There is no doubt that the Christmas season brings joy, excitement, wonder, and gratitude into our lives. However, sometimes the most wonderful time of the year is also fraught with long to-do lists, busy schedules, and stress. While you may find yourself grasping for more time in each day, remember to take a minute (or two) to invest in the memories that will last long after the lights are taken down and the batteries on the toys run out. If you are local to San Diego or just visiting for the holidays, here are a few festive things to do with your family that will keep you in awe and wonder this holiday season.
10. LIGHT SIGHT-SEEING
This is a favorite for nearly all little boys and girls (and some adults too)! There are holiday light display maps available online, so do a quick search of your area and off you go. You may want to ‘surprise’ the kids with this activity by pretending to go through the get-ready-for-bed routine and then announce that everyone should get in the car. Take along hot cocoa, apple cider, or milk and cookies for an extra treat. Don’t forget to bundle up if you’ll be walking through the neighborhood instead of driving.
9. BAKE & TAKE
Not only is holiday baking fun and delicious, but once your goodies have cooled you can wrap them up and gift them to neighbors, friends, or coworkers. You can also bake for church or school functions, or simply for the pleasure of having something sweet in your own cupboards. Whatever you end up doing with your baked goods, someone is bound to enjoy them!
8. HOTEL DEL CORONADO
The Hotel Del located on the ‘island’ of Coronado is beautiful anytime of year, but during Christmas it is spectacular. Many of the common areas and lobbies host different themed Christmas trees, and the restaurants and shops all provide holiday-themed dinners, brunches, teas, and even a Christmas bonfire complete with marshmallows and cocoa. Perhaps the best part about visiting the Del is being able to ice skate on the beach! Well, maybe not right on the sand, but the Del sets up their outdoor ice skating rink on the back end of their property so you can enjoy a beautiful ocean view while gliding across the ice. Visit their website for details and reservations.
7. THE CLASSIC GINGERBREAD HOUSE
If you’re feeling a bit brave you can attempt making your own gingerbread for this, but since no one will be actually eating your creation you can take advantage of a premade kit sold at the store. There are kits available for all skill levels, from very simple to very ornate. Judge what is best for your family and get building!
6. LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
There is something really special about Christmas music. Whether your tastes lean towards traditional carols or you like the more modern versions, there is something for everyone to enjoy. For theater choices check out The Old Globe, Lambs Players, or the San Diego Civic Youth Theater for some family-friendly theater shows.
5. VISIT A THEME PARK
Sea World, Legoland, Balboa Park, the Birch Aquarium, the Zoo, and the Safari Park all host special activities and decorations for the holidays. If you have a season pass be sure to visit for the special events. If you don’t have a pass, then visiting at Christmastime is a wonderful way to see the parks for the first time.
4. GIVE IT AWAY
Time, money, and talent all hold different value for different people. Consider taking time this season to give in whatever capacity you and your family can. Whether you serve at your church, school, or local food bank, this is a wonderful activity that the family can do together. Give of your time and resources to whichever organization or cause stirs your heart, and by including your children they will receive in the joy of giving as well.
3. CATCH A PARADE
With San Diego being a coastal town, you have the unique opportunity to see a parade of boats on the water. San Diego Bay Parade of Lights takes place December 16th and features more than 80 boats all decked out for Christmas. Additionally, the Oceanside Harbor and Mission Bay both offer boat parades this year on December 8th. Most cities also host good old-fashioned street parades so check with your city for current information.
2. CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES
With wonderful churches on almost every corner, Christmas Eve services are available all over the county. Most include special children’s programs, a special message, and worship by candlelight. If you are new to the area or just visiting, you are invited to celebrate the birth of our Savior with Horizon Christian Fellowship here in Rancho Santa Fe.
1. THE LIVING NATIVITY AT HORIZON CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP IN RANCHO SANTA FE
If you only choose one activity from our list this year let it be this one. The Living Nativity is an immersive and interactive experience that takes you back to Israel during the birth, life, and death of Jesus. With live camel rides, Roman soldiers, real snow for sledding, and food and activities for young and old alike, you will not want to miss this wonderful evening. All are welcome so invite all of your friends and family to enjoy the experience with you! Find all the information you need to attend this free event here.
Whatever you choose to enjoy this season, remember to give thanks to God for His indescribable gift!
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” - Isaiah 9:6