A heartwarming Christmas tradition in San Diego.

A very special Sunday organ concert in Balboa Park. Today ordinary residents of San Diego and random visitors from around the world joined together to sing Christmas carols!
A very special Sunday organ concert in Balboa Park. Today ordinary residents of San Diego and random visitors from around the world joined together to sing Christmas carols!

I wish you could have been there. At the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, this afternoon at 2:00. Your heart would’ve been warmed by the most amazing spectacle.

Young and old, residents of San Diego and random tourists visiting Balboa Park from around the world–all came together spontaneously to sing beloved Christmas carols. Right up on the stage, all together, as one.

What a sight. What a wonderful yearly tradition.

There is hope for this old world.

The holiday season at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion includes candy canes, Christmas cookies and gingerbread men.
The holiday season at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion includes candy canes, Christmas cookies and gingerbread men.
The free organ concert the Sunday before Christmas began with classical and unique organ music composed for Christmas.
The free organ concert in Balboa Park this afternoon began with classical and unique organ music composed over the years for Christmas.
Spreckels Organ Curator Dale Sorenson smiles as he turns pages for San Diego Civic Organist Emeritus Robert Plimpton.
Spreckels Organ Curator Dale Sorenson smiles as he turns pages for San Diego Civic Organist Emeritus Robert Plimpton.
The fancy organ music is over. Time for the public to come up on stage to sing familiar Christmas carols!
The more fancy organ playing is over. Time for the public to come up on stage to sing familiar Christmas carols!
A crowd heads up onto the Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage. Anybody could join in the happy singing.
A crowd heads up onto the Spreckels Organ Pavilion stage. Anybody could join in the happy singing.
A heartwarming San Diego tradition in Balboa Park. Young and old, everyone and anyone--together people sing many beloved Christmas songs.
A heartwarming San Diego tradition in Balboa Park. Young and old, everyone and anyone–together people sing many beloved Christmas songs.
Ross Porter, Executive Director of the Spreckels Organ Society, leads the proceedings with unabashed zest.
Ross Porter, Executive Director of the Spreckels Organ Society, leads the proceedings with unabashed zest.
A small sample of humanity singing Christmas carols with joy.
A small random sample of humanity singing Christmas carols with joy.

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!

I wish you all Happy Holidays and best wishes in this coming New Year!

Merry sights at the La Jolla Christmas Parade!

A merry sight along the La Jolla Christmas Parade route!
A merry sight along the La Jolla Christmas Parade route!

Today I enjoyed watching the annual La Jolla Christmas Parade! After walking a bit around La Jolla, I settled onto the curb and watched Christmas-themed floats, vintage cars and marching bands celebrate the merry season.

It’s a wonderful parade that I hadn’t seen before. Very glad I did this year!

Here are my best photos. Read the captions to follow along.

The Community Christmas Tree is hung with lights and ornaments at the La Jolla Recreation Center park.
The Community Christmas Tree is hung with lights and ornaments at the La Jolla Recreation Center park. A festival would be held here at the Christmas Parade’s conclusion.
This Community Christmas Tree is dedicated to the people of La Jolla this day, October 27, 1984, by the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club.
This Community Christmas Tree is dedicated to the people of La Jolla this day, October 27, 1984, by the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club.
As I walked down Girard Avenue, I spied some colorful Christmas cookies in a shop window!
As I walked before the parade down Girard Avenue, I spied some colorful Christmas cookies in a shop window!
In the parade staging area, various floats and groups were assembling before the scheduled early afternoon start.
In the parade staging area, various floats and groups were assembling before the scheduled early afternoon start.
A kid checks out the bright red OMBAC Fire Department engine, which is seen in many San Diego area parades.
A kid checks out the bright red OMBAC Fire Department engine, which is seen in many San Diego area parades.
Everyone is getting into position for the big Christmas parade in La Jolla!
The participants are getting ready for the big Christmas parade in La Jolla!
I saw these folks driving a vintage car to the staging area while I walked back to the parade viewing area.
I saw these folks driving a vintage car to the staging area while I walked back to the parade viewing area.
In 2016, the theme of the La Jolla Christmas Parade was Christmas in the Future. A special newspaper was printed up for the event by the La Jolla Village News.
In 2016, the theme of the La Jolla Christmas Parade is Christmas in the Future. A special newspaper was printed up for the event by the La Jolla Village News.
While people gathered along the parade route, these four guys in Santa hats came strolling along. They were singers!
While people gathered along the parade route, these four guys in Santa hats came strolling along. They were singers!
A musical quartet belonging to the Pacific Coast Harmony of La Jolla serenades people along the parade route! Great voices!
A musical quartet belonging to the Pacific Coast Harmony of La Jolla serenades people along the parade route! Great voices!
Pre-parade entertainment included some lion dancers coming down Prospect Street.
Pre-parade entertainment included some lion dancers coming down Prospect Street.
Residents revel in a time-honored tradition. 2016 is the 59th year of the La Jolla Annual Christmas Parade!
Residents revel in a time-honored tradition. 2016 is the 59th year of the La Jolla Annual Christmas Parade!
Just before the parade started, several vintage airplanes flew overhead. They were billed as the Antique Aircraft Flyover.
Just before the parade started, restored old biplanes flew overhead. They were billed as the Antique Aircraft Flyover.
The La Jolla Christmas Parade gets started! It is sponsored by The Dr. Seuss Foundation. The popular children's author lived in La Jolla.
The La Jolla Christmas Parade gets started! It is sponsored by The Dr. Seuss Foundation. The popular children’s author lived in La Jolla.
Biplanes continue to pass overhead as enthusiastic parade groups march and dance on by.
Cool aircraft continue to pass overhead as enthusiastic parade groups march and dance on by.
Here come the costumed Sons of the American Revolution parading down Prospect Street!
Here come the costumed Sons of the American Revolution parading down Prospect Street!
The Stella Maris Academy won Best Overall award. Their float featured an astronaut, a Christmas nativity scene and music lyrics. We believe the children are our future...
The Stella Maris Academy won Best Overall award. Their float featured an astronaut, a Christmas nativity scene and music lyrics. We believe the children are our future…
The La Jolla Presbyterian Church had Joseph, Mary, shepherds, an angel, and two live camels!
The La Jolla Presbyterian Church had Joseph, Mary, shepherds, an angel, and two live camels!
A young elf hands out Christmas candies to people watching La Jolla's joyful holiday parade.
A young elf hands out Christmas candies to people watching La Jolla’s joyful holiday parade.
A horse and carriage and folks dressed in Victorian garb for Christmas.
A horse and carriage and folks dressed in Victorian garb for Christmas.
Every parade must have marching bands!
Every parade must have marching bands!
Here comes a Girl Scout Troop and a friendly dog.
Here comes a Girl Scout Troop and a friendly dog.
I guess robots will celebrate Christmas in the future!
I guess metallic robots will celebrate Christmas in the future! Or wait. It just occurred to me those might be gift-wrapped boxes.
Here come the Sweetwater High School Red Devils!
Here come the Sweetwater High School Red Devils!
The Red Devils band marches by playing Christmas tunes!
The Red Devils band marches by playing Christmas tunes!
Just a fun float featuring a surfboard and Dr. Seuss characters. Like many, it was created by a local business. I've photographed the guy in the crazy Darth Vader outfit at other cool San Diego events!
Just a fun float featuring a surfboard and Dr. Seuss characters. Like many, it was created by a local business. I’ve photographed the guy in the crazy Darth Vader outfit at other cool San Diego events!
The La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club was spraying Christmas snow onto the onlookers with their stocking covered fire truck!
The La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club was spraying snow onto the onlookers with their Christmas stocking-covered fire truck!
There goes The San Diego Golden Retriever Meetup Group with lots of canine pals!
There goes The San Diego Golden Retriever Meetup Group with lots of canine pals!
Another cool sight at the annual La Jolla Christmas Parade.
Another cool sight at the annual La Jolla Christmas Parade.
Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

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!

San Diego Marines collect Toys for Tots!

Marines stand at pedestrian entrance to Navy Pier, welcoming people to the Toys For Tots event by the USS Midway Museum.
Marines stand at pedestrian entrance to Navy Pier, welcoming people to the Toys For Tots event by the USS Midway Museum.

Most of you reading Cool San Diego Sights probably can’t make it out to the Toys for Tots event today. It’s being held in downtown San Diego, on the pier next to the USS Midway Museum. But if you’d like to make a charitable donation to the cause, please go the Toys for Tots website.

I headed on down to Navy Pier for a few minutes to see what was going on. Not only did I spy Santa and Mrs. Claus, but a dancing green elf, and some very generous people. Toys collected (and donations made) help less fortunate children to have a Merry Christmas. Thank you United States Marine Corps!

Toys and donations are being collected by San Diego Marines next to the USS Midway. Santa will be parachuting onto the aircraft carrier throughout the day!
Toys and donations are being collected by San Diego Marines next to the USS Midway. Santa will be parachuting onto the aircraft carrier throughout the day!
This funky elf is present to lend a helping hand and a laugh or two!
This funky elf is present to lend a helping hand and a laugh or two!
Donated toys will fill this United States Marine Corps truck. A banner on its side commemorates the Marine Corps Reserve Centennial.
Donated toys will fill this United States Marine Corps truck. A banner on its side commemorates the Marine Corps Reserve Centennial.
Santa and Mrs. Claus are present again for the toy drive! I saw them here a year or two ago!
Santa and Mrs. Claus are visiting again for the toy drive! I saw them here a year ago!
San Diego Marines collect toys for the less fortunate, to be distributed by charitable organizations during Christmas.
San Diego Marines collect toys for the less fortunate, to be distributed by charitable organizations during Christmas.

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!

Are you a blogger? Do you want to make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Images of joy and sadness as Christmas nears.

Tourist on a Segway passes a disabled Santa in a wheelchair.
Tourist on a Segway passes a disabled Santa in a wheelchair.

Life contains mingled joy and sadness. These feeling intensify as Christmas nears.

Christmas is a season brimming with generosity and hope. But the difficulties we all face persist. And for some, those difficulties are extreme.

During my walk this afternoon beneath dark, dramatic storm clouds, I captured a few images of human sadness, joy . . . and hope.

Storm clouds above downtown San Diego. Christmas is coming, but so is winter.
Storm clouds above downtown San Diego. Christmas is coming, but so is winter.
Palm trees in a row buffeted by a strong chilly wind on a late November day.
Palm trees in a row buffeted by a strong chilly wind on a late November day.
Someone camped against the San Diego County Courthouse. The number of homeless people downtown continues to grow.
Someone camped against the San Diego County Courthouse. The number of homeless people downtown continues to grow.
Using spice as a drug is a recipe for disaster. Drug use downtown has become alarming. Lives are being destroyed. Some residents no longer feel safe.
Using spice as a drug is a recipe for disaster. Drug use by the many homeless in downtown has become alarming. Lives are being visibly destroyed.
The relatively new Horton Plaza Park now attracts many homeless. A sad situation with no easy solution.
The relatively new Horton Plaza Park now attracts homeless people seeking a comfortable place. A deeply sad situation with no easy solution.
But there is also hope, and the potential for joy. A child is shown the dancing fountain at the center of Horton Plaza Park.
But there is also hope, and the potential for joy. A child is shown the dancing fountain at the center of Horton Plaza Park.
Youth peers into a fountain hopefully. What can one see? Dreams filled with light?
Youthful eyes peer into a fountain hopefully. What is it they possibly see? Dreams filled with light?
There is much one can do to brighten the world. Be the voice of a foster child. Provide hope, and a smile.
There is much one can do to brighten this world. I saw this example as I walked.  Be the voice of a foster child. Provide hope, and a smile.
Will it be a white Christmas in San Diego? Probably not. But perhaps Christmas is something more than mere dreams.
Will it be a white Christmas in San Diego? Probably not. But perhaps Christmas is something more than mere dreams.
A Christmas tree in a shopping center. It is a giving tree.
I spotted a typical Christmas tree in a shopping center. But this one is special.  It’s a giving tree.
USO San Diego needs your help to bring holiday cheer to active military families. (Please click the image to read more.)
USO San Diego needs your help to bring holiday cheer to active military families. (Please click the image to read details.)
The sun breaks through storm clouds and shines upon downtown San Diego. A faint rainbow appears above.
The sun breaks through storm clouds and shines upon downtown San Diego. There is much we can do.  A faint rainbow appears like magic above.

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

If you’d like to read an inspiring tale about human generosity, you might enjoy a favorite short story that I’ve written, An Unexpected Sunflower.

Are you a blogger? Do you want to make the world a better place? You might want to join Bloggers Lifting Others Generously.

Photos from Christmas on the Prado!

Youthful members of All About Music San Diego prepare to play instrumental music at Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park.
Youthful members of All About Music San Diego prepare to play instrumental music at 2016 Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park.

Early this afternoon, before the threatened rain might begin, I headed up to Balboa Park to enjoy a bit of the 3rd Annual Christmas on the Prado. This celebration of Christmas is put on by the San Diego Children’s Coalition and the San Diego Community Christmas Committee; it shouldn’t be confused with December Nights, a more diverse holiday event in Balboa Park which used to be called “Christmas on the Prado”. December Nights will take place next week.

When I arrived, the event was just getting underway and many booths were still being erected. I caught a few early performances and some of the Christmas spirit. Here are a few photos!

The San Diego Community Christmas Center's nativity display at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is viewed by many during Christmas on the Prado.
The San Diego Community Christmas Center’s nativity display at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is viewed by families during Christmas on the Prado.
The nativity display shows scenes from the Bible concerning the birth of Christ.
The nativity display shows scenes from the Bible concerning the birth of Christ.
Shepherds are visited by an angel.
Shepherds are visited by an angel.
Children view a scene depicting the birth of Jesus in a humble manger.
Children view a scene depicting the birth of Jesus in a humble manger.
A shack magically transported from the North Pole provides treats at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion during Christmas on the Prado.
A shack magically transported from the North Pole provides treats at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion during Christmas on the Prado.
Christmas sweets include cookies!
Christmas sweets include cookies!
A brightly decorated tree and traditional Christmas music inside the House of Ireland at Balboa Park's International Cottages.
A brightly decorated tree and traditional Christmas music inside the House of Ireland at Balboa Park’s International Cottages.
A small but cheerful Christmas tree inside the House of England.
A small but cheerful Christmas tree inside the House of England.
Inside the House of Norway, children make tiny paper Christmas baskets to hang on a tree among ornaments.
Inside the House of Norway, children make tiny paper Christmas baskets to hang on a tree among ornaments.
Adding color to Christmas cookies inside the House of Norway.
Adding color to Christmas cookies inside the House of Norway.
A youth ballet company practices before they take the stage at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
A youth ballet company practices before they take the stage at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
A children's group sings joyful carols and other merry songs during Christmas on the Prado.
A children’s group sings joyful carols and other merry songs during Christmas on the Prado.
Getting a Christmas tree ready where Santa will sit in the evening, after nightfall.
Getting a Christmas tree ready where Santa will sit in the evening, after nightfall.

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 San Diego gift that will last forever.

Kids play by fountain in San Diego's crown jewel, Balboa Park, one of the world's great cultural treasures.
Kids play by fountain in San Diego’s crown jewel, Balboa Park, one of the world’s great cultural treasures.

Forgive me for posting once again about Balboa Park. It’s one of the world’s great cultural treasures, and I live just steps away!

Are you looking to give a meaningful gift this holiday season? I’ve got an idea that you might consider!

I just received the latest newsletter from the Friends of Balboa Park. They’re the folks who preserve Balboa Park’s legacy for future generations. You can learn about them here.

In the newsletter, they are calling for donations to the Friends of Balboa Park Endowment Fund. One generous donor has offered to match gifts made to the endowment during 2015, up to $500,000. That means every dollar you give before the end of this year will likely be doubled.

If you’ve ever been to Balboa Park, you know how special it is. Please consider giving a donation. To do so, click here.

Over the past hundred years, countless millions of people from around the world have enjoyed visiting the park. They have experienced so much joy. Let’s make sure the next hundred years are just as wonderful.

Plaque at east end of Cabrillo Bridge. To commemorate the foresight and civic wisdom of the founders of Balboa Park this tablet is erected by the people of San Diego.
Plaque at east end of Cabrillo Bridge. To commemorate the foresight and civic wisdom of the founders of Balboa Park this tablet is erected by the people of San Diego.
View of the Natural History Museum from a point near the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
View of the Natural History Museum from a point near the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center.
History comes alive in one part of the Casa del Prado's fantastic facade.
History comes alive in one small section of the Casa del Prado’s fantastic facade.
People enjoy the grass near the Botanical Building.
People enjoy the grass near the Botanical Building.
Exploring life and beauty in Balboa Park's reflecting pool.
Exploring life and beauty in Balboa Park’s reflecting pool.
More natural beauty along Sixth Avenue, the west edge of immense Balboa Park.
More natural beauty along Sixth Avenue, the west edge of immense Balboa Park.
A view of the Alcazar Garden from above.
A view of the Alcazar Garden from above.
An artistic face in a fountain by the Old Globe Theatre.
An artistic face in a fountain by the Old Globe Theatre.
The House of Charm and California Tower in silhouette as day ends.
The House of Charm and California Tower in silhouette as day ends.
It's the holiday season. Make a gift to the Friends of Balboa Park, and it will be an enduring gift to the entire world.
It’s the holiday season. Make a donation to the Friends of Balboa Park, and it will be an enduring gift to the entire world.

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Public sings Christmas carols at Spreckels Organ!

Ordinary people from San Diego and around the world gather in Balboa Park to sing Christmas carols at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Ordinary people from San Diego and around the world gather in Balboa Park to sing Christmas carols at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Today a special event was held in Balboa Park–at the outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion, to be exact. The public was invited to get up on the stage and participate in the singing of traditional Christmas carols! Along with San Diego’s world-famous organ, of course!

Carols included White Christmas, What Child Is This, Silent Night, Joy To The World, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, Deck the Halls, The Twelve Days of Christmas, O Holy Night, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town, Silver Bells, and many more.

Young and old sang their hearts out. Dr. Carol Williams, San Diego’s official Civic Organist, was outstanding as usual. The Spreckels Organ Society’s energetic Ross Porter dashed about the stage as he led the singing. It’s feeling a lot like Christmas!

Halfway through Sunday's free two o'clock concert, audience members were invited onto the stage to sing along with the Spreckels Organ.
Halfway through Sunday’s free two o’clock concert, audience members were invited onto the stage to sing along with the Spreckels Organ.
A good crowd was enjoying a nice day in December, the weekend before Christmas.
A good crowd was enjoying a nice day in December, the weekend before Christmas.
Lots of singers have filed onto the stage in front of the pipe organ. Now it's time to sing lots of joyful carols like musical superstars!
Lots of singers have filed onto the stage in front of the pipe organ. Now it’s time to sing lots of joyful carols like musical superstars!
Dr. Carol Williams is one of the world's finest concert organists, and a great composer. Originally from Great Britain, she now makes San Diego her home.
Dr. Carol Williams is one of the world’s finest concert organists, and a great composer. Originally from Great Britain, she now makes San Diego her home.
Ross Porter leads everybody in song. What a ham!
Ross Porter leads everybody in song. What a ham!
Folks at the rear of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion relax and listen. A few people check out the manger scenes left over from December Nights.
Folks at the rear of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion relax and listen. A few people check out the manger scenes left over from December Nights.
Lots of people had Santa hats and festive holiday clothing. Some dogs did, too.
Lots of people had Santa hats and festive holiday clothing. Some dogs did, too.
Members of the audience head up toward the stage. It was just too much fun!
Members of the audience head up toward the stage. It was just too much fun!
Even the Spreckels Organ Society volunteers were singing along!
Even the Spreckels Organ Society volunteers were singing along!

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Do you like to read inspirational, thought-provoking fiction? Visit my Short Stories by Richard writing blog!

Residents and businesses Deck the Halls downtown!

Santa and kid enjoy a special Deck the Halls neighborhood block party in downtown San Diego.
Santa and a happy kid enjoy a special Deck the Halls neighborhood block party in downtown San Diego!

I was walking home from the Fifth Avenue trolley station this evening when I stumbled upon downtown San Diego’s fun Deck the Halls holiday block party! I’d forgotten it was taking place today!

Lots of folks were out among bright Christmas lights, greeting one another, tasting food served up by various local eateries, and listening to holiday music provided by the San Diego Symphony. The special event, I learned, was put together by Clean and Safe, which is a service of the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

It appeared to me that everyone was having a great time!

It's the Deck the Halls Brass Quintet performing holiday music! Good times were had by local residents and businesses on one block of B Street in San Diego's financial district.
It’s the Deck the Halls Brass Quintet performing holiday music! Good times were had by local residents and businesses on one block of B Street in San Diego’s financial district.
A number of nearby restaurants were serving up yummy treats for all comers. Christmas lights lit up the night.
A number of nearby restaurants were serving up yummy treats for all comers. Christmas lights lit up the night!
These smiling folks told me the event was put together by Clean and Safe, a service of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. Thank you guys!
These smiling folks told me the event was put together by Clean and Safe, a service of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. Thank you guys!

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Do you like to read inspirational, thought-provoking fiction? Visit my Short Stories by Richard writing blog!

Singing Christmas carols in San Diego’s Old Town!

A group of old-fashioned Christmas carolers in Victorian costumes brings holiday cheer to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A group of old-fashioned Christmas carolers in Victorian costumes brings holiday cheer to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

Look what I stumbled upon yesterday during an afternoon walk through San Diego’s history-filled Old Town. Folks in Victorian costumes were roaming about, singing Christmas carols!

I learned this group is composed of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park staff and volunteers. They were having a great time spreading Christmas cheer, pausing to sing at the various museums, restaurants and shops around old San Diego’s picturesque central plaza.

I was even given a cool little book filled with Christmas carol lyrics. Thank you guys!

Merry Christmas!

Carolers smile, laugh and enjoy the day in front of a reconstructed building at Old Town San Diego's central plaza.
Carolers smile, laugh and enjoy the day in front of a reconstructed building at Old Town San Diego’s central plaza.
I was given this Caroling Lyrics Booklet. Songs include Jingle Bells, The First Noel, We Three Kings, The 12 Days of Christmas, Deck the Halls and Silent Night.
I was given this Caroling Lyrics Booklet. Songs include Jingle Bells, The First Noel, We Three Kings, The 12 Days of Christmas, Deck the Halls and Silent Night.
The colorful group of Old Town roving carolers heads to the Cosmopolitan Hotel, which is decked out with festive wreaths.
The colorful group of Old Town roving carolers heads to the Cosmopolitan Hotel, which is decked out with festive wreaths.
After entertaining some surprised diners, the group heads through the Cosmopolitan Hotel, much to the delight of one server!
After entertaining some surprised diners, the group heads through the Cosmopolitan Hotel, much to the delight of one server!
Singing traditional Christmas carols around the old fountain in the outdoor courtyard of Casa de Estudillo.
Singing traditional Christmas carols around the old fountain in the outdoor courtyard of Casa de Estudillo.
Now the Christmas carolers are in the Wells Fargo History Museum next to the original 1867 Concord stagecoach! Several people listened outside the nearby door and applauded.
Now the Christmas carolers are in the Wells Fargo History Museum next to the original 1867 Concord stagecoach! Several people listened outside the nearby door and applauded.
A crowd gathered as Christmas carols were heard outside the Threads of the Past Living History Activity Center. One quilter joined in the public singing!
A crowd gathered as Christmas carols were heard outside the Threads of the Past Living History Activity Center. One quilter joined in the public singing!
Joyful, uplifting Christmas carols are sung as customers leave Toby's Candle and Soap Shop.
Joyful, uplifting Christmas carols are sung as customers leave Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop.

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Do you like to read inspirational, thought-provoking fiction? Visit my Short Stories by Richard writing blog!

Read the joyful history of Christmas in San Diego!

Bill "Santa" Swank has written a really great book about the history of Christmas in San Diego!
Bill “Santa” Swank has written a really great book about the history of Christmas in San Diego!

I was privileged today to meet Bill Swank. Perhaps you’ve met him, too. Since 2002, Bill has been the volunteer Santa Claus at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion during Balboa Park’s popular December Nights. He’s a friendly good guy who effortlessly spreads cheerfulness and joy.

Bill Swank is probably best known for being a leading expert on baseball and the San Diego Padres. He’s written numerous books about baseball history. His knowledge is so deep, the San Diego Historical Society has called him our city’s top baseball historian.

His most recent book, published earlier this year, is titled Christmas in San Diego. If you love both Christmas and San Diego, I know you’ll treasure this book. It’s loaded with history, local traditions and hundreds of fun, very unique photos. (Five photos from Cool San Diego Sights are in the book! How cool is that?)

Bill “Santa” Swank believes the true meaning of Christmas is found in the Golden Rule. His excellent book also proves another important truth: that human hearts are warmed when we are generous and kind. In the book you’ll see community-spirited Santas through the decades bringing joy to many generations, lifting the spirits of all.

From Christmas Eve way back in 1775, to the present day, Christmas in San Diego covers over two hundred years of local history. You’ll find out how both famous and ordinary San Diegans have celebrated the holiday season, and learn a good deal about many historical places and events. Personally, I love the parts concerning unselfish Santa Claus volunteers who’ve participated in a surprising range of charitable activities. Touching young and old alike, with a twinkle-eyed smile and merry Ho, Ho, Ho!

I was privileged to shake the hand of Santa Claus today. Read Christmas in San Diego, and you will be able to peer into Santa’s heart.