The following are the most audacious neighborhood displays of Christmas cheer.
Christmas Circle, Chula Vista. Nearly total participation of over 55 homes in the circle formed by Whitney and Mankato streets. At least one Santa and sleigh on the roof and reports on Yelp of snow-globe teeter-totter. No restrooms, walk takes ten to fifteen minutes. Between H and I streets and First and Second avenues.
Christmas Card Lane, Rancho Peñasquitos. Hundreds of giant Disney greeting cards. Best time to go is between 7 and 8 p.m. (it’s crowded, but all lights are on). Oviedo Street, just off Black Mountain Road.
Carlsbad Home Lights. Santa at his real mailbox located at 6646 Elegant Tern Place in Carlsbad. Santa writes back a free personalized letter. A light-up Cookie Monster out front offers cookies. Santa’s mailbox is located curbside from Dec. 1 through Dec. 23rd. 5:30–9:30 every night.
Belardo Lights, Tierrasanta. The 5306 N. Belardo Drive display started in 2006 as a way for the Schimka family to give their two autistic sons more than 100,000 lights. Tune your car radio to 106.1 FM to hear holiday music played in sync with the lights.
Garrison Street, Point Loma. Spectacular views. 3D sparkling extravaganza. Lights go on at dusk and off at 10 p.m. through December. Garrison Street, off Chatsworth Boulevard.
Christmas Lights and Block Party, Carmel Mountain Ranch. Almost 100 homes. Cocoa, cookies, music, Santa’s red fire truck. Fairway Village at Stoney Gate Place. Dusk–10 p.m.
Knob Hill, San Marcos. 85,000 lights, hundreds of figurines. Knob Hill website claims that lights are solar-powered. Santa is known to show up nightly for about a week before his special day to hand out candy canes. Lights on between 5 and 9 p.m. 1639 Knob Hill.
Starlight Circle, Santee. Near Santana High School. East County’s premier Christmas show, includes a Despicable Me and a Peanuts house. Wooden mock-ups of Mario Brothers and Scooby-Doo. The tradition started after the development was built in the early ’80s.Take Tomel Court off North Magnolia Avenue to West Glendon Circle.
Jungle Bells plays up animals from colder climates while staying open until 8 p.m. The Northern Frontier’s Holiday Forest (open between 3 and 8 p.m.) features a trail through lit trees to the winter-loving animals. During the evening hours there are presentations where zookeepers show off animals such as cheetahs or raccoons and explain their unique traits. Non-animal attractions include acrobats, musicians, a 4-D ride that duplicates the Polar Express, and a zoo-themed version of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” recited by a guy named Dr. Zoolittle.
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Salvation Army Christmas Dinner
Free meal on Christmas day in Golden Hall. Anyone looking for a warm meal or fellowship is invited to join. According to the local website, the Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. How many needy will show up for the meal is uncertain since the City of San Diego began cracking down on unsheltered people in September. The concourse was one of the areas where people encamped there were told not to come back.
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The River Assessment Team walks different segments of the San Diego River in the Mission Valley area to identify issues affecting the river. Volunteers are invited to attend any and all, depending on ability level as the team will work in areas of varying levels of difficulty. Must be 18 or over to participate (not open for court-ordered community service). Contact the San Diego River Park Foundation at [email protected]