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ARTS & CULTURE
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A ghost of Christmas past

by J.V. GatewoodPublished: December 01, 2010

One of my earliest memories of the holidays is of my sister Donna biting the head off of a gingerbread man that my mother had given me for Christmas. I returned one afternoon from school to find a headless ginger body lying lifeless on my dresser, a few crumbs testifying to the evil that had occurred. A blood-curdling scream alerted everyone to my displeasure, but I don’t recall that my sister ever apologized. What I do remember are the peels of laughter that came from her room.
   
Despite my mother’s attempts to console me with promises of other holiday cookies, a piece of my childhood died the day my sister ate the head off of my gingerbread man. To this day, while others soothingly inhale the sweet, spicy aroma of gingerbread baking in the kitchen, the scent of ginger fills me with a sense of longing.
   
I’m hoping to put this ghost of Christmas past behind me this year when I visit the fifth-annual “Science of Gingerbread” exhibition at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. The multidimensional program includes a display of gingerbread houses of every possible configuration, cookie decorating demonstrations, guest speakers, food science activities, and a special visit from jolly old St. Nick.

What: 'The Science of Gingerbread'
When: Through Jan. 2
Where: Discovery Science Center
Web: discoverycube.org

OTHER LOCAL EVENTS

Handel’s Messiah
Orange County Performing Arts Center – Segerstrom Concert Hall | Dec. 12
Nothing rings in the holiday season like a few choruses of “Hallelujah” from composer George Frederich Handel’s Baroque-era oratorio, performed only once this season by the Pacific Symphony and the Pacific Chorale.
600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
714.556.2787; ocpac.org

‘A Christmas Carol’
South Coast Repertory | Through Dec. 26
“Bah, humbug,” you say? Join Hal Landon Jr. as he reprises his role for the 31st time as the man everybody loves to hate, Ebenezer Scrooge, at the South Coast Repertory. The production will warm your heart during these chilly festive days.
655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa
714.708.5500; scr.org


Christmas Boat Parade
Newport Harbor | Dec. 15-19
Sponsored by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, the 14-mile boat parade showcases an assortment of yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes, each elaborately decorated for the holidays.
Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Commodore’s Club
1470 Jamboree Road, Newport Beach
949.729.4400; christmasboatparade.com