A Christmas tree – a classic slice of a San Diego holiday. Photo by Nancy Phillips via Facebook

(For a full list of theme parks, ice skating and other holiday activities available through the end of the season, please see Holidays in San Diego.)

You may have loved ones in town and home and hearth is great, but this is San Diego. There’s no bomb cyclone lying in wait for us, so get out there and enjoy the holiday. Many shows and outdoor seasonal activities continue this San Diego weekend (and even through year’s end), so there’s still time to make merry.

Bundle up and hit the beach early Friday and Saturday to spy a natural wonder – the king tides. Forecasters say big waves, up to 7 feet, will crash along the coast, so if your guests have a hankering to see the shore, take them to your favorite patch of sand between 7 and 9 a.m.

Connect with the young dancer in your life by way of the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker, in two North County productions, both with family-friendly matinees:

  • City Ballet of San Diego has two performances remaining at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido – at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday. Elizabeth Wistrich, co-director of the City Ballet school, choreographed the piece. Tickets start at $30.
  • California Ballet School features principal dancers Reka Gyulai and Stephano Candreva at three shows Friday and Saturday – two matinees, at 1 p.m. each day, and a 7 p.m. show on Friday. Tickets remain for all performances at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, 15498 Espola Road. They start at $31.
Folklórico dancers at the Fiesta de Reyes, which is hosting holiday festivities. Courtesy photo

Of course, you may need some late (ahem) shopping ideas and Fiesta de Reyes gives you the chance to take folks to one of the region’s prime tourist attractions while making any last-minute purchases you see fit. The Old Town favorite offers holiday music and decor on Friday and Saturday, along with face painting, live music and traditional tamales for sale.

Let’s say your approach to the holiday tends to the more irreverent. The Casbah then is a good place to turn for the Cure Christmas Dance Party at 9 p.m. Friday. Robert Smith’s smeared lipstick, after all is the perfect red for the season, ’80s nostalgia is a hoot and the price is right if gifts have tapped you out – $5.

You may not have a regular church home, but a good choir appeals to you. On Christmas, a number of churches are hosting special carol services. They include:

  • Redeemer by the Sea, 6600 Black Rail Road, Carlsbad, 8:30 a.m., Christmas morning carol service.
  • Canyon Community Church, 610 Paseo Del Rey, Chula Vista, 9 a.m., casual Christmas service with carols and tamales. Wearing PJs is OK too.
  • Christ Presbyterian Church, 7807 Centella St., Carlsbad, 10:45 a.m., Christmas
    service with carols and a story.

For many people, seeing a movie after all the presents are unwrapped (but before the big Christmas dinner) is a key part of the holiday tradition. AMC Mission Valley 20 is showing two modern classics, Elf and Love Actually, at 11 a.m. Sunday with discounted $5 “fan faves” tickets. There’s also the Santa-themed caper flick Violent Night and blockbuster sequels to Avatar and Black Panther at most cineplexes.


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Ellen Bullock