Takes some green to chase away the holiday blues

A list of things to do over the holidays in San Diego.

The 12 days of Christmas are usually a rollercoaster of emotions in the Kelly home. A high on Christmas, post-Christmas low, high of New Year’s, followed by a cavernous low in January.

“You know the post-holiday blues have hit when the special of the night at your local restaurant says, ‘Soup of the day: cream of Prozac,’” said my man Patrick at dinner, reminding me of an old top-ten Letterman bit. “What’s our plan to keep that creamy soup away during the holidays?”

A few days later, I filled in my family on some blues-busting holiday activities. “Why don’t you ring in the new year with a Polar Bear Plunge, New Year’s Day, 10 a.m.?” I asked Patrick. “La Jolla Shores. They provide coffee and cider, and there’s a chili potluck.”

“Pass on the plunge, but yes to the chili. For a wintry activity, I say ice-skating,” he countered, “and not that tiny little rink down at Horton Plaza.”

“Viejas Outlet Center has the largest outdoor skating rink in Southern California,” I replied. Open December 26 through January 6 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Adult admission is $12, and children 12 and under are $10. Prices include skate rental and 90 minutes of fun on the ice.

“The San Diego Zoo is open until 8 p.m. through January 6,” I continued. “They’ve penned it ‘Jungle Bells’ — hand-bell musicians wandering through the park, a tree-lighting every night at 5 p.m., some snow falling, lights everywhere... How can you get blue amid that festive scene?” Adult tickets, $44; children ages 3 to 11, $34.

Patrick winced at the prices.

“Or, maybe you prefer Shamu and his Christmas,” I said. “SeaWorld touts the largest Christmas tree in Southern California, standing 320 feet high [their “Skytower” elevator decorated with lights]; live music at Shamu’s Christmas; and there’s SnowWorld, a heap of snow right in Arctic Plaza for sledding and making snowmen.” The park is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through December 31. Adult tickets, $78; children ages 3 to 9, $70.

Patrick nearly fainted at that price.

“Legoland has the World’s largest Lego Christmas tree,” I continued. “Live wandering entertainment, fireworks, and we’ll find a snow area there, also. You can use Legos to accessorize your snowman.”

“Every snowman’s dream, Lego accessories,” Patrick joked, but he wasn’t happy about the price: $59 for adults and children. (The park stays open until 7 p.m. through December 31.)

“San Diego Botanic Garden has a 100,000-light display called Garden of Lights,” I offered. “More snow for sledding, horses for wagon rides, live music nightly, a Nutcracker exhibit, campfire for marshmallow-roasting, and they’ll have your favorite for sale, Patrick: mulled wine.” December 26 through 30, from 5 until 9 p.m.; nonmembers are $12 and children ages 3 to 12 are $4.

“I like the prices, but let’s move away from chilly activities,” Patrick suggested, “and bring in some sun.”

“How about the San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade?” I asked. “The parade on Harbor Drive is on December 27th, starting at 10 a.m., and the best viewing is around the Maritime Museum on Harbor Drive.

“There’s a free festival after the parade at the Broadway Pier,” I added, “and it includes the Battle of the University Bands. Then, maybe you and I could go on a harbor cruise. Champagne, dancing, three-course meal for three hours — sounds like the holidays to me,” I exclaimed. Hornblower’s December Nights Dinner Cruise costs $73 per person, with boarding at 6:30 p.m. at the Grape Street Pier.

“Couldn’t we go to Balboa Park?” our daughter chimed in. “It’s so pretty at this time of year.”

“Sure,” I answered. “We could see a concert at the Organ Pavilion. The Sunday, December 30th, concert is the House of Scotland Pipe Band. And on January 1st, the concert is called Happy New Year from the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, performed by Carol Williams at 2 p.m.”

“What about some theater this season?” Patrick interrupted. “Lamb’s Players Theatre is offering An American Christmas at the Hotel del Coronado, running through December 26th at 6:30 p.m.” Three hours in the ballroom with hors d’oeuvres, five-course meal, champagne, and entertainment: adults, $135; children, $95.

“Weren’t you the one fainting over high prices,” I asked?

“I know how to keep a visiting mother-in-law happy,” he grinned. He’s a fourth Wise Man, this husband of mine.f

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