You’ve heard of Christmas in December. You’ve even heard of Christmas In July. But have you ever heard of Christmas in August?
Making its long-awaited West Coast debut, Christmas Con CA brought a little holiday magic to Southern California. From August 5 – 7, 2022, the Pasadena Convention Center was transformed with Christmas decorations and Hallmark movie stars from your favorite Hallmark and Great American Family Christmas movies. The Rent-A-Christmas Elf Squad was on hand to assist with meet and greets for the most famous holiday guest of all, Santa Claus.
What Is Christmas Con?
Christmas Con is a semi-annual event that connects holiday movie fans with their favorite Christmas movie stars. The first Christmas Con took place November 2019 at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison, NJ (the Elf Squad was there for that one, too)!
Hosted by Jonathan Bennett and organized by That’s 4 Entertainment!, the exciting Christmas convention (get it?) is full of holiday cheer including Hallmark actor meet & greets and photo-ops, Christmas movie panels, holiday contests, seasonal treats, a Christmas marketplace, and more. After two fun events on the East Coast, Christmas Con made its West Coast debut at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, CA on August 5, 6 and 7, 2022. (Don’t worry, Christmas Con will return to NJ December 2022.)
A Visit With Summer Santa
One of the most obvious differences between Christmas Con NJ and Christmas Con CA is the weather outside. While both could be considered frightful for quite different reasons, the blaring heat of the California sun had a big impact on the attire of most attendees. While both conventions hosted Ugly Sweater Contests, there were far less sweaters on display at Christmas Con CA over the course of the weekend, as compared to its NJ counterpart.
Santa decided to take advantage of the hot weather himself with a location-appropriate outfit. On Friday, Santa showed off his summer vibes and went full “vacation mode” with a beach-ready Summer Santa outfit, complete with board shorts and button-up Hawaiian shirt. On Saturday, the convention center cranked up the AC so Santa could wear his iconic red Santa suit, and then Sunday was another “Fun In The Sun” day with the return of Summer Santa.
Christmas Con CA Exclusives
Santa’s fresh new outfit wasn’t the only Christmas Con California exclusive. In addition to headlining the event, Lacey Chabert also premiered her latest Hallmark movie, Groundswell, during a special private screening. Providing background music for the entire convention was Rockstar DJ Tre, who played a fantastic mix of classic and modern Christmas songs, and even took several requests from Santa.
Licensed Disney Fine Artist, Clinton Hobart, was on hand for live drawing demonstrations, and he also had a booth selling his original artwork. Speaking of Disney booths, Weston Santos (@Flippin_Free), had a booth dedicated to Disney Christmas with holiday décor that had been repurposed from free and cheap items. As for the decorations for the rest of the convention, they were provided by southern California Christmas decorator to the stars, Dr. Christmas.
Christmas Con CA Special Guests
In addition to event headliner Lacey Chabert, host Jonathan Bennett and Santa Claus himself, there was a massive guest list full of Hallmark movie stars, Great American Family Christmas stars, and Hallmark TV stars. Celebrity guests included Danica McKellar, Sarah Drew, Tyler Hynes, Rachel Boston, Erin Cahill, Nikki DeLoach, Torrey DeVitto, Melissa Claire Egan, Jackee Harry, Autumn Reeser, Alicia Witt, Wes Brown, Paul Campbell, Trevor Donovan, Brennan Elliott, Paul Greene, Jesse Hutch, Cameron Mathison, Jesse Metcalfe, Ryan Paevey, Drew Seeley, Jack Wagner, and Andrew Walker.
One surprise guest not typically associated with Christmas romance films seen on Hallmark Channel or Great American Family TV was I Dream of Jeannie star, Barbara Eden. Eden is best known for starring in the mid-60’s hit TV show and there have been several holiday episodes of I Dream of Jeannie. Barbara Eden even starred as Mrs. Claus alongside actors Denise Richards and Patrick Muldoon in the 2019 family Christmas film, My Adventures With Santa. Artist Mario AC Della Casa was also in attendance selling his homemade Jeannie lamp replicas!
While on the Con floor, we overheard other attendees commenting that they hoped to see the inclusion of more surprise guests in future Christmas Con lineups, such as Home Alone actors Macauley Culkin or Catherine O’Hara, or since Ralphie and gang are now all grown up and releasing a sequel to A Christmas Story, how a Cleveland street reunion might be nice.
Another very special guest was event mascot, “GB” Spice, who was available for photos with kids and those young-at-heart throughout the convention. GB has become a fan-favorite at Christmas Con, featured on much of the merchandise being sold including plushes, mugs, and even mini-gingerbread cookies.
When Is The Next Christmas Con?
If you missed Christmas Con CA 2022, or even had so much fun you want to do it again, the next Christmas Con in New Jersey will take place on December 9, 10 & 11, 2022. Christmas Con NJ will again take place at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, NJ, and yes, tickets are already on sale now. We hope to see you there!