Holiday 2019
The Quartyard in East Village is one of the many communities celebrating the holidays this weekend. Photo credit:

This is the weekend to catch the Christmas spirit in San Diego, whether on land or by sea.

Two signature holiday-paloozas take the spotlight Friday, followed by another on Sunday.

On Friday, in Coronado Santa arrives at the Ferry Landing at 2 p.m., where a Snow Mountain – snow trucked-in specially for the day – awaits children young and old. Caroling follows, leading up to the Holiday Parade along Orange Avenue at 6 p.m., followed by a tree and menorah lighting.

Over the bridge, Balboa Park hosts December Nights, which despite eschewing a holiday-themed name, does in fact include a tree lighting, carols, and even the Village People. Yes, the ‘70s disco act will launch “The Village People Christmas Show” at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Have a mucho, macho Christmas? Gates open at 3 p.m. Friday and at noon Saturday, with musicians and dozens of other performers fanning out from El Prado, the Organ Pavilion and Plaza de Panama.

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights features dozens of boats done up in their holiday finest. Photo by Chris Stone

Lights on houses. parades on streets. Sure, OK. But nothing says Cali Christmas like a boat parade. On the local bayfront, that means the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, at 5 p.m. Sunday. The theme couldn’t be more San Diego either – Comic-Con on the Bay. So if you’re itching to break out those Spidey and Stormtrooper duds in December, now’s your chance. If you can’t head out this weekend, the boats take to the water again Dec. 15.

The yuletide options abound. On Friday, The Nutcracker opens at Spreckels Theatre; in Liberty Station, Santa appears at First Friday Amplified, and it’s the first weekend of “Botanic Wonderland – Holiday Nights in the Garden” at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas. On Saturday, Little Italy lights the community tree; Escondido hosts the Winter Wonderland Festival; Ocean Beach’s Holiday Parade proceeds along Newport Avenue, and the Starlight Parade takes over Third Avenue in Chula Vista;

Finally, on Sunday, the La Jolla Christmas Parade offers the theme “Christmas on the Moon” on Girard Avenue; North Park’s Toyland Parade runs along University Avenue; Santa at the Lakes features the man himself at Santee Lakes; and East Village sets its tree alight at the Quartyard.

If you flatly refuse to feel festive until say, Dec. 24, or are opting out this year, how about some nostalgia or a play? Emmy-winner John Leguizamo brings his Latin History for Morons back to San Diego at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Theatre. He took the show to Broadway after workshopping it at the La Jolla Playhouse in 2016.

If you’re of a certain age, or just prefer the Golden Age of rock, saluting The White Album, the Beatles’ landmark 1968 release, is a good way to go. The Magnolia in El Cajon hosts just such a tribute at 8 p.m. Sunday with Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross and former Monkee Micky Dolenz taking on the classics. They also mix in some of their own hits.

– Staff reports