Starlight Circle, Santee — aerial shot of Christmas lights
  • Starlight Circle, Santee — aerial shot of Christmas lights
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For so many of us, favorite holiday memories take root with family and friends, and that certainly holds true for San Diegans. Whether it’s cutting down a tree in the local mountains, dancing the night away in an ugly Christmas sweater, or lighting the menorah (or kinara for Kwanzaa) and celebrating ancient Jewish traditions — we all have our special ways to celebrate the magic and wonder of the season. My holiday wish for you is that you enjoy this lineup of late-year activities as much as I do.

Holiday hop

Queen Bee's Art & Cultural Center

3925 Ohio Street, North Park

Get your holidays bouncing on December 9 with a rockabilly rhythm guaranteed to keep everyone moving on the 3500-square-foot dance floor. Jive to the music, which is a mixture of rock and roll, a western hillbilly vibe, and blues. Put on your favorite pencil skirt and heels or your plaid denim and leather pants and show off your best stroll, jive, or bop. Music provided by DJ Eric Reedy and the Stilettos and special performances by Lola Demure, Glitter Tribe Studios student performance and Valentina on the Rocks. There will be a full bar and prizes for best dressed and best ugly Christmas sweaters.

Skating by the sea

Hotel del Coronado

1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado

Lace up your ice skates and cool off by gliding around the rink surrounded by swaying palm trees and a view of the Pacific Ocean. The rink opened November 23 and skaters can play through January 1. While the weather may still call for tank tops and shorts instead of coats and tights, the rink has everything you’d want to get into the holiday spirit, including holiday music, Christmas lights, and hot chocolate. This rink may not be a substitute for the famed ice at Rockefeller Center, but you can’t ice skate in New York City as the sun melts into the ocean. This is definitely a California experience. A $30 ticket includes skate rentals, and reservations can be made in advance for time slots available every day, including 11 a.m.–9 p.m. on Christmas. Regular hours run 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily and 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Sundays, though weekday start times will be 4 p.m. until December 18th.

Starlight Circle Santee

  • Glendon Circle
  • Santee

Starlight Circle is a neighborhood on the north side of Santee just off Magnolia Avenue run amok with colorful lights, eclectic holiday displays, and crowds of people gawking as they stroll or drive down the street. Folks can drive through the neighborhood but are encouraged to get out of their cars (parking is at nearby Santana High School) and walk around, as many homeowners stand in front of their homes serving snacks. Handmade holiday displays of fun characters as well as religious ones made lovingly by homeowners deck the lawns. The light-display tradition started soon after the neighborhood was built in the early 1980s and many of the homeowners take Halloween just as seriously. Christmas-lights enthusiasts can enjoy the show from 6 to 11 p.m. every night until December 26.

Kwanzaa at WorldBeat Center

WorldBeat Cultural Center

2100 Park Boulevard, Balboa Park

Kwanzaa is rooted in African culture, however, people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds are welcomed to join in the celebration.

The 2017 cultural festival of African and African-American heritage marks the park’s 37th annual Kwanzaa celebration from December 26 through December 29. Organized by WorldBeat Cultural Center, “Healing the World through Music, Art, Dance & Culture” is the theme that coincides with the first principle of Kwanzaa, which is unity, or umoja. This free event celebrates the African-American holiday and the Cultural Center will be celebrating four of the seven days of the holiday with candle lighting, libations, drumming, poetry, and traditional African-American soul food.

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