Every holiday season, Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif. is transformed into Knott’s Merry Farm. This holiday takeover of the beloved theme park has quickly become one of my favorite holiday events every year. Knott’s Berry Farm is owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, yet somehow, they have a way of making a corporate-run park feel like a celebration with your friendly next-door neighbor. When I walk around Knott’s experiencing the numerous holiday offerings, it all feels like a lot of love has been put into it.
This year, I experienced a show for the first time. It’s the second year this stage show is being performed, yet somehow, I missed seeing it during its premiere year in 2019. The show is called “Home for the Holidays,” and it’s performed on the outdoor Calico Mine Stage. This is how Knott’s describes the show:
Festive yuletide cheer is in store at Knott’s Merry Farm with Home for the Holidays, where joyous merriment takes over the Calico Mine Stage with dancing and fun set to popular holiday tunes including, “There’s No Place Like Home for The Holidays,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Jingle Bells,” “Here We Come A-Caroling,” and many more. Guests will be swept into a magical scene of an old-fashioned Winter Wonderland and celebrate timeless holiday traditions.
I would agree with everything Knott’s writes about this delightful show, but if someone asked me to describe it, I would say it’s like Frank Capra, Irving Berlin, and the old-fashioned Walt Disney musicals all had a baby. “Saccharine” is the best one-word description, but I mean that in the best way possible. It is a delightful throwback to the overly cheesy musicals of yesteryear, but it’s done with such commitment and good intentions that it works splendidly. I could feel a silly grin on my face the entire time.
Even before the show started, I got those warm, cozy winter-y feelings (an impressive feat in Southern California) as I sat looking at the gorgeous farmhouse set covered in snow. I love how this beautiful scenic element is on display throughout the day as the stage is set out in the open in the middle of the park instead of being tucked inside of a theater; its look adds a lot to the overall park decorations.
As mentioned, the show is full of classic holiday tunes, with a large cast singing and dancing their “frozen” butts off. The music is tied into a loose storyline of a friendly holiday gathering with this farmhouse family. From the costumes, to the scenery, choreography, and musical selections, it’s the perfect postcard Christmas. There’s even an impressive, large scenic change that I didn’t see coming. One after another, the show is full of delightful surprises. Of course, it concludes with a scenic snowfall covering the large stage.
“Home for the Holidays” has become one of my favorite Christmas theme park offerings in Southern California. I hope that it lives on for years to come, and it’s now a must-do on my list — and this is only one piece of the holiday cheer in store for you at Knott’s Merry Farm. If you’ve had a chance to check out “Home for the Holidays” either in person or online, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.
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Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com. DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.