Holiday Happenings 2018: Concerts, ballets and one-day events help ring in the season in La Jolla and San Diego

In La Jolla

Lunch with Santa

Bring a camera to capture the memories at the annual Lunch With Santa, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. Cost: $5 per child; includes lunch, face painting and cookie decorating. (858) 552-1658.

Silver Tea

St. Germaine Children’s Charity will host its 35th annual Silver Tea to raise money and awareness for local charities who work with and prevent victims of child abuse, 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4 at a home in La Jolla. Tickets are $100 at

Book Sale

The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library will present its annual book sale, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10-15, Dec. 18-22 and Dec. 27-29 with hundreds of books and CDs, DVDs, and music scores priced to sell, some as low as $1. 1008 Wall St. (858) 454-5872.

‘Christmas Joy’

The La Jolla Presbyterian Church concert series’ Christmas concert — which has gotten so popular, a second show has been added — “Christmas Joy,” features John Rutter’s composition “Magnificat,” 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at 7715 Draper Ave. Performers include La Jolla Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir, Children’s Choir and Handbell Choir, and a professional orchestra. The program includes carols old and new, Rutter’s “Magnificat,” and a sing-along. A reception with the artists follows the 7 p.m. show. Freewill offering accepted. (858) 454-0713.

Handel’s ‘Messiah’

La Jolla Symphony & Chorus presents Handel’s “Messiah,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at Mandeville Auditorium at UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive (at Mandeville Lane). Steven Schick conducts chorus, orchestra and four soloists in the Mozart arrangement of Handel’s “Messiah.”

Also on the program are noted African-American composer Florence Price’s “Violin Concerto No. 2,” performed by David Buckley, and the world premiere of a commissioned work by Qingqing Wang. Tickets: $35, with discounts. (858) 534-4637.

Holiday Party

Guitarist Julio de La Huerta and vocalist Francisco Romero provide the soundtrack for a festive evening of shopping from local merchants, dancing, dinner and drinks at the La Jolla Community Center Holiday party, 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, 6811 La Jolla Blvd. Free for members, $15 non-members. RSVP: (858) 459-0831.

Holiday Shopping

St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church’s Christmas Bazaar returns 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at 743 Prospect St. Find gently used decorations, collectibles, gift ideas, ornaments, holiday clothing and more for sale at bargain prices. On Sunday, Dec. 2 there will be freshly popped popcorn for sale on the La Jolla Christmas Parade route. Strolling carolers will also perform Sunday starting at 12:30 p.m.

La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival

“The Sounds of Christmas,” is the theme of this year’s La Jolla Christmas Parade, which will march through town 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 along Girard Avenue and Prospect Street. Floats, performers and more make their way along the parade route, culminating with Santa riding in the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club’s Old Black Goose, a 1915 Black Packard Convertible. The Holiday Festival stage, featuring entertainment and photos with Santa, will be set up in front of Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St., starting at 10:30 a.m. and ending at 1 p.m. Learn more:

Movie Time

If Dec. 25 means Chinese food and a movie, the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture has you covered. At 5 p.m. Christmas Day, the 1968 classic “Funny Girl,” starring Barbara Streisand and Omar Sharif screens with a Chinese dinner at the Jewish Community Center, 4126 Executive Drive. The film is loosely based on the life and career of Broadway and film star and comedian Fanny Brice and her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nicky Arnstein. Tickets $35 for members, $38 for non-members, family four-pack $100. (858) 362-1348.

New Silent Night

Find a moment’s peace at the La Jolla United Methodist Church concert, “I need a silent night,” 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at 6063 La Jolla Blvd. The Chancel and Dorian Bell Choirs, soloists, chamber ensemble and percussion will perform traditional carols, festive anthems and gospel music. Refreshments follow. Complimentary admission/freewill offering. Come, listen, and find the peace of the season.


The third annual “Tapestry: A Community Celebration of Jewish Learning” brings 19 different lectures and talks in two sessions, 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at the JCC, 4126 Executive Drive. Lecture topics include “Key to meaningful life through Jewish lenses,” “A Russian Jewish religious renaissance,” “Judaism and Darwinism” and “Angles and Jewish traditions” and much more. Dessert reception follows. $48 in advance, $55 at the door, $40 JCC members. Classes filled on a first-come basis.

The Year to Come

Switching gears from Christmas and Hanukah to another December holiday, La Jolla Playhouse’s “The Year to Come” centers on a Florida family that gathers in their backyard to ring in New Year’s Eve. In between dips in the pool, politically incorrect banter and a highly-anticipated onion dip, their relationships grow and fracture in moments that become family legend. Unfolding backwards in time, “The Year to Come” is a touching and relatable world premiere that shows how the promise of one’s future is shaped by the lens of one’s past. Matinees/evenings Dec. 4-30, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive, on UCSD campus. Tickets from $46. (858) 550-1010.

Three Nutcrackers

The Nutcracker: This year, San Diego Ballet extends the holiday season with its performance of “The Nutcracker,” featuring sugarplum fairies, leaping cossacks and flurries of snowflakes swirling in this magical journey through a young girl’s imagination, performed by an international cast of some 100 colorfully costumed dancers! 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 30. Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St. Tickets: $40-$100. (619) 294-7311.

Great Russian Nutcracker: For a different spin on the classic, Akiva Talmi presents the Moscow Ballet in “Great Russian Nutcracker,” with 40 world-class Russian artists bringing this story to life. Experience Tchaikovsky’s master score with the magic of larger than-life-puppets, a growing Christmas tree and life-sized matrioshka dolls, 3 and 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20 at Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B St., downtown San Diego. Tickets from $28.

City Ballet’s Nutcracker: City Ballet of San Diego presents 12 performances of “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 7-9, Dec. 14-16 and Dec. 21-23, accompanied by the City Ballet Orchestra and Chorus. Following each matinee show, members of the cast will be in the lobby to greet the audience and pose for photos. Tickets $50. Spreckels Theatre, 121 Broadway, downtown San Diego. (858) 272-8663.

Worth a Drive

Community sing-along

The audience becomes the chorus when the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus leads the “Christmas Messiah Community Sing,” 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16 at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church, 6628 Santa Isabel St., Carlsbad. Ruben Valenzuela conducts soloists Katherine Polit, soprano; Sarah-Nicole Ruddy, alto; Timmy Simpson, tenor; and Michael Sokol, bass; organist Justin Murphy-Mancini. Tickets: $18 with discounts (scores available for purchase or rent onsite). (858) 534-4637.

December Nights

December Nights is celebrating its 41st anniversary, 3-11 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8 in Balboa Park. December Nights is San Diego’s largest free festival with more than 350,000 attendees. Guests enjoy performances, feast on international culinary treats and experience Balboa Park museums with free admission 5-9 p.m. Carpool or public transportation encouraged, as parking is limited.

‘Noel Noel’

San Diego Symphony presents several family friendly performances of “Noel Noel.” For this series, San Diego Master Chorale and San Diego Children’s Choirs fill the hall with joy in traditional favorites like “Carol of the Bells,” “Silent Night” and “Sleigh Ride.” Broadway darling Bryonha Marie Parham (”Ragtime,” “Book of Mormon,” “Porgy and Bess”) uses her powerhouse voice and her 100-watt personality to give life to “Believe” from Polar Express and “White Christmas.” Take your turn during the audience sing-along. Concerts are 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15; 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21; 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22. For the “family friendly” concert (2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16) the concert is shortened, but includes music from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and the story of “The Night Before Christmas.” 750 B St. Tickets from $24.

The Grinch

After receiving critical acclaim and delighting audiences as The Grinch in 2017, Edward Watts returns to The Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park for the 2018 production of “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” on stage through Dec. 29 at 1363 Old Globe Way, San Diego. Back for its 21st incredible year, the family favorite features the songs “Santa for a Day,” “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” and “Welcome, Christmas (Fah Who Doraze).” Tickets from $19 for children, $29 for adults. (619) 234-5623.

Winter Jazzerland

For the first time, the San Diego Automotive Museum will present “Winter Jazzerland,” a holiday concert featuring Peter Sprague on guitar, Nina Francis and Savannah Philyaw on vocals, Beth Ross Buckley on flute, Bridget Dolkas on violin, Gunnar Biggs on bass and Duncan Moore on drums, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2080 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park. Hear jazz interpretations of “Winter Wonderland,” “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” “A Life That’s Good,” “The First Noel” and the famous “Hallelujah.”Admission $40 with discounts. (619) 231-3702. <end_bug_diamond>