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36 198

2 - 2018

Volume 37 • Number 9 • December 2018

articles 50 Hot Chocolate Hot Spots

Where to satisfy your winter cocoa cravings

in every issue 12 Staff Page 14 Short & Sweet News | Notes | Tips 34 December Calendar of Family Events 36 San Diego County’s Christmas Parades Holiday parades abound this month!

16 Finding Peace this Season Tips to help families enjoy the holidays 20 15 Gifts that Create Lasting Memories The best presents can’t be wrapped

49 The Marketplace/Classifieds

24 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids More kid-tested, parent-approved toys

On the Cover:

32 San Diego’s Map of Christmas Lights See lights around the county with our famous map

Luke (5) of Del Mar shows off

37 Art with Alyssa: Hanukkah Craft Get the kids involved —make a menorah

Christmas morning.

festive new pajamas as he awaits

Cover photo:


All Colors Photography

28 Holiday Traditions to Make Your Spirits Bright The merriest events of the season for families

Winner 6 • • December 2018

Michele/Dec 2018/ad 1 of 2/cr

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December 2018 • •


on the web Get to know, where you’ll discover a plethora of awesomeness for parents.



To enter these contests, visit, go to “Contests”, then “This Month’s Contests.”

Things to Do: Seasonal Happenings • 7 Fun Things to Do After Thanksgiving Dinner • 5 Secrets of a Merry Christmas Morning • Feliz Navidad: Mexican Holiday Traditions Make new family holiday memories at Knott’s Merry Farm through January 7. See timeless shows like Merry Christmas, Snoopy!, discover unique seasonal treats as you stroll through the streets of Calico, sing along with Christmas carolers, visit Santa’s Christmas Cabin and find joy in the nightly falling snow set to thousands of sparkling lights and traditional Christmas music. Enter now to win a 4-pack of tickets to Knott’s Merry Farm! Contest ends Jan. 3.

For the Kids: Crafts for Kids • DIY Advent Calendar • Poinsettia Yarn Painting

Can’t find what you’re looking for on our website? Enter key words in the search box and browse our list of articles.

Follow Us: San Diego Family SDFamily

San Diego Family Magazine sandiegofamilymagazine

8 • • December 2018

Have you been to Copley Symphony Hall during the holidays? Noel Noel is a festive concert highlighting season classics such as Believe from Polar Express. Enjoy a special family performance on Dec. 16 at 2 pm, featuring tunes from A Charlie Brown Christmas and the beloved story of The Night Before Christmas brought to life by the orchestra! Enter to win four tickets to the family concert. Contest ends Dec. 10.

We want to help make the holidays shine just a little brighter! Enter to win a fabulous toy from our Holiday Toy Review and put an extra “ho ho ho” under the tree. Contest ends Dec. 18.

Do you want your child to appear on the



cover of San Diego Family Magazine? SDFM is looking for six children ages 2-11 and one multiples combo to appear on the cover of a future issue of San Diego Family Magazine or our annual Out & About family adventure publication.

2019 Cover Kids Search

Managing Editor Lisa Gipson Calendar Editor Jennifer A. Burman

Design Art Design/Web Design Rik Thiesfeld

Olivia was one of our 2018 Cover Kids Winners!

Cover Photo All Colors Photography

Editorial Guidelines

Enter online at: Visit our website for complete rules and more information, or call 619-685-6970.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Publisher/Editor in Chief Sharon Bay

Deadline is January 31, 2019

(Online entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on this date. Mail-in entries must be postmarked by this date.)

Contest open to all San Diego County residents. Visit our website to enter contest online or print out the mail-in registration form. A $25 registration fee per entry ($35 for multiples category) must accompany a recent high quality photo, used to determine finalists (photo will not be returned). Submitted photos of 25 finalists from each category (100 total) will be displayed at: Category finalists will be invited to a judging event to help determine contest winners. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego.

Find editorial guidelines at (“Editorial” at the bottom of the home page). Submissions are not guaranteed publication. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.

Distribution Locations San Diego Family Magazine is distributed at more than 1,500 locations. Pick up a free copy at: Albertsons, Ralphs Supermarkets, McDonald’s, Sombrero Mexican Food, Round Table Pizza, Wahoos, Fleet Science Center, schools, libraries, medical offices and more.


Tony/July 2018/cr

Receive 12 issues for $18, plus our annual publication, Out & About. Orders must include payment to San Diego Family Magazine. Mail to: SDFM, Subscriptions, 1475 Sixth Ave., Fifth Floor, San Diego, CA 92101; or call 619-685-6970 to use a credit card.

Member of

10 • • December 2018

Ditribution Audited by Business Business Manager Larry Bay Marketing Director Michele Hancock Administrative Assistant Adrienne Sigeti Accounting Circulation Linda Bay Printing California Offset Printers

Advertising/Marketing Advertising/Marketing Representatives Tony Andrews 619-685-6977 • Point Loma, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, North County Coastal Giovanni Baldan 619-685-6987 • South Bay, San Diego Downtown, Uptown Nicole Maggio 619-685-6971 • North County Inland (includes Scripps Ranch) Crystal Grobner 619-685-5860 • East County 619-685-6970 • Clairemont, Linda Vista, Mission Valley North and Mira Mesa San Diego Family Magazine is published monthly by San Diego Family Magazine LLC. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed by contributors are not necessarily the opinions of this publication.

Eastlake CA 91914


The Parent Resource Guide for Children with Special Needs

December 2018 • •


Family Traditions

Our San Diego


Holiday traditions are what make this time of year so special; they are as unique as each family who cultivates them. San Diego Family staff share meaningful family traditions — we encourage you to start your own, if you haven’t already.

Sharon Bay Larry and I take our kids and grandkids to a holiday performance. In recent years we’ve attended Lamb’s Players in Coronado and Cygnet Theatre in Old Town. Christmas music gets us in the giving and holiday spirit and we enjoy going out for dessert after the performance.

Giovanni Baldan Every year the kids and I pick out a new porcelain building (from the Christmas in the City collection) to display in our village. On Christmas night, we invite family and friends over for a secret Santa gift exchange and enjoy traditional Italian Christmas desserts such as panettone and pandoro.

Lisa Gipson On Christmas Eve we attend a candlelight church service, followed by dinner at a Chinese or Thai restaurant. At home, we read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, enjoy hot cider and the “kids” open one present. Listening to “John Denver & the Muppets: A Christmas Together” is an absolute must!

Nicole Maggio We spend Christmas morning at my sister’s house and I wear the same thing every year: a t-shirt that says “I’m Mom’s favorite” and green “ho ho ho” sweatpants. The shirt helps keep my mom (who is in Heaven) close to my heart on Christmas Day.

Jenny Burman We make it a point to set up and decorate our Christmas tree together. We attend Christmas vigil Mass, then open presents on Christmas morning, complete with hot chocolate and “A Christmas Story” playing on TV. The rest of the day is spent with family — and eating!

Crystal Grobner We wrap new and “old” favorite books and put them under the Christmas tree by Dec. 1. Included are books about Christmas, Santa, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Frosty — anything that delights children about this time of year and how families celebrate. Every night in December our kids unwrap a book to read at bedtime.

Michele Hancock We love exploring San Diego over the holidays. Our favorite must-do tradition is seeing the Christmas tree at Hotel del Coronado. Last year we experienced the Del’s Jingle Roast and had a wonderful time roasting s’mores on the beach — only in San Diego!

Rik Thiesfeld When my kids were little, I took them to shop for a new ornament for the tree each year. We liked the ones with the year printed on them. It was a sad/happy feeling to view the ornaments after 18 years had gone by.

Linda Bay Every Thanksgiving my family makes Lefse, a Norwegian flatbread made with potatoes. It takes an entire day to make, so the whole family helps. For the first two weeks of December we enjoy delicious, fresh Lefse with butter and sugar.

Adrienne Sigeti Growing up, the holidays were really fun because half my family celebrates Christmas and the other half celebrates Hanukkah. When the holidays overlapped, we would light the menorah and play dreidel with my dad’s parents; then we’d attend Christmas Eve service with my mom’s parents.

Tony Andrews My grandmother started a “Trinket Ribbon” tradition that we still do with our kids. She knitted a 6-foot strip that hangs on the wall. We wrap and safety pin 10 small gifts (trinkets) to the “ribbon.” One gift is opened each night before bed; the last one is opened on Christmas Eve. Office: 1475 Sixth Avenue, Fifth Floor, San Diego, CA 92101 • Phone: 619-685-6970 Fax: 619-685-6978 • Email: Mission Statement • To enhance the quality of life for San Diego County families by providing information and resources that support the importance and pleasure of parenting.

12 • • December 2018




WHILE OUT AND ABOUT • Smart thermostats. Forgot to turn off the a/c or heater before you left home? Or maybe you want the house to be nice and cool or toasty when you return? Cox Homelife features programmable thermostats that allow you to remotely turn the air and heat in your home up and down and on and off.

When out and about, it’s important for parents to stay connected to their loved ones, and make sure their family and home are safe. Cox Communications’ smart home technology and strong internet connection are making it easier for parents to keep their family, pets and home safe and connected. Here are five easy ways to bring safety and peace of mind while you’re away. • Smart locks. Make sure you locked the door when you left the house. A smart lock will allow you to remotely control doors in your home from your smartphone. Smart lock features through Cox Homelife include voice commands, customized chimes to recognize certain visitors or family members, activity logs, and integration with other smart devices in the home. You can even set up special codes for house sitters, dog walkers, and deliveries. •

Smart lights. Don’t waste energy or money leaving the indoor or porch light on all day to keep away would-be burglars. Replace existing light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs that can be controlled remotely with a few taps on your smartphone or tablet. Whether you accidentally left the light on before heading out of town, or want to turn the porch light on before arriving home, controlling your home’s lighting has never been easier. As for that four-legged family member – if you’re getting home later than expected, use Cox Homelife’s automation function to turn the living room light on for your pet from the ease of your smartphone.

• Home cameras. The latest models of home monitoring systems allow for remote live video viewing, professional monitoring, video recording, and customizable notifications, allowing you to keep an eye on your home even if you’re not there. Integrate these technologies with Cox Homelife, which enables you to protect, monitor and control your home. • Connected on the Go. Whether you’re away from home on vacation or business, having a San Diego staycation, or out running errands, you can stay connected while on the go with Cox High Speed Internet. Cox internet customers have access to more than half a million free Cox and cable WiFi hotspots across the United States, including more than 1,000 throughout San Diego County. So, whether you’re in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. or San Diego, just find ‘Cox WiFi’ or ‘CableWiFi’ in your WiFi settings to get connected. Learn more at If you’re not a Cox internet customer, you can still take advantage of a free one-hour trial. Learn more about smart home security and automation at

Short & Sweet Welcome to San Diego Family! Join us in extending a warm welcome to Crystal Grobner, the newest member of the sales team at San Diego Family.

Sweet Siblings We’re looking for great photos that demonstrate “sibling love” for an upcoming issue of San Diego Family: brothers, sisters, twins, triplets or any combination. Email clear, hi-res photos to editor@, along with names and ages of kids in photo, parent name, and area of San Diego County the family resides. Deadline: Jan. 14.

Lisa Gipson

We’re so excited! Family Magazine and the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego won 10 awards at the 45th Annual San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards last month. A big shoutout and congratulations to our writers and contributors who won the following: Anne Malinoski 1st place in Profile - Finding the Good: Navy Chief helps foster kids in late wife’s honor (Nov. ’17) 1st place in Essay/Commentary Confessions of a Weekday Vegan (Jan. ’18) 2nd place in Military - How to Help Children Cope When a Parent is Away (Dec. ’17) Emily Dolton 1st place in Education: Zero to 6: Critical Windows that Impact Healthy Child Development (Flourishing Families 2018) Lisa Pawlak 2nd place in Feature (Serious Subject) - Dos and Don’ts of Supporting Kids When a Parent Has Cancer (Jan. ’18) Kristen Castillo 2nd place in Multicultural - Feliz Navidad: Celebrate Mexican Holiday Traditions (Dec. ’17)

Give the Gift of Reading Be sure to put a copy of The Snowy Nap under your tree this year. The latest book by beloved children’s author/ artist, Jan Brett, is a prequel to her bestselling book, The Hat. Children will love following Hedgie the hedgehog on his wintertime adventures. Find more holiday/winter-themed books and ideas for gift-giving at www.sandiegofamily .com/book-multimedia-reviews.

14 • • December 2018

3rd place in Education - School Transitions: How to prepare for the next level (Aug. ’17) 3rd place in Entertainment Reporting – Meet “This Is Us” Star Mackenzie Hancsicsak (Jan. ’18) Lisa Gipson 3rd place in Travel (Domestic) - Road Trip: 6 family-friendly stops along the Central Coast (July ’17) Our annual publication, Flourishing Families, received 2nd place in Special Interest/One-Time Publications. A big win for the special needs communities of San Diego and Imperial Counties!

All Aboard, Exciting

TRAIN RIDES! All Aboard the


Arrive in Costume, & Decorate a Pumpkin! Ride a vintage train 1+hrs. Meet Santa, Sing Tour a haunted museum!

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December 2018 • •


Jody Lee Cates

Finding Peace this Season The holiday season is upon us—that

exciting time of year when we celebrate family traditions, pass on treasured beliefs and create a bit of magic for children young and old. Making this time special for your family can be a source of great joy and satisfaction, but sometimes the sparkle dims as pressure builds to get everything done. When holiday to-do lists collide with already busy family schedules, we can find ourselves feeling more stressed than blessed. Before jumping into the frenzied days ahead, consider these ways to create more peace for your family this season.

Plan downtime. The words “holiday planning” compel many to pull out the calendar, wrestle days and times into submission, and work wonders by squeezing in every invitation and event. This year, create more peace by planning downtime around the activities your family can’t miss. “When I run myself or my kids ragged with all the activities each

16 • • December 2018

holiday brings, I wind up just wanting to get through it rather than truly experience it with my family,” says Audi Swift of Point Loma. “We like to pick a couple of traditions that mean the most to us, say no to the rest, and be present for the whole experience.” Happy childhood memories are made during focused time spent together, so guard your calendar. Discuss and choose non-negotiables—things that make the season unique for your family—then block out time for breathing room and spontaneity. “For years our Christmas was spent hustling the kids through the morning so we could make it on time to an extended family celebration in the afternoon,” says Sharon McDonnell of Rancho Peñasquitos. “A couple of years ago we switched things up, and now we spend Christmas Eve together with extended family and then enjoy a leisurely Christmas day with time to play in the park or go for a hike with our kids in the afternoon. It’s a new tradition that we all love.”

Team up before tackling the big day. Now is the time to talk to

family members about expectations. After discussing ways you’d like to celebrate, agree on things like budget, how to spend time off and how late to stay up the night before the big day, wrapping gifts and assembling toys. Understanding expectations helps avoid the overwhelming pressure to produce an idealized picture-perfect version of the day. Resist the temptation to compare with those who seem to have it all together and let go of the notion that you must do it all yourself. Shopping, baking, decorating, and other holiday activities are a lot more fun when shared. Work together to create an experience your whole family will enjoy. When you gather, give people jobs to do such as setting the table, prepping side dishes, and cleaning up. You’ll still be standing at the end of the day, and you’ll avoid the awkwardness of politely refusing guests wash the dishes while

Wishing you lots of

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not-so-calmly beseeching your children to lend a hand. When everyone has a role to play, they feel included and loved—like a member of the family, and isn’t that what holidays are all about? Remember, every holiday is just one day. Yes, it’s a special day, but the time you invest in your relationships with family and friends extends well beyond a date on the calendar. This is especially important for single parents, blended families, or families with circumstances keeping them apart this season. Get creative and celebrate together when you can, then let go of the expectation or insistence that only the 24 hours designated as “the holiday” are capable of containing meaning and bringing joy. Jayna Russell of Lakeside shares this bit of wisdom: “Because I had a tough childhood, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make up for that with my daughter. So much of my challenge is letting go of my own expectations of what the holidays should look like for her. Peace isn’t the absence of conflict, and it’s not a picture-perfect living room. It’s presence of mind and attentiveness to the here and now. It’s seeing the beauty in the midst of all the imperfections and allowing it to be what it is.” Remind yourself that this busy season is just that—a season. It won’t last forever, and you don’t have to do everything this time of year seems to demand. Planning downtime helps you stay connected to the people you love. Partnering up and asking for help enriches family relationships while taking pressure off everyone. Keeping things in perspective helps you remember that the holidays come around every year, bringing with them more opportunities to make a little magic for you and your family. Wishing you peace and joy this holiday season and beyond! v Jody Lee Cates is a local mom and blogger who writes about healthy relationships at

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15 Gifts that Create Lasting Memories Do you feel overwhelmed with all the

“stuff” that the holidays bring: games, action figures and Lego bricks that end up in a donation pile or underfoot? Good news: The best presents can’t be wrapped. Research shows that gifts of experience add joy of anticipation, help create family bonds and bring more happiness than physical things. This year, rethink your gift-giving strategy. Be inspired to create sweet memories for the whole family with these ideas.

Little Ones

Take a Train Ride Got a train lover on your list? Pacific Southwest Railway Museum serves up a variety of awe-inspiring experiences such as the North Pole Limited. Climb aboard and feel the wonder as Santa’s elves sing carols, read The Polar Express, and serve cookies and cocoa. Weekends in December. Discover more fun train experiences that may inspire a unique gift for a child on your list at www.

Create a Day of Magic Inspire your child’s imagination as she customizes a stuffed animal at BuildA-Bear Workshop or “adopts a baby” at Distroller Werld (both in Fashion Valley). Choose clothing, accessories and more. A personalized “birth certificate” adds to the fun experience. or

20 • • December 2018

Cherie Gough

Tea Party

Root for the Home Team

Dress up and enjoy a memorable afternoon tea. Many tea rooms offer sweet bites made just for little ones. Make it a generational celebration by inviting Grandparents. The AubreyRose Tea Room in La Mesa offers a Princess Sophia Tea for ages 5–10 during the holidays (and throughout the year). Gluten-free goodies available, if requested in advance. Find more San Diego tea rooms at

You don’t have to be a college student to be a college sports fan. Don red and black, and head to an SDSU Aztecs football or basketball game. Create hometown spirit with a special night out or cheer for the home team regularly by purchasing season tickets or a mini plan of three games.

Elementary School Kids Rent a Cabin

Get away with the family at The Ranch at Bandy Canyon in Escondido, offering rustic accommodations with comfortable amenities. With equestrian trail rides, a small animal petting zoo and beautiful pool, you won’t miss TV or wifi. Each cabin offers a unique touch; family-friendly options include bunk beds, kitchens and cabins that sleep up to eight. Or, enjoy a weekend lounging in a cabin at Santee Lakes. Cabin rentals include use of pedal boats and each is equipped with TV, wifi and grill. Santee Lakes is a great place to enjoy the outdoors: fish, bike, and feed the ducks.

Horse Around Give your child the next best thing to unicorn lessons — make dreams come true with a day of horseback riding at Sweetwater Farms in Bonita. The ranch has been connecting people with horses for over 30 years and has a proven track record for safety. Sweetwater Farms offers group riding experiences for ages 7 and up. Families can picnic on the grounds after a ride.

Tweens and Teens Learn to Surf

Have a blast learning to surf together. The husband-wife team at Eli Howard Surf School on Moonlight Beach in Encinitas offers clear, quality instruction with a positive, energetic vibe. They’ll get you up and riding waves on your first day. cont. on page 22

’ ‘ n s Sea 1 December 1 - 3

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Celebrate the holiday season at Birch Aquarium with festive decor, scuba santa, crafts and live music — all month long!

Tony/Nov 2018

Aerial Revolution Youth Cirque Program • Cirque aerial arts inspired classes for children and adults • Designed to introduce the circus arts in a safe and progressive environment • Aerial Silk, Trapeze, Lyra, Chinese Pole, Hammock and Rope



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r Camp Winte ation is reg tr A SAN DIEGO ORIGINAL open is now ! Learn the Language of Graphic Storytelling and Speak with Art! line n o From beginning idea to scanned-in art, Little Fish and our pool of instructors will guide you in telling your story in any genre and style you want! Our enrichment classes not only help students with their creativity and artistic skills, but also with their writing, visualization, conceptualization, problem solving, and completion techniques all of which help to boost overall academic and future career success.

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Take the Leap: Paraglide Got a thrill seeker in your family? Anyone of any age can paraglide tandem with an expert instructor at Torrey Pines Gliderport. Soar for 20-25 minutes over beautiful coastline and feel the adrenaline. GoPro videos capture the memories. Be flexible with dates, as there are no reservations. Flights depend on ideal wind conditions. Call ahead to see if flights are available when you are.

Become a Star Wars Hero with Virtual Reality The ultimate experience for Star Wars fans awaits at The VOID in Downtown Disney (Anaheim). Each team of four sets off on a virtual mission, wearing gear that completely immerses participants in a Star Wars world of hyper-reality. Anything that can happen to a Star Wars character can happen to players during this exhilarating experience. Reserve tickets online. For ages 10 and up. Ages 16 and under must have a parent present to sign waiver. locations/anaheim v “ALL THAT GLITTERS IS SNOW” Parent’s Nite Out 12/15 6-10PM $20 per child PNO

More Ideas Take a cooking class at Artful Chefs. Create unique candles or paint pottery at The Hot Spot in Liberty Station.

Michele/Dec 2018

Give your child drawing or painting classes at Little Artists (five locations). Go indoor skydiving at iFly Oceanside. Get one year of unlimited visits to 16 museums with a Balboa Park Explorer Family Pass (two adults/four children). Go whale watching with Birch Aquarium experts. programs/whale-watching Cherie Gough is a freelance writer and local mom of two.

22 • • December 2018

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December 2018 • •


Holiday Gift Guide for Kids Shopping for kids on your “nice” list? Here are some of the season’s best new toys, kid-tested and parent-approved. Find complete lists of toys, games, books and more at kid-tested-toy-review.

Code & Learn Space Ship $39.99; 5+ Introduce kids to basic programming and coding in a fun way! Great STEM activity for parents and kids to do together. Find more STEM toys and games at

Stephanie’s Sports Arena $44.99; 6+ Awesome Lego set features a tennis court with a moving ball and a basketball hoop with shooting function. Includes a taco bar, floodlights, two mini dolls and more. “My daughter spent hours playing with this set,” says mom Sara.

Grand Department Store Gift Set $129.95; 6+ The Grand Department Store and dress designer, Stella Hopscotch Rabbit, are highlights of the popular Calico Critters new “Town” series. Beautiful details, a balcony, custom windows, a revolving door and working manual elevator inspire imaginative play.

Playskool Friends Sesame Street Let’s Dance Elmo $39.99; 18 mos.+ Elmo encourages healthy activity as he dances with kids to “Elmo’s World” and other songs. His heart lights up to the beat while he swings his arms, tilts his head and shakes his hips.

see p.8

24 • • December 2018

Go-with-Me ABC Backpack $29.99; 3+ Practice writing with Mr. Pencil—one of seven activities to choose from. Wear like a backpack for on-the-go learning and play. “It fits well on my granddaughter’s lap when we’re in the car,” says Sandy.

Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Pet Rescue Mobile $49.99; 3+ Equipped with play medical tools, an electronic EKG reader and talking stethoscope, kids love taking care of Doc’s pet friend Oliver (included), checking his heartbeat and diagnosing boo-boos with a light-up X-ray.

Kid Trax Rideamals Scout Pony $399; 3+ Check out Scout, an interactive ride-on pony that comes to life with motorized eyes, ears and wheels, and over 100 sounds and movements. Kids reach up to 4 mph in two forward speeds (and one reverse). Includes grooming brush, carrot, apple, saddlebag and rechargeable 12V battery.

see p.8

Crayola Kids@Work Action Blocks 115-piece Crayon Tube $21.97; 2+ Little builders develop STEM skills with this new twist on classic building blocks. Inspire imagination as kids spin, rotate, turn and twist with gear blocks, tri-post blocks, spinning propellers and more. Store pieces in the oversized crayon tube (choose from six colors). Available only at Walmart.

Discover more super fun games in our Fun Family Board Games round-up at kid-tested-toy-product-review.

Hydro Strike $24.99; 7+ Make a splash with Hydro Strike, a fun twist on head-to-head pinball. Shoot the ball into your opponent’s goal to spray her in the face with water!

K’NEX Thrill Rides Bionic Blast Roller Coaster Set $99.99; 9+ This impressive set has more than 800 parts (made in the U.S.A.), including a Ferris wheel coaster car lift. Activate the K’NEX Ride It! app to ride the coaster virtually with the cardboard VR viewer (mobile device not included). “Building the roller coaster kept my girls very busy for a long time!” says mom Suzanne.

The Young Scientists Club Magic School Bus Slime & Polymer Lab $39.99; 5+ Explore slime and polymers with every child’s favorite scientist, Ms. Frizzle. Make slime, create goop, produce a snow eruption, melt snow, perform a polymer trick, dehydrate polymers and more! Set includes science components, experiment cards, a data notebook, and 10 containers of polymers such as super balls, rainbow beads, snow and gel crystals.

December 2018 • •


Selma’s Dolls $39.99; 2+ Encourage the beauty of differences with Selma’s Dolls: Annie, a friend with Down Syndrome; Lola, a Mexican-American friend; and Ameena, a Muslim friend, each come with the same book that inspires friendship. ”I love the message of inclusion and acceptance,” says mom April.

Karamelli Portable North Pole Reindeer Plush $12.99; All ages Bring the magic of Christmas to life with this adorable reindeer that delivers a video message from Santa himself! Just download the free Portable North Pole app and enter the special code (included with reindeer). So fun!

Pikmi Pops Giant Flips $44.99; 5+ Giant Flips are cotton candy-inspired huggable plush toys. Turn the giant pom-pom inside out to reveal one of three soft animals (bunny, cat or dog). Each one includes a treasure of more surprises, such as a smaller Pikmi Flips, gel pens, nail stickers, charms and more.

Brio Smart Tech Smart Engine Set with Action Tunnels $89.99; 3+ Kids love Brio’s new line of trains, tunnels and stations with interactive features. The Smart Tech engine activates sounds, lights and motion when used with Smart Tech tunnels and stations. Compatible with all Brio train sets.

Kidi Star Karaoke Machine $49.99; 5+ Connect to mobile devices to play favorite tunes or sing along to eight original songs. Create a fun concert atmosphere with disco lights and audience sounds (applause, cheering, laughter). “Tons of fun features— the voice-changing effects are a hit!” says mom, Autumn.

see p.8

Max Flex RC 300 Combo Edition $99.99; 6+ Combines high-speed straight track racing with the offroad feel of flex track. “Fun twist on traditional racing—the track lights up as cars go by. You can even race the cars backwards,” says mom Michele.

Wild Wheeler $44.99; 7+ Make countless build-your-own creations, including an oversized ATV or dune buggy, with high-density foam pieces and plastic connectors that allow the vehicle to bounce off any surface without damaging it. Really fun—and super cool!

26 • • December 2018

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It’s not Christmas in San Diego without a visit to snowcovered Whoville. Don’t miss Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, now in its 21st season at the Old Globe Theatre. Based on the classic book, this colorful musical is filled with whimsy and fun for the whole family. Favorite songs include “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch,” “Santa for a Day” and “Fah Who Doraze,” the memorable carol from the animated film. Playing now through Dec. 29. A sensory-friendly performance on Dec. 1 is designed for guests with special needs. Visit for tickets.

Make Copley Symphony Hall your home for the holidays! Noel Noel! is a festive family concert featuring Broadway powerhouse vocalist Bryonha Marie Parham (Ragtime, Book of Mormon, Porgy and Bess, Prince of Broadway). This glittering annual concert includes classics of the season like “Believe” from Polar Express. Running Dec. 15 and 20–22. A special one-hour family performance on Dec. 16 brings the toe-tapping tunes of A Charlie Brown Christmas, an audience sing-along and a telling of the beloved story of The Night Before Christmas brought to life by the music of the orchestra. Purchase tickets at

Dreaming of an old-fashioned Christmas? Just one hour east of San Diego, the historic mountain community of Julian offers a unique seasonal experience—and often even snow! Take a glimpse back in time to the famous California Gold Rush. Meet Santa and drop letters in his mailbox on the Town Hall porch weekends in December from 12–4 p.m. Local churches present a living nativity Dec. 1, 8 and 15 at 5 p.m. Learn more at

Be part of the tradition at First United Methodist Church in Mission Valley. All are invited to take part in their annual Christmas Eve celebration (Dec. 24), which includes two inspiring services. Attend at 3 p.m. for Lessons, Carols and Candle Lighting, or at 5 p.m. for a Christmas Pageant and Candle Lighting. The pageant tells the story of Jesus’ birth through stunning choral arrangements. Both events are free to attend. Learn more at


28 • • December 2018


The holiday season is busy and there are tons of fun events to ramp up your cheer in San Diego County and beyond. Here’s the secret happy parents know: You can’t do them all. Choose a few topnotch traditions to make your family’s spirits bright and enjoy the merriest time of year together.


Scripps Ballet Theatre and Scripps Performing Arts Academy team up once again for their 30th annual all-youth presentation of The Nutcracker. The cast is comprised of ballet students ages 3 to 18. “These are kids and teens who appreciate the artistry of dance and performing, and they can hardly wait to please an audience,” says dance mom Tory Robarts. “It’s truly a magical experience.” Catch the show Dec. 8–9 at the David and Dorothea Theatre in La Jolla or Dec. 23–24 at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar Tea. Learn more at


The whole family will delight in Chula Vista’s annual Starlight Parade on Dec. 1. It’s an enchanting tradition to usher in the holiday season. Dedicated to local first responders, the parade kicks off at 6 p.m. with more than 100 colorful floats, caroling groups, marching bands, dance teams, classic cars and more. Arrive early to enjoy the free Children’s Faire from 2–5 p.m. The event includes train rides, a bounce house, photos with Santa, ornament making and an all-new Elf Yourself station. As in years past, Frosty’s Snow Hill offers genuine snow for sledding. Learn more at

Scripps Perf Arts

Enjoy the magic of snowfall at Village Walk at Eastlake from Dec. 8–24 at 6 and 7 p.m. nightly. Visit a giant snow globe, where professional photographers will take portraits and video for free. Receive your images by text to use in holiday cards and social media posts. Find the snow globe near the children’s play area Dec. 9 and 16 from 4–6 p.m. Village Walk offers shopping, dining and more.


The holiday season is filled with family and fun at Otay Ranch Town Center. Visit Dec. 3 from 4–6 p.m. for Pet Photos with Santa and an adoption event with Scratch My Belly. Make your own holiday wreath with Mint Studios Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. and stop by the Farmer’s Market every Tuesday evening to keep in the spirit all season long. Visit or check Facebook for event listings.


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December 2018 • •


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Celebrate the holidays in an Alpine Wonderland at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Don’t miss the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 with celebrity guests Eric and Lindsey Bennett, hosts of HGTV’s “Desert Flippers.” Holiday choirs through Dec. 14 and Santa arrives Dec. 15. Take the kids to “Brunch with Santa” on the 16th. Ride ‘n’ Dine on Dec. 25 from 11 a.m. in Pines Café. Extended Tram hours Dec. 17–Jan. 1. Visit for details.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration offers festive fun for the whole family, including more than a million holiday lights and hundreds of beautifully decorated Christmas trees. Shining above it all is SeaWorld’s 320foot Skytower Tree of Lights, the largest “Christmas tree” in Southern California. Visit Santa’s Christmas Village for story time with Mrs. Claus, and don’t miss O Wondrous Night, a dazzling musical and live nativity. The celebration continues now through Jan. 6. Learn more at events/christmas.


30 • • December 2018


For festive family fun, check out Grossmont Center’s HolidayFest, Dec. 9, 15 and 16 from 12–3 p.m. Enjoy a day filled with costumed characters like Frosty the Snowman, Santa and his elves, a gingerbread bounce house, face painters, holiday crafts and more. Come by with family and friends for the perfect holiday experience to remember forever. Check the online schedule for live performances from Hullabaloo and story times with Traveling Stories:

Don’t miss the beloved tradition with a classic score: San Diego Ballet presents The Nutcracker Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. at Copley Symphony Hall. Treat your family to this feast for the senses. More than 100 beautifully costumed dancers lead you on a magical journey to the land of sweets. Bask in the enchanting twirls of Sugarplum Fairies amidst a flurry of snowflakes and waltzing flowers. For tickets, visit shows/the-nutcracker.



Don’t miss A Christmas Carol at Cygnet Theatre in Old Town, playing Nov. 28­– Dec. 30. The classic tale follows Ebenezer Scrooge on a haunting journey of memory, redemption and compassion. Transport your family to the Victorian world of Charles Dickens, with memorable characters like Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and all the Ghosts of Christmas. This masterful retelling incorporates original music, creative stagecraft and puppetry. Suitable for ages 5 and up. For tickets visit

Deck those paws with bells so jolly and jingle all the way to the Gaslamp for The Vet + Pet West Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade. Pet owners and their furry, feathered and scaled companions are invited to don their costumes for this jolly promenade and Holiday Pet Market on Sunday, Dec. 16 at MLK Promenade Park 12–5p.m. Parade begins at 2 p.m. Festively-attired critters compete for bragging rights and prizes in costume contest categories.


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o’s San Dieg




presents the county’s most comprehensive list of holiday light shows and glittering festivities. If you know of awesome Christmas light displays in San Diego County that aren’t listed, email linda@ to be considered next year.

North County Coastal Holidays at LEGOLAND California. Experience the magic of the holidays with music, twinkling lights and a 30-ft LEGO Christmas Tree. Enjoy live entertainment, a holiday light show and character meet and greets at the Holiday Village. Nov. 17-Dec. 31. 760-9185346. Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights. Boats decorated in holiday lights circle Oceanside Harbor. Dec. 8, 7 pm. 760-722-5751. San Diego Botanic Garden “Garden of Lights”. 125,000+ lights illuminate the Garden. Holiday crafts, visits with Santa, marshmallow roasting and more. Dec. 1-23 and 26-30, 5-8:30 pm. Adults, $15-$25, children 3-17, $5. 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas. 760-436-3036.

CARLSBAD, 92009, 92011, 92024 7607 Romeria St. The “Carlsbad Christmas House” where it snows! Walk around to see Surfin’ Santa, Snoopy & Friends ice skating, Island of Misfit Toys, animals frolicking in the waterfall, animated window display, and more. Food drive donations accepted. Dec. 2-31, 5-10 pm (closed rain days). 6646 Elegant Tern Pl. Free Santa’s mailbox and treats for the kids nightly. Santa writes back a personalized letter to each child. Santa visits on Dec. 15 with crafts, music, hot cocoa and cotton candy. All activities free. Dec. 5-25, 5-10 pm. 3520 Corte Ramon. Sixth year of decorating, different theme each year. Lights and characters coordinated to music. Dusk-10 pm.

OCEANSIDE, 92056, 92057 1615 Quiet Hills Dr. Lights synchronized to over 10 songs on 87.9 FM. 2329 Snead Dr. Lots of lights, nativity scene, animated elves, Santa Village light display. Walk up to see Christmas scene in garage. Dec. 7-31, 5:30-9 pm. 1562 Peacock Blvd. Rudolph and deer family. Christmas trees and lights. Dec. 10-Jan. 5. 5:30-10:30 pm.

32 • • December 2018

North County Inland CARMEL MOUNTAIN RANCH, 92128 Fairway Village, east and west sides of Stoney Gate Pl. 100+ homes decorated in “Holiday Magic.” Dec. 15-Jan.1, 5:30-10:30 pm.

POWAY, 92064 12631 Stoutwood St. Off Twin Peaks Rd. & Deerwood St. Nicknamed “The Griswolds.” Dec. 1-Jan. 1, 5:30-10 pm weekdays, 11 pm weekends. Hickory Ct.,Hickory St., Butterwood Ct., Rockrose Ct. All off Twin Peaks Rd. & Silverset St. named “Candy Cane Lane.” Entire cul-de-sacs are lit up. Dec. 8-24, 6-9 pm.

RAMONA, 92065 23542 Bassett Way. “Happy Lights Ramona” with 30,000+ lights animated to music on 106.9 FM using 996 computer channels to control the lights. Nov. 30Jan. 1; Sun-Th, 5:30-10 pm; Fri & Sat, 5:30-11 pm.

San Diego Central Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo. The Zoo will be aglow with holiday cheer and activities to keep the whole family jolly. Seasonal decorations, animal experiences, costumed characters, live entertainment and more. Dec. 14-Jan. 6, 9 am-8 pm (until 5 pm Dec. 24). Free with Zoo admission. 619-231-1515.

CLAIREMONT, 92117 Lana Dr. & Jamar. Off Mt. Abernathy Ave. Circular street. “Clairemont Christmas Park”. 40+ homes decorated. Dec. 1-25. 5404 Mt. Burnham Dr. Features a 96-channel animated light display to 98.5 FM. North Pole village display, train and animated figures display in garage. Dec. 10-27, 6-10 pm. 5348 Channing St. Light display to music. Dec. 4-31, dusk-10pm.

MIRA MESA, 92126 8866 Cassioepia Way. Decorated house with a gingerbread theme. Dec. 10-31, dusk-10 pm. 11505 Elbert Ct. Decorated house with a Disney theme. Dec. 10-31, dusk-10 pm.

RANCHO PEÑASQUITOS, 92129 Oviedo St. Off Black Mountain Rd. “Christmas Card Lane.” Also enter off Twin Trails Dr. & Carmel Mountain Rd. Dec. 9-31, dusk-10 pm.

SAN MARCOS, 92069, 92078 1145 Barham Dr. Festively decorated house with an electric train. Last year for Santa and Mrs. Claus. Nov. 22-Dec. 24, (weather permitting), 6:158:30 pm. 1639 Knob Hill. Off Nordahl Rd. Between Tam O’ Shanter Dr. & Augusta Dr. 31st year of decorating. 100,000+ lights plus themed displays. Nov. 22-Dec. 30, 5-9 pm. Visit with Santa Dec. 16-23, 6:30-8 pm. Facebook @ christmasonknobhill and

SCRIPPS RANCH, 92131 Stonebridge Pkwy & Merritage Ct. Nicknamed “Merry-tage Court”, entire street lit up with themes including Star Wars, Minions, Disney, Cars and more. Dec. 1-31, 5:30-9:30 pm.

SERRA MESA/MISSION VALLEY, 92123 2002 Ainsley Rd. Features a 20 ft. snowman, multiple blow-ups and lights. Dec. 1-31, dusk-9 pm.

TIERRASANTA, 92124 5306 Belardo Dr. Off Via Valarta at Via Playa De Cortes. Over 100,000 lights and decorations all sequenced and animated to music at 106.1 FM. Nov. 24-Dec. 27, 6-10 pm. 10927 Baroque Ln. A Winter Wonderland themed Christmas with 25-ft drummer boy on the roof, animated ski village, snowmen, and an RC Train that kids can drive. Dec. 7-30, 6-10 pm.

Downtown San Diego

East County

The Forward House in Bankers Hill. Come by to experience the sights and sounds of the season at 108 Ivy St. (1st & Ivy). Built in 1905 for S.D. Mayor John Forward Sr, adorned with lights every season since 1998. Nov. 22-Dec. 31, 5–10 pm. 619-533-7900.

CAMPO, 91906

South Park’s Luminaria Season. Trees, lamp posts, roofs and courtyards all decorated with lights. Along 30th St. and Fern St. from Juniper to Grape to Beech. Nov.19-Jan. 1.

San Diego Coastal Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. Over 100 vessels. Begins on Quivira Basin. Dec. 8, starts at 6 pm. 858488-0501. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. 47th Anniversary. “Tropical Island Christmas” theme. Dec. 9 & 16, 5 pm. Starts off Shelter Island, goes through the harbor and ends at the Ferry Landing, Coronado.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. SeaWorld is decked out with more than a million holiday lights and a 40-ft. tree with an animated light show. Also visit Rudolph’s Christmastown, check out holiday-themed animal shows such as Clyde & Seamore’s Christmas Special, Dolphin Island Christmas and O Wondrous Night, a living nativity performed nightly under the stars, told through the eyes of the animals. New this year is Rudolph’s Movie Experience featuring special effects such as snowfall and the aroma of hot chocolate-daily in the park’s Mission Bay Theater. Nov. 17-Jan. 6.

2434 Cypress Dr. 50 inflatables, lights, music and lighted yard decorations. Weekends only, Dec. 1-31, 6:30-10pm.

EL CAJON, 92019, 92020, 92021 Jingle Bell Hill (also known as Pepper Dr. Lights). Solomon Ave./Pegeen Pl. and surrounding area. Off 67 & Bradley. Dec. 8-26, Mon-Th, 6-9 pm, Fri-Sun, 6-10 pm. 11456 Pegeen Pl. “Nightmare Before Christmas” theme, complete with Jack, Sally, Zero, the Mayor & Oogie Boogie. Santa may make a surprise visit. Dec. 1-Jan. 5, Mon-Th, 6-9 pm and Fri-Sun, 6-10 pm. 1838 El Pico Dr. Off Hacienda Dr. 54th year decorating the 20-ft. star on top of an 80-ft twinkling tree of lights overlooking El Cajon Valley. Nov. 25-Dec. 31. Also experience over 40,000 programmed lihgts and a 55-ft. automated train. Dec. 14-31, dusk-10 pm. 9777 Valley Ranch Rd. Two houses of lights programmed to 87.9 FM. Giant dazzling trees and a winter wonderland of computerized lights and music show. Nov. 24-Dec. 26, 5-10:30 pm. 1552 Cajon Greens Pl. Thousands of lights, music and yard decorations synchronized to 97.7, plus projector with movies for the kids. Dec. 1-Jan. 2, Sun-Th, dusk-10 pm and Fri-Sat, dusk-midnight. 3001 Golf Crest Ridge Rd. Nicely decorated house. Dec. 15, 6-10 pm Santa hands out candy canes and poses for photos. Donations accepted for Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Dec. 1-31, dusk-10pm.

LAKESIDE, 92040 10248 Paseo Palmas Dr. 20+ houses nicknamed “Tinsel Town.” Dec. 5-25, 5:30-9 pm.

SANTEE, 92071 Starlight Circle/Sunburst Santee. Tomel Court, off Magnolia. 75 homes lit up in an easy to walk circle. Dec. 1-31, dusk-10 pm. 9325 Pebble Beach Dr. Full light display on home and yard set to music. Dec. 1-31, dusk-10 pm. 9435 Saint Andrews Dr. Santee’s gingerbread house with over 15,000 LED lights. Nov. 24-Jan. 1, dusk-10pm. 9773 Roe Dr. 31,000 computer controlled Christmas lights. Pictures with Frozen Dec.14, Jack & Sally Dec. 15, Santa Dec. 21 and The Grinch Dec.22. Donations of unwrapped presents accepted for Santee Santas and monetary donations for St.Jude’s. Dec. 1-31. 6-10 pm. Like us at for updates.

SPRING VALLEY, 91977 4037 N. Bonita St. Lots of lights, music, penguins, Snoopy, Mickey, Minnie and Santa in the window. Dec. 10-Jan. 5, dusk-11 pm.

South Bay Hotel del Coronado Celebrate “A Christmas Legend” as this California gem transforms into a winter wonderland with Skating by the Sea, jingle s’mores, Polar Bear Tea, Santa Brunches, holiday parties and lavish feasts. From soaring red turrets decked in thousands of white lights to a Victorian lobby dressed in holiday splendor, visitors of all ages delight in the best West Coast winter. 1500 Orange Ave. 619-522-8490.

CHULA VISTA, 91910, 91911, 91914, 91915 Whitney St./Mankato. Circle between First and Second Ave. off H St. & 1st Ave. “Christmas Circle.” 61st year of decorating 55+ homes. Dec. 8-26, 5-10 pm.


Sights and Sounds of Christmas. Walk the San Diego Temple grounds and enjoy more than 130,000 lights and nativity scenes. Free. Nov. 23-Jan. 1, 5-11 pm. San Diego Temple, 7474 Charmant Dr., UTC.

LA MESA, 91941, 91942



Garrison St. & Chatsworth. Off Rosecrans. “Garrison Street Lights”. Dec. 1-31. dusk-10 pm.

2618 Sheri Lane. Cul-de-sac turns into Santa Claus Lane. Computerized light show at 6:30 pm and every 30 minutes until 9pm on 89.9 FM. Dec. 1-25.

6266 De Camp Dr. 22-ft tree of light and more. Lights dance to Christmas songs. Accepting donations for Ronald McDonald House. Dec. 125, 5-9 pm. 689 Meadowbrook Dr. Off Jamacha Rd. South of Lemon Grove. Occasional sightings of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Dec. 8-Jan. 1, dusk-10 pm.

Limousine Services Instead of doing the driving yourself, why not hire a party bus limo? Make it a party with family and friends! You’ll have a blast being chauffeured around town in style.

2160 Reo Dr. Lights and decorations. On Dec. 16, 7-9 pm meet Santa and enjoy hot cocoa, cookies and s’mores. Nov. 22-Dec. 31, 6-10 pm.

Merry Christmas #sdfamilylights – Share your holiday light photos with us!

H No Driving H No Hassles H Pajamas Optional

Top Dog Limo Bus 858-581-3644

December 2018 • •


National Stress-Free Holiday Month • Safe Toys & Gifts Month • Pear Month


Jennifer A. Burman


Unwrap the magic of the holidays with our (Santa-approved) list of the biggest and brightest happenings of the season, guaranteed to banish your inner Grinch! Don’t forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

Still looking for last month’s events? Check out the digital edition of our November issue at

saturday | 1 “Dr. Seuss’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” Don’t miss this wonderful, whimsical musical based on the classic Dr. Seuss book. Through Dec. 29; visit website for schedule. Tickets start at $29. Old Globe Theatre, Balboa Park. See page 28. Holiday at the Rancho offers a blend of holiday spirit with a bit of western history! Check out a 14-foot tree lighting, train rides, games, shopping, cookie decorating and photos with Santa. 5-8 pm. $10; under 3 free. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, 6200 Flying L.C. Lane. Carlsbad. (activity number: 28992). FREE Little Italy’s Tree Lighting & Christmas Village. Featuring two Christmas trees and 10-foot-tall nutcrackers on street corners, vendors, entertainment, carriage rides, holiday treats and Santa. 4-8 pm. Tree lighting is at the Piazza della Famiglia at 6:30 pm; Christmas Village is located on India St., between W. Cedar and W. Grape Sts., downtown San Diego. Seas ‘n’ Greetings. Deck the Hall (of Fishes) and get into the holiday spirit with Scuba Santa, animal encounters, a scavenger hunt and more. Today until Dec. 31, 9 am-5 pm. Note: No holiday dive shows on Dec. 24 & 31; only elves will appear in the dive shows

Plan fun family adventures with Out & About with Kids! Access the digital edition at from Dec. 26-30. Free with admission. Birch Aquarium, 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla. Cygnet Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol.” Through Dec. 30; visit website for schedule and tickets. Come to Family Day tomorrow (1-2 pm) that includes an activity station by Geppetto’s Toys, kids’ activities, free hot chocolate and more. 4040 Twiggs St., San Diego. See page 30 for details. San Diego STEAM Maker Festival. More than 200 participating schools, more than 100 student teams participating in STEAM challenges and industry/tech company demos and activities. 10 am-3 pm. $6-$8. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. FREE Tree Lighting at Omni La Costa Resort and Spa. A skydiving Santa (4 pm), hot chocolate and cider, carolers, crafts and a holiday market. 1-4 pm; tree lighting, 5:15 pm. 2100 Costa Del Mar Rd., Carlsbad. www

Christmas on Crystal Pier. Have your photos taken with Santa on the end of historic Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. 2-5 pm; please arrive by 4 pm. $10 ($5 if you bring a school supply donation). FREE Family Activities at Renaissance Village Academy. Family Game Day, 10 am-3 pm; Holiday Arts & Crafts, 3-5 pm. 10625 Scripps Ranch Blvd., Ste. A, San Diego. FREE Santa’s Village & Tree Lighting. Breakfast with Santa (9-11 am; $5), crafts, vendors and all-day entertainment. 9 am-7 pm; tree lighting, 5:30 pm. San Marcos Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Dr. Parol Lantern Festival by PASACAT. Experience Christmas in the Philippines

FREE Winter Wonderland Festival

Experience all things merry and bright at this annual event where kids can play with real snow, make winter-themed crafts, see live reindeer and whisper their holiday wishes in Santa’s ear. Also browse holiday vendors, enjoy themed entertainment, from carolers to stilt walkers, and see the Lyric Court come alive with twinkling lights. Dec. 1, 3-8 pm. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd.

34 • • December 2018

Wacky Wonky Wonderland

Spread some holiday cheer to children in need courtesy of this holiday festival/donation drive by the San Diego Center for Children. Jolly highlights include carnival games and jumps, crafts, trackless train rides, photos with Santa and Wacky Willy, a holiday costume contest and Vespa Motorsport’s Scooter Toy Run. Dec. 9, 11 am-2 pm. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy, a $25 gift card from the Center’s holiday wish list or a monetary donation. 3002 Armstrong St., San Diego. courtesy of this annual celebration that showcases cultural entertainment, festive foods, family activities and an impressive display of parol lanterns. 2-6 pm. $15-$25. Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation, 404 Euclid Ave., San Diego. FREE Holiday Tree Lighting in Solana Beach. Plus live music, a visit from Santa, cookies, cider and treats. 4:30-7 pm; Santa arrives at 5:20 pm. Fletcher Cove Park, 111 S. Sierra Ave. Sailing with Santa Harbor Cruise. Cruise San Diego Bay with Captain Santa at the helm! Featuring hosts John & Tammy from KSON 103.7, onboard appearances from KYXY 96.5 and Sunny 98.1, themed refreshments and more. 10 am-12:15 pm. $16-$32 plus tax, service charge and landing fee. Reservations recommended. Pier 2, 970 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. FREE South Park Holiday Walkabout & Tree Lighting. Appearances by Santa and the Grinch, dazzling neighborhood lights, as well as live entertainment, special offers and free treats offered by neighborhood businesses. 5:30-10 pm. Grape St. Square (Grape & Fern Sts.). Holiday by the Bay. Bayfront Park transforms into the ultimate holiday destination featuring a two-story, 100-foot ice tubing slide, ice bumper cars, nightly snow flurries, a light show, gingerbread decorating and more. Today, tomorrow, Dec. 7-9, 14-16, 21-30 & Jan. 4-5, 5-11 pm. Hilton San Diego Bayfront, 1 Park Blvd., downtown San Diego. For tickets, visit North Coast Repertory Theatre Presents “The Snow Queen.” Catch this enchanting, nonmusical production by The Theatre School @ North Coast Rep. Today, 2 & 6 pm;

tomorrow, 2 pm. $12-$16. 987 Lomas Santa Fe Dr., Solana Beach. FREE Merry Happenings at The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch. Train rides (today, tomorrow, Dec. 8 & 9, 11 am-8 pm), a tree lighting (tonight, 5-7:30 pm) with music, sweet treats and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus (also, Dec. 9, 3-6 pm). 13490 Pacific Highlands Ranch Pkwy., San Diego.

sunday | 2 Hanukkah, Dec. 2-10 FREE Santa by the Sea. Delight in holiday goodies, refreshments and crafts, watch live performances, write a letter to Santa, and come to the annual tree lighting (5 pm). 3-5 pm. Please bring packaged gift donations to benefit the North County Health Services. Northwest cor. of Camino Del Mar & 15th St., Del Mar. FREE San Pasqual Battle Day. This annual event focuses on the interpretation and commemoration of the 1846 Battle of San Pasqual through living history activities that will transport visitors to the battlefield 172 years ago. 11 am-3 pm. San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park, 15808 San Pasqual Valley Rd., Escondido. “Winter Wonders” Family Day. Discover how animals get ready for the winter months ahead. Includes hands-on activities and a take-home craft. 11 am. Free with museum admission. San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park. Jolly Surprises at The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Come to the tree lighting ceremony tonight at 5:30 pm, see performances by holiday choirs on select

days, enjoy a Santa visit on Dec. 15 from 11 am-3 pm, don’t miss special holiday dining on Christmas Day and more. 1 Tram Way, Palm Springs. For details, see page 30. FREE Family Fun Days: Reptiles. Meet resident reptiles before they take a long winter nap. 11:30 am-1:30 pm. San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, 2710 Manchester Ave., Cardiffby-the-Sea. FREE Winter Fest in Vista. Holiday carolers, cupcake decorating, mariachis, a parade of Christmas trees, a tree lighting and a holiday marketplace. 2-7 pm. Vista Village Complex, 25 Main St. FREE Treasure Hunt & Santa Photos. Kids, ages 3-12, can pick up a holiday treasure map at the registration table (outside of Sublime Ale House), and receive a goodie bag after having the map stamped at participating businesses. See Santa outside of Katsu for a quick photo op. Noon-2 pm. Old California Restaurant Row, 1020 W. San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos. Festive Farmhouse: A Farmstead Holiday Celebration. Help decorate the 1880s Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead, and make decorations similar to those of the San Pasqual Valley pioneers to take home with you. Also, farmhouse tours, Christmas music, hot drinks and cookies. 11 am-3 pm. Suggested donation: $5; under 12 free. 12655 Sunset Dr., Escondido. FREE The Salvation Army’s Community Carol Concert. Spend an evening of delightful music and a visit from Santa. 5-7 pm. 6611 University Ave., San Diego. san_diego2/events/the-salvation-armys-6thannual-community-carol-concert. December 2018 • •


Jingle all the way to San Diego’s Christmas Parades December is surely the

most wonderful time of year as this month abounds with Christmas parades that fill the season with joy, sparkle and holiday cheer! Vista Christmas Parade. This year’s theme: “A Candyland Christmas.” Dec. 1, 1 pm. Historic downtown Vista Village. For parade route, visit Chula Vista Starlight Parade & Children’s Faire. Parade travels along Third Ave., from H to E Sts., on Dec. 1, starting at 6 pm. The Children’s Faire will be held at Memorial Park (373 Park Way) from 2-5 pm. Learn more on page 29. North Park Toyland Parade. Marching bands, vintage cars, dance groups, city officials and other parade entries at this annual parade that travels down University Ave., between Utah & Iowa Sts. Dec. 1, 11 am-1 pm. Ocean Beach Holiday Parade: “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Dec. 1, 5:05 pm. Encinitas Holiday Parade. This year’s theme: “Botanical Oasis.” Parade entries will march, roll, cycle, scoot and cruise down Coast Hwy. 101 on this magical evening. Dec. 1, 5:30-7:30 pm. Santa will make a brief appearance at the Lumberyard courtyard (near Starbucks) at 5 pm. Fallbrook Christmas Parade. Lighted floats, dancers, marching bands, classic vehicles and Santa at this annual parade with the theme, “A Toyland Christmas.” Dec. 1, 5 pm. Along Main Ave., downtown Fallbrook. Kiwanis Club of San Marcos Holiday Parade. This year’s “Super Hero Holiday” parade starts at Palomar College then travels east on Mission Rd., turns right onto San Marcos Blvd., and ends at the San Marcos Civic Center. Dec. 2, 1 pm.

36 • • December 2018

Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade La Jolla Christmas Parade: “The Sounds of Christmas.” Parade travels along Girard Ave. Dec. 2, 1:30 pm. Also, don’t miss the Holiday Festival with live entertainment and photos with Santa from 10:30 am-1 pm. 1008 Wall St. (in front of the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library). Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Snow Festival. Glowing floats, vehicles, children’s units and other entries are featured in this hometown holiday celebration parade that travels down Alpine Blvd. Festival is at the Alpine Creek Town Center (1347 Tavern Rd.) that includes free sledding, kids’ activities, entertainment, Santa and vendors. Dec. 7, 6:30-9 pm. Holiday Parade & Open House in Coronado. Parade starts at 8th & Orange, then travels along Orange Ave. to R. H. Dana. Dec. 7, 6 pm. www.coronadochamber .com/holiday-parade.html. Escondido Jaycees Christmas Parade. This year’s theme: “Wild About Christmas.” Parade travels south on Broadway, from Escondido High School to Grape Day Park. 9:30 am. After the parade, come to a holiday festival at Grape Day Park that offers cultural performances, piñatas and other activities. Dec. 8, 11 am-7 pm.

Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights. See festively decorated boats in the Oceanside Harbor. Dec. 8, 7 pm. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. Approximately 80 lavishly decorated boats at this year’s parade with the theme, “A Tropical Island Christmas.” The parade starts at Shelter Island and proceeds to Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, and ends at the Ferry Landing in Coronado. Dec. 9 & 16, 5 pm. Pacific Beach Holiday Parade starts on Garnet Ave. and Haines St., and travels down to Bayard. Dec. 15, 1-3 pm. Vet + Pet West Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade. On Dec. 16, the parade steps off at 2 pm from under the iconic Gaslamp Quarter Archway, continues up Fifth Ave. to E St., then down Fourth Ave., ending at MLK Promenade Park (401 K St., downtown San Diego) where the Holiday Pet Market is held from noon5 pm. $15-$20 per pet participant in the parade. See page 30 for details. Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade. America’s largest balloon parade includes spectacular floats, world-class marching bands and gigantic balloons (look for Family Magazine staff pulling one!). Dec. 31, 10 am. On Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego.









Get the kids involved in decorating for Hanukkah by making a menorah with wooden blocks.




Art with Alyssa: DIY Menorah Craft




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Ages 5-11

Paint blocks in traditional blue and silver or craft a menorah in your own unique design. Consider decorating with patterned scrapbook paper and coordinating colors. Be creative!

Altitude Gift Cards Make Great Gifts!

Find complete instructions at for-the-kids/crafts-for-kids. v

Alyssa Navapanich is an art enthusiast who teaches art to elementary school kids in North County.

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Tony/Dec 2018







Dec 24–28 & Dec 31–Jan 4

SD Chess Club Building in Balboa Park 2225 Sixth Ave, 92101

Daily o Field Trips to Zo & Museums in Balboa Park!

All activities conducted in target language Fun and engaging approach Music • Games • Cultural Activities Conversation & Literature

Hurry, space is limited! Tutoring Always Available

Full Day Half Day Single Day


760-842-5142 1928 HACIENDA DR., VISTA, CA 92081

619.366.3098 • • December 2018 • •


Calendar • December FREE SoNo Fest & Chili Cook-Off. This annual event features more than 40 local chefs, 22 breweries, a holiday market, two music stages, a food truck court and Kid’s Fest with multiple bounce houses, carnival games, face painters and a Kid’s Fest stage. 11 am-5 pm. 32nd & Thorn Sts., North Park.

monday | 3 FREE Hullabaloo Performances. Catch this award-winning musical duo perform highenergy, foot-stomping music for kids. Today, 10:30 am at Encinitas Community Center; Dec. 6, 10 am at Del Mar Highlands Town Center; Dec. 9, noon at the food court patio of Grossmont Center; Dec. 18, 10:30 am at Kensington Library; Dec. 19, 11 am at Del Mar Plaza. FREE Hanukkah Celebration & Menorah Lighting. 5-9 pm. Central Promenade at Liberty Station, Point Loma.

tuesday | 4 Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station. Enjoy outdoor ice skating and spread holiday cheer as you help support kids undergoing cancer treatment. Through Jan. 6, 10 am-10 pm (except Christmas Day). $13-$15 includes skate rental and helmets.;

wednesday | 5 Go, Gulls! The San Diego Gulls will play against the Tucson Roadrunners tonight at 7 pm. Other home games this month: Dec. 15 & 19 (vs. San Jose); Dec. 21 (vs. Ontario); Dec. 27 (vs. Bakersfield). Valley View Casino Center, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., San Diego. For tickets and game times, visit Family Night: Make a Holiday Countdown Wall Hanger. 6-7 pm. $3 per project. Register online. San Marcos Community Center, 3 Civic Center Dr. The Sky Tonight: Understanding the Stars. 7 & 8:15 pm. $17.95-$19.95. For ages 6 & up. Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park. Ho-Ho-Holiday Happenings at Otay Ranch Town Center. Create a holiday wreath with Mint Studio tonight from 6-8 pm ($15; register online) and pose for photos with Santa and tell him what’s on your wish list (through Dec. 24). Pet Photos with Santa every Monday through Dec. 17, 5-8 pm. 2015 Birch Rd., Chula Vista. See page 29 for more details.

thursday | 6 Skating by the Sea. Skate on a magnificent beachfront ice rink that boasts breathtaking views of the Pacific. Through Jan. 1; visit website for hours. $30. A portion

of the proceeds will be donated to Make-AWish San Diego. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave.

friday | 7 City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” This classic Victorian-era story of the adventures of Clara, the Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy is told through a magical theatrical experience. Tonight, Dec. 14 & 21, 7:30 pm; tomorrow, Dec. 15 & 22, 2 & 7:30 pm; Dec. 9 & 23, 2 pm; Dec. 16, 1 pm. $30-$89. Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway, downtown San Diego. Scripps Performing Arts Musical Theatre Department Presents “Seussical The Musical, Jr.” Tonight & Dec. 14, 7 pm; tomorrow, Dec. 9, 15 & 16, 4 pm. Vincent Paul Black Box Theater, 9920 Scripps Lake Dr. #105, San Diego. FREE Balboa Park December Nights. Spectacular light displays, holiday flavors from around the world, arts and culture, and merry attractions throughout the park. Balboa Park museums will also offer free admission from 5-9 pm each night. Today, 3-11 pm & tomorrow, noon11 pm. FREE Holiday in the Village. Walk the streets of La Mesa’s historic downtown and delight in music and dance, craft vendors, food and a kids’ area with holiday movies and other activities. Today, 4-9 pm & tomorrow, 10 am-9 pm.

saturday | 8 Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hula, Flamenco, Pilates 2 years thru Adult Boys Program Annual Performance Opportunity

Find your spot at the barre! (858) 560-5676 Kearny Mesa, Liberty Station & La Mesa

38 • • December 2018

Kids in the Garden: Stone Soup and Breadsticks. Enjoy the story and make the soup! Farmer Jones will teach about nutrition in veggies. 10 am-noon. $5. Preregistration required. Alta Vista Botanical Gardens, 1270 Vale Terrace Dr., Vista. www; 760-822-6824. FREE Holiday Fun at Village Walk at Eastlake. Photos with Santa, a coloring book giveaway, train rides and crafts for ages 12 & under. Noon-3 pm. Also, afternoon snowfalls (1, 2 & 3 pm today; nightly, tonight until Dec. 24, 6 & 7 pm) and a giant snow globe (tomorrow & Dec. 16, 4-6 pm). 878 Eastlake Pkwy., Chula Vista. Details on page 29.

M ontessori …


Why Montessori Education? Dr. Maria Montessori demonstrated that children learn best in an environment of love, trust, understanding, patience and consistency. With a Montessori education, students can excel academically, while experiencing the values of cooperation, respect, self-confidence, and the joy of learning! For an education that can transform lives, contact your local Montessori school.

“A Montessori Student is a Future Citizen of the World” North County Coastal CENTRAL MONTESSORI SCHOOL Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten Lic. #376700910

Encinitas, Cardiff, Carlsbad, La Costa

East County


MONTESSORI ACHIEVEMENT CENTRE Preschool/Kindergarten Lic. #376600356

ENCINITAS COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Preschool/Elementary/Middle


Two Locations in Encinitas Encinitas

10435 Campo Rd., Spring Valley 91978 Rancho San Diego

Lic. #372005943



San Diego Coastal

BETH MONTESSORI Infants/Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten


8121 Braddock Place, San Diego 92114 Lemon Grove

8660 Gilman Dr., La Jolla 92037-2202 La Jolla

San Marcos, Vista, Escondido, Imperial Beach

MONTESSORI DISCOVERY SCHOOL First Step/Preschool/Kindergarten


Lic. #376614702


Lic. #376600555

Lic. # 376700496


Lic. #372005444 • AMS Affiliated School

8559 Fanita Dr., Santee 92071 Santee, San Carlos, Fletcher Hills

2640 Soderblom Ave., San Diego 92122 La Jolla, Pacific Beach, University City



Lic. #376700980


North County Inland COUNTRY MONTESSORI SCHOOL Preschool/Kindergarten/Elementary Lic # 372006093

12642 Monte Vista Road, Poway, CA 92064 Poway, Rancho Bernardo, 4SRanch, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Penasquitos


South Bay

MONTESSORI AMERICAN SCHOOL Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten

SCRIPPS MONTESSORI SCHOOL Toddler/Preschool/Elementary

3604 Bonita Road, Chula Vista 91910 Bonita, Chula Vista & Eastlake

9939 Old Grove Rd., San Diego 92131 Scripps Ranch

Lic. #370805837


Lic. # 370801839


“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment.” December 2018 • •


Calendar • December

Happy Kids Hang Out Here

“Home Alone” Family Movie Night. Bring the family to play in the snow when gates open at 5:30 pm. Movie starts at 7 pm. $5-$10. Moonlight Amphitheatre, 1200 Vale Terrace Dr., Vista.

You can go to work confident your child is safe, happy, having fun and thriving with our teachers. We help your child develop excitement and curiosity about learning, plus strong self-esteem that will last a lifetime.

Scripps Ballet Theatre and Scripps Performing Arts Academy Present “The Nutcracker.” Today & tomorrow, 2 pm at David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre (4126 Executive Dr., La Jolla). $25-$35. Also, Dec. 23 & 24, noon-12:45 pm during the Nutcracker Holiday Tea at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar Hotel (5300 Grand Del Mar Ct.). $38-$65. Learn more on page 29.

FREE REGISTRATION ($100 value) Expires 12/31/18

Breakfast with Santa at Fallbrook Community Center. Plus crafts and entertainment. 8-10:30 am. $5. 341 Heald Ave.; 760-728-1671.

Newborn - Age 5 Preschool & Child Development Center

Caring for children for over 21 years! 3422 Tripp Ct., San Diego, CA 92121 Located off Sorrento Valley Rd. Easy access to I5 and I805

FREE Christmas in the Park. This oldfashioned tradition features caroling, horsedrawn hay and pony rides, steam locomotive train rides, model train displays, a Santa visit, a petting zoo and holiday treats. 3:30-8:30 pm;

(858) 794-9130

California State License Numbers 3766000130 /1

Education Made Personal The Learning Choice Academy A FREE Personalized Learning School for Grades TK–12 • A credentialed educational partner to assist you • Specialized programs available; AIM, full day, middle and high school options • Funds for enrichment classes • UC approved high school courses • Field trips, internships, teen club

WASC accredited. Se habla español.


Chula Vista • San Diego • Scripps Ranch • Temecula

Call now for our next orientation. 844 GO TO TLC (844-468-6852) Visit for more information. 40 • • December 2018

Nicole/Dec 2018/cr

nurturing cOnfident tree lighting at 5:15 pm followed by Santa’s arrival at 5:30 pm. Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Rd.

Rediscover the JOY of Learning! Renaissance Village Academy is a private, nonreligious full-time school serving gifted, profoundly gifted, and highly motivated children in grades pre-K to 8th.

San Diego Ice Arena’s “Christmas on Broadway.” Noon, 3:30 & 7 pm. $15-$25. 11048 Ice Skate Place, Mira Mesa.; 858-530-1825, ext. 302. Gingerbread House Workshop at L’Auberge Del Mar. Enjoy this timehonored tradition brought to you by Mint Studio. 10 am-noon. $35. Register online. 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar. Parent’s Night Out in Escondido. Need to get some holiday shopping done or simply want to have a date night? Let the girls of Girl Scout Troop 2034 have fun with the kids! Pizza, snacks, games, crafts and a movie are included. Tonight & Dec. 15, 5-10 pm. $15-$25. Reservations required. LR Green Elementary School, 3115 Las Palmas Ave. Contact Erin Fullerton at 760-566-8440.

Put a twinkle in your child’s eyes with our Map of Christmas Lights, starting on page 32.

sunday | 9 FREE Grossmont Center’s HolidayFest. Crafts, face painting, Santa and his elves, costumed characters and more. Today, Dec. 15 & 16, noon-3 pm. 5500 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa. See page 30 for details. Garden of Lights. See more than 125,000 sparkling lights illuminate the flora of this 37-acre urban oasis. Also, marshmallow roasting, Santa visits (today-Dec. 23), snow for sledding, horse-drawn wagon rides (on select evenings) and a nutcracker display. TonightDec. 23 & 26-30, 5-8:30 pm. Visit website for tickets. San Diego Botanic Garden, 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas. FREE Merry Happenings at The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch. See Dec. 1. Wacky Wonky Wonderland. See page 35.

cOmmunicAtOrs Individualized speech-language evaluations & therapy for children at no cost to families nOw Accepting ApplicAtiOns!

Each student learns at his/her own level, based on ability, not age. Subjects include: English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Music, Art, and Karate. Contact the school to set up a tour.

FREE ACTIVITY: Saturday, December 1st

Family Game Day 10 AM - 3 PM

Holiday Arts & Crafts 3 PM - 5 PM

GivinG The GifT Of Speech, One VOice At A time. Tm

Renaissance Village Academy

1895 Camino del Rio S, San Diego, CA 92108

10625 Scripps Ranch Blvd. Suite A San Diego, CA 92131 • 858.564.9622

(619) 291-2506

Serving Allied Gardens, San Carlos, Del Cerro Easy Access for SDSU

Kindergarten teachers love students from our programs! ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓

Serving Ages 2 - 6 (Diapers OK) 2, 3, 4 & 5 Day Schedules Full Day Enrichment Program 3 Large, Beautiful Playgrounds Loving, Caring and Secure Environment

Canyon Rim Children's Center “Dedicated to the individuality of children.”

6801 Easton Court San Diego, CA 92120

Schedule a tour now: (619) 287-6767


December 2018 • •


Giovanni/Oct 2018

Calendar • December monday | 10 Ice Skating at Viejas Casino & Resort. Enjoy Southern California’s largest outdoor ice skating rink. Through Jan.; visit website for hours. $14-$16. Viejas Outlet Center, 5003 Willows Rd., Alpine.

tuesday | 11

English–Mandarin dual CurriCuluM ElEMEntary sChool Balboa School is a private elementary, middle, and high school accredited by WASC & AdvancED.

Balboa School is a private elementary, middle, and high school accrdited by WASC & AdvancED.

Now g! in Enroll

The Old Globe Presents “Clint Black’s Looking for Christmas.” A heartwarming musical about family, loyalty and the magic of Christmas from country music legend, Clint Black, inspired by his 1995 chart-topping holiday album. Through Dec. 31; visit website for schedule. Tickets start at $39. Old Globe Theatre, Balboa Park.

wednesday | 12 Photos with Santa at Seaport Village. Through Dec. 24; visit website for complete schedule and photo packages. 849 W. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. “Peppa Pig Live: Peppa Pig’s Big Surprise!” This live show encompasses the charming, colorful nature of the popular preschool series, and includes new songs and life-size puppets. 6 pm. Visit website for tickets. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd.

thursday | 13

GATE students bored? Come join us!

accrdited by WASC & AdvancED.


December 9th 12:30PM – 2:30PM

• All subjects taught in both languages – Mandarin & English • Builds bi-literate competency in English & Mandarin and develops cultural awareness • Small class size offering individualized support • Cultivates creativity • Integrated Math program combining California Math with SingaporeENROLLING Math

Call: (760) 294-4490 NOW! Email: Text: (858) 205-7263 after 3 pm Address: 855 Brotherton Rd. Escondido, CA 92025 Website: 42 • • December 2018

Nature & Me Story Time: Winter Animals. 10:15 am. Free with museum admission. Recommended for ages 1-5. San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park.

friday | 14 SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Featuring Santa’s Christmas Village, Rudolph’s Christmastown and themed shows like Clyde and Seamore’s Christmas Special, Dolphin Island Christmas and O Wondrous Night. Through Jan. 6; visit website for hours and admission. Interstate 5, exit SeaWorld Dr., San Diego. See page 30 for details. California Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” Tonight, Dec. 19-21, 7 pm; tomorrow & Dec. 22, 2 & 7 pm; Dec. 16 & 23, 1 & 5:30 pm. $25-$95. For ages 4 & up. Also, toddler-


School Recognition: Outstanding Teachers Read the teacher bios below to learn more about these non-traditional learning environments. Contact the schools directly for more information. Congratulations to this month’s awesome educators!

Ceri Langell is one of our amazing instructors at Little Fish;

she graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and now publishes her own independent comic, “Corrsolla Robot.” Ceri designed and teaches our Sunday “Comic Creation” and “Animation” classes. Little Fish Comic Book Studio • 6822B El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92115


We’re thrilled to have Erin Thomson as a middle school teacher at Compass (CCS): “When I joined the Compass staff, I immediately noticed a culture of teamwork among colleagues and scholars. I believe that is what allows CCS to thrive as an independent study school. We are privileged to work with children from various cultural and social backgrounds, many who have suffered from illness, bullying or other difficult experiences. They come to us looking for a challenge, a new chance, someone that understands, or for meaningful connections. Both staff and scholars emit kindness and respect for each other, in our unique virtual learning environment. We foster compassion and integrity, and seek to provide children with tools to become dignified, highachieving, educated citizens. I encourage everyone to explore all that CCS has to offer and hope you join our amazing culture of teamwork.” For more information visit: Tuition Free • Grades TK–12 • Engaging Coursework • Flexible Schedule • Amazing Engagement Opportunities

877.506.8631 |

Located in University City Ages Two through Sixth Grade


Call us to tour and experience our individual and rigorous method of creating life long learners.



“A community where every child is known.”

Tuition Free K-12 Public Schools

Literacy First Charter Schools Find us on


December 2018 • •



Canyon Rim Children's Center “Dedicated to the individuality of children.”

Canyon Rim Children’s Center (CRCC) has been providing high quality, enrichment, preschool programs for San Diego children since 1998. We are a full day, year round, enrichment program. Our learning philosophy is based on developmentally appropriate practices inspired by the schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Our developmental, play-based, preschool serves children ages two through six.

At CRCC, we strive to maintain child to teacher ratios lower than those required by the State of California. Our teachers’ educational credentials exceed those as specified by the State. Our professional staff creates a safe and caring environment where the emphasis is on learning through play. As Fred Rogers, a.k.a., “Mr. Rogers” said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” We recognize each child is a unique person with individual rates of growth. Our goal is to meet each child’s

44 • • December 2018

emotional, social, cognitive and physical needs in a relaxed, loving environment, free from personal criticism and excessive competition. Activities in art, music, math, language, science, dramatic play, fine and gross motor development are fashioned to facilitate transition from one developmental stage to the next. Our teachers also use our wellequipped, natural playgrounds to support exploration and promote physical development. Natural outdoor spaces enhance curiosity & encourage children to develop an appreciation and awareness of nature. At CRCC, children develop the skills of observation, inquiry, concentration, problem solving, and self-reliance. Our structured, yet open-ended program prepares each child to utilize his or her intellectual and creative abilities in future learning tasks. Here we work to give each child the tools and the foundation on which to build a lifetime of learning. Kindergarten teachers love our CRCC children!

Calendar • December friendly performances today & Dec. 21, 2 pm. $26.25-$50; lap tickets $5. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 3rd Ave., downtown San Diego. Jungle Bells. Ring in the holiday season with the Zoo’s annual celebration where guests are treated to seasonal decorations, animal experiences, lighted displays and live entertainment including zany Dr. Zoolittle and Santa. Today until Jan. 6; zoo open from 9 am-8 pm (Dec. 24, 9 am-5 pm). Included with admission. Balboa Park. “The Nutcracker” by San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. Journey to the magical Land of the Sweets with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince in this holiday classic production set to the timeless music of Tchaikovsky. Tonight & Dec. 21, 7 pm; tomorrow & Dec. 22, 2 & 7 pm; Dec. 16 & 23, 2 pm. $12-$18. Casa del Prado Theatre, Balboa Park. A Rawhide Country Christmas. Pony and hay rides, photos with Santa, equestrian vaulting exhibitions, Christmas carols around a campfire, petting zoo and holiday snacks. Today, tomorrow & Dec. 16, 3-8 pm. $10 per vehicle; free admission for active military, Fire Dept. personnel and law enforcement officers (show ID). 6987 W. Lilac Rd., Bonsall. The Enchanted Village. Brilliantly lit trees, magical cottages, live performers, a snow machine, hands-on exhibits and more. Today, tomorrow, Dec. 16, 21-23, 4-8 pm. $9.99-$14.99. Proceeds benefit adults with developmental disabilities. Noah Homes, 12526 Campo Rd., Spring Valley. Don’t forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

saturday | 15 Parent’s Nite Out at Elite Gymnastics Academy: All That Glitters is Snow. Kids, ages 4 & up, have a great time with gymnastics, games and lots of play. 6-10 pm. $20. Register online. 1817 John Towers Ave., El Cajon.

For more information go to www or to schedule a tour call (619) 287-6767.

Christmas Tree Lighting at Children’s Nature Retreat. Celebrate the season with the animals, and enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies. 4 pm. Included with admission. Call for reservations. 5178 Japatul Spur, Alpine. www.childrensnature; 619-320-4942.

Grand Tradition’s Brunch with Santa. Besides a visit from St. Nick, the morning includes storytelling, carolers, a holiday craft for kids and dancing ballerinas. 10 am-1 pm. $10-$59. 220 Grand Tradition Way, Fallbrook. For reservations, visit Roots Series: Argentina. Cultural performances, crafts and other activities that showcase Argentina’s history and art. 2-4 pm. Included with admission. San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, 320 N. Broadway, Escondido. Santa Run. A jolly 5K, Speedy Santa Mile, Santa’s Elves Mile (for ages 12 & under) and Santa’s Little Helper Mile for your furry best friends. 10 am. $20$50. 900 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. FREE Merry Activities at Eastlake Village Marketplace. See Santa arrive on the Holiday Express, and have fun with face painting, balloon sculptures and musical entertainment. 1-4 pm. 2275 Otay Lakes Rd., Chula Vista. Polar Express Family Day. Come in your PJ’s and watch the film, The Polar Express. After the movie, kids can make a keepsake and meet a special guest. 11 am-3 pm; movie starts at 11:30 am. Included with admission. San Diego Model Railroad Museum, Balboa Park. Scripps Performing Arts Musical Theatre Department Presents “Seussical The Musical, Jr.” See Dec. 7. Parent’s Night Out in Escondido. See Dec. 8.

sunday | 16 “Noel Noel”: A Family Concert. From singing along to your favorite carols to listening to holiday classics performed by the orchestra, treat your family to an afternoon of Christmas joy at this concert by the San Diego Symphony. 2 pm. $10-$25; ages 2 & under free. Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., downtown San Diego. See page 28. Holidays at LEGOLAND. See the world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree, have your photo taken with a life-size LEGO brick Santa and reindeer, watch a holiday show featuring the LEGO Friends, listen to carols

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Calendar • December performed by the Yule Tides and more. Through Jan. 1; visit website for hours and admission. LEGOLAND California Resort, Carlsbad.

monday | 17

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FREE Winter Wonderland at The Grand. Don’t miss a snow hill with sledding and snowfall, s’mores, a story time and character appearances, carolers (select dates), carousel and ferris wheel rides, and holiday shopping. Today until Dec. 30, 3-8 pm. Parking $20 (cash only). Fairmont Grand Del Mar, 5300 Grand Del Mar Ct.

tuesday | 18

Give the gift of FUN this Holiday Season K

FREE Kids Christmas Countdown. Holiday crafts, cookie decorating, hot cocoa and a screening of How The Grinch Stole Christmas! Tonight until Dec. 22, 6-7:30 pm. Cape Rey Carlsbad, 1 Ponto Rd. Please RSVP at least 24 hours prior to the event at



ER 2018 WINN

It’s Electric. This new exhibit lets you explore fundamental principles of electricity by participating in a series of interactive experiences and live demonstrations. Become a human “battery,” handle a plasma tube, operate a telegraph, watch live Tesla coil demos and more. Open daily; visit website for hours. $19.95-$21.95. Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park. FREE Hullabaloo Performances. See Dec. 3.

FUNBelievable Play 11655 Riverside Dr., Unit 155 (River Run Business Park)

Lakeside, CA 92040

Tel 619-456-2474

OPEN 7 days a week. Suitable for 0–12 yrs. Socks Required.


wednesday | 19 “Irish Christmas in America.” Irish ballads, lively tunes and thrilling Irish dancing! 7:30 pm. $40-$55. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd. Go, Gulls! See Dec. 5.

thursday | 20 FREE Holiday Craft. 3:30-4:30 pm. Rancho Santa Fe Branch Library, 17040 Avenida de Acacias.

46 • • December 2018

California Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” See Dec. 14.

friday | 21 Winter Solstice Hidden Gems. This all-new “deconstructed” exhibition highlights more than 100 stunning objects from the museum’s mineralogy collection. Open daily; visit website for hours. Included with admission. San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park.

saturday | 22 Breakfast and Story Time with Bergie the Elf. Have a yummy breakfast while Bergie retells favorite Christmas stories near a warm fireplace. Seating starts at 9:30 am; story time, 10:30 am. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to share with children in need. 1540 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar.; 858-259-1515. Polar Bear Tea. Treat your family to a classic tea experience with a special children’s spread, family activities and a plush polar bear keepsake gift from Coca-Cola with a donation of a new stuffed animal for Toys for Tots. 11 am-4 pm. $35-$65; under 5 free. Reservations required. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave.; 619-522-8100. City Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” See Dec. 7. “The Nutcracker” by San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. See Dec. 14.

sunday | 23 Christmas Drop ‘n Shop. Need a few kid-free hours to shop or catch up on chores? This fully-supervised service offers organized games, crafts and fun for the kiddos. Today & tomorrow, 9 am-noon. $25-$30. For ages 3 & up. Pre-registration required. FUNbelievable Play, 11655 Riverside Dr., Unit 155, Lakeside. Garden of Lights. See Dec. 1. The Enchanted Village. See Dec. 14.

monday | 24 Christmas Eve FREE Spend Christmas Eve at First United Methodist Church of San Diego. Featuring two services: Lessons, Carols & Candle Lighting at 3 pm & Christmas Pageant and Candle Lighting at 5 pm. 2111 Camino

Jewish Montessori Preschool in La Jolla del Rio South, Mission Valley. See page 28 for details. FREE Christmas Eve Celebration: “A New Beginning.” Music performed by the Higher VISION Choir and the VISION Band, plus an inspiring message by Rev. Patti Paris. 7 pm. VISION: A Center for Spiritual Living, 4780 Mission Gorge Place, Ste. H, San Diego.

tuesday | 25

• • • • • •

Children ages 9 months to 6 years Proven Montessori Method and Philosophy Learning through hands-on experience Integrated secular and Judaic curriculum Bilingual Program Skilled teachers, trained in early childhood development • Secured, state-of-the-art facilities

Classes are filling up quickly! For more information, contact us at

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Christmas Day Seas ‘n’ Greetings. See Dec. 1.

8660 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

Tel (858) 452-3030 • Fax (858) 777-9199 •

Holiday by the Bay. See Dec. 1. Holidays at LEGOLAND. See Dec. 2.

wednesday | 26 Kwanzaa, Dec. 26-Jan. 1 “Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation.” See this IMAX film and travel across the globe to encounter active volcanoes, lava lakes and undersea volcanoes, discover molten worlds and exploding craters, witness never-beforeseen footage from the 2018 Kilauea eruption in Hawaii and more. Showing daily; visit website for times and admission. Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park.

thursday | 27 FREE StoryBox Theatre. Experience kamishibai, a traditional Japanese form of storytelling that combines illustrations and theatrical performance. 10:30 am. For ages 3-5. 4S Ranch Branch Library, 10433 Reserve Dr. Go, Gulls! See Dec. 5.

friday | 28 Reverberate: Sound & Image. View student art that tackles musical impacts and looks into ways students perceive sounds. This annual youth exhibition features K-12 students from San Diego County and Tijuana. Through Jan. 9; Tues.-Sun., 10 am-5 pm. Pay What You Wish admission. Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park.

saturday | 29 Honda Family Night Out: Pajama Jam. Come in your jammies and enjoy New December 2018 • •


Calendar • December Year’s-themed art activities, games, a dance jam, photo booth, a catered dinner and the popular countdown balloon drop. 5:30-8:30 pm. Tickets start at $15. The New Children’s Museum, 200 West Island Ave., downtown San Diego. signature-events/family-nights-out.

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San Diego Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” Sugarplum Fairies, leaping Cossacks and flurries of snowflakes! Tonight, 7 pm & tomorrow, 2 pm. Tickets start at $40. Copley Symphony Hall, Jacobs Music Center, 750 B St., downtown San Diego. See page 30 for details. “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas.” 7:30 pm. For tickets, visit website. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown San Diego.

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Winter Whale-Watching Cruises. Pass sea lions and pods of leaping dolphins as you search for the legendary gray whales. Also meet on-board naturalists from the San Diego Natural History Museum. Through April. 9:30 am-1 pm & 1:30-5 pm. Reservations required. Pier 2, 970 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. Skating by the Sea. See Dec. 6.

monday | 31 New Year’s Eve “Speakeasy” New Year’s Bash at Westin & Sheraton Carlsbad Resorts & Spas. Come dressed in 20s-inspired garb and enjoy a buffet dinner, a live DJ, dance floor and activities for adults and kids alike. The kids will have an exciting balloon drop at 9 pm, while the adults will have the main drop at midnight. 5480 Grand Pacific Dr. For tickets, visit San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl. Featuring a high-octane match-up of top teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences. 4 pm. Don’t miss the Dexcom Pre-game Party with food trucks, an interactive college football experience and more. SDCCU Stadium, Mission Valley.

Weekly Activities Don’t forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

saturdays/sundays Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Frosty Farm. Merry encounters with a variety of animals and a holiday craft during this one-hour excursion plus a meet and greet with Santa, an elf obstacle course, holiday music and more. Saturdays & Sundays, Dec. 1-16, 9 am-1 pm. $10.99$20.99. Register online. 6461 El Apajo Rd., Rancho Santa Fe. North Pole Limited. Ride the train to the North Pole and chat with Santa, sing carols and enjoy treats. Through Dec. 22. Fridays & Saturdays, 5 & 7 pm. Campo Railroad Park & Museum, 750 Depot St. FREE Santa and a Living Nativity in Julian. See Santa at the Julian Town Hall (2129 Main St.) every Saturday in Dec. from noon-4 pm, and receive a treat. Also, come to the Julian Cider Mill (2103 Main St.) for an old-fashioned living nativity presented by local churches. Saturdays, Dec. 1, 8 & 15, 5 pm. More info on page 28. Train to Santa’s Workshop. Embark on a magical train ride and visit with Santa himself at his North Pole workshop. During the train ride, elves will lead the family in singing Christmas songs, playing holiday trivia games and storytelling. Through Dec. 16. Fridays, 5:30-8 pm; Saturdays & Sundays, 9 am-8 pm. Orange Empire Railway Museum, 2201 South A St., Perris. For tickets, visit FREE Crafts at the Lakeshore Learning Store. For ages 3 & up. Saturdays, 11 am-3 pm. Dec. 1: Fluffy Polar Bear Craft; Dec. 8: Let It Snow! Winter Mobile; Dec. 15: Hit the Slopes! Snowman; Dec. 22: Trim the Tree Keepsake; Dec. 29: New Year’s Mask. 7510 Hazard Center Dr., San Diego & 702 Center Dr., San Marcos.

mondays FREE Bouncing Baby Story Time. Mondays, 9:45 am. Bonita-Sunnyside Branch Library, 4375 Bonita Rd.

tuesdays FREE Walk with a Doc. Join Dr. Natalie Muth, a local pediatrician and registered dietitian, for a stroll and a short talk about strategies to become a healthy and fit family. Tuesdays, 4-5 pm. Stagecoach Community


DENTAL Insurance Physicians Mutual Insurance Company

Park, 3420 Camino de los Coches, Carlsbad.

wednesdays Welk Illusions. See amazing performer Anthony Hernandez in a magical show that will leave you spellbound. Wednesdays, Dec. 5-26, 7 pm. $35. Welk Resort Theatre, 8860 Lawrence Welk Dr., Escondido. Parent Movie Morning & Baby’s Night Out at UltraStar Cinemas. Bring your baby to watch a movie and take advantage of valet stroller parking, dimmed lights and changing facilities in the auditorium. Wednesdays; Parent Movie Morning, 10 am; Baby’s Night Out, 7 pm. UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center, 7510 Hazard Center Dr., San Diego.

thursdays FREE Family-Friendly Christmas Nights. Holly Trolley rides, s’mores roasting, letters to Santa and face painting (Dec. 6), a Christmas movie screening and karaoke (Dec. 13), cookie decorating and photos with Santa (Dec. 20) and more. Thursdays, 5-8 pm. Westin & Sheraton Carlsbad Resorts & Spas, 5480 Grand Pacific Dr. 760-827-2400.

fridays St. Nick at Night. Cookie decorating, animal encounters, a craft and group story time with Santa. Fridays, Dec. 7, 14 & 21, 5-6 pm & 6:15-7:15 pm. $9.99 per child; adults free. Register online. Helen Woodward Animal Center, 6461 El Apajo Rd., Rancho Santa Fe. ScholarShare 529 Toddler Time. Music, movement and social play for little ones. Fridays, 10 am. Free with museum admission. The New Children’s Museum, 200 West Island Ave., downtown San Diego. Train to Santa’s Workshop. See Saturdays/Sundays. North Pole Limited. See Saturdays/ Sundays Want us to spread the news? Send us an event, class or weekly activity you would like included in our magazine. Email jenny@SanDiegoFamily. com and include the name of the event or activity, a brief description, event address, date, time, cost, contact number and website. Submission does not guarantee publication. Deadline for the February issue: January 2.

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December 2018 • •


San Diego’s Hot Chocolate Hot Spots There are times when nothing will satisfy like a delicious cup of hot cocoa. Oftentimes it’s the festive season or cooler weather — sometimes it’s just a winter mood. Whatever your motivation, San Diego offers everything from classic Mexican hot chocolate and indulgent drinking chocolates to trendy experiences that would attract the great Willy Wonka himself. Here are some of San Diego’s Hot Chocolate Hot Spots.

Le Parfait Paris, Liberty Public Market in Point Loma Creme & Sugar, Del Mar Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro, South Park Chocolat, Downtown San Diego

Find more information about these eateries (and others) at www .sandiegofamily. com/best-of-familyfun/where-to-gethot-chocolate-insan-diego.

50 • • December 2018

The Mission, multiple locations Hash House a Go Go, Hillcrest Romesco Mexiterranean Bistro, Bonita Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, Downtown San Diego

Do you have a favorite place in San Diego County to get hot chocolate? Tell us about it! Email details to

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Profile for San Diego Family Magazine

San Diego Family December Holiday Issue 2018  

Packed full of holiday fun for the family

San Diego Family December Holiday Issue 2018  

Packed full of holiday fun for the family