Comic-Con’s community mural at December Nights!

Creativity is always welcome at December Nights in Balboa Park! I could clearly see this, as I periodically checked out some tables hosted by San Diego’s very cool Comic-Con Museum.

Everybody and anybody was invited to grab some paint and help color in a community mural. Actually, there appeared to be multiple murals, as you can see in my photographs.

I walked around the big December Nights event both Friday and today, and watched as the murals took form.

Check it out!

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Colors of December Nights in Spanish Village!

Enjoy these photos taken in Spanish Village Art Center during December Nights!

Balboa Park’s colorful Spanish Village is one of my favorite spots in San Diego at any time of year, but during the Holiday Season, it really shines!

Without further ado, here are photographs that I captured today, the first day of 2022 December Nights. I wandered through Spanish Village before dark–before the crowds really grew!

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December Nights returns to Balboa Park!

After a two year hiatus, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, December Nights has returned to Balboa Park! San Diego’s epic holiday event appears to be back in a big way, with large crowds filtering into the park this evening.

I walked around before it became too dark for my old camera, taking in the festive scene. I saw Christmas decorations, lights, food, and many smiling faces. I saw Santa, too! My photos were taken before sundown, when I turned my feet for home and Balboa Park became really crowded!

Please enjoy these photos. If you’ve never been to December Nights, you can get an idea of what it’s like. The big event will continue tomorrow, Saturday, 11 am to 11 pm!

Holiday entertainment is featured throughout December Nights on the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Cookies, cocoa and coffee at the Gingerbread House, at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Viewing the Nativity Display at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

Fun holiday inflatables at the Japanese Friendship Garden.

Write Out Loud tells a story at the Japanese Friendship Garden using a storybox, or kamishibai.

Making ornaments at the Japanese Friendship Garden! Hello!

Santa and his reindeer visit Balboa Park once again.

Cool outfit!

The colors of Christmas fill Spanish Village.

I sampled Chider, a mix of hot chocolate and apple cider. It was really good!

I’ve never seen so many food trucks in one place.

Lots of Christmas sweaters spotted on El Prado. Whether they’re ugly or not, you decide.

Those Seals sunglasses I won with your prize wheel are awesome! Thank you!

Some cloggers take the stage near the Bea Evenson Fountain.

A vendor had these fun Santa Claus gifts.

The International Cottages serve up all sorts of holiday food from around the world.

Heading down toward Balboa Park’s Palisades.

Nice smile! (Took a little coaxing!)

Gloved thumbs up. I guess I’m on the “nice” list.

Yummy smells everywhere you walk.

These smiling nutcrackers would be performing on stage later.

These mimes would perform later, too!

December Nights has returned to San Diego in 2022.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

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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’s forgotten Community Christmas Tree.

About three years ago, a new Community Christmas Tree was planted in San Diego’s wonderful Balboa Park. It replaced a beloved old Christmas tree that still shines brightly in the memories of many. But over the decades that aging tree became overgrown, gangly and misshapen.

San Diego’s new Community Christmas Tree has grown considerably. It’s now large and shapely. You’d think it would be a part of December Nights this year.

No.

As you can see in my photos taken this morning, hours before December Nights will begin, the new Community Christmas Tree is half concealed behind vendor tents. No lights, no ornaments, nothing. All but forgotten, it appears.

Yesterday I spoke to a gentleman who was helping to supervise the setting up of December Nights, and he had absolutely no clue about the tree’s existence. Very sad.

You can see the old tree, and how the new tree has grown, by clicking here.

That original Community Christmas Tree had a plaque near it, just within the fence. That plaque is now gone. What became of it, I don’t know. I now regret that I never photographed the plaque. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can leave a comment.

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

It’s easy to explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag. There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Setting up Festival of Trees for December Nights!

Balboa Park is bustling with activity today, as an army of workers and volunteers prepares for December Nights, San Diego’s epic holiday festival that kicks off tomorrow afternoon!

In Room 101 of the Casa de Prado, I saw many smiling people busy decorating Christmas trees for this year’s Festival of Trees!

The Festival of Trees is a 50 year tradition that began in 1972, inaugurated by the San Diego Floral Association. Visitors to the Casa del Prado during December Nights will see dozens of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, sponsored by organizations throughout Balboa Park and San Diego.

It appears to me the Festival of Trees in 2022 will be just as spectacular as ever. It’s always a very popular family attraction during December Nights. Of course, admission is free!

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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!

International Cottages prepare for December Nights!

December Nights is almost here! The huge holiday event, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around San Diego, will take place this Friday and Saturday in Balboa Park.

During my walk through Balboa Park’s International Cottages today, I noticed preparation for the event is already underway. Several of the cottages have put up Christmas trees and holiday decorations, and most of the other cottages, I was assured, will be joining them shortly.

Please enjoy a few photos!

This will be the first in-person December Nights since the closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. I bet the crowds will be huge.

The first two photographs (above and below) were taken in the House of Mexico’s cottage.

At the House of Finland, traditional paper woven baskets called sydänkori were being created. They are used to decorate Christmas trees. Small presents such as gift cards fit neatly inside them!

Over at the House of Germany, I spotted a nutcracker, and a poster concerning a fall and winter Children’s Choir program!

At the House of USA cottage, I saw these Christmas decorations, including a bright, festive tree…

Look at all the Santa Clauses inside the House of Sweden cottage! I learned they’ll be for sale during December Nights.

Lastly, I discovered another beautiful Christmas tree inside the House of Denmark’s cottage…

If you head to Balboa Park during December Nights, make sure to visit the International Cottages. As usual, a wide variety of holiday food from all around the world will be a highlight!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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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!

Amazing poinsettia Christmas tree in Balboa Park!

An amazing 15 feet high Christmas tree made of 390 poinsettia plants now stands in Balboa Park!

The Christmas tree was installed at the San Diego History Center on Monday. I saw it today, and it’s impressive!

On a wall near the festive red “tree” is a display explaining San Diego’s historical connection to the poinsettia, the World’s Favorite Holiday Flower.

As many San Diego residents know, Paul Ecke’s famous ranch in Encinitas cultivated and hybridized poinsettias for much of the 20th century, producing different colors and variations that have become popular around the world. At one time, the Ecke Ranch sold nearly 90 percent of the holiday plants in the United States.

Flowers and other nursery plants remain a very important part our local economy. As a matter of fact, the poinsettias in the San Diego History Center’s beautiful Christmas tree were grown by Weidners Gardens in Encinitas.

If you visit Balboa Park for the holiday season, especially during December Nights, be sure to step into the San Diego History Center, which is located inside the Casa de Balboa!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

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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!

Building the San Diego Community Christmas Center!

The holidays must be near in San Diego, with Balboa Park’s December Nights right around the corner. Because look what I saw today!

San Diego Community Christmas Center volunteers were at work in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion erecting their annual Nativity Display and Gingerbread House!

I was told Santa and his reindeer will be showing up soon, too! (With a little help from City of San Diego Parks and Recreation.)

It was a bit odd to see life-size Biblical figures wrapped up in plastic. A shepherd was lying down nearby, after having “surgery” on his hand. It had been broken last year when some member of the public tore away his staff. Whatever your beliefs might be, that’s pretty sad.

The San Diego Community Christmas Center is a non-profit committee that maintains an over half century old tradition. According to their website, the Chamber of Commerce first initiated the project after World War II. Horton Plaza was first to display the Biblical figures. The next home for the Nativity Scene was the Civic Center on Pacific Highway. Finally, in 1953, the location was moved to its present home in the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

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You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Balboa Park readies for the holidays!

Holiday preparations are getting started in San Diego’s beautiful Balboa Park! In 2022 December Nights will be held on December 2nd and 3rd, which is less than 3 weeks away!

While Santa and his reindeer haven’t yet appeared between the Plaza de Panama and the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, and I was told Spanish Village won’t put up holiday decorations until after Thanksgiving, I did see during my walk today the above Christmas Tree at the San Diego Air and Space Museum! And there were Christmassy objects in some gift shop display cases!

As I walked past the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad, I spotted a guy getting the big holiday light displays ready!

I should mention, before I forget, that I was told The Comic-Con Museum will be going all in this year during December Nights. But what they’ll do is presently top secret!

Next up, I noticed the Old Globe’s “Grinchmas” tree is on display already. I was told it was put up a couple days ago, and yesterday–Sunday–was the official lighting event. Oops. Missed it again. Maybe next year!

Lastly, I noticed Balboa Park’s new Community Christmas Tree has really grown and taken shape! It was planted about three years ago, replacing that overgrown gangly misshapen thing!

Is the new tree now big enough to support a modest string of Christmas lights? I suppose we’ll see!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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 special message from Santa Claus for San Diego!

I’ve just been contacted by Santa Claus. He has an important message for all of San Diego!

Merry Christmas, San Diego.

I hope you have a safe and dry Christmas Day with family and loved ones. Omicron is worse than getting coal in your stocking. Get vaccinated and wear a mask.

Santa hopes the pandemic will end and we all can return to “December Nights in the Park” next year.

Santa held his COVID-19 Vaccination Card during 2021 “Taste of December Nights.” (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
After “Taste of December Nights,” Santa went to visit the Nativity scenes at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
A week later, a well-dressed Chihuahua sporting a stylish Mohawk posed with Santa at Harry’s Coffee Shop in La Jolla. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
This cute little girl came to visit Santa while he was eating breakfast at Harry’s. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
… and this little guy was impressed with Santa’s baseball card. We want the Padres to win the World Series in 2022. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)

Be good to one another. Have fun. Laugh and be joyous, but also remember the meaning of the season.

Your friend,

Santa Claus