The annual La Jolla Holiday Parade might have come and gone, but there are some other traditions the city offers for those who want to get into the holiday spirit before it all comes to an end.
According to La Jolla Historian Carol Olten: “Although the Christmas parade has been a steady and popular thing through the years, there also have been times it didn’t happen because of lack of interest or funding. Occasionally it has been accompanied by a street fair at which vendors sell Christmas-y knickknacks although the regular LJ merchants pretty much nix this for cutting into their holiday business.”
And so it did on Dec. 8, to much fanfare.
Olten added big hotels like La Valencia put up “fine and fancy Christmas decorations, churches have ceremonious singing and some stores, like Bowers, have creative window displays – although it’s not Fifth Avenue.”
Girard Gourmet still celebrates that phenomenon known as “the Christmas cookie” and St. James By-the-Sea Episcopal Church carillon serenades the village with that other phenomena, “the Christmas carol.” And, not to be forgotten, La Jolla has the Dr. Seuss history of the Grinch, she noted.
For those unfamiliar with Grinch and Dr. Seuss, Olten said in Seuss biographies, Dr. Seuss is said to have based the Grinch on himself after he looked at his image in a mirror around Christmas.
“He labored intensively on this book and wanted kids everywhere and all ages to see it as a statement against the commercialism of Christmas. Whoville, the village in the book where the Whos all rush around with their shopping, is sometimes said to have been modeled on what he observed in La Jolla,” she said.
More holiday fun
Other holiday traditions and happenings fall under the “Happy JollaDays” thanks to the 2019 La Jolla Village Merchants Association. For instance, head over to “Enjoya La Jolla - Celebrates the Season” every second Saturday of the month; the next arrives Dec. 14, from 3-6 p.m. This is a free afternoon to celebrate the season, enjoy live music, tasty treats, exclusive offers and other surprises throughout La Jolla Village.
Don’t forget the Window Decorating Contest and cast your vote through Dec. 14 for your favorite. The La Jolla Village has been turned into “Snowflake Lane” by La Jolla merchants who have decorated their windows or stores in order to win votes. Be sure to pick up/drop off your ballot at any participating merchant or download your Holiday Decor Ballot online. Visit and rate as many merchants as you wish. According to the website rate decor on a scale of 1-5 (1 is “Ho-hum”; 5 is “Festive Perfection”), one vote per person per store. “Circle your choice. Drop your completed ballot into boxes located at each participating merchant. Everyone who casts a ballot will be entered to win fantastic prizes donated by participating merchants,” the website added.
Have more fun while sipping and enjoying a cuppa at the “Holiday Tea in The Med” at 1132 Prospect Ave. for the holidays on Dec. 14 and 21 at 2 p.m. Enjoy a variety of teas, sandwiches and homemade sweets set to ocean views with a glass of Champagne. Now accepting reservations through OpenTable. Prices start at $46.
Take your small breed pets over to Muttropolis on Dec. 14, from 3-4:30 p.m. for a Christmas party you and your four-legged friend won’t soon forget.
There is also the 35th annual lighting of the menorah at the Jewish Community Center, 4126 Executive Drive, known as the “Hanukkah Happening” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 15. Celebrate Hanukkah at one of the biggest Hanukkah festivals in the area with carnival games, art projects, games, latke eating contests, crafts, prizes, arcade and silent auction. $5 members, $7 nonmembers; fees for activities.
Another popular tradition at the JCC is the Jewish Christmas: “Chinese Food and a Movie,” at 5 p.m., Dec. 25. Enjoy Glatt kosher Chinese food and a screening of “Dirty Dancing.” $35 members, $38 nonmembers.
At La Jolla Presbyterian Church, 7715 Draper Ave., catch “Handel’s Messiah” at 4 and 7 p.m., on Dec. 15. The concert features the Christmas portions of this renowned classic along with traditional and contemporary carols with the LJPC choir and professional orchestra. Free. Christmas Eve services, 5, 7, 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24
At La Jolla United Methodist Church, 6063 La Jolla Blvd., you may partake in Christmas Eve services; 5, 7, 11 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24.
St. James By-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 743 Prospect St., La Jolla, Christmas Eve services; 3, 5 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 24; Christmas Day service, 11 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 25.