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Get metaphysical

Place

Welburn Gourd Farm in De Luz Canyon

40635 De Luz Road, Fallbrook

Get into the gourd

Fallbrook

Painting and carving gourds has to be the most fun gift-making hobby in, well, actually, 15,000 years. That’s how long our ancestors have been using and carving gourds. And we have the nation’s largest gourd farm right on our doorstep. Gourds are basically dried squashes. You get to pick them and then paint, carve, and sculpt them, turn them into bowls, lampshades, drinking chalices, even bongos or ukuleles. If you haven’t done it before, they have classes. Or just buy art gourds at the farm store. If only one to stick pencils in for your desk.

Yalda Persian Solstice celebration

9265 Dowdy Drive, Mira Mesa

If you’re into poetry and also want to witness one of the most ancient celebrations of the winter solstice, this December 21st Zoroastrian evening will zip you back 4000 years. Friends and family gather on the longest night of the year and stay up to witness life restarting with dawn. To keep awake, people dance, bring fruits like the pomegranate and watermelon, and read poetry. This Persian Cultural Center evening will include dinner, folkloric dance, DJ, and poem recitals, including for sure Hafez, the 14th-century Persian poet who wrote of love, wine, and religious hypocrisy. Not cheap: $60. Call 858-552-9355.

Place

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve

9310 Fanita Parkway, Santee

Santa hits Santee

Santee

Sled the Santee slopes this year. The “Santa at the Lakes” celebration highlights one of San Diego’s less appreciated wonders: Santee has seven lakes filled with recycled water. They form a regional park where you can camp, fish, picnic, bird-watch, boat, and, on Sunday, December 7th, meet up with Santa. There’ll be a pile of snow to sled down, a petting zoo, pony rides, carnival rides, and food. It’s just simple fun, but in this setting, right above where the San Diego River heads down into Mission Valley, it has a kind of Shangri-La feel.

Past Event

Ceramic Bowl Chili Cook-Off

Chili this time of year

Thorn Street and 32nd Street, North Park

It’s winter, so bring the heat. Cook your own chili and take it down to compete in the chili cook-off in North Park at Thorn and 32nd Street on December 7th. The professional chefs are there, including all the local eateries from the two “Parks.” But in “Chili Alley” right next to the SD Ceramic Connection, anybody can set up with their steaming crockpot and compete. Public votes best chilis and cornbread. You buy a ceramic bowl for $20, sample all the chilis, vote, keep the bowl.

Get metaphysical

Skyline Truck Trail, Jamul

Sit on top of a mountain in a hot tub, watch the shooting stars, get metaphysical as the old year becomes new. Ten-acre mountaintop rental house is ultimate retreat, makes you feel as if you’re on top of the world. Has mountain-capping house-sized boulders looming out of its saltwater pool. In the morning, wake up above the clouds. This is ultraprivate, and is pitched toward “those seeking metaphysical reflections, newlyweds, writers, artists or romantic renewals.” House costs $300 per night but can accommodate four, $75 each. Pets, yes; kids, no.

Place

Rancho Guajome Adobe

2210 North Santa Fe Avenue, Vista

Rancho Guajome

Vista

How to relive San Diego holidays as rancheros lived them back in the day? Best way is to come out to this rancho, amazingly intact after 170 years, and still surrounded by fields. Back in the cattle-boom 1850s, the 20-room hacienda used to roar with fiestas, rodeos, and streams of visitors. Nowadays, the celebratin’s a little more modest, with singing groups, dressed-up docents, and period decorations. But they say this time of year you feel the spirits, especially around the old chapel, and especially at dusk. The lady dancing the fandango just could be the original dueña, Ysidora Bandini-Couts.

Dickensian wonderland

La Mesa Boulevard, between Acacia Avenue and Fourth Street, La Mesa

Bonfires on the Boulevard? Sure. La Mesa will create a real Victorian wonderland feel about the village on the nights of December 13th and 14th. Partly because the downtown is intimate, it’s easy to create a great Dickensian atmosphere. They’ll have strolling minstrels, carolers, and street entertainers, as well as booths for food and street stages for bands. Plus all the good things you remember from when you were a kid: carnival rides, ponies, and maybe best of all — if you’re small — puppet shows.

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Place

Welburn Gourd Farm in De Luz Canyon

40635 De Luz Road, Fallbrook

Get into the gourd

Fallbrook

Painting and carving gourds has to be the most fun gift-making hobby in, well, actually, 15,000 years. That’s how long our ancestors have been using and carving gourds. And we have the nation’s largest gourd farm right on our doorstep. Gourds are basically dried squashes. You get to pick them and then paint, carve, and sculpt them, turn them into bowls, lampshades, drinking chalices, even bongos or ukuleles. If you haven’t done it before, they have classes. Or just buy art gourds at the farm store. If only one to stick pencils in for your desk.

Yalda Persian Solstice celebration

9265 Dowdy Drive, Mira Mesa

If you’re into poetry and also want to witness one of the most ancient celebrations of the winter solstice, this December 21st Zoroastrian evening will zip you back 4000 years. Friends and family gather on the longest night of the year and stay up to witness life restarting with dawn. To keep awake, people dance, bring fruits like the pomegranate and watermelon, and read poetry. This Persian Cultural Center evening will include dinner, folkloric dance, DJ, and poem recitals, including for sure Hafez, the 14th-century Persian poet who wrote of love, wine, and religious hypocrisy. Not cheap: $60. Call 858-552-9355.

Place

Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve

9310 Fanita Parkway, Santee

Santa hits Santee

Santee

Sled the Santee slopes this year. The “Santa at the Lakes” celebration highlights one of San Diego’s less appreciated wonders: Santee has seven lakes filled with recycled water. They form a regional park where you can camp, fish, picnic, bird-watch, boat, and, on Sunday, December 7th, meet up with Santa. There’ll be a pile of snow to sled down, a petting zoo, pony rides, carnival rides, and food. It’s just simple fun, but in this setting, right above where the San Diego River heads down into Mission Valley, it has a kind of Shangri-La feel.

Past Event

Ceramic Bowl Chili Cook-Off

Chili this time of year

Thorn Street and 32nd Street, North Park

It’s winter, so bring the heat. Cook your own chili and take it down to compete in the chili cook-off in North Park at Thorn and 32nd Street on December 7th. The professional chefs are there, including all the local eateries from the two “Parks.” But in “Chili Alley” right next to the SD Ceramic Connection, anybody can set up with their steaming crockpot and compete. Public votes best chilis and cornbread. You buy a ceramic bowl for $20, sample all the chilis, vote, keep the bowl.

Get metaphysical

Skyline Truck Trail, Jamul

Sit on top of a mountain in a hot tub, watch the shooting stars, get metaphysical as the old year becomes new. Ten-acre mountaintop rental house is ultimate retreat, makes you feel as if you’re on top of the world. Has mountain-capping house-sized boulders looming out of its saltwater pool. In the morning, wake up above the clouds. This is ultraprivate, and is pitched toward “those seeking metaphysical reflections, newlyweds, writers, artists or romantic renewals.” House costs $300 per night but can accommodate four, $75 each. Pets, yes; kids, no.

Place

Rancho Guajome Adobe

2210 North Santa Fe Avenue, Vista

Rancho Guajome

Vista

How to relive San Diego holidays as rancheros lived them back in the day? Best way is to come out to this rancho, amazingly intact after 170 years, and still surrounded by fields. Back in the cattle-boom 1850s, the 20-room hacienda used to roar with fiestas, rodeos, and streams of visitors. Nowadays, the celebratin’s a little more modest, with singing groups, dressed-up docents, and period decorations. But they say this time of year you feel the spirits, especially around the old chapel, and especially at dusk. The lady dancing the fandango just could be the original dueña, Ysidora Bandini-Couts.

Dickensian wonderland

La Mesa Boulevard, between Acacia Avenue and Fourth Street, La Mesa

Bonfires on the Boulevard? Sure. La Mesa will create a real Victorian wonderland feel about the village on the nights of December 13th and 14th. Partly because the downtown is intimate, it’s easy to create a great Dickensian atmosphere. They’ll have strolling minstrels, carolers, and street entertainers, as well as booths for food and street stages for bands. Plus all the good things you remember from when you were a kid: carnival rides, ponies, and maybe best of all — if you’re small — puppet shows.

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