Communities all around San Diego County will “flip the switch” to light the trees decked out in tinsel, ornaments and thousands of twinkling lights to welcome the festive season with their annual tree-lighting celebrations.
Here is a list of some of the major neighborhood events, in chronological order, which are free and open to the public.
Central San Diego
MCAS Miramar: The Marine Corp Community Services is hosting a Holiday Festival for military families from 2 to 6 p.m. Nov. 18 at Palms Park across from the Bob Hope Theater. The festival features carnival rides, zip lines, inflatables, Santa Claus, and a tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. bit.ly/2hsNN9Y
Bankers Hill: The 20th annual Lighting of The Forward House takes place from 5 to 10 p.m. Nov. 23 at 108 Ivy St., San Diego. Walk or drive by nightly through New Year’s Eve to view this holiday display with music. In addition to a multitude of lights, the home features Santa’s sleigh and his nine reindeer. (619) 533-7900 or americansecuritymortgage.net
Seaport Village: The USO San Diego “Giving Tree” lighting ceremony starts at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 24 at The Headquarters’ Courtyard, 789 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego. The celebration includes holiday performances by the All American Boys Chorus, complimentary hot chocolate and candy canes and a visit with Santa. Bring a toy donation to benefit the more than 1,000 active-duty military families served through USO San Diego. (619) 235-4013 or bit.ly/2zD9wR1
La Jolla: La Valencia Hotel’s annual tree lighting and holiday party will be held Nov. 28 in the La Sala Lounge with warm holiday beverages, homemade cookies, classic carols and children’s crafts. The La Jolla Country Day School Madrigal singers will perform at 5 p.m., followed by the tree lighting countdown at 6 p.m., concluding with entertainment by vocalist Roman Palacios. 1132 Prospect St. (858) 424-0771.
Point Loma: Gather around the 88-foot Norfolk Pine tree at 6:15 p.m. Nov. 29 at Liberty Station, 2816 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego. Festive activities will be offered from 5 to 9 p.m. such as live music, mini train rides, food vendors, a holiday film screening and holiday marketplace. libertystation.com
Hillcrest: Mama’s Kitchen and Village Hillcrest host the 26th annual Tree of Life Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at 3965 Fifth Ave., San Diego. The event includes a candlelight vigil, holiday music and free refreshments. (619) 233-6262 or mamaskitchen.org
Coronado: The annual Holiday Parade and Open House kicks off the season with the Christmas Parade along Orange Avenue at 6 p.m. Dec. 1, followed by the Christmas Tree Lighting at 7 p.m. at Rotary Plaza next to the Visitor Center, 1100 Orange Ave. (619) 435-9260 or bit.ly/2AE8l3S
Balboa Park: The tree at the Organ Pavilion will be lit around 6:15 p.m. Dec. 1 during December Nights’ opening ceremony. visitdecembernights.org
Pacific Beach: Christmas on Crystal Pier begins at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 with Santa and Mrs. Claus, food and entertainment followed by the lighting of the pier tree at sunset. pacificbeach.org
South Park: The second annual neighborhood tree lighting ceremony starts at 5 p.m. Dec. 2 outside The Big Kitchen Cafe, 3003 Grape St., followed by a Holiday Walkabout from 6 to 10 p.m. starting at Kalmia and 30th streets and extending south to Beech Street. There’s live music, food samplings, local performers and artists, trunk shows, handcrafted cocktails and more. southparksd.com/walkabout.html
Ocean Beach: The 37th annual Ocean Beach Holiday Parade begins at 5:05 p.m. Dec. 2, ending with a tree lighting on Newport Avenue. oceanbeachsandiego.com
Little Italy: At 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 gather around as the new permanent 20-foot-tall live tree lights up the Piazza della Famiglia on West Date and India streets. Little Italy’s iconic 25-foot tower of 1,100 poinsettias will be lit up all evening in the center of Piazza Basilone. A Christmas Village will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. littleitalysd.com
La Jolla: The La Jolla Christmas Parade begins at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at Girard Avenue and continues to Prospect Street, followed by a tree lighting at 4:30 p.m. at the La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St. (858) 922-4046 or ljparade.com
Santee: Kick off the holiday season at this annual tree lighting celebration at 6:15 p.m. Nov. 17 at Santee Trolley Square, 9884 Mission Gorge Road. cityofsanteeca.gov
Julian: The mountain community hosts a Country Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at 2 p.m. Nov. 25 at Pioneer Park, 2811 Washington St. visitjulian.com
El Cajon: The city invites you to its Holiday Lights on Main from noon to 7 p.m. Nov. 25 in the Prescott Promenade on East Main Street and Magnolia Avenue, with the lighting of a giant holiday tree at 6 p.m. Activities include ice skating, Santa’s Village, carnival rides, live music, food and holiday shopping. DowntownElCajon.com
La Mesa: The tree lighting ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 29 at Legacy Park on the corner of La Mesa Boulevard and Allison Avenue. bit.ly/2hmdFkg
Alpine: The 22nd annual Christmas Parade of Lights and Snow Festival starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at Alpine Boulevard from West Victoria Drive, followed by the lighting of the community Christmas tree at the Alpine Creek Town Center, 1347 Tavern Road. (619) 445-2722 or alpinechamber.com
Lakeside: The 19th annual Spirit of Christmas celebration includes local area school performances, Santa Claus, food and drink. The festivities happen from 4 to 8:30 p.m., with a tree lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. Dec. 2 on Maine Avenue. lakesidechamber.org
Lemon Grove: A bonfire, not a tree, will be lit by Mayor Racquel Vasquez at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at Civic Center Park, 3200 Main St. Event attractions will be at the park from noon to 8 p.m., including ice skating, live music and performances, traditional hayride, a rock climbing wall, game booths and arts and crafts station. (619) 825-3815 or lemongrove.ca.gov
Ramona: The 25th annual Christmas Tree Lighting takes place at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at Guy B. Woodward Museum, 645 Main St. Family-friendly events such as sleigh rides, visits with Santa and a “Find the Elf” contest will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. ramonachamber.com
Chula Vista: Otay Ranch Town Center is hosting a Holiday Tree Lighting from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 21 at 2015 Birch Road. Festivities include a farmers market, carolers, gift stands, storytelling and a visit from Santa. bit.ly/2zEICs5
Bonita: The Bonita-Sunnyside Branch Library and the Bonita Museum and Cultural Center present their annual Tree Lighting featuring music, crafts, cookies and Santa from 4 to 6 p.m. Dec. 2 at the library, 4375 Bonita Road. The Sweetwater Kids Theater will perform holiday songs from 4 to 6 p.m. and the tree lighting ceremony takes place from 5:30 to 6 p.m. (619) 475-4642 or bonitahistoricalsociety.org
Carmel Valley: The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch hosts a tree lighting ceremony and holiday festivities from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 26 in the Village Square, 13490 Pacific Highlands Ranch Parkway. Highlights include live music, free photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and hot chocolate and cookies. phrvillage.com
Fallbrook: Along with the lighting of the 50-foot tree, there’s caroling, face painting, holiday games and food from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Fallbrook Community Center, 341 Heald Lane. The tree will continue to be lit nightly through Dec. 31. (760) 728-5845 or fallbrookchamberofcommerce.org
San Elijo Hills: The San Elijo Hills annual Tree Lighting celebration happens at 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at the San Elijo Hills Town Square in San Marcos. sanelijolife.com
Escondido: The annual Tree Lighting and Winter Wonderland Festival at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at 340 N. Escondido Blvd. Festivities include carolers, children’s crafts, Santa and a tree lighting ceremony at 5:50 p.m. artcenter.org
San Marcos: Santa’s Magical Village festival features a tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2 near City Hall at the Civic Center Courtyard, 3 Civic Center Drive. (760) 744-9000 or san-marcos.net
Vista: Santa’s Village features a tree lighting ceremony with live Christmas music at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3. winteriscomingtovista.com
Poway: Poway’s Christmas in the Park celebration will have a community tree lighting at 5:15 p.m. Dec. 9 at Old Poway Park, 14134 Midland Road. Carolers, live music, horse-drawn hay rides, visits with Santa and other activities will be held from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. poway.org
Carlsbad: The 15th annual “Lighting of the Forum” features a live show with the Crown City Bombers, a holiday light show, complimentary refreshments, prize drawings and the holiday tree lighting by jolly old St. Nick. The festivities will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 25 at the The Forum Carlsbad, 1923 Calle Barcelona. (760) 479-0166 or eventsforumcarlsbad.com
Carlsbad: Legoland California Resort lights its 30-foot Christmas tree made from 245,000 forest-green DUPLO bricks, 400 LEGO ornaments and 11,000 LED lights starting at dusk Nov. 18 and continues nightly through Jan. 1, 2018. This event is included in admission price. legoland.com
Encinitas: The city-designated Heritage Tree, an 86-foot tall Norfolk Island pine tree, will light up the night at the Heritage Tree Lighting ceremony from 5 to 6 p.m. Dec. 1 at 406 Fourth St., corner of Fourth and C streets. The tree lighting takes place at 5:30 p.m., and includes hot apple cider. (760) 753-6041.
Oceanside: SpringHill Suites and Oceanside Art Walk present the Third annual Holiday Tree Lighting from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1 at 110 N. Myers St. Visitors will enjoy live music, craft beer, food and more than 50 local artists will be selling their wares. The tree lighting takes place at 6 p.m. bit.ly/2hnWCOq
Carlsbad: Omni La Costa Resort & Spa celebrates the holiday season with a festive tree lighting ceremony, a visit from skydiving Santa and a holiday market. Sip hot chocolate and cider while listening to carolers. The festivities happen from 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at 2100 Costa Del Mar Road. (760) 438-9111 or bit.ly/2eXFID6
Encinitas: Santa will light the Christmas tree at 5 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Lumberyard courtyard, 937 S. Highway 101. A holiday parade down the 101 follows. (760) 633-2760 or encinitaschamber.com
Del Mar: Hosted by Del Mar Village, the holiday festivities start at 3 p.m. Dec. 3 on the northwest corner of Camino Del Mar and 15th Street, followed by a 5 p.m. tree lighting. bit.ly/2jjiZJa
Solana Beach: The city’s annual Holiday Tree Lighting celebration starts at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at Fletcher Cove Park, 111 S. Sierra Ave. Along with the tree lighting, there’s cookies, cider and a visit from Santa Claus. (858) 720-2453 or bit.ly/2mjC6E7
Carlsbad: The Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, 6200 Flying LC Lane, will host an evening of festivities from 5 to 8 p.m., including a tree lighting at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 3. Activities include crafts, entertainment, a holiday movie and a visit from Santa. Food and beverages will be available for an additional cost. Tickets: $10 at the door, free for ages 3 and under. (760) 602-7519.
Oceanside: The coastal city welcomes the holiday season with a grand Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. Dec. 7 within the Regal Center Plaza at Pier View Way west of Coast Highway. A Gift Market will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. filled with activities for the whole family. mainstreetoceanside.com
Are we missing your neighborhood? Please let us know of any additional holiday ceremonies.