2021 Holiday Guide

San Diego's Holiday Shopping Season in Full Swing. Here's Where to Shop

It's officially the season of giving, but where can you soak up all the spectacles that come with holiday shopping?

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Holiday shopping is going to look a little different this year with the ongoing pandemic, supply chain issues and staffing shortages. But, that doesn't mean the shopping experience will be any less magical.

Local shopping centers are ringing in the holidays with special decorations, twinkling lights, Santa visits and more! Here are some fun locations to help you get into the holiday spirit while you shop:

Seaport Village

Immerse yourself in the holiday shopping atmosphere at Seaport Village. The beach-side district hosts over 50 unique shops and boutiques, 17 restaurants from quick bites to fine dining.

Now through Dec. 25, watch the season come alive with live music, holiday decor, stilt walkers and roaming carolers.

For one special day on Nov. 27, Santa will ditch his red suit for board shorts and spread holiday cheer in true SoCal fashion. The experience is ranked by USA Today in 2013 as one of the ten best Santa sightings in the U.S., so you don't want to miss it starting at 1 p.m.

When Santa isn't hittin' the waves, bring the kids by the Santa photo station next to Geppetto’s and grab your annual Santa pic on select dates through December.

Seaport Village is joining the Hanukkah celebration, too. On Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m., Chabad of Downtown San Diego will host a public menorah lighting ceremony at the village to commemorate the third night of Hanukkah.

Holiday Hours:

  • Friday, Dec. 24– 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 25– 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

One Paseo

While you're out shopping for loved ones, you can spread the holiday cheer at One Paseo's holiday toy drive. The shopping center is partnering with Home Start to provide hundreds of new, unwrapped gifts for local children in need.

The drive kicks off Nov. 27 and runs until Dec. 13.

Head to the center on Dec. 11 for a special holiday moonlight feature film. Gather your blankets and pillows to watch the "Polar Express" projected on the big screen in the lawn area behind Harland Brewing. The film will start at 6 p.m.

Every Friday and Saturday night from Dec. 3 through the 24, One Paseo will twinkle with festive holiday lights. The village will transform into a Winter Wonderland with snow and special guest appearances.

The center's holiday hours differ by business, be sure to plan ahead.

As we prepare for the shipping and supply chain delays this holiday season, shopping local can be an efficient and meaningful solution. “California Live” meets up with expert Kelly Howard on how to buy from brands and businesses making an impact in their community. For example, Sustain LA which is a zero-waste refill station for household and body care products.

Fashion Valley

Only in SoCal can you do Christmas shopping outside at over 200 stores. Don't let the warm weather fool you, it'll still feel like the holidays. Fashion Valley is ringing in the holiday season with special decor, twinkling lights and Santa's Photo Village.

Now through Dec. 24, Santa is popping by Fashion Valley to pose for annual Christmas card photos. This year you can have your little ones sit with Santa or practice social distancing with Santa.

You can pre-book your Santa photo online.

Pets can join in the fun on Nov. 21 from 6-8 p.m. when you can bring your furry friends to the Macy's courtyard and have them pose with Santa.

Holiday Hours:

  • Friday, Dec. 24 – 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 25 – Closed

La Jolla

From name-brand luxury labels to niche boutiques, the shops around La Jolla have something for everyone on your gift list.

Catch the La Jolla Christmas Parade while you squeeze in your holiday shopping Sunday, Dec. 5.

The decades-old tradition features marching bands, community groups, vintage vehicles and animals. The holiday festival begins at 11:30 a.m. outside the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, with live entertainment and photos with Santa.

The parade will kick off at 1:30 p.m. and will run along Girard Avenue.

Shop holiday hours differ by business; so, be sure to plan ahead.

NBC 7 Responds looked at how stores are responding to issues with their supply chains

The Forum

Holiday decor certainly makes shopping more exciting and the Forum in Carlsbad couldn't agree more. The holiday season officially kicks off with “The Lighting of The Forum" on Nov. 27 at 6 p.m.

Twinkling lights will don shop roofs and a massive Christmas tree decorated with light strands and bows will take center stage.

On Nov. 30 at 4 p.m., you can join Chabad La Costa for the center's Hanukkah celebration where they will light a ceremonial menorah.

Plus, every Friday and Saturday night from Dec. 3 through Dec. 11, the Forum will host a light show choreographed to your favorite holiday music. Snowflakes will also coat the shopping center.

Holiday Hours:

  • Friday, Dec. 24– 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 25– Closed

Chula Vista Center

'Tis the season of shopping at Chula Vista Center. The shopping hot spot is ringing in the holidays with in-store demos and free samples at select stores. You won't want to miss out Santa pictures either, they only come once a year.

Schedule your own appointment with St. Nick online between now and Dec. 24. Then, take your annual picture and find out if you are on the nice list!

The mall is offering a sensory-friendly event for children within all spectrums of special needs and their families to experience a visit with Santa. Reserve your spot for Sunday Dec. 5 or Dec. 12 before the center officially opens.

You can also bring your four-legged family for photos with the holly jolly icon. On Monday nights from Dec. 6 through Dec. 20, your fur kids can strike a pose and experience the holiday photo magic. You can book your visit online ahead of time.

Holiday Hours:

  • Friday, Dec. 24 – 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 25 – Closed
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