2225 30th Street #1, South Park
Located in a rustic-yet-modern converted automotive garage, three-year-old Progress has gifts ideas for every age and interest. We’re talking: vintage-style shaving paraphernalia; design-oriented kids’ toys like Eames Memory Game; Joseph Joseph’s hip, colorful kitchenware; books that prompt action such as cheese-making, urban farming and whiskey-distilling; Jonathan Adler’s giant animal erasers; and Back to the Roots’ Mushroom-growing kit and AquaFarm — a self-cleaning fish tank that grows food. Among all these are locally-made goods like caramel sauce, SoNo Trading mustard, rows of jewelry, even a collaboration with Caffé Calabria producing a custom Progress-blend coffee.
1142 Orange Avenue, Coronado
Lamb’s Players Theater: An American Christmas
Artistic director Robert Smyth has built the Lamb’s Players into a local theatrical institution, and this three-hour, five-course turn-of-the-twentieth-century Christmas party into its festive counterpart. Smyth writes and directs; his wife Deborah does the musical direction. The Lamb’s Players are the Marshall family, your circa-1912 hosts for an evening that starts with hors d’ oeuvres overlooking the beachside skating rink and includes music, songs, stories, and dancing along with the feasting. Dress up (jackets requested for gentlemen), step back, and enjoy. For added verisimilitude, leave your cell phone at home. Runs December 16-24; $125–$160.
1322 K Street, East Village
Skye Limousine Holiday Lights Tour
Pick from over 15 of the best private and public light displays throughout San Diego area and let everyone do their gawking from the safety of the backseat. (A few favorites among public displays: the San Diego Botanical Gardens’ “Garden of Lights,” the San Diego Boat Parade of Lights, and America’s Finest Victorian Mansions/The Forward House. The four-hour limo tour includes a virtual fireplace, holiday music, and a holiday lights display map to help you find your way. Fleet cars include executive sedan (3–4 passengers, $240–$320), executive limo/luxury van (2–6 passengers, $300–$400), or luxury stretch limo (4–10 passengers, $360–$480). 619-239-7599.
2920 Zoo Drive, Balboa Park
Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo
Santa and polar bears go together, and not just because they both pitch Coke and hang out up north. Festivities run from December 15–January 6, 9 a.m.–8 p.m., and include an intimate Jungle Bells tour in a “one-horse” VIP cart ($69), a 5 p.m. tree lighting, and handbell choirs at 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 7 p.m. Santa mans his workshop from 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. Plus, there’s a place called Chocolate Town. Singers, zoo characters, and animals roam about as you munch, shop, and take in the animated lights displays. Zoo admission: $44 adults, $34 kids 3-11.
La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival
The parade starts at 2 p.m. on December 8th, but get there early to stake out a spot and enjoy the pre-parade buzz. Equestrians arrive around 10 a.m., and the Kids Zone opens at 11. Float judging begins at noon. Watch out for the Grinch’s arrival around 1 p.m., and watch the skies for antique aircraft. Beginning at Kline Street, the parade heads down Girard and then west on Prospect, ending at Draper Avenue. Finish with a family festival at 3:30 p.m. at the La Jolla Recreation center: live music, a jumpy house, and a Christmas tree lighting at 4:30 p.m.
1650 El Prado, Suite 208, Balboa Park
Classic theater, classic ballet, newish performers. Enjoy the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet’s presentation of Tchaikovsky’s maybe most-famous composition. The 640-seat Casa Del Prado is a reconstruction of the original, built (like the rest of Balboa’s buildings) for the 1915 Pan American Expositions. The San Diego Civic Youth Ballet is a classical ballet school, training dancers from age four right up through pre-professional. Let these young artists enchant you in the Land of Sweets, thrill you with the battle between the mice and toy soldiers, and lull you into a dream of falling snow and waltzing flowers.
Holidays in the Heart of Del Mar Village
West corner of Camino Del Mar/15th Street and Del Mar Plaza
You can have a White Christmas in San Diego. Or at least a White December 7th, from 2 p.m.-7 p.m. You bring the mittens, and the City of Del Mar will provide the snow (machine). Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be on hand for pics, and carolers in Dickensian garb will stuff your years with music while cocoa and holiday cookies line your tummy. Don’t miss the cake walk and dance performers, and be sure to stick around for the Christmas tree lighting at 5 p.m. Finally, relax with nouveau-classic Elf, screening at the L’Auberge Amphitheater at 5:15 p.m.
4002 Wallace Street, Old Town
Holiday in Old Town
Old school Christmas shopping — really old school. On December 14th, all of Old Town’s museums, stores, and restaurants will be open with extended hours. Find unique gifts such as artisan pottery, boutique root beer, hand carved candles, and flavored tobaccos. Festive decorations will adorn the park and professional carolers will be strolling about. Once your shopping is done, come back December 15th and December 26th-30th for bonfire nights in the Old Town State Park. Merriment around the fire goes from dusk to 9 p.m. Join carolers and other performers. Grown ups and kids alike will delight in the free s’mores.
Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis
Balboa Park, 6th Avenue and Quince, Banker’s Hill
On December 14, Santa’s reindeer and his elves will be hoofing it to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. Most participants wear a holiday-themed costume and many literally have bells on their toes. Jingle all the way! Approximately 2000 San Diegans will either run the 5K timed course or enjoy a fun three-mile walk. Children can participate in a one-mile fun run with elves and enjoy activities in the kids zone (cookie decorating, games, and arts and crafts). Pets welcome: prizes will be awarded for best-dressed pups. There will also be entertainment, a food tent, and a “cheer tent” for adult participants.
13330 Paseo del Verano Norte, Rancho Bernardo
Winter Wonderland by the Mojalet Dancers
The Vine Black Box Theater at Bernardo Winery, 13330 Paseo Del Verano, San Diego, 858-243-1402
If all your nuts have been cracked but you’re still hungry for dance, here is a wintry, zippy alternative to ballet: on December 14th and 15th, Mojalet’s Jamolet junior company and Eclectic Expression youth group will put on a winter-themed show ranging from traditional hits (“Walking in a Winter Wonderland”) to contemporary arrangements by the Vitamin String Quartet. Performers range from age 5 to 20; tickets range from $15 (general admission) to $10 (student/seniors).