Chalk reindeer remain after Christmas.

Santa’s reindeer have decided to remain in sunny San Diego after Christmas, it seems. I saw all nine reindeer, including Rudolph with his shining red nose, at Seaport Village today!

A couple weeks after the holidays, this chalk art drawn on a Seaport Village wall is still visible. I see the artist is @sidewalk_chalk_dad, otherwise known as Erick Toussaint, the current Design Director at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Holiday art exhibition at Liberty Station!

Today is Christmas. Needing to breathe fresh air, I headed to Point Loma a little before noontime and enjoyed a walk through quiet Liberty Station.

A number of festive displays have been installed around both the North and South Promenades for the holidays. The outdoor exhibition is titled Salute the Season. Most of the artwork you see in my photos was created by artists whose studios occupy what used to be barracks of the old Naval Training Center San Diego.

Some of this artwork seems very loosely tied to the holiday season. But no matter. I enjoyed seeing the color, creativity and expression.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays From Liberty Station, by artist Nina Montejano. Plywood, acrylic, metal, varnish spray. A Christmas tree with ornaments depicting Liberty Station’s history as a former Naval Training Center.
Thrown Into the Clay, by artist Leah Shaperow. Pottery and acrylic paint. A hike into the canyons and natural areas in San Diego.
Celebrate, by artist Leslie Pierce. Acrylic mixed media. Includes a stylized Twiggy in a Santa hat and a surfer on a sled!
Together We Are, by Outside the Lens. Photography. Students express their unique voice.
Christmoss Wonderland, by Hakkai Aquascape Design Gallery. Preserved moss, Tom Barr’s Manzanita Wood, dragon stone, black mountain Seiryu stone, spider woods, sand, elephant skin stone, pebbles.
Bird on a Branch, Mingei International Museum, Jeremiah Maloney. Plywood, epoxy, LED lights, maple. Inspired by the quote: “It is one of the virtues of beauty that it has this power: to make one forget one’s self and so put an end to strife.”
Armistice – A Reflection on Peace, by artist Colleen Veltz. Tactile acrylic painting on plywood, wreath of olive leaves, plywood box pedestal benches.
Ornamental, by artist Amber Schnitzius. Stoneware clay, glaze. The colors of the holiday season, made out of many positive messages.
A Feminist Feast, by Women’s Museum of California, Duane McGregor. Computer graphics, mixed media. On a large banquet menu are feminist takes on traditional holiday dishes.
Peace Wreath, by artist June Rubin. Outdoor latex paint and metallic gold latex paint on wood. A wish for peace.
The Wishing Box, by artist Steffi Dotson. Plywood and glass. A small token of joy and hope for all who encounter it. There is light at the end of the cycle of darkness.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Two short stories about Christmas.

A bit later, Santa and Mrs. Claus read The Night Before Christmas to gathered children and the young-at-heart.

Would you like to read two very short stories about Christmas?

Both works of fiction might touch your heart.

The first short story is titled A Wise Man. It concerns how we all can become jaded over the years, and how one seemingly ordinary moment can renew our appreciation of life’s preciousness and beauty. Read it here.

The second short story is titled An Encounter With Santa Claus. It’s about the spirit of Christmas. About unselfishness, not rampant materialism. Read it here.

Christmas donuts: Santa, Rudolph and the Grinch!

I swung by the world-famous Donut Bar in downtown San Diego this morning to grab some fun Christmas-themed donuts!

I found Santa Claus, Gingerbread Woman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Grinch!

They all were very sweet–the Donut Bar people I mean!

Wishing all my readers Happy Holidays!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Is this what the Wise Men saw?

See that tiny, tiny dot in the night sky directly above the photographer’s knuckles? People are calling it the Christmas Star. Astronomers call it a great conjunction, when the two largest planets in our solar system–Jupiter and Saturn– appear very close together to eyes viewing from Earth.

Today is December 21, 2020, the Winter Solstice. I took this photograph with my little camera from the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park shortly after dark. That’s downtown San Diego you see on the left.

The last time Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction this closely (and could be seen in most of the Northern Hemisphere) was the year 1226. You’ll have to wait sixty years to see it again. I suppose I won’t be around.

I’ve read and heard conjecture that the biblical Magi were guided to Bethlehem by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on the year of Christ’s birth. Some believers claim the timing would have been about right.

Can you make out that miniscule dot? Is that the same “star” the Wise Men saw?

Another good question might be: Is a light from far away what the wise see?

Jupiter and Saturn will continue their orbits around the sun, as will the Earth, long after you and I and every worldly thing we have done and hold dear has vanished, turned to dust, to be swirled by an unseen finger, transformed into something else.

Great conjunctions will continue hundreds, thousands, millions of years into the future. A billion years from this moment–give or take a century–there will be another Christmas Star.

Christmas carol performance at Waterfront Park.

Early this afternoon people converged upon Waterfront Park to listen to Christmas music, including many favorite carols.

I walked up a few minutes after the performance began. The festive Christmas Carol Sing concert was put on by the First Presbyterian Church of San Diego, with joyful music provided by their Westminster Orchestra.

I walked around the group taking these photos, often capturing the County Administration Building and tall ships of the Maritime Museum of San Diego in the background. I then settled in to listen for a while.

Many of the adults I saw were smiling. Many of the children were dancing.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Holidays and Chula Vista shop windows.

As I walked through Chula Vista’s historic downtown yesterday, I peered into shop windows up and down Third Avenue.

Looking back out at me were colorful signs of the holiday season!

I saw Christmas trees, wreaths, beautiful ornaments and works of art, Hanukkah decorations, Nativity scenes, and multiple Santa Clauses!

On a late Saturday morning not too many people were about yet, but as I walked along I noticed eateries were beginning to set up on the sidewalk for the lunch hour. It appears to me the Third Avenue Village would be an ideal place to do your small business Christmas shopping!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Fun photos from Social Distance Santa!

Social Distance Santa waves at passing cars during 2020 Taste of December Nights. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.

Santa Claus sent me a batch of fun photos!

Every year Santa travels down from the North Pole to greet the young at heart in Balboa Park during December Nights.

In 2020 the holiday event, however, turned into a socially-distanced Taste of December Nights. Families drove through Balboa Park’s Inspiration Point parking lot to partake of the offerings of food trucks. Everyone stayed in their car. Santa waved as they passed. During this year’s very serious, very contagious COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic we all are advised to avoid mingling.

Because a visiting Santa Claus wanted to provide a good example, he renamed himself Social Distance Santa. And his elves constructed a special six-foot ruler!

Bill Swank ordinarily greets all comers as Santa Claus in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion during December Nights. He has been Santa since 2002. This rather unusual year he had to adapt, as you can see!

As San Diego’s preeminent baseball historian, Bill Swank also brought along a photo of Shoeless Joe Jackson wearing a mask during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic.

Santa reports that he recognized many people that have visited him over the years, both young and old.

Fortunately, Santa Claus possesses strong magic. His smile beams directly through a face mask, and a friendly wave transmits his powerful love.

Social Distance Santa holds a six-foot ruler with a Balboa Park Ranger during Taste of December Nights. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer waved at Santa and Mrs. Claus from the first car to enter Taste of December Nights on December 4, 2020. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Social Distance Santa holding a picture of Shoeless Joe Jackson wearing a mask during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. Photo courtesy Bill Swank.
Social Distance Santa cards were given to the first 500 cars each day during Taste of December Nights in Balboa Park. Santa’s Safety List is included.

This has been a challenging year for all of us, but Santa and the City of San Diego are thankful we can come together and celebrate in the special way with all of you!

If you want to learn more about the history of Christmas in San Diego and read a book concerning the subject written by Bill Swank, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Christmas lights brighten historic house in Bankers Hill!

The historic Forward House in Bankers Hill is brightly lit with Christmas decorations once again! This amazing holiday display has become a tradition in San Diego!

The Forward House, located at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Ivy Street, was built in 1905 for John F. Forward Sr., who would become San Diego’s mayor from 1907 to 1909. The historic house is now home to American Security Mortgage.

I walked through Bankers Hill as night fell to see these fantastic Christmas lights. I wasn’t the only one snapping photos!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A Long-Ago Christmas memory — Spreckels Organ Society

In the 1920s and early 30s — before the Christmas music of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, or Vince Guaraldi — it was a holiday tradition for world-famous mezzo-soprano Ernestine Schumann-Heink to sing Silent Night on the radio. Click the photo for the recording. She recorded Stille Nacht for Victor Records in 1908 at their Camden, New…

A Long-Ago Christmas memory — Spreckels Organ Society

I seldom reblog articles published elsewhere, but the above bit from the Spreckels Organ Society’s blog might appeal to some readers! It contains interesting San Diego history!

Have you ever wondered about that monument “In loving Memory of Mme. Ernestine Schumann-Heink. A Gold Star Mother. A Star of the World” located at the rear of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park? The world-famous singer lived for many years in La Mesa!

Click the above link for the full article and a link to an historical recording!

And while you’re at it, give the Spreckels Organ Society’s blog a follow! Especially if you love Balboa Park and love organ music!

Here’s a pic I took of the monument…