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Hotel del Coronado

1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado

Photos by the Tree at the Hotel Del Coronado

Grab your favorite cheesy Christmas sweater and head on down to the Hotel Del Coronado for a holiday photo in front of their lobby’s spectacular tree. The hotel is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and its Victorian decorations and 100,000 white lights will drive the Scrooge out of anybody. The first outdoor electric Christmas tree in America was the Del’s 1904 tree, and they have been putting out spectacular trees ever since.

Hotel del Coronado

1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado

Ice skating by the Sea

After taking your photos in front of the Del’s Christmas tree, why not go ice skating? For nine years, the Windsor Lawn has been transformed into a holiday skating rink. With a view and breezes from the Pacific Ocean, this is skating at its San Diego best. Part of the funds from the skating will go to Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego, and the rink will be closed for one of its events on December 10th. Each skating session is two hours. Sessions through December 13th run from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Weekend and holiday early-bird sessions are from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. From December 14th through January 5th, sessions are from 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Adult tickets are $23, children age 10 and under are $18. Military discount with ID, $5. If you tote your own skates, $5 off as well.

Viejas Outlet Center

5005 Willows Road, Alpine

Ice Skating in the mountains

Southern California’s largest outdoor skating rink right here in San Diego County at Viejas. Put on your gloves, tie up your laces and hit the ice. There’s nothing quite like feeling the mountain breeze on your face as you skate along under the stars admiring the colossal outdoor Christmas tree nearby. Open through Sunday, January 5th, Monday through Friday from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Saturday and Sunday are from noon until 10:00 p.m. Kids age 12 and under, $12; Ages 13 and up are $14. Military with ID are $12. If you bring your own skates, there is a $2 discount.

Horton Square

225 Broadway Circle, Downtown San Diego

Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice at Horton Square

We’ve all seen the movies showing ice skaters gliding around the outdoor rink in New York City’s Rockefeller Center. It looks like so much fun. You can get a taste of that city skating here in San Diego at Sycuan’s Fantasy on Ice at Horton Square, which runs through January 5, 2014.

The rinks’ entry fees benefit Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Rady Children’s Hospital. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m.to 7:30 p.m., plus a late session from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Adult tickets are $14; children under 12 skate for $12.

Las Posadas in Old Town

Folks in Mexico have been reenacting the biblical journey of Joseph and Mary looking for shelter throughout Bethlehem for over 400 years. In San Diego’s Old Town, it’s been done for over 60 years. This free event is on Sunday, December 15th with caroling starting at 2:00 p.m. and the procession of Las Posadas starting at 5:00 p.m. “In the name of heaven, I ask you for shelter, because my beloved wife can continue no longer,” cries Saint Joseph. “Let us sing with joy, all bearing in mind that Jesus, Joseph, and Mary honor us by having come,” answer the townspeople.

San Diego Civic Theatre

1100 Third Avenue, Downtown San Diego

California Ballet Company’s presents The Nutcracker

The California Ballet Company will be performs Tschiakovsky’s dreamy Christmas classic The Nutcracker on the stage of the Civic Center. Performances accompanied by the Classics Philharmonics open Saturday, December 14th with 2:30 and 7:00 p.m. shows, and continue with Sunday December 15th shows at 1:00 and 5:30 p.m. The remaining shows feature the San Diego Symphony. Wednesday December 18th through Friday December 20th, 7:00 p.m.; Saturday, December 21st, 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. ; Sunday, December 22nd, 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tickets range from $30 to $90. Under age 4 are not admitted.

Little Italy Christmas tree lighting

The Christmas tree in Piazza Natale in Little Italy (India Street & Date) will be lit on Saturday, December 7, 2013 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Besides the twinkling lights, there will be music and dancing for entertainment. Italian cookies, apple cider, and coffee will be served, free of charge. Little Italy businesses will be full of holiday gift items. St. Nick will roll into town on Fire Engine 3 at 4:30 p.m. For those feeling full of Holiday gifting spirit, the Little Italy Holiday Toy drive will also be in full swing, collecting unwrapped toys to give to foster children at New Alternatives. Toys can be dropped off at participating Little Italy businesses through Friday December 13.

Blondstone Jewelry

4931 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach

Blondstone Jewelry

925 Prospect Street, La Jolla

Blondstone Jewelry

It’s an eternal problem: women love receiving gifts that come in little black fuzzy boxes, but men hate mall-based jewelry shops with their high prices and high pressure. Fortunately, we have local artisan Heidi Smith, who sells unique and affordable pieces in her two shops, many of which she crafts on-site. A hundred bucks goes a long way here. Smith is known for her sterling and shell designs, particularly her swirling “Sol Wave” design. This is not gaudy hippie-wear, but the finely crafted work of an artist. Of the two locations, the O.B. spot feels truer to the artist’s beachy spirit.

Alchemy of the Hearth

960 Rancheros Drive, Suite L, San Marcos

(No longer in business.)

Holiday cooking at Alchemy of the Hearth

Spice up your holiday festivities with dishes and goodies from around the world — all made by you. Alchemy of the Hearth culinary school offers Feast of the Seven Fishes and Cuban Noche Buena, where participants learn traditional Italian American and Cuban Christmas Eve. Try your hand at nacatamales of Nicaragua or go traditional with a crown pork roast. Their abundant holiday baking classes include Italian cookies, holiday cupcakes, gingerbread people, and French croquembouche. Most classes cost $65 for three hours of instruction. Teen classes are available as well.

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