Nothing quite sums up the Christmas season more than trees decked out in sparkling lights. Amp up your holiday cheer and get into the spirit with a festive tree lighting ceremony. San Diego has plenty and many of these events also include visits with Santa, parades and lots more holiday cheer. ‘Tis the season!
Photo: Fashion Valley Mall
Tree Lighting at Fashion Valley Mall
Join Santa during Fashion Valley’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony as he flips the switch to light the grand tree! Afterwards, enjoy children’s crafts, refreshments, and a festive show by the Salvation Army brass band as they perform popular holiday carols. The first 200 revelers in line to make the nice list will receive Fashion Valley swag bags filled with retailer surprises. Event details.
Nov. 20, 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Fashion Valley Mall
7007 Friars Rd.
San Diego, Ca
Santee Holiday Lighting Celebration
Join in the holiday fun at Santee’s Annual Holiday Lighting Celebration, presented by the City of Santee & Waste Management. Live entertainment provided by the Bayou Brothers – Cajun Zydeco music with a Holiday twist on the Cal Coast Credit Union stage. The highlight of the event is the ceremonial lighting of a 20-foot artificial tree that takes place at 6:15 p.m. This is a free event, however some activities do require a minimal fee. Free activities include real snow sledding provided by Rise City Church, cookie decorating, marshmallow snowman craft, create your own elf hats, holiday ornament decorating, letters to Santa, holiday tattoos, food sampling and warm beverages, and various games. Event details.
Nov. 20, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. (tree lighting at 6:15 p.m.)
Santee Trolley Square
9884 Mission Gorge Rd
Photo: Sea World
Sea World Nightly Tree Lighting
If you can’t make it to one San Diego tree lightning event, head to the Sea World Christmas every night through Jan. 3. Enjoy the nightly lighting of Southern California’s largest Christmas tree, Sea World’s breathtaking 320-foot Christmas Tree of Lights. Event details.
Nov. 21 – Jan. 3, Park hours vary by day
500 Sea World Dr.
San Diego, Ca
Coronado Holiday Celebration & Parade
The holiday season in Coronado starts when Santa arrives by ferry at the Coronado Ferry Landing. A festive parade follows, merchants keep their doors open late for shopping, and Santa lights the central 75-foot star pine Christmas tree as the community band plays holiday music. The evening finishes with fireworks over Glorietta Bay. Event details.
Dec. 4, 6 p.m.
Coronado Ferry Landing
1201 1st St.
Fallbrook Holiday Tree Lighting
A 50-foot holiday tree will light up the night sky of North County as the town of Fallbrook celebrates community spirit with lights! Join the Friends of the Fallbrook Community Center for live holiday music, crafts, and cheer. This 2nd annual event brings together non-profits from around the area. Organizations will host holiday crafts while engaging with the community. Dedicated as the Official Fallbrook Holiday Tree in 1981, what was once a small pine has grown into a beautiful giant that serves as the centerpiece of this festive event. Event details.
Dec. 4, 4:30 – 7 p.m.
Fallbrook Community Center
341 Heald Ln.
Photo Credit: keyseeker via Morguefile
Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village
The Little Italy Association presents the kick-off to its annual holiday shopping, dining and pampering season with the annual Little Italy Tree Lighting & Christmas Village held at the Piazza Natale. Come one and all; family, friends and pets are welcome. Jolly Ole Saint Nick will be arriving at 4 p.m. on Little Italy Fire Engine 3, to add that additional holiday cheer; while attendees are serenaded to the musical talents of the various musical and dancing groups. The Association will be giving out free Italian cookies, cider and coffee; and don’t forget the Little Italy Mercato vendors will be selling holiday gifts, to get the season started off right. The tree lighting happens at 5:30 p.m. Event details.
Dec. 5, 4 – 8 p.m.
India and W. Date Streets
Little Italy, Ca
“Santa by the Sea” Del Mar Tree Lighting
This annual Del Mar Village Association event delights families with a dazzling tree lighting ceremony, pictures with Santa, carolers and arts and crafts. Executive Chef Nathan Lingle will be serving Mulled Cider with Holiday Cake Pops and Squash Soup Shooters. Tableside featured holiday treatments from Spa L’Auberge will also be offered. Event details.
Dec. 6, 3 -6 p.m.
L’Auberge Del Mar
1540 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, Ca
La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival
This amazing day begins with a parade of horses, trains and antique fly-overs. The day – themed “Christmas in the Surf and Sand” – includes arts and crafts, entertainment, food, photos with Santa, and holiday cheer. The parade and festival conclude with a giant Christmas tree lighting at 5 pm. Event details.
Dec. 6, 1:30 – 5 p.m. (tree lighting at 5 p.m.)
Downtown La Jolla
La Jolla, Ca
Are there other spots your family goes to attend Christmas tree lightings? Tell us in the comments.
— Leah R. Singer