Activities

10 reasons to celebrate the holidays with Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood

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The holiday season has officially arrived at Universal Studios Hollywood. The Grinch has returned for his annual residency in Who-ville, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has new Christmas magic to share.

One big new addition: Snow now falls on Hogsmeade each night in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. (How can it snow in Southern California? That's magic for you!) Read on for 10 more reasons to visit Universal Studios Hollywood this winter.

Grinchmas tree

1. Watch the 65-foot Grinchmas tree light up

The wacky Grinchmas tree is an impressive sight during the day, but it really shines at night after the tree-lighting ceremony, which takes place each evening at 5:30 p.m.

On December 1, 2, 8, 9, and 14-30, there's also live entertainment on the stage at the base of the tree, as visitors can meet the Grinch himself, and Martha May Who-vier and the Who-dolls put on their holiday revue.

Grinchmas donuts

2. Sink your teeth into Grinchmas eats & treats

The decorations and entertainment aren't the only thing in top holiday form in Who-ville. Guests can choose from a colorful assortment of massive, winter-themed doughnuts, including one with the Grinch's smiling face frosted onto it. Other sweets include pinwheel and Star-of-David-shaped cookies, and chocolate peppermint Rice Krispies treats. And if you're cold, warm up with a tall mug of hot chocolate, in your choice of peppermint or gingerbread flavor.

Grinchmas mailbox

3. Help real kids by letting the Grinch know if you've been good

Have your little ones done three good deeds this year? Bring them to the Who-ville Post Office to fill out and mail a postcard to the Grinch atop Mount Crumpit, letting him know how they've grown their heart three sizes just like him. 

Best of all, for every postcard sent, Universal Studios Hollywood's Discover a Star Foundation will donate to School on Wheels to support tutoring for homeless youth.

Harry Potter owl

4. Send your holiday cards from the Wizarding World's Owl Post

If you'd like to send holiday cards to someone other than the Grinch, head to the Owl Post at the nearby Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s a fully functioning post office, complete with its own stamps. Whether you bring your own cards or buy and write them on-site, mail them through the Owl Post and they'll be postmarked as coming from Hogsmeade, a magical holiday surprise for friends and family.

Butterbeer cart

5. Warm up with a hot butterbeer

Originally introduced as a seasonal drink during the holidays, hot butterbeer is now served year-round, but winter is still the best time to enjoy it. The iconic butterscotch and shortbread-flavored drink is in ample supply around Hogsmeade village, both in the Three Broomsticks tavern and at various carts. It lives up to its name (minus the alcohol) with a sweet butterscotch flavor and a hint of nutmeg.

Three Broomsticks feast

6. Enjoy a traditional holiday dinner at Three Broomsticks

You don't have to go all the way to London to dig into a traditional British Christmas dinner. Stop by Three Broomsticks tavern for the special Holiday Feast, a seasonal offering that feeds multiple people. You'll get familiar favorites, including four hefty slices of turkey breast with gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. You'll also get roasted spinach, brussels sprouts, and a hearty portion of beef Wellington: sliced tenderloin wrapped in paté and finely chopped mushrooms, with a pastry exterior. 

Harry Potter mini tree

7. Take the magic home with Christmas merchandise

Let your holiday guests know which Hogwarts house you were sorted into with house crest Christmas tree ornaments and stockings in Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin colors. Not satisfied with just ornaments? Pick up a tree topper with the Hogwarts school crest on it to make your tree truly magical.

Harry Potter castle lightshow

8. Watch magic come to life at Hogwarts castle

The centerpiece of Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the Hogwarts castle light show, which takes place nightly through January 6. Make your way to Hogwarts castle after sundown to witness an incredible light display that includes Quidditch players darting around the ramparts, Fred and George Weasley setting off fireworks, and the entire castle turning into an enormous ice sculpture. 

Live action Grinch movie set

9. See the real backlot set from the live-action Grinch movie

The live-action adaption of How the Grinch Stole Christmas released in 2000 required the construction of the biggest set ever built on the backlot at Universal Studios. Most of it was disassembled after filming completed, but the town center of Who-ville was preserved. Take the Studio Tour to see real facades that appear in the movie.

New York City cab

10. Take a selfie celebrating the holidays in New York

You've already visited Who-ville, Hogsmeade, and Hogwarts, so why not make one last stop in New York City? Specifically, the New York City set near the park's entrance, which is fully decked out in garlands and fake snow. It makes for a great selfie backdrop. It's also a piece of history: The redstone facade is the last remaining piece of scenery from the theme park's grand opening in 1964.

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