Winter Holidays in the Sun
For a large part of this country the bleak winter months approach with a silver lining, the holiday season. But in San Diego the sun continues to shine. And we celebrate the holidays much the same, albeit with some subtle and not so subtle differences. A surfing Santa being one of the traditions that are fairly unique to our corner of the winter world.
The eleventh annual Surfin’ Santa celebration at Seaport Village begins the season on Saturday, November 26th at 1pm. Santa arrives aboard his Xplore Offshore vessel to join in the boardwalk parade. Then visitors can pose for free pictures with Santa on his giant surfboard, riding a six-foot wave. Kids of all ages can create customized eco-friendly ornaments to take home and hang on the tree. This is also a great chance to support the fifty locally owned businesses in Seaport Village.
The Hotel Del Coronado begins its Holiday Festival on Wednesday, November 30th at 4pm with Coronado school children performing holiday favorites onstage in the Upper Grande Hall. The Sundeck is transformed into a magical Santa’s Village which allows for photos with Santa and his elves. The Del’s Windsor Lawn becomes a beachfront ice skating rink. There will also be games and prizes offered before the fireworks show at 6:45pm.
Little Italy gets the holidays underway with two traditional tree lightings on Saturday, December 3, from 4pm through to 8pm. India Street will be closed down for the lighting of the two trees. The twenty-five foot tower tree of over 1,000 Poinsettias can be found in the center of Piazza Basilone. The second tree will be found in the Piazza della Famiglia, the new heart of Little Italy. There will be live music and entertainment, snacks, holiday beverages, and more!
Of course nothing brings the holidays to the forefront like Balboa Park’s December Nights. On December 2nd and 3rd some 350,000 people will visit the park to enjoy a multicultural holiday experience. For the 39th consecutive year thousands of colorful lights, live music and dance performances can be experienced for free. Enjoy food from all over the world and performances by the San Diego Junior Theatre and the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet and more. The event is on both Friday and Saturday with food, shopping, entertainment. Even the museums will have complimentary admission to Balboa Park museums from 5-9pm.
Also at Balboa Park (and already underway) are the wonderful decorations of Whoville in the plaza of the Old Globe Theatre. See Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas now through December 11th.
On Sundays you can catch the free Organ concerts at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion starting at 2pm. There will be performances of the usual holiday favorites along with waltzes and show tunes from this extraordinary outdoor pipe organ.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will be decked out in historic holiday finery this year and will showcase gingerbread house displays throughout the park as well as a tree-lighting ceremony with caroling starting at 5 p.m. every Saturday in the month of December. Guests can learn how residents celebrated the holidays in the 1800’s while enjoying candlelight tours, holiday singers, live performances and complimentary refreshments.
On Sunday, December 11th there is the 65th annual Las Posados event at Old Town. The Las Posadas procession is a walking reenactment of the biblical story of Mary and Joseph’s search for a birthplace for Jesus. The candlelit procession starts at 4:45 p.m. and there is singing of traditional holiday songs in both Spanish and English as the players go from inn to inn, symbolically asking for lodging. The procession will include local actors playing the parts of Joseph and the innkeepers. The procession culminates with a live nativity tableau in front of Casa de Estudillo along with a choir performance.
Also on December 11th is the San Diego Union-Tribune Gaslamp Quarter Holiday Pet Parade presented by VCA Market Street Animal Hospital. Pet owners and their furry, feathered and scaled companions will be invited to dress in their favorite costumes. They will parade down designated streets to the MLK Promenade Park, adjacent to the Hilton San Diego Gas Lamp Quarter on K Street and 4th Avenue.
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Winter Holidays in the Sun