Fireworks signaled the kick-off of the 111th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, which runs nightly through December 22. America’s longest-running boat parade is hosted each year by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and Commodores Club, the family-focused boat parade lights up Newport Harbor with yachts, sailboats and electric Duffy boats that are ablaze in holiday décor — lights and, yes, in some cases, blasts of fire.
Some boats even entertain with live bands performing for the one million viewers that line a 14.7-mile route from Lido Isle right on past the boardwalk. Other revelry takes place onshore, with the Young Americans performing, as well as members of the Corona del Mar High School Drum Line. Those who take a ferry over to Balboa Island for viewing are entertained by strolling musicians and island homes decked out in holiday finery.
“I grew up coming to the boat parade every year,” this year’s Grand Marshall, HGTV’s Christina Anstead of Flip or Flop fame, told Parentology. “We bring our kids now, too. We even have a little Duffy docked by the [Balboa] Fun Zone, so it’s a tradition.”
How HGTV’S Christina Anstead Holidays in the OC
How much do Anstead and her husband, Ant Anstead – British television presenter of Motor Trends’ Wheeler Dealers – love the boat parade? Last year, on December 22, the duo enticed friends to dress up and join them to attend the event. It turned out to be a ploy to deliver friends and family to their secret wedding ceremony.
Now, the Ansteads are instilling the boat parade tradition and others in their blended family of five kids – Taylor, Brayden, Amelie, Archie, and the newest addition to the crew, three-month-old Hudson.
Revving up for the holidays happens in November for the Anstead clan. “The day after Thanksgiving, we blast Christmas music and decorate the house.”
Along with the boat parade, the family heads to see the Brea Eagle Hills Christmas Lights, a tradition started by Anstead’s parents when she was young. “It’s really cute and has a cool community vibe,” she says. “You can walk around with hot chocolate and look at the lights.”
Maintaining Balance During Holiday Chaos
With the holidays now in full-throttle, Anstead says she’s making sure to keep self-care on her list of priorities. “It was easier before the baby,” she admits. “My stress reliever is exercise; even if it’s a 30-minute job or a walk, I try to fit that in four days a week. It really helps clear my head.”
Added to the mix, “At least once a month I try to make sure and do something for myself, whether it’s getting a massage or go hang out with my girlfriends.”
Another source of advice Anstead turns to is Peanut, a social networking app. Anstead says, “It connects you with other moms who might be going through similar things you might be going through, which could be anything from in vitro to a new baby.” How Anstead navigates parenthood is well documented on her new HGTV series Christina on the Coast, which airs on January 2.
What else 2020 holds in store for Anstead? Along with filming her two HGTV series, there’s a new furniture line and family travels to Maui and Park City on the horizon.
Hitting bookstores in April will be Wellness Remodel: A Guide to Rebooting How You Eat, Move, and Feed Your Soul, a tome that recounts how Anstead dealt with the “diagnosis of autoimmune disease, infertility, and the emotional and physical exhaustion of going through a divorce with two young children—all in the public eye.” Along with Cara Clark, Anstead shares “simple cooking strategies built for the real world of working parents and busy weeknights” and other tips for families to flourish through Wellness Remodel.
As for the last time we saw the Ansteads at the parade… They were making their way along the harbor, waving at the crowd from a yacht christened Bula, the Fijian word for a warm hello. And in the case of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, happy holidays.