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!

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!

Holiday scenes in Balboa Park before the lockdown.

Tomorrow another “stay at home” order goes into effect in Southern California. It’s late 2020, the year of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Today many people were enjoying Balboa Park one last time before the lockdown. As I walked through the park this afternoon, I saw a few holiday decorations, but nothing like you’d see during an ordinary year.

A few visitors were dressed for the occasion–I even saw Santa Grinch skating about in the Plaza de Panama! I also saw good old Santa wearing a face mask driving his sleigh between the plaza and Organ Pavilion; a big Santa Bear at the Japanese Friendship Garden; and lights, Christmas trees and ornaments in the Spanish Village Art Center.

I also walked past the Taste of December Nights event in the large Inspiration Point parking lots. All I saw were lines of cars pulled up to a couple dozen food trucks.

Speaking of trucks, see those two photos of a red vehicle parked in front of the San Diego Automotive Museum? That very cool old 1922 Mack Water Truck has returned to its old spot after a long restoration. I wrote a little about this antique water truck on my now dormant blog Beautiful Balboa Park. Read more about it here!

Even though everyone in San Diego is encouraged to exercise outdoors, now that we’re entering a stay-at-home period, my walking adventures might become less frequent for the time being. Fortunately, I have lots of interesting photos still in my computer, so stay tuned for many more surprising blog posts!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Hotel del Coronado’s Winter Wonderland!

A fun Winter Wonderland can be enjoyed freely during this holiday season outside the Hotel del Coronado!

A huge Christmas tree, a Santa’s sleigh, a Polar Express, and all sorts of fun decorations invite visitors to take photographs on the world-famous hotel’s beachfront Windsor Lawn.

From what I could see, groups of tourists love the Winter Wonderland just as much as families and kids.

It all must be quite amazing when lit up at night!

Before I entered the Winter Wonderland from the beach, I had to check out a cool sand sculpture created by the Sandcastle Man. I’ve seen many of his sculptures over the years. I asked how long he’s been building castles by the Hotel del Coronado. He said fourteen years!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Holiday decorations appear early downtown!

It’s not even Thanksgiving, and holiday decorations are springing up all over downtown San Diego!

Yes, many of us express dismay when wreaths, ribbons and Christmas trees appear in shops, windows and everywhere you turn well before December. It happens every year.

But 2020 has been more chaotic and stressful than usual. Perhaps starting early with holiday cheerfulness and a message of hope is a good thing.

I took these photos in both the morning and the evening after dark. I’m sure many more holiday decorations will be materializing throughout the city in the days ahead!

The following three photos were taken at The Westgate Hotel, one of the city’s most elegant hotels.

I was walking down the sidewalk, taking photos of the hotel’s bright new outdoor holiday decorations, when a friendly lady who works there offered to show me the grand Christmas tree inside their lobby.

If you love French elegance, The Westgate Hotel is where you want to be!

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!

Little Italy gets ready for Christmas!

Golden nutcracker stands guard at west end of Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy one early morning in December.
Golden nutcracker stands guard at west end of Piazza della Famiglia in Little Italy.

Looks to me like Little Italy is just about ready for Christmas!

Enjoy a few photos from early this morning!

A silvery Christmas tree and white snowflakes near the piazza's many outdoor tables and chairs.
A silvery Christmas tree and white snowflakes near Piazza della Famiglia’s many outdoor tables and chairs.

Felice 2020! painted on a restaurant window.
Felice 2020! Festive words and wreaths painted on a restaurant window.

A colorful nutcracker on India Street near the Little Italy landmark sign.
A colorful nutcracker on India Street near the Little Italy landmark sign.

Green garlands and red ribbons, colors of Christmas.
Green garlands and red ribbons, colors of Christmas.

Buon Natale. Buon Capodanno.
Buon Natale. Buon Capodanno.

Santa's elves are painting a huge candy cane.
Santa’s elves are painting a huge candy cane on this window.

A shining crystalline Christmas tree at Piazza Basilone in Little Italy.
A shining crystalline Christmas tree at Piazza Basilone in Little Italy. Have I arrived at the North Pole?

It promises to be another beautiful holiday season in San Diego's Little Italy!
It promises to be another beautiful holiday season in San Diego’s Little Italy!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Photos from a rainy December Nights!

I headed into Balboa Park today around noon to get a taste of 2019 December Nights.

It was overcast and drizzly at the start of San Diego’s huge holiday event, but when I left in mid-afternoon the weather had slightly improved.

This evening as I type these words it’s already dark. Bright, colorful lights will have turned on throughout Balboa Park, and the crowds will be massive and growing. Our city’s annual holiday festival is one of the biggest in the United States.

During my early walk many vendors were still setting up and the entertainment was just beginning on several stages. Santa hats and Christmas trees and yummy treats and smiles were already abundant. My camera turned right and left as I took some photos. Please excuse me for not captioning the images this year. I just wanted to share a smidgen of the magic.

(I did go into the Comic-Con Museum when it opened in the early afternoon, and if my indoor photos came out okay, I should be blogging some more very cool stuff shortly!)

Happy Holidays to all!

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!