodie bag. Prizes for Best Costumes, Fastest Time and Big Air ($1,500!) will also be awarded.Download your contest app and check out sponsorship information at SurfingSantaContest.org

And, if you’re around Sunday afternoon, trot back up the hill to The Ritz-Carlton where annual holiday tree lighting activities begin at 4:00 p.m. That’s right … surf in the AM, and then sip hot cocoa and watch a ginormous holiday tree alight … because that’s how we do it in the OC!

Check out my calendar of growing holiday events here!