At the Monday evening, Mayor Toni Iseman was joined by several children onstage in front of a 60-foot pine tree standing on the resort's Pacific Lawn. Along with a bustling crowd of hundreds, they began the countdown to light the tree at the annual Community Open House.
With the flick of a switch, the tree and surrounding areas were lit up by tens of thousands of twinkling lights. Immediately, it began "snowing" on the lawn with the help of special machines and fans. The crowd joyously raised their arms to try to catch the "snowflakes."
Other guests on the lawn enjoyed free freshly-baked cookies, hot cocoa, sparkling cider and hors d'oeuvres. Carolers dressed in Dickens-era costumes sang holiday songs to visitors. Bigger kids ran around with balloon swords and animals, while younger children visited Santa.
Inside the resort, people drank mulled spice cider and chatted around the fireplace while listening to live piano and guitar music. Tiny tots were fascinated by a toy train chugging through a gingerbread village. Kids made crafts and got their faces painted.
At one point during the evening, Montage Laguna Beach General Manager Todd Orlich gave a gift check of $5,000 to the on behalf of Hearts of Montage, a charitable organization of the Montage Hotels and Resorts.