By Audrey Smith, Navy wife

Season’s greetings from the Golden State, specifically Sunny San Diego! As a newbie, you may find yourself asking how we celebrate Christmas off of the Pacific Coast, because this isn’t Connecticut or Vermont. Though you won’t find Jack Frost nipping at your nose, the entire area has a way of transforming into its own version of a winter wonderland. Here are our suggestions for enjoying the holidays in San Diego.

Out & About San Diego – Holiday Edition

For Foodies

Take a drive to Julian. This picturesque mountain town will be full of holiday delights between their legendary pies (I hear that Moms Pies are the best!) and their warm apple cider. Saturdays are a treat in December! As you walk through town, you’ll hear Christmas carolers singing and you’ll also find a live nativity scene.

Enjoy a magical night during the annual San Diego Boat Parade. Sip champagne as you take in the display of lit boats. On the 10th and 17th, you can climb aboard the dinner cruise, and feast on a three-course meal. Christmas lights and sparkling cider? Sign me up!

Of course your children will squeal with delight as they meet Santa for brunch. On December 17th, and Christmas Eve, Hotel Del Coronado will host a Sunday brunch with Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, himself.  Here’s a treat: Little ones under age five are complimentary!

For the Traditionalists

Skating by the Sea is back until January 1. Hotel Del Coronado’s dreamlike ice-rink is located seaside, with views of the Pacific and Coronado beach. The famous Victorian will be decked out in white lights, and will provide just the right atmosphere with hot chocolate, Christmas music, and fun family activities. But, what’s the cherry on top?  A portion of the proceeds go to Make-A-Wish San Diego.  Fa la, la YES.

Take a family road trip to Mount Laguna and experience an authentic White Christmas. What says Christmas more than sledding down mountain slopes, snow fights, and building snowmen? The hour drive is worth the magic that will surely ensue.

For History Buffs

For those who want to experience how Californians celebrated the holidays in the 1800s, you don’t want to miss the Old Town Holiday in the Park. This beautiful event, full of fires, shoppers, and carolers will last until December 17th.

For Art Lovers

If you’re looking for the perfect, from-the-heart gift for any member of your family, attend the final San Diego Made Holiday Market on Sunday, December 17th at the Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club and Bungalows. This spectacular event will have taco bars, sweet stations with hot coffee, as well as Holiday-inspired craft cocktails and beers. Your children will love the photo booths, face painting, and coloring stations as well. 60+ local vendors PLUS craft beer? Happy Holidays to all!

One should never miss the theater during the holidays. Cygnet Theater is now showing a live performance of A Christmas Carol, directed by Sean Murray. The production is a classic that’s focused around hope and redemption. For your tickets, visit the box office, which is open from noon until 6 PM. You can also call 619-337-1525.

Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker has been synonymous with Christmas for decades, and has become a favorite performance for families all over the world. There are several dates and times to enjoy this holiday treat. Visit the San Diego Civic Theater for more information.

Ring in the New Year

Celebrate the New Year with the Maritime Museum, as they host the glamorous “Black & Gold” party on December 31st.  You’ll dance your way into 2018 to music from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. It should go without saying that there’ll be complimentary champagne as the clock strikes midnight.

An Irish New Year’s Eve will take place at the Dublin Square in San Diego! Festivities begin as early as 9 AM for breakfast—and the champagne comes out at 4 PM! Make a reservation for the four-course gourmet dinner by calling 619-239-5818. is a review platform for military  and veteran families. Leave a review of your prior duty station and read the reviews of where you are PCSing to. Home is where the military sends us and together we can make a difference!

Author: Audrey Smith is a Navy wife soaking up the sun in San Diego. She is a freelance writer for Military Spouse and a copy editor for Sherri Brown Coaching. She enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, Tim, and their two adorable toddlers, Sawyer and Henry. Her hobbies include piano, knitting, and writing. She also fancies herself a movie enthusiast of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Her family has lived in various parts of the country, ranging from Washington D.C. to Georgia and Florida, and California.