Call the San Diego Convention and Visitors’ Bureau (619-232-3101) for a list of special events, including the Parade of Lights, a twenty-year-old local tradition in which scores of boats decked out in Christmas lights wind through the harbor. On one weekend in December the museums in Balboa Park host “Christmas on the Prado,” with carolers and candlelight processions. Old Town presents a Spanish Christmas custom known as Las Posadas, a re-enacting of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter.
Out on Point Loma the lighthouse that guided mariners from 1855 to 1891 is open to the public. For most of the past thirty years Barbara Jones of the Point Loma Garden Club has decorated it for Christmas the way the lighthouse keeper’s family might have done it. Her deliberately scrawny tree, her strands of popcorn and chili peppers, and her ornaments made of walnuts gilded to look like expensive blown glass are arranged with artful simplicity and look just right.