San Diego Family December Holiday Issue 2019

Page 1


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Magic of


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“★★★★★! A Must-See!”

—Broadway World

“Exquisitely beautiful. An extraordinary experience for us and the children.” —Cate Blanchett, Academy Award-winning actress


5,000 YEArs of CivilizAtion — livE on stAgE

ake a magical journey through 5,000 years of civilization! Travel back to ancient dynasties. Watch myths and legends come alive. Discover vibrant ethnic and folk traditions. Stunning classical Chinese dance, colorful costuming, breathtaking backdrops and enchanting melodies will not only delight your senses but also nourish your soul. Many say Shen Yun is the only performance that three generations of family members can come and enjoy together. Experience the all-new 2020 Shen Yun program!

“If you want to teach your kids the importance of hard work, dedication, and persistence, Shen Yun is a living example.” —Lisa Tate, feature writer

Grand Dynasties

Myths & Legends

Ethnic & Folk Traditions

JAN 17–21 California Center for the Arts, Escondido | JAN 24–26 san diEgo Civic Theatre

get tickets today! 888.973-7469 |

24 Recapture the Magic of Gift Giving Alternative gift ideas that restore the joy of giving

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•1 982 - 2019 •

Volume 38 • Number 9 • December 2019



in every issue 12 Staff Page 14 Short & Sweet News | Notes | Tips

Photo courtesy of Balboa Park December Nights

30 December Calendar Deck the halls with a host of holiday happenings

42 The Marketplace

16 Multigenerational Holiday Gatherings A recipe for success

On the Cover:

22 San Diego’s Famous Map of Christmas Lights Don’t leave home without it!

Six-year-old Thom of Clairemont says he’s been a good boy and is hoping

28 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids Part two of our kid-tested, parent-approved toys

to find a remote control car under the Christmas tree this year. Cover photo:

PARTNER CONTENT 20 9 Ways to Make Merry Holiday Memories The most festive family events of the season

6 • • December 2019

All Colors Photography




CHRISTMAS EVE ◊ DEC. 24 Families, Carols & Candle Lighting ◊ 3 pm * sing carols, hear the story of jesus' birth and short message, enjoy refreshments!

Christmas Pageant & Candle Lighting ◊ 5 pm * kids a n d fa m i li es the christmas story experienced in song, readings, nativity scene and candle lighting.

Lessons, Carols & Candle Lighting ◊ 8 pm* ◊ 10:45 pm



2111 CAMINO DEL RIO S. ~ MISSION VALLEY • SAN DIEGO, CA 92108 • 619-297-4366 •


Free street-side viewing . Grandstand tickets available December 2019 • •


on the web


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

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

Things to Do: Dining & Recipes • Gluten-Free Lemon Star Cookies

For the Kids: Crafts for Kids • Hanukkah Placecard Holders

Joy is in season at Knott’s Merry Farm! From Nov. 22–Jan. 5, celebrate the merriest of seasons as Knott’s Berry Farm transforms into a holiday wonderland of family fun with thrilling attractions, live entertainment, a Christmas Crafts Village, festive food and nightly snow in Ghost Town. For more details, visit www.knotts. com. Enter to win a 4-pack of tickets for your family! Contest ends Dec. 17.

• Art with Alyssa: DIY Advent Calendar

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

Follow Us: San Diego Family SDFamily

San Diego Family Magazine sandiegofamilymagazine

8 • • December 2019

Southern California’s largest outdoor ice skating rink is at Viejas Casino & Resort! Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit as you enjoy sparkling lights, jolly entertainment and a must-see seasonal water show. Enter to win ice skating passes (including skate rental) from Viejas Casino & Resort. Contest ends Dec. 10.

The Ho-ho-holidays are here and we are celebrating by giving away toys from our Kid-Tested Holiday Toy Review! See more on p. 28. Contest ends Dec. 17.

December 2019 • •


Tony/November 2019/cr


ff $10 O


: Famil

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with The City Ballet Orchestra

Publisher/Editor in Chief Sharon Bay

December 6th–22nd

Managing Editor Lisa Gipson Calendar Editor Jennifer A. Burman

Design Art Design/Web Design Rik Thiesfeld

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.

2020 Cover Kids Search Ava Grace was one of our 2019 Cover Kids Winners!

Cover Photo All Colors Photography

Editorial Guidelines Find editorial guidelines at (“Editorial” at the bottom of the home page). Submission does not guarantee 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, select McDonald’s, Sombrero Mexican Food, Round Table Pizza, Wahoos, Fleet Science Center, schools, libraries, medical offices and more.

Subscriptions Receive 12 issues for $18, plus our annual publication, Out & About. Orders must include payment to SD Family Magazine. Mail to: SDFM, Subscriptions, 1475 Sixth Ave., #500, San Diego, CA 92101; pay by PayPal or call 619-685-6970 to use a credit card.

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

Thank you to our sponsors:

Deadline is January 31, 2020

(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 Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego.

10 • • December 2019

Member of

Distribution 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 Randy Hahn 619-685-6986 • Clairemont, Linda Vista, Mission Valley North and Mira Mesa San Diego Family Magazine is published monthly by San Diego Family Magazine LLC. Copyright 2019. 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. PRESENTS




San Diego

Out & About

with Kids!

December 2019 • •


Our San Diego


What’s the best gift you ever received?

How do you keep the holiday spirit amidst the busyness of December?

I would rather give than receive. I don’t really need anything except my family: husband, kids and grandkids. They are my greatest gift. Spending time with all 10 of them is priceless. Time is precious and we don’t have enough of it—I wish there was more! Sharon Bay, publisher

December shouldn’t be about being busy at all! We spend evenings reading holiday books and discussing family values (ours and others’). My favorite way to slow down is to put dinner in a cup and drive the kids to see Christmas lights. Crystal Grobner, marketing representative

I am blessed to have a bunch of incredible women in my life: Girlfriends who laugh, cry and engage in ridiculous shenanigans with me; and three fabulous young adult daughters who are a joy to parent (mostly). Each of these ladies is truly a gift. Lisa Gipson, managing editor

The best way to stay in the holiday spirit without getting overwhelmed is to pick a few traditions or new events to attend with family and friends, and don’t worry about the rest. I never miss a visit to the Zoo for the Jungle Bells celebration. Adrienne Sigeti, editorial assistant

I really wanted an air hockey table when I was 12. All my friends got one, but my parents couldn’t find one because stores were sold out. It was a huge disappointment. My wife heard the story 35 years later and got me an air hockey table for Christmas. Really cool! Randy Hahn, marketing representative

Our faith in Jesus Christ keeps us grounded in the meaning of Christmas so that we have more joy, fun and laughter during the busyness of the season! Tony Andrews, marketing representative

May the peace and blessings of this holiday season be yours! Thank you for letting us be part of your family,

Office: 1475 Sixth Avenue, Fifth Floor, San Diego, CA 92101 • Phone: 619-685-6970 • E-mail: 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 2019

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Short & Sweet

Lisa Gipson

Hello World !

See Star Wars—Help Families with Special Needs


San Diego Babies and Toddlers November 1, 2019 12:43 p.m.

Proud Parents San Diego Family Magazine Staff Please help us welcome our new “baby”, San Diego Babies and Toddlers, a digital guide for new, second-time and expecting parents. Our bundle of joy includes advice from local, experienced moms regarding breastfeeding, sleep strategies, potty training, how to prepare for preschool and more. Find it at

Join the Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego for the movie fundraiser event of the year: the release of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley. Guests receive an exclusive souvenir badge, photo opps with the San Diego Star Wars Society, movie snacks and an opportunity to win awesome prizes. Come early to participate in Star Warsthemed projects before the movie. Buy tickets at Don’t wait—this event will sell out!

Photo: Vito Di Stefano

Spread Some Ho-HoHoliday Cheer Lazy Dog Restaurant is partnering with nonprofit Habitat for Humanity to help fight homelessness, and you can help! Now through Dec. 31, Lazy Dog guests can order a gingerbread house kit ($5.95) to build while waiting for their meal. Habitat for Humanity receives 100 percent of the proceeds from every gingerbread house purchased, which helps build a home for someone in the community.

Clarence Claus is Coming to Town Editorial award recipients (l­– r) Lisa Salz, Anne Malinoski, Emily Dolton, Sharon Bay, Jody Lee Cates, Lisa Gipson, Kristen Castillo

Design award recipients Michele Hancock, Rik Thiesfeld

Not to Brag, but We’re Kind of a Big Deal We are excited to announce that we recently received 11 awards at the 2019 San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards—seven for San Diego Family Magazine and four for our annual publication for families with special needs, Flourishing Families. See the full list of award recipients and winning articles at journalism-awards-won-by-san-diego-family-magazine.

14 • • December 2019

When Jackie Rodgers couldn’t find wrapping paper featuring a black Santa Claus to wrap gifts for her son, she and her husband founded Greentop Gifts and created “Clarence Claus” giftwrap. Believing that children should see themselves represented in a variety of characters, Rodgers brings diversity to holiday décor for families across the globe to enjoy. Learn more:



Larger Than Life Photo-Ops Day & Night

Every Fri-Sun 4-8 PM through Dec 22nd




Every Fri 6-9 PM | Sat & Sun 2-5 PM through Dec 29th


Donate one toy ($5 value) through Jan 5 and Belmont Park will donate one single ride pass to Big Brothers Big Sisters


New menus featuring seasonal items at Draft & Cannonball on the boardwalk


Dec 31 | 8pm-2am Feast, drink, and dance from beach to rooftop.



T I C K E T S ON S A L E NOV. 2 9


Parenting with Purpose Jody Lee Cates


Holiday Gatherings A recipe for success When multiple generations gather

together at the holiday table, there are more good things on the menu than favorite family recipes. Growing healthy emotional bonds between generations helps children develop a sense of identity, continuity and an understanding of their place in family history. Kids who regularly interact with older and younger generations enjoy the security of knowing they belong to an extended tribe who cares about them and each other. But it’s not just about kids. Penn State researchers report that people with successful relationships—both within their own generation and with older and younger ones—have a better chance of maintaining well-being and happiness throughout life. When generations gather around the table, it can be a time of sharing, laughter and fun. It can also be stressful, frustrating and tense when

those generations don’t understand the needs and concerns of the others. Whether your family only gathers for the holidays or is one of the estimated 20 percent of American households with multiple generations living under one roof, here’s what to serve in generous portions to minimize stress while strengthening bonds between all ages.

For the Kids: Healthy Role Models Little eyes are watching as grownups work together in the kitchen, cooperating and compromising over the best way to roast a turkey or prepare gravy. They hear voices change when controversial topics come up, and they learn that peace is restored when people let things go. Point Loma mother of two, Cari Pavao, says learning to move on from disagreements is one way her large

Dear Grandchild, This is Me: A Gift of Stories, Wisdom, and Off-the-Record Tales is a keepsake journal in which grandparents can share funny moments, life experiences and words of wisdom with grandkids. Includes questions, memory prompts, keepsake envelopes and more. It’s a thoughtful gift for a child to give a grandparent, with the idea that they’ll get the book back once it’s filled with their loved one’s photos and treasured stories.

16 • • December 2019

multigenerational family stays on solid ground. “None of us hold grudges,” she says. “We disagree, maybe yell a bit, then we move on with our lives.” Pavao credits her mother with setting the standard. “My mom is the rock who holds us together. She really believes that family is important. So whether we agree or not, it is understood that you get on with your life, and you’re still family. One disagreement can’t break that apart.” Kids learn relationship skills by watching adults, so be a healthy role model: Demonstrate how to handle challenges by keeping a sense of humor, staying flexible and modeling grace.

For the Older Generation: Patience and Empathy Grandparents and other seniors come to the table with wisdom and perspective from a lifetime of experience. Encourage them to share their stories—show interest and offer patience. “While older people are often excellent conversationalists,” says author Mary Pipher, “they may need a little help getting started.” In her book, Another Country: Navigating the emotional terrain of our elders, Pipher encourages family members to ask seniors questions, converse slowly, and give them time to remember and develop ideas. Some seniors may need physical

accommodation to help them feel included, but won’t always speak up and ask. Stay sensitive to their traditional views and values, and don’t take it personally if they grow short-tempered. Instead, watch for the underlying cause. It might be physical pain, fatigue or a problem that has a simple solution. When my mother started having trouble hearing out of one ear, she became irritable when we gathered at the table until one day she mentioned her diminished hearing. Now we do our best to seat her in the center of the action where she doesn’t feel like she’s missing out. Building strong relationships between kids and grandparents benefits both generations. An Oxford study reports that children and teens with substantial grandparent involvement exhibit fewer behavioral problems. Younger family

When Your Family Doesn’t Work this Way

Included with admission

December 1 - 31

Celebrate the holiday season at Birch Aquarium at Scripps with festive decor, Scuba Santa, crafts and live music! Get tickets at

Birch Aquarium at Scripps · La Jolla

2019 10 SDJT Winter Classes ad Family Mag r1.pdf

Sometimes families break, making multigenerational gatherings difficult or impossible. The holidays can feel like a giant spotlight shining on the damaged spots in a family. This provides an opportunity to share with kids what healthy choices look like, even in relationships that are broken. The holidays are not a reason to let in people who hurt your family. Protect your kids and guard your heart by maintaining healthy boundaries. When kids are old enough to understand, have an honest conversation about how things got where they are. Then help kids set their own limits when dealing with family members who continue to behave badly. By modeling compassion and forgiveness along with healthy boundaries, parents help kids learn to handle difficult family situations with grace and kindness, without putting themselves in harm’s way.



10:40 AM










December 2019 • •


members expose older relatives to new ideas and activities that provide mental stimulation and reduce loneliness.


A delightful interactive experience for the young and the young at heart. OPENING NOWFEBRUARY OPEN! 15.

Parent Movie Morning & Baby’s Night Out


in Balboa Park (619) 238-1233 FLEETSCIENCE.ORG

The Special Needs Resource Foundation presents:



Movie Tickets Available for Friday December 20 Opening Day Weekend! A Chance for New Moms and Dads to bring baby along to the movies they want to see! Crying, feeding & diaper changing expected!

EVERY WEDNESDAY AT 10:30AM & 7PM Early bird pricing applies to both showtimes.

UltraStar Mission Valley Cinemas at Hazard Center 7510 Hazard Center Dr., San Diego Box Office: 619 574 8684 For this week’s feature information visit:

18 • • December 2019

Join the force and buy your tickets now at event/4426050

Your family can experience multigenerational benefits even if grandparents don’t live nearby. Consider reaching out to one of the hundreds of seniors in San Diego County who spend holidays alone. Check out www.livewellsd .org for ways to get involved in intergenerational programs that benefit all ages. From delivering cookies to playing cards, there are dozens of ways to brighten the holidays by making a date with a senior in your neighborhood.

For Parents in the Middle: Help with the Load Parents in the middle generation often feel responsible for meeting the needs of everyone else, from kids and grandparents to siblings and spouses. Maintain a spirit of community by asking for help or offering it if another relative seems to be doing it all. Don’t leave caregiving to just one or two middle generation siblings. It takes everyone working together to keep a multigenerational family healthy and connected. Stay flexible when giving and receiving help. Trust and accept that things will get done, even if it may not be done your way. Open communication about needs and expectations is important. Express gratitude while being honest about what you are available and willing to do. Gathering generations around the holiday table is good for kids and families. By choosing to honor and embrace generational differences with an abundance of patience, love and respect, families experience greater joy and connection that stretch far beyond the holidays for generations to come. v Jody Lee Cates is a local mom and awardwinning writer who blogs about healthy relationships at

Giovanni/Dec 2019/cr





december 164 · 10am in the food court, next to A M - 12 P M reading cinemas · 10 10am–1pm Santa Photos | Carolers | Kids Crafts Face Painting | Entertainment | & More! clairemonttownsquare

December 2019 • •


Partner Content

Lisa Pawlak





‘Tis the season for a beloved annual excursion to The Old Globe in Balboa Park. This year, experience TWO lively holiday productions! First, chase away your innerGrinch with the incredible 22nd production of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Then, start a new family tradition with the west coast premiere of Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show, based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, but with a comic local twist. For tickets, visit

MEMORIES We all know that December is supposed to be the merriest time of the year—but it’s also the busiest. Why not take a much-needed break from shopping and entertaining? Instead, create joyful new memories that the whole family will treasure. Make plans now to experience the spirit of the season with these funfilled, not-to-be-missed, festive events!

Experience holiday fun the old-fashioned way at Julian’s Country Christmas. You’ll feel a nip in the air and might even catch a glimpse of snowcapped mountains! Gather for the Country Christmas Tree Lighting on Nov. 30, followed by festivities throughout December. Visit Santa at Town Hall, explore the Living Nativity on Main St., tour holiday homes, take a winter hayride, enjoy Victorian Christmas tea, and shop for unique holiday gifts. Discover a mountain of merriment at


20 • • December 2019

Spend Christmas Eve with candlelight, carols, the Christmas Story and Christmas Spirit. First United Methodist Church in Mission Valley offers five distinct candlelight services with two special services for families: Worship led by youth at 3 p.m. will have everyone singing Christmas carols, with cookies and refreshments to follow. At 5 p.m., the annual Christmas Pageant re-enacts the story of Jesus’ birth through scripture readings, children’s choir songs, carols and candle lighting. Visit


Who doesn’t love the sights and sensations of winter snowfall? Experience enchanted flurries, choreographed lights, and seasonal music nightly during Village Walk at Eastlake Winter Wonderland at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. from Dec. 7–24. Kids will receive free holiday-themed headbands and “magic” glasses to view falling snow in rainbow colors. They can even meet a charming “snowman” on select nights! Capture unique family photos within a giant snow globe. Visit



The magic of the holidays meets the wonderous underwater world during the month-long celebration Seas ‘n’ Greetings at Birch Aquarium. Deck the Hall (of Fishes) and join daily festivities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check event schedule for special appearances by Scuba Santa (arrive early for dive show seating), themed animal encounters, scavenger hunts, live music and fun photo opportunities. All SEAsonal activities are included with aquarium admission. For details, explore

Everyone’s favorite holiday classic comes to life in the new production A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage! Join Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts gang as they produce their own Christmas play and learn the true meaning of the season. This charming show features the unforgettable music of Vince Guaraldi and a concert of beloved holiday carols. Visit for tickets on Dec. 27 at 1:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. at Balboa Theatre.



Reignite the holiday spirit at Noah Homes’ Enchanted Village in Spring Valley, Dec. 13–15 and 20–22, 4:30– 8 p.m. For about the price of a movie ticket, guests are surrounded by a winter wonderland filled with beautifully lit trees, magical cottages and decorations galore. Listen to carolers, experience a snow sled run, take photos with Santa and more! Help break the cycle of unemployment for adults with developmental disabilities by purchasing tickets or making a charitable donation:

Celebrate the holidays in an Alpine Wonderland at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Don’t miss the Tree Lighting Ceremony and festivities at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 with Peabody and Emmy Awardwinning journalist Hank Plante. Holiday choirs perform through Dec. 13 and Santa arrives Dec. 14. Take the kids to Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 15. Ride ‘n’ Dine is Dec. 25 starting at 11 a.m. in Pines Café. Extended tram hours Dec. 23–Jan. 3. Visit for more information.


Bah humbug! A Christmas Carol returns to Cygnet Theatre for its sixth season of cheer from Nov. 27–Dec. 29. Discover hope and redemption with Scrooge, the Spirits and the Cratchit family during this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic. Don’t miss Family Day pre-show activities on Dec. 1, or a sensory-friendly performance— designed for individuals with sensory processing disorders, autism or other developmental disabilities—on Dec. 11. For tickets and info, visit


December 2019 • •


o’s San Dieg

San Diego Central




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 ‘n greets. Nov. 23-Jan. 5. 760-918-5346. Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights. Boats decorated in holiday lights circle Oceanside Harbor. Dec. 14, 7 pm. 760-7225751. Botanic Wonderland Holiday Nights in the Garden. Unveiling a reimagined holiday festival centered around the Dickinson Family Education Conservatory. The Hamilton Children’s Garden and Toni’s Treehouse will also be illuminated. Activities include a twinkling light tunnel, holiday musical lightshow, snow mound, kids’ crafts, face painting, pictures with Santa, live entertainment, a poinsettia display, and more. Dec. 3-8, 10-15, 17-23 and 26-30, 5-8:30 pm. 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas. 760-4363036.

CARLSBAD, 92009, 92011, 92024 7607 Romeria St. 1st place in 2018 SD County Festival of Lights! The “Carlsbad Christmas House” where it snows! Walk around to see Surfin’ Santa and the underwater scene, Snoopy & Friends ice skating, Island of Misfit Toys, walk up candycane lane, see animals frolicking in the waterfall, animated window display, and more. Food drive donations accepted. Dec. 8-31, 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. 14 with crafts, music, hot cocoa and cotton candy. All activities free. Dec. 5-25, 5-10 pm. 3520 Corte Ramon. Seventh 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. 5279 Willow Walk Rd. Over 30,000 lights create a Christmas light show, 13,000 digital lights featuring mega board, arches, singing Christmas trees and more synchronized to music. Santa Dec. 6, 5:30-8:30 pm. Dec. 1-Dec. 31, 5:30-10 pm. 1562 Peacock Blvd. Rudolph and deer family. Christmas trees and lights. Dec. 10-Jan. 5. 5:30-10:30 pm.

22 • • December 2019

Carlsbad, 6646 Elegant Tern Pl.

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, 5:3010:30 pm.

ESCONDIDO 92026 2675 Dundee Glen. Light show in gated community. Featured on ABC’s Great Christmas Light Fight. Weekends only, Dec. 1-31, 6-9 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. 7-24, 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. 30-Jan. 1; Sun-Th, 5:30-10 pm; Fri & Sat, 5:30-11 pm.

RANCHO PEÑASQUITOS, 92129 Oviedo St. Off Black Mountain Rd. “Christmas Card Lane.” Also enter off Twin Trails Dr. & Carmel Mountain Rd. Dec. 7-31, dusk-10 pm.

SAN MARCOS, 92069, 92078 1639 Knob Hill. Off Nordahl Rd. Between Tam O’ Shanter Dr. & Augusta Dr. 31st year of decorating. 100,000+ lights plus themed displays. Nov. 28-Dec. 30, 5-9 pm. Visit with Santa Dec. 16-23, 6:30-8 pm. Facebook @ christmasonknobhill and

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo. The Zoo will be transformed into a wild wonderland with twinkling lights, animalshaped light sculptures, animal experiences and holiday-themed entertainment including Aurora, a multi-sensory winter spectacular with lights, projections, music and more. Dec. 13-Jan. 5, 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. 7-25. 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. 9-27, 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 Monsters, Inc. theme. Dec. 10-31, dusk-10 pm. 11505 Elbert Ct. Decorated house with a snowman theme. Dec. 7-31, dusk-10 pm.

SCRIPPS RANCH, 92131 Stonebridge Pkwy & Merritage Ct. Nicknamed “Merry-tage Court”, entire street lit up with themes including Star Wars, Minions, Disney, Frozen, Cars, The Grinch and more. Dec. 1-31, 5:309:30 pm. 10883 Sunset Ridge Dr. Decorated house with lights, inflatables and animated decorations. Nov. 28-Dec. 31, 5-11 pm.

SERRA MESA/MISSION VALLEY, 92123 2002 Ainsley Rd. Features a 20 ft. Christmas tree made of lights, 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. 30-Dec. 28, 6-10 pm.

East County

The Forward House

CAMPO, 91906 2434 Cypress Dr. 50 inflatables, lights, music and lighted yard decorations. Weekends only, Nov. 29-Dec. 31, 6-9:30pm.

EL CAJON, 92019, 92020, 92021

El Cajon, 1552 Cajon Greens Pl.

San Diego Coastal Mission Bay Christmas Boat Parade of Lights. Over 100 vessels. Begins on Quivira Basin. Dec. 14, starts at 6 pm. 858-488-0501. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. 48th Anniversary. “Comic-Con on the Bay” theme. Dec. 8 & 15, 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, a 40-ft. tree with an animated light show set to music and a 140-ft. walkthrough Tunnel of Lights. Visit Rudolph’s Christmastown, check out holiday-themed animal shows. New this year is the ice skating spectacular Winter Wonderland on Ice, Sesame Street Christmas Village and Cirque Christmas, a “Nutcracker”-themed show. Nov. 23Jan. 5. Sights and Sounds of Christmas. Walk the San Diego Temple grounds and enjoy more than 130,000 lights and nativity scenes. Free. Nov. 29Jan. 1, 5-11 pm. San Diego Temple, 7474 Charmant Dr., UTC.

POINT LOMA, 92106 Garrison St. & Chatsworth. Off Rosecrans. “Garrison Street Lights”. Dec. 1-31. dusk-10 pm.

Enchanted Village at Noah Homes

1552 Cajon Greens Pl. Thousands of lights plus yard decorations synchronized to holiday music on 97.7 FM, plus projector with Christmas movies for the kids. Nov. 22-Jan. 2, Sun-Th, dusk-10 pm and Fri-Sat, dusk-midnight. Jingle Bell Hill (also known as Pepper Dr. Lights). Solomon Ave./Pegeen Pl. and surrounding area. Off 67 & Bradley. Dec. 7-26, 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. Nov. 30-Jan. 4, MonTh, 6-9 pm and Fri-Sun, 6-10 pm. 1838 El Pico Dr. Off Hacienda Dr. 55th year decorating the 20-ft. star sitting on top of an 80-ft twinkling tree of lights overlooking El Cajon Valley. Dec. 1-31. Also experience over 50,000 programmed lights and a 55-ft. automated train. Dec. 7-31, dusk-10 pm.

Downtown San Diego The Forward House in Bankers Hill. 22nd annual holiday lighting display at The Forward House, built in 1905 for S.D. Mayor John Forward, Sr. Santa will make a pre-Christmas stop in his sleigh on Dec. 7, 5:30-8:30 pm and all visitors receive a candy cane. 108 Ivy St. (1st & Ivy). Nov. 28-Dec. 31, 5–10 pm. 619-533-7900. 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.22-Jan. 8.

Paradise Hills, 2160 Reo Dr.

LAKESIDE, 92040 10248 Paseo Palmas Dr. 20+ houses nicknamed “Tinsel Town.” Dec. 7-25, 5:30-9 pm.

LA MESA, 91941, 91942 6266 De Camp Dr. 22-ft tree of light and more. Lights dance to Christmas songs. Dec. 1- 25, 5-9 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. The Santee gingerbread house with over 15,000 LED lights. Nov. 30-Jan. 1, dusk-10pm.

SPRING VALLEY, 91977 Enchanted Village at Noah Homes. A Winter Wonderland with beautifully lit trees, colorful cottages, decorations galore and entertainment. Dec. 13-15, 20-22, 4:308pm. 12526 Campo Rd. 619-660-6200. 4037 N. Bonita St. Lots of lights, music, penguins, Snoopy, Mickey, Minnie and Santa in the window. Dec. 10-Jan. 5, dusk-11 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.

South Bay Hotel del Coronado. Experience the magic of A White Chirstmas as America’s beachfront legend transforms into a winter wonderland with soaring red turrets draped in thousands of sparkling lights. Take in the famous two-story lobby tree bedazzled with ornaments in wintery whites and enjoy a season full of holiday feasts and delights. 1500 Orange Ave. 619-522-8100.

CHULA VISTA, 91910, 91911, 91914, 91915 Whitney St./Mankato. Circle between First and Second Ave. off H St. & 1st Ave. “Christmas Circle.” 62nd year of decorating 55+ homes. Dec. 7-26, 5-10 pm.

PARADISE HILLS, 92139 2160 Reo Dr. Lights and decorations. On Dec. 22, 7-9 pm meet Santa and enjoy hot cocoa, cookies and s’mores. Nov. 28-Dec. 31, 6-10 pm.

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

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December 2019 • •


• Put your craft or sewing skills to use by making homemade ornaments or other seasonal trinkets. Or, knit scarves and slippers to provide a little winter warmth to those around you.

Lisa Pawlak

• Package themed baskets of emergency items, cold and flu prevention supplies, or college student survival kits. Recipients will appreciate these items for months (if not, years) to come.

Gift Experiences • Host a no-pressure holiday event. Organize a cookie exchange, screen a movie marathon, or coordinate a gift swap of items people already have. Provide hot chocolate and eggnog.

Recapture the


• If your child is interested in playing a musical instrument, consider renting or purchasing one and/or signing up for private lessons.

of Gift Giving Ah, December. That magical time

of year when we log on to Amazon, explore those ever-growing wish lists, and max out our credit cards while ordering the latest L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, PlayStation games, Avengers action figures, and Barbie paraphernalia. If you’re feeling a bit dazed by the upcoming overabundance of material goods and longing for the true spirit of the season, you’re not alone. Many families who’ve made the transition from “Dear Santa” letters to online wish lists are discovering that what started out as a practical communication tool has taken the fun out of gift-giving. Why not restore the joy of giving by embracing generosity, thoughtfulness, and good cheer while selecting presents this year? Encourage the whole family to explore the following list of alternative gift ideas and experience the most magical holiday season ever!

Gifts of Memories • Who doesn’t love to be reminded of good times? Create a year-end video of family highlights. Set it to the intended recipient’s favorite music.

24 • • December 2019

• Order tickets to an event such as a sports game, concert, the circus, or a musical production. • Put together a scrapbook that details your family’s summer vacation. Include photography, postcards, brochures, mementos and journaling. • Capture the year’s most meaningful memories in a photo collage. Photos can be professionally matted and framed, or pasted together onto a poster board with embellishments. • Share a piece of your heart by reflecting upon individuals who are important to you. Write them letters to let them know why. • Collect everyday and holiday recipes to make a commemorative family cookbook.

Gifts of Your Hands • Nothing says holidays like homemade baked goods. From yule logs and fruitcakes to gingerbread cookies and peppermint fudge, friends and family will delight in eating your sweet treats. • Prefer to keep things healthy? Deliver a delectable dinner to a neighbor or friend. Casseroles, soups, baked pastas, and crockpot dishes are delicious and easy to prepare in bulk.

• Skip the gift exchange entirely in lieu of a family staycation. From the ocean to the mountains, San Diego has no shortage of fantastic places to stay that the whole family will love. Get road trip and staycation ideas in the Family Travel section of our website:

Gift Subscriptions • Nothing beats a gift that keeps on giving. Consider season passes to the theater, an amusement park, or to cheer on a favorite sports team. • There is a variety of monthly delivery services that make great gifts — from dinner kits and wine clubs, to online clothing and personal items. • Kids (and adults) love magazines. Remember the days of Highlights, Cricket and Ranger Rick? Well, they’re still available and will have your child running to collect the mail.

Gifts of Time • Even the youngest family member can make homemade coupon books for helpful tasks. Some ideas: car washes,

y Family Christmas Tree Farm Fresh Winter Wreaths & Greens!

FREE Seedling Tree! (approx 4-6”)

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• Select and cut your own Monterey Pine! • Fresh cut Noble, Douglas and Grand Fir trees! • Live container trees! • Your whole family will love Family Christmas Tree Farm!


Come Experience a San Diego Tradition! 300 Pepper Drive • El Cajon • 619-448-5331 • • Open 7 days • 9a.m. to 9p.m.

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gardening assistance, folding laundry and walking the dog. • Personal favors are appreciated. Prepare a candlelit bath for a family member or offer a back rub. • Support an elderly neighbor by running errands, driving to doctors’ appointments, cleaning house or doing yardwork. • Instead of buying teacher gifts, commit to volunteering at school regularly. Need more gift ideas for teachers? Discover what teachers really want at

Gifts of Community Support • Make a monetary donation to charity on behalf of a friend or family member. Adopt a zoo animal, donate to cancer research or sponsor someone in a fundraising event. • Donate clothing, toys and household items to those in need. • Support causes by purchasing gifts that give back. We love companies that set aside a portion of their profits for charity. • Take care to purchase fair trade items that support the hard-working producers behind them. • If eligible, give blood. You might be saving a life.

Gifts of Random Kindness • Next time you’re at the drive-thru, pay for the car behind you, too. Surprise surrounding friends and neighbors by delivering anonymous, seasonal baskets of goodies to their doorsteps. v

HOLIDAY CATERING MADE EASY Visit us online for a list of locations, menu & coupons! 26 • • December 2019

Find dozens of ways to spread random kindness at donations-volunteers-wanted-and-localfundraisers/random-acts-of-kindness. Wanna have some fun? Pick a day this season when your family will intentionally and collectively spread joy to others! Lisa Pawlak is an award-winning contributing writer living in Encinitas.

Ages 4–10

Our Mission:

Providing the healthiest screen time for kids! Get a free Osmo Sampler at:

Osmo Sampler contains 5 Osmo games for iPad: Tangram, Numbers, Monster, Masterpiece, and Newton. Get yours while supplies last!

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids Shopping for kids on your “nice” list? Here is part two of our gift guide for kids—some of the season’s best new toys, kid-tested and parent-approved. Find complete lists of toys, games, books and more at for-the-kids/kid-tested-toy-review. AirFort $49.95; 4+ The ginormous AirFort (77”x 50”), made of breathable, durable light polyester, promises tons of family fun! Inflates in seconds with an ordinary box fan (not included). There’s no floor, making entrance and exit easy. Comes in five colors and includes compact bag for portability. “I love that my kids (all ages) enjoy using this together!” says mom Hayley.

see p.8

LEGO Star Wars BOOST Droid Commander $199.99; 8+ Kids learn to code and develop problem-solving skills with this exciting set featuring three Star Wars droids (R2-D2, a Gonk Droid and a Mouse Droid) and over 40 interactive missions. Using the free app, your young commander builds the droids and brings them to life using an intuitive drag-and-drop coding environment.

KeiKi Ukuleles $29.95; 5+ These colorful ukuleles are designed for keiki (Hawaiian for “little ones”), whether beginners or master musicians. Each one includes a digital tuner, carry case, strap, guidebook and more. “This is a nice quality instrument,” says mom Emily. “It comes with a very helpful learning app and tuner.”

Rideamals Dino Toddler Ride-On $129; 18–30 mos. Get ready for tons of prehistoric fun on this tot-sized, interactive triceratops. As little ones feed, pet, walk and ride, the dino responds (in one of 20 unique sounds). Power Trax rubber traction strips make riding smooth and steady. Includes 6-volt battery and charger. Max weight: 44 lbs.

Looking for more STEM toys? Visit for-the-kids/kid-tested-toy-product-review.

Hape Emergency Services HQ see p.8 $99.99; 3+ Kids can engage in imaginative play with this fun, interactive set featuring police and fire headquarters and vehicles. Batteries required. “This is a great, high quality toy!” says Audrey. “And the train tracks are compatible with other train sets.”

28 • • December 2019

Swagboard Twist Remix $129.99; 8+ Fun hoverboard for older kids and teens! Light-up wheels and LED headlights make riding at night fun. Features self-balancing technology, 6.5” rubber tires and two 250-watt motors. Max weight: 220 lbs. Available in black, blue or red. “Help kids through the learning curve,” says mom Lisa. “Once they figure it out, it’ll be hard to get them off!”

Playmobil Crystal Palace see p.8 $139.99; 4+ Tons of accessories and special features promise hours of playtime! Kids love the illuminating crystal, spiral staircase, magic hoop skirt and princess chamber with hidden ice steps. Set includes figures, throne, telescope, outfits, furniture, bejeweled scepter, vanity, ice flowers, magical key and more. Requires 3 AAA batteries.

see p.8

Julie’s Pinball Machine $150; 8+ The AG doll-sized Flip Side pinball machine (made of metal and wood) features flashing lights, a digital scorekeeper, ball launcher and realistic sounds. Batteries required; doll sold separately. “American Girl fanatics will love this adorable addition to their collection,” says mom Lisa. “The quality of AG products is superb.”

Disney Aladdin The Agrabah Collection $99.99; 3+ Disney Aladdin enthusiasts will be thrilled to receive this five-doll gift set, including Princess Jasmine, Aladdin (donning his white Prince Ali outfit), everyone’s favorite Genie, the evil Jafar, and Dalia (Jasmine’s friend in the live-action movie), all in the beautiful clothing shown. Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo $29.99; 18 mos.+ Elmo’s infectious laugh and upbeat attitude never go out of style. Now little ones can get hugs from their lovable friend. When you squeeze Elmo’s tummy, he throws up his arms and asks for a hug! He also responds and sings in English or Spanish.

see p.8

“Holly Jolly Fun” Bundle $15–$30 each Ready to get into the holiday spirit? These creative products are sure to do the trick! North Pole Do-Good Elf, The TreeMendous Ornament Decorating Kit, and three kits from Creativity for Kids: Holiday Snow Globes, Sparkling Window Art, and Shrink Fun Tinsel Tree deliver hours of family fun. All items are sold separately and are available on Amazon. If you want to try to win this Holly Jolly Fun Bundle, enter at

intelino Smart Train $99.95; 3+ Intelino combines the nostalgia of a classic toy train with today’s technology, featuring smart tracks built for fast action and smart play. Colored snap-on tiles control the train’s steering, speed and movement. Includes a smart engine, train wagon, decals and charging cable.

Queen Gwen Ombre Mini Backpack $44; 6–teen Kids and teens sparkle wherever they go with this trendy mini unicorn backpack adorned with glittery features, a sequined front pocket and rainbow zipper. Includes adjustable straps and interior pocket.

Baby Alive Happy Hungry Baby Doll $49.99; 4+ Kids experience the oh-so-real joy and messiness of feeding time with Happy Hungry Baby Alive. Features over 50 baby sounds/phrases and realistic expressions, but what makes this doll so unique are optional mommy or daddy mode and the choice of English or Spanish. “It’s my daughter’s doll, but my son loves putting it on daddy mode,” says mom Serena.

December 2019 • •


Safe Toys & Gifts Month • Write to a Friend Month • Egg Nog Month


Jennifer A. Burman

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

FREE Balboa Park December Nights

San Diego’s cherished holiday extravaganza unwraps its 42nd year with even more sparkle, music, food and nonstop merriment. Revel in magnificent light displays, holiday flavors from around the globe, arts and culture, and other attractions that will instantly put you in a jolly mood. Balboa Park museums will also open their doors for free from 5-9 pm each night. Dec. 6, 3-11 pm & Dec. 7, noon-11 pm. Keep the humbugs away – deck the season with all things merry and bright using our calendar filled with the biggest and most dazzling holiday happenings around town. Don’t forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

sunday | 1 Ice Skating at Viejas Casino & Resort. Celebrate the sights and sounds of the season at Southern California’s largest outdoor ice rink! Open through Jan.; visit website for hours. $15-$17. Viejas Outlet Center, 5005 Willows Rd., Alpine. FREE Santa Photos & Holiday Treasure Hunt. Noon-2 pm. Old California Restaurant Row, 1020 W. San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos.

30 • • December 2019

FREE Holidays by the Bay. Daily live music, stilt walkers, pop carolers and a live snow globe. Also, visit Santa’s Workshop featuring photos with Santa, the Seaport Creation Station, holiday movies and more. Seaport Village, 849 W. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. Details at FREE San Pasqual Battle Day. Commemorate the 1846 Battle of San Pasqual through living history activities that will transport you to the battlefield as it was 173 years ago. 11 am-3 pm. San

Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park, 15808 San Pasqual Valley Rd., Escondido. Skating by the Sea. Skate on a beachfront ice rink that offers amazing views of the Pacific. Through Jan. 5; visit website for hours. $30-$35. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave. FREE Kiwanis San Marcos Holiday Parade steps off from Palomar College and travels east on Mission Rd. to the San Marcos Civic Center. 1-3 pm.

Photo courtesy of Balboa Park December Nights

Plan fun family adventures with Out & About with Kids! Access the digital edition at

FREE Beachside Winter Wonder at Belmont Park. Be dazzled by 10- to 15-foottall holiday-themed sculptures, be entertained by live carolers (through Dec. 29. Fri., 6-9 pm; Sat. & Sun., 2-5 pm), have your photos taken with Santa for free (through Dec. 22. Fri.-Sun., 4-8 pm), and check out Illuminated Winter Nights when the sculptures light the night! Weekends, today until Jan. 5. 3148 Mission Blvd., San Diego. “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” See page 20. “Ebenezer Scrooge’s BIG San Diego Christmas Show.” Details on page 20. Cygnet Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol.” See page 21 for more information. Seas ‘n’ Greetings. See page 21. Alpine Wonderland at the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. For details, see page 21.

monday | 2 FREE Family Christmas Tree Farm. Find the perfect tree at this family-owned, 10-acre farm where you can choose and cut your own Monterey Pine or pick from fresh-cut Noble, Douglas and Grand Fir trees. Also includes farm animal encounters and hay rides for kids. Through Dec. 23, 9 am-9 pm. 300 Pepper Dr., El Cajon.

tuesday | 3

play area, a twinkling light tunnel, visits with Santa and the Snow Princess (on select dates), and entertainment. Tonight-Dec. 8, 10-15, 1723 & 26-30, 5-8:30 pm. $12-$25. 230 Quail Gardens Dr., Encinitas.

wednesday | 4 Family Night: Make Snow Globes. 6-7 pm. $5. San Marcos Community Center, 3 Civic Center Dr. Register at The Sky Tonight: Our Milky Way Galaxy. Come to this monthly planetarium show to learn how we discovered the structure of our galaxy and view the beauty of the Milky Way. 7 & 8:15 pm. $17.95-$19.95. Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park.

thursday | 5 FREE Tree Lighting & Holiday Open House. Live music, hot cocoa, cookie decorating, shopping, festive bites and Santa. 5:30-8 pm. Register for your free tickets. Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, 1 Ponto Rd.

friday | 6 North Pole Limited. All aboard for carols, sweet treats and Santa! Fri. & Sat., through Dec. 21, 5 & 7 pm. For tickets, visit website. Campo Railroad Park & Museum, 750 Depot St.

Rady Children’s Ice Rink at Liberty Station. Through Jan. 5, 10 am-10 pm. $13$15 includes skate rental and helmets. Net proceeds benefit the Thriving After Cancer program in the Rady Children’s Hospital’s Peckham Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

St. Nick at Night. Cookie decorating, beautiful lights, animal encounters, hot cocoa, a craft and a group story time with Santa. Tonight, Dec. 13 & 20, 5-6 & 6:15-7:15 pm. For fees, visit website. Helen Woodward Animal Center, 6461 El Apajo Rd., Rancho Santa Fe. Register at education/frosty-farm.

Botanic Wonderland. Featuring a 10-foot poinsettia tower, a musical light show and Kids Fun Zone with nightly “snowfall,” a real snow

FREE The Del’s Winter Wonderland. See sparkling lights and festive decorations, decorate cookies, make ornaments, send letters to

Santa and meet The Del’s resident ice princess, Krystal. Tonight, tomorrow, Dec. 11, 13, 14 & 20-31, 5-9 pm. Hotel del Coronado’s Garden Patio, 1500 Orange Ave. City Ballet of San Diego’s “The Nutcracker.” Don’t miss this classic, Victorianera story of the adventures of Clara, the Nutcracker Prince and the Sugar Plum Fairy, told through a magical theatrical experience showcasing Tchaikovsky’s famous score. Fri.-Sun., tonight until Dec. 22; visit website for schedule. $34-$93. Spreckels Theater, 121 Broadway, downtown San Diego. FREE Fallbrook Tree Lighting. Plus live music, face painting, games, crafts, food and more. 5-7:30 pm. Fallbrook Community Center, 341 Heald Lane. ScholarShare 529 Toddler Time. Music, movement and social play. Fridays, 10 am. Free with museum admission. The New Children’s Museum, 200 West Island Ave., downtown San Diego. FREE Alpine Parade of Lights & Snow Festival. Parade steps off at 6:30 pm at the corner of Alpine Blvd. & W. Victoria Dr., and ends on Tavern Rd. Festival is at the Alpine Community Center and includes Santa, music, vendors and snow! 6-9 pm. FREE Coronado Holiday Parade. 6-9 pm. Parade travels along Orange Ave., from 5th St. to R.H. Dana Place. Come early to Rotary Plaza to sing carols from 5-6 pm, and wait for Santa’s arrival via fire truck.

saturday | 7 San Diego STEAM Maker Fest. Explore the best of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics with an impressive array of hands-on activities and demonstrations for the family. 10 am-3 pm. Visit website for tickets; enter promo code SDFAMILY for a $3

Photo courtesy of Helen Woodward Animal Center

Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Frosty Farm

This holiday event combines hands-on animal encounters with a sleighload of activities for the family. Enjoy photo ops with fluffy, feathery and scaly friends, make crafts, decorate cookies, meet Santa, play games, have some hot cocoa and more. Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14 & 15, 9 am-1 pm. $10.99-$20.99. 6461 El Apajo Rd., Rancho Santa Fe. Register at

December 2019 • •




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

Calendar • December discount. Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. FREE Chula Vista Starlight Parade & Children’s Faire. The parade kicks off at 5 pm along the western side of Third Ave., and travels north from H to E Sts. The Children’s Faire will be held at Memorial Park from 2-5 pm and includes photos with Santa, snow sledding, free crafts and more. FREE Winter Wonderland Festival. Live reindeer, dazzling light installations, arts and crafts, food trucks, holiday-themed entertainment and real snow. 3-7 pm. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd. FREE Encinitas Holiday Parade travels along S. Coast Hwy. 101. 5:30-7:30 pm. Before the parade, see Santa at the Lumberyard courtyard (near Starbucks) at 5 pm.

FREE Ocean Beach Holiday Parade travels along Newport Ave. 5:05 pm. www FREE Family Activities at Renaissance Village Academy. Today: Christmas Ornaments; Dec. 15: Make a Dreidel. 2:305:30 pm. 10625 Scripps Ranch Blvd., Ste. A, San Diego. FREE Fallbrook Christmas Parade travels down Main Ave., from Ammunition Rd. to Ivy St. 5 pm. FREE Tree Lighting in San Marcos. Plus festive crafts, photos with Santa (1-4:30 pm), vendors, entertainment and “snow” right after the tree lighting. 1-7 pm; tree lighting, 5:35 pm. San Marcos Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Dr. Holiday at the Rancho. Come to the tree lighting (5:45 pm), decorate cookies, join the “plush” snowball fight, enjoy a train ride, watch a holiday movie and see Santa. 5-8 pm. Admission: $10; 3 & under free. Leo Carrillo Ranch Historical Park, 6200 Flying LC Lane, Carlsbad.

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FREE Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village. Festive décor, entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday treats, vendors and a visit from Santa. 4-8 pm. Tree lighting will be at Piazza della Famiglia at 6:30 pm; Christmas Village is located on India St., between W. Cedar & W. Fir Sts., downtown San Diego.

Chula Vista


For New Uninsured Patients. Not valid for patients with contracted insurance plans. Coupon may not be combined with any other offer. Must present coupon at visit.

December 2019 • •


Nicole/Dec 2019

Tony/July 2018/cr

Rediscover the JOY of Learning! Remember when “But why?” was the most common question your child asked? When did your bright child stop being excited by school? At Renaissance Village Academy, each student learns at their own level, based on ability, not age. Subjects include: Math, Science, English, History, Choir, Music, Art, and Karate. RVA is a private, nonreligious full-time school serving children in grades TK to 8th grade.

Nicole/December 2019

Couldn’t focus. Wouldn’t sit still. Wouldn’t Balance Addresses: Couldn’t focus. Wouldn’t still. sitBrainstill. Couldn’t Couldn’t focus.focus. Wouldn’t sitsitstill.

Struggled in school. Struggled Struggled in school. school.

– FREE Activities in December –

Struggled in school.

Christmas Ornaments

Saturday, December 7th, 2:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Make a Dreidel

Sunday, December 15th, 2:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Contact the school to set up a tour. Renaissance Village Academy 10625 Scripps Ranch Blvd. Suite A San Diego, CA 92131 • 858.564.9622

• Academic, Social or Behavioral Issues Aidan’s skills were all below level. After Brain Balance, • Processing Disorders reading, writing and math are now above where he Aidan’s skills were allbelow below level. level. After Brain Balance, needs to be. It’s been an amazing transformation. Aidan’s skills were allall After Brain Balance, skills were below level. After Brain Balance, • Lack of Focus reading, writing and math are now above where he Aidan’s He’s done things everyone said he couldn’t skills do.” were all below level. After Brain Balance, reading, writing and math arearenow above where he he reading, and math now above where needs- writing to be. been anwriting amazing transformation. • Trouble Making Friends DAN G.,It’s Brain Balance Parent and reading, math are now above where he needs to be. It’s been an amazing transformation. needsHe’stodone be. things It haseveryone been ansaid amazing transformation. he couldn’t do.” Call us about • Tantrums BRAIN BALANCE ADDRESSES: needs to be. It’s been an amazing transformation. He’s done things everyone he couldn’t do.” He has done things everyone he couldn’t do.” - DANsaid G., said Brain Balance Parent Holiday • Academic, Social or • Impulsiveness He’s done things everyone said he couldn’t do.” Behavioral Issues • Impulsiveness • Learning Disabilities - DAN G., Brain Balance Parent Specials! BALANCE• ADDRESSES: • ProcessingBRAIN Disorders Sensory Integration - DAN G., Brain Balance• Parent • Lack of Focus Learning Disabilities • Family/Social • Academic, Social or • Impulsiveness • Trouble Making Friends Relationships BRAIN BALANCE ADDRESSES: Behavioral Issues approach combining Brain Balance is a non-medical physical and sensory • Learning Disabilities • Tantrums • ADHD • Sensory Integration • Processing Disorders BRAIN BALANCE ADDRESSES: Integration • Academic, Social • Sensory Impulsiveness exercises with academic skillortraining and healthy nutrition. We identify the ofIssues Focus Learn more at Brain Balance is•aLack non-medical approach combining physical and sensory Behavioral Family/Social Learning Disabilities • Making Academic, Social••or • Impulsiveness • Family/Social • Trouble Friends Relationships issues, then create a plan that addresses your child’ s specific needs. exercises with academic skill training and healthy nutrition. We identify • Processing Disorders Behavioral Issues•• ADHD Sensory Integration • Learning Disabilities Tantrums Relationships the issues, then•create a plan that addresses your child’s specific needs. • Lack of Focus Processing Disorders Call 858-324-5545 • Family/Social Individual results•may vary. Our advertising features actual parent testimonials. • Sensory Integration at • Trouble Making Friends Relationships forLearn a free more consultation. Brain Balance is a non-medical approach combining physical and sensory • ADHD • Lack of Focus • Family/Social Individual results may vary. Our advertising features actual parent testimonials.

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Education Made Personal for a free consultation.

Individual results may vary. Our advertising features actual parent testimonials.

Individual results may vary. Our advertising features actual parent testimonials.

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

ENROLLING NOW! 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. 34 • • December 2019

Calendar • December FREE Carols of Carlsbad & Tree Lighting Ceremony at Omni La Costa. Carolers, a skydiving Santa, crafts, a holiday market and more. 1-5 pm; tree lighting at 5 pm. Also, catch a magical snowfall in The Plaza every Thurs.-Sat. this month, including Dec. 24, 25 & 31. 5 & 7 pm. 2100 Costa del Mar Rd., Carlsbad. www Christmas on Crystal Pier. Have your photo taken with Santa on the end of historic Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. 2-5 pm; weather permitting. $10 ($5 if you bring a donation of school supplies to benefit Pacific Beach schools). Parol Lantern Festival. Explore Philippine dance and culture at this annual event that also features a parol (a starshaped Christmas lantern) competition, a silent auction, raffles and more. 2-6 pm. $15-$20. Joe & Vi Jacobs Center, 404 Euclid Ave., San Diego. FREE South Park Holiday Walkabout & Tree Lighting. 5:30 pm. Grape Street Square, Grape & Fern Sts. FREE Vista Christmas Parade. 1-3 pm. Historic downtown Vista Village. www The Red Nose Run. Be part of this family- and dog-friendly 5K and 3K fun run/ walk. 1 pm; expo opens at 11:30 am. Del Mar Beach. Family Ballet Saturdays: “The Nutcracker.” City Ballet offers this introduction to the world of classical ballet and music for kids and their families, presented by City Ballet dancers and the City Ballet Orchestra. 2 pm; preshow activities start at 1:30 pm. Note: This is a full, 2-hour performance. Spreckels Theater, 121 Broadway, downtown San Diego. For tickets, visit FREE Holiday Fun at Village Walk at EastLake. See page 20. Julian Country Christmas. For more information, see page 20.

sunday | 8 SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. New offerings include Winter Wonderland on Ice, the Sesame Street Christmas Village and Cirque Christmas. Through Jan. 5; visit website for admission. Interstate 5, exit SeaWorld Dr., San Diego.

Elite Gymnastics Academy of San Diego 1817 John Towers Avenue El Cajon, CA 92020 619-441-5900 GYMNASTICS PRESCHOOL TUMBLING OPEN GYM PARTIES CAMPS COMPETITIVE

“THE GRINCH WHO STOLE ELITE” 12/14 6-10 PM $20 per child Parents’ Nite Out

Tony/December 2019/cr


ience exper S-ON HAND al Anim ers! nt encou

Preschool-6th Grade

December 20 – January 3 Register at



r Camp Winte ation registr A SAN DIEGO ORIGINAL open w o is n Learn the Language of Graphic Storytelling and Speak with Art! ! n onli e 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.

Little Fish Comic Book Studio 6822B El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92115

619-356-1103 • December 2019 • •



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

36 • • December 2019

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 FREE Holiday Tree Lighting in Solana Beach. Plus live music, sweet treats and a visit from Santa. 4:30 pm; Santa arrives at 5:20 pm. Fletcher Cove Park, 111 S. Sierra Ave. FREE San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. See boats lavishly decorated for this year’s theme, “Comic-Con on the Bay.” 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. Tonight & Dec. 15, 5 pm. FREE Wacky Wonderland. Vespa Motorsport’s Scooter Toy Run, photos with Santa and Wacky Willy, a holiday sweater costume contest, games and more. 11 am-2 pm. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to be given to children in need. San Diego Center for Children, 3002 Armstrong St., San Diego. FREE Santa by the Sea. Write a letter to Santa, design your own Rad Hatter holiday hat, have your photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and enjoy treats and crafts. 3-5 pm; tree lighting, 5 pm. Northwest cor. of Camino Del Mar & 15th St., Del Mar. Parade of Lights Dinner at Maritime Museum of San Diego. Get a majestic view of the Parade of Lights from the Museum’s historic steam ferry boat, Berkeley. A sumptuous dinner will be served and a no-host bar will be open from 5-8 pm. $25-$60; advance reservations recommended. 1492 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. FREE Winterfest. A tree lighting, roaming mariachi, ugly sweater contests, a holiday gift market, kids’ activities and Santa. 2-7 pm. 25 Main St., Vista.

monday | 9

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

Wish You Were Here. View an amazing array of vintage, color-tinted San Diego postcards and photography from around the world in this new exhibit. Open daily, 9 am-8 pm. $8$18; 2 & under free. Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego.

tuesday | 10 FREE Winter Wonderland at The Grand. Holiday characters and carolers, carousel and


School Recognition: Exceptional Teachers

Looking for unique opportunities to inspire and motivate your kids? This teacher is making an impact in a creative, non-traditional learning environment. Contact studio to learn more. Congratulations to Ceri Langell for being an exceptional educator!

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



Book your birthday party now


thru January 31, 2020 and receive

Visit our website to see our exceptional test scores and full schedule of enrichment classes! Located in University City 2640 Soderblom Ave. San Diego, CA 92122

Call for a tour 858-457-5895

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

$30 off

Includes free Dippin’ Dots for the guest of honor. Must mention San Diego Family Magazine to redeem offer. One per party.

• 2 Hours of Jump + Party Time • Personal Altitude Trampoline Park® Party Host • Party Set Up + Clean Up • Access to All Park Attractions • Altitude Safety Socks Included • 1 FREE Jump Pass for the Birthday Boy/Girl G • 1 FREE Altitude T-Shirt

o Onlin e to see Our

Holiday Gift Ca rd Special s!

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 2019 • •


Discover the World of Montessori

According to Dr. Maria Montessori, children learn best in an environment that demonstrates love, trust, understanding, patience and consistency. Students excel academically while experiencing cooperation, respect, self-confidence and the joy of learning. Contact these local Montessori schools for more information.

“A Montessori Student is a Future Citizen of the World” East County

North County Coastal


CENTRAL MONTESSORI SCHOOL Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten

10435 Campo Rd., Spring Valley 91978 Rancho San Diego

Encinitas, Cardiff, Carlsbad, La Costa

Lic. #376600356

Lic. #376700910



ENCINITAS COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Preschool/Elementary/Middle


Lic. #372005943

Two Locations in Encinitas Encinitas

8121 Braddock Place, San Diego 92114 Lemon Grove

San Diego Central

MARIA MONTESSORI SCHOOL Preschool/Elementary/Middle

North County Inland

4544 Pocahontas Ave., San Diego 92117 Serving all of San Diego County from our central location

COUNTRY MONTESSORI SCHOOL Preschool/Kindergarten/Elementary

Lic. #376700980


San Diego Coastal

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


South Bay MONTESSORI LEARNING ACADEMY Preschool / Kindergarten Imperial Beach, San Marcos

AMS Affiliated



Lic # 372006093


BETH MONTESSORI Infants/Toddler/Preschool/Kindergarten Lic. # 376700496

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

858-452-3030 MISSION BAY MONTESSORI ACADEMY Preschool/Elementary Lic. #372005444 • AMS Affiliated School

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


“Early childhood education is the key to the betterment of society.” - Maria Montessori 38 • • December 2019

Jewish Montessori Preschool in La Jolla • • • • • •

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

Tutoring Tots In Tutus All Dance Since 1962 Wear F

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

Combination Class Tap • Ballet • Tumbling

(858) 452-3030 or Beth Montessori adheres to the principles of Association Montessori International (AMI)

8660 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037

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

ferris wheel rides, ice skating and shopping. Through Jan. 1; visit website for hours. Fairmont Grand Del Mar, 5300 Grand Del Mar Ct. www

with Clara and her Nutcracker Prince. Tonight & Dec. 20, 7 pm; tomorrow & Dec. 21, 2 & 7 pm; Dec. 15 & 22, 2 pm. $15-$20. Casa del Prado Theater, Balboa Park.

wednesday | 11

FREE Holiday in the Village. Live music, caroling, food, kids’ activities, shopping and more. Today, 4-9 pm & tomorrow, 10 am-9 pm. Downtown La Mesa. www

Cygnet Theatre’s Sensory-Friendly Performance of “A Christmas Carol.” 10:30 am. $10; tickets available through group sales. Contact Virginia Rivera at or at 619574-0059, ext. 124. 4040 Twiggs St., San Diego.

thursday | 12 Nature & Me Story Time: Winter Animals. 10:15 am. For ages 1-5 with adult. Included with museum admission. San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park.

friday | 13 “Traditions of Christmas – Remixed!” This Christmas musical extravaganza returns with new songs and dance numbers, scenic designs and lighting that will surely boost your holiday spirit! Tonight & Dec. 20, 7 pm; tomorrow & Dec. 21, 2 & 7 pm; Dec. 15 & 22, 4 pm. $30-$35. Lincoln Performing Arts Center, 4777 Imperial Ave., San Diego. Holidays at LEGOLAND. Feel the LEGO cheer with live entertainment, festive décor and the world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree. Through Dec. 31; visit website for hours and admission. LEGOLAND California Resort, Carlsbad. San Diego Civic Youth Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” Journey to the Land of Sweets

Enchanted Village by Noah Homes. See page 21.

saturday | 14 FREE Wake Up Santa! Wake Santa Claus from his slumber with a huge dose of holiday cheer! Featuring kids’ crafts, train rides, free Santa photos, DJ dance parties, face painting, balloon art and other activities. 10 am-noon. Clairemont Town Square, 4821 Clairemont Dr., San Diego. Parent’s Nite Out at Elite Gymnastics Academy: The Grinch Who Stole Elite. 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. FREE Studio by the Bay Family Days. Make a wearable shrinky dink and a holiday card. 10 am-2 pm. Seaport Village, 809 W. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. www; The San Diego Ice Arena’s “Christmas in Candyland.” Show times: Noon, 3:30 & 7 pm. General admission: $15 (bleacher seating). Call for tickets. 11048 Ice Skate Place, Mira Mesa.; 858530-1825, ext. 302.

Ages 2 & Up


d Leotards • Tights Tap Shoe Ballet Shoe s s • Tutus

1st Lesson is FREE! Enroll Anytime!

Vernetta’s Dance Studio

619-260-1707 |

FREE Pacific Beach Holiday Parade starts on Garnet Ave. & Haines St., and travels down to Bayard. 1-3 pm. Scripps Ballet Theatre & Scripps Performing Arts Academy Present “The Nutcracker.” Today & tomorrow, 2 pm at David & Dorothea Garfield Theatre (4126 Executive Dr., La Jolla) and Dec. 22 & 23 during the Nutcracker Holiday Tea at Fairmont Grand Del Mar (5300 Grand Del Mar Ct.). www Breakfast with Surfin’ Santa. 9-11 am. $25. Call for tickets. Harbor House Restaurant, 831 W. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego.; 619-232-1141 FREE Christmas in the Park. Caroling, a tree lighting, Santa, pony rides, steam locomotive train rides, kids’ crafts, model train displays and more. 3:30-8:30 pm. Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Rd. Breakfast with Santa in San Marcos. 7:30-11 am. $5. San Marcos Community Center, 3 Civic Center Dr. FREE Escondido Jaycees Christmas Parade travels south on Broadway, from Escondido High School to Grape Day Park. 9:30 am. FREE Oceanside Harbor Parade of Lights. 7-9 pm. FREE HolidayFest at Grossmont Center. Meet seasonal characters, make holiday crafts, stop by Santa’s Hut to exchange jolly smiles with him, get your holiday shopping done and more. Today, tomorrow, Dec. 21 & 22, noon-3 pm. 5500 Grossmont Center Dr., La Mesa. December 2019 • •


Calendar • December

“A community where every child is known.”

Tuition Free K-12 Public Schools

Lic.# 376600498

Literacy First Charter Schools

Visit our website Find us on

“A learning environment that balances the physical, emotional, cognitive, creative, social & emotional needs of your child.”


Scheduling Tours for the 2020-2021 School Year 858-755-8338 13692 Mango Drive, Del Mar

Leaders in Early Childhood Education Since 1970

San Diego 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 friend. 9 am. $20$50. 900 Garnet Ave., Pacific Beach. FREE Merry Fun at Eastlake Village Marketplace. See Santa arrive on the Holiday Express Train, then enjoy free train rides, face painting, musical entertainment and more. 1-4 pm. 2275 Otay Lakes Rd., Chula Vista. Kids in the Garden: Five Senses & Nature Games. 10 am-noon. $5; preregistration required. Alta Vista Botanical Gardens, 1270 Vale Terrace Dr., Vista. Don’t forget to call to confirm dates, times and admission prices.

sunday | 15 FREE Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade steps off at 2 pm from under the iconic Gaslamp Quarter Archway, continues up to Fifth Ave., turns left at E St., then down Fourth Ave., ending at MLK Promenade Park (401 K St.) where the Holiday Pet Market is held from noon-5 pm. Nutcracker Tea Party. Hot cocoa, tea and sweet treats, a visit from Santa, a narrative performance of The Nutcracker by San Diego Ballet and more. 3:30-5:30 pm. $55. Liberty Station, Bldg. 177, 2875 Dewey Rd., Point Loma. www.libertystation .com/events/salute-the-season “Noel Noel”: A Family Concert. The San Diego Symphony performs alongside the San Diego Master Chorale, the San Diego Children’s Choir and North Pole’s most famous resident. 2 pm. $13-$28. Copley Symphony Hall, Jacobs Music Center, 750 B St., downtown San Diego. Grand Tradition’s Brunch with Santa. Includes storytelling, dancing ballerinas, carolers and a holiday kids’ craft. 10 am-1 pm. $10-$59. Call for reservations. Grand Tradition Estate & Gardens, 220 Grand Tradition Way, Fallbrook. FREE San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. See Dec. 8. Parade of Lights Dinner at Maritime Museum of San Diego. See Dec. 8.

40 • • December 2019

Tony/Dec 2018

Unforgettable Birthday Experiences Happen Every Day at San Diego Ice Arena!

monday | 16 FREE Kids Countdown to Christmas. Traditional holiday films, cookie decorating, hot chocolate, arts and crafts, and a visit from Mrs. Claus. Tonight until Dec. 20, 6-7:30 pm. Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, 1 Ponto Rd. RSVP at holidays.htm.

tuesday | 17 “Cirque Dreams Holidaze.” Soaring acrobatics, gravity-defying feats and extravagant theatrical production numbers in this holiday stage spectacular. Tonight & tomorrow, 7:30 pm. Visit website for tickets. California Center for the Arts, Escondido, 340 N. Escondido Blvd.

Your Child is the

• Personal Skate Host • Live DJ • Pizza, Cake, Ice Cream Sandwiches Exclusive Games and Award Medal • Decorate Your Own Cake • Free Group Skating Lesson

Book Your Birthday Party Now! 11048 Ice Skate Place, Mira Mesa • (858) 530-1825 •

Giovanni/July 2019

Obstacle Course

Princess Combo

Toy Story

Finding Nemo


5-n-1 Licensed Combo Multiple Themes!

Clean Units! Insured! Free Delivery & Set-up! Other Interactive Games Available!

Soccer Field

Now Booking Holiday Parties BEST KIDS’ BIRTHDAY PARTY



• ••• •••








Best and Top Pick in multiple categories! PI

Whale & Dolphin Watching Cruises. Daily; 9:30 am-1 pm & 1:30-5 pm. Pier 2, 970 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego. Make reservations at san-diego-winter-whale-watching-wkdy.

15’ H Slide


thursday | 19

Hello Kitty

Justice League

wednesday | 18 Dreamscapes: 14th Annual Juried Youth Exhibition. View the work of students from San Diego and Tijuana in this exhibit that explores the subconscious and the ways we perceive dreams. Tues.-Sun., 10 am-5 pm. Pay What You Wish admission. Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park.

STAR of the Party!



ER 2018 WINN

friday | 20 The Special Needs Resource Foundation of San Diego Presents “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Grab your lightsabers and watch this much-anticipated sequel with the family. Before the screening, check out lots of Star Wars-themed activities! 7 pm; festivities begin at 5:30 pm. UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley, 7510 Hazard Center Dr. #100, San Diego. Purchase tickets at www Polar Bear Tea. Treat yourself to a classic tea experience with a fun family twist. Every guest who donates a new toy for Toys for Tots will receive a plush polar bear keepsake gift from Coca-Cola. 11 am-4 pm. Visit website for fees and reservations. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave. St. Nick at Night. See Dec. 6.

FUNBelievable Play

The Best Party Guests Are Puppies! Birthdays • Adults • Kids Family Fun • Mom Groups • More!

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.


Contact us to request specific times and dates for your next event. Puppy Party reservations fill up quickly, so don’t wait! Book your Puppy Party today!

Two locations, one phone:

National City & Escondido 619-743-3996 December 2019 • •



UPF 50+ Full-Body Swimwear

Ho lid ay Sp ec ia l


with purchase of rash guard Expires December 31, 2019

503.688.4806 @shade.suits

Teena’s Custom Crafts

For larger events, rent a Santa Setting! Kids’ Craft Creative, fun parties for kids 2 &


up, in your home, yard or park. Crafts at preschools & camps too!


saturday | 21 Teddy Bear Teas. Enjoy holiday beverages, premium teas, pastries and desserts. Each child will get some one-on-one time with Santa and will receive a keepsake teddy bear. Until tomorrow, 2:30-5 pm. The Westgate Hotel, 1055 Second Ave., downtown San Diego. For reservations, visit Holidays by the Bay. See Dec. 1. San Diego Civic Youth Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” See Dec. 13. FREE HolidayFest at Grossmont Center. See Dec. 14.

sunday | 22

monday | 23 Insects Face to Face. Don’t miss this new exhibit highlighting more than 30 large-scale photos that reveal the unique morphology and adaptations of insects, especially details that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Open daily, 10 am-5 pm. Included with admission. San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park.

tuesday | 24 Christmas Eve FREE Spend Christmas Eve at First United Methodist Church of San Diego. See page 20 for details.

Ice Skating at Viejas Casino & Resort. See Dec. 1.

monday | 30

FREE The Del’s Winter Wonderland. See Dec. 6. SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. See Dec. 8.

thursday | 26 Kwanzaa, Dec. 26-Jan. 1 FREE Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade Presented by Hilton. See world-class marching bands, impressive floats and drill teams, and giant balloons in America’s largest balloon parade. 3 pm. North Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego.

friday | 27 San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl. Watch a thrilling game featuring top teams from the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences. Kickoff at 5 pm. Also, catch the Dexcom Pregame Party (free with your game ticket) that includes food trucks, live bands, face painting, photo booths, giveaways and more. 3-5 pm. SDCCU Stadium, Mission Valley.

FREE Beachside Winter Wonder at Belmont Park. See Dec. 1.

saturday | 28

Botanic Wonderland. See Dec. 3.

42 • • December 2019

sunday | 29

Christmas Day

wednesday | 25

“A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage!” See page 21.

“Traditions of Christmas – Remixed!” See Dec. 13.

“A Magical Cirque Christmas!” Get ready to be spellbound by this new holiday production filled with dazzling performers and cirque artists from around the globe. 7:30 pm. Visit website for tickets. San Diego Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave., downtown San Diego.

Living Lab. Come face to face with more than 30 creepy, crawly and slithery animals, from stinging scorpions to elusive nocturnal lizards, in this new exhibit. Open daily, 10 am-5 pm. Included with admission. San Diego Natural History Museum, Balboa Park.

Winter Solstice Hanukkah, Dec. 22-30 City Ballet of San Diego’s “The Nutcracker.” See Dec. 6.

FREE Menorah Lighting. Also, live music, treats and kids’ crafts. 7-8:30 pm. Lighthouse District, Seaport Village, 849 W. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego.

“Boarded!” Be part of this hilarious interactive show where participants will be sworn in as part of the ship crew and will be trained on how to navigate, sword fight, swab the deck and more. Check-in times: 10:30 am & 12:45 pm. $25-$40. Maritime Museum of San Diego, 1492 N. Harbor Dr., downtown San Diego.

Sun, Earth, Universe. Check out this new exhibit where you can build a model spacecraft for a mission to space, reveal hidden images using the same tools NASA scientists employ to explore the universe, play the Your Mission to Space board game and more. Open daily; visit website for hours and admission. Fleet Science Center, Balboa Park.

tuesday | 31 New Year’s Eve Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party at LEGOLAND California Resort. Rock into the New Year with LEGO characters, watch LEGOLAND’s Got Talent!, see a recreation of the famous Times Square ball drop with a giant LEGO brick falling 22 feet in the air (6 pm), and enjoy a fireworks display. Visit for details. New Year’s Eve Movie on the Beach. Head down to Del Beach to watch Aladdin (2019) under the stars. Stick around for the live New Year’s Eve Times Square Ball Drop at 9 pm, followed by beach fireworks. Movie starts at 6:30 pm. $20 per sand chair. Hotel del Coronado, 1500 Orange Ave.

Find more fun-tastic events at Want us to spread the news? Email and include the name of the event, a brief description, event address, date, time, cost, contact number and website. Submission does not guarantee publication. Deadline for the February issue: January 2.

5005 Willows Road, Alpine, CA 91901 • • 619.659.2070


Viejas reserves all rights. Visit Shopper Services for details. © 2019 Viejas Casino & Resort, Alpine CA T R AV E L G U I D E