Two Tree Lighting Ceremonies in One Day

Get ready for an extra-long holiday season, beginning with the battle of the tree lighting events

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Even though the election is over, San Diegans are now faced with another choice: Which tree lighting ceremony will you attend this weekend?

On Saturday, Nov. 17 two San Diego’s malls will be hosting their unofficial kick-off of the holiday shopping season at the same time. The duel is between Fashion Valley and the newly-renovated Westfield University Town Center.

Both ceremonies begin at 5:30 p.m. and feature holiday cheer and Santa viewings.

Fashion Valley will have artificial snow on hand for kiddies to play with. Plus there are swag bags for the first 100 visitors, carols from the Salvation Army brass band and a life-sized gingerbread house.

But UTC might have the edge with special guest artist Jessica Sanchez, the Chula Vista native who was a runner-up on American Idol last season. There are also performances by San Diego's Children's Choir and the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet.

The shopping nucleus of La Jolla recently went through a major overhaul. Stores such as J. Crew, Tiffany & Co. and Kiehl’s will open by the end of the year – likely to give Fashion Valley some competition for luxury brands. The mall will also re-open a larger than life Forever 21, doubling the size of the old location.

UTC will officially kick off its shiny new exterior on Thursday, Nov. 15 with a performance by Natasha Bedingfield.

So which mall will you go to? Does a performance by Sanchez swing you one way over the other, or will artificial snow have you parking at Fashion Valley? Either way, one thing is certain: The holidays are here.

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