This year, the Lickona family is keeping to its Christmas traditions at home: the ancient carols, the crèche, the Christmas lights wrapped around the cactus in the front yard, the works. But also this year, when we leave the familiar pleasures of hearth and home and venture out into the wide world, we’re looking to broaden our experience a bit. Because even if there really is a war on Christmas, the best way to conquer an enemy is to make him your friend. We know what we’re about, so we’re happy to take a look around and share the love.
Hanukkah and Kwanzaa
Holiday traditions are handed-down things; the San Diego History Center wants to help you make those things hand-made as well. On December 17, from 11 a.m.–4 p.m., they will be offering several make-and-take Hanukkah and Kwanzaa craft activities. Make your own dreidel (and argue about its origin story), weave your own Mkeka mat (one of the seven symbols of Kwanzaa), or make a bracelet or necklace in traditional Kwanzaa colors. While you work, listen to ancestral stories from Rev. Alyce Smith-Cooper and music from the San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir. Tickets free with a give-forward admission.
Global Winter Wonderland
First, Qualcomm Stadium was transformed into San Diego County Credit Union Stadium. Now, thanks to two months’ work by hundreds of artisans, it’s transformed into an illuminated landscape celebrating holidays from around the world. Marvel at landmarks such as Big Ben and the Moai of Easter Island; stroll through Toyland and Candyland with the little ones, and gawk at the Cirque du Soleil-style acrobats. Enjoy world music and more than 35 carnival rides, and meet the Global Winter Wonderland Penguin. Plus: games, crafts, sweets, savories, and a multicultural marketplace. Tickets: adult, $22; kids/seniors, $19; games/rides pass, $36. Open every day, November 19–January 7.
San Diego Festival Chorus Winter Concert
4747 College Avenue, College Area
The San Diego Festival Chorus — a nonaudition outfit that is open to all who want to learn and perform — has been performing choral classics and masterworks since 2001. This year’s winter concert, at the College Avenue Baptist Church, includes selections from Handel’s Messiah: “For Unto Us a Child is Born,” and the beloved “Hallelujah” chorus (with audience participation). Classics like “The Twelve Days of Christmas” will be joined by obscurities such as “We Need a Little Christmas” from Mame, and a swing version of “Joy to the World.” Concert is December 10 at 3 p.m. Tickets: adult, $17; student/senior, $15; children under 12, $5.
Angels & Hearts: Snow Angels & Creperie
- 4646 Convoy Street
- Kearny Mesa
You may not be able to catch snowflakes on your tongue here in San Diego, but you can snag some snowfluff. “It’s kind of like shaved ice,” explains a clerk, “but it’s made from a flavored soy-milk base, so it’s creamier and fluffier. We have flavors like vanilla, green tea, mango, passionfruit, and strawberry.” Servings (regular, $3.95; large, $5.25) are topped with boba — tapioca pearls — and whipped cream, and you can add fruit for an additional charge. (As the name implies, you can also get filled crêpes, for $5.95.)
- 4764 Convoy Street
- Kearny Mesa
Once you’ve dipped your tongue into a little bit of snowfluff, you may want to get serious and taste test some snowflakes. This shop boasts that it uses Korea’s finest snow ice machine to fashion its frozen, shaved-milk treat. Eight styles of snowflake ($7.99–$9.99), from familiar flavors such as Oreo and strawberry to Asian specialties like matcha or injeolmi red bean. (The former is a powdered, high-grade green tea, the latter a mix of sweet rice cake and sweet red bean.) Most snowflakes are topped with a scoop of ice cream.
Coaster Holiday Express
What’s almost as fast as Santa’s sleigh? The North County Transit District’s Coaster Holiday Express. Each 65-minute ride whizzes along a nonstop round-trip from Oceanside to Solana Beach and back. Onboard guests include Santa, his elves, the Ice Queen, and the Snow Princess. Enjoy lovely coastal views while caroling and drinking in the festive decorations. Tickets $10 each. Holiday Express runs December 9 at 10 a.m., noon, and 2 p.m., and December 10, 10 a.m. and noon.