Saturday, December 20, 2014

Old Town And San Diego At Christmas/Old Town San Diego Pt.4

Christmas in San Diego at Dusk (Flickr User Thomas Galvez/CC)
Old Town San Diego was composed of an upscale class of Mexican landowners mixed with Yankee businessmen as well as Native Americans who worked the Mission's land. At Christmas the city would have a variety of generally private celebrations.

Today during Christmas time you can watch an interactive version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol in a house with real ghosts. The show is performed at the Whaley House during the season. Old Town also celebrates with a shopping extravaganza called Fiesta Navidad. A video from YouTube user travelsandtransitions show a bit of how Old Town looks during the holiday season.



A more traditional event is held in Old Town as well. For 64 years, an annual procession called Las Posadas is held by the merchants of Old Town to remember the Christmas celebrations in the old pueblo.
Feliz Navidad (Flickr User Prayitno / Thank you for (4 millions +) views/CC)
Fiesta De Reyes Las Posadas Promotion (labeled for reuse by Google courtesy of Fiesta De Reyes)

Traditionally Las Posadas is Mexican Christmas event that celebrates the biblical story of Mary and Josephs Journey to Bethlehem. For nine nights the events are recreated with people dressing up as Mary and Joseph. Mary rides a donkey visiting various "inns" which are represented by homes from the community The a large candle lit procession follows them. Musicans in the procession play music and carols are sung. At a chosen home the residents sing a song and welcome in the Holy Family. A prayer is said around the Nativity scene, Then more caroling and a Piñata filled with candies is broken open to the delight of the children.

Here are some images and a video from previous years:

The Holy Family (Flickr User phoenixar/CC)


Las Posadas at Dusk (Flickr User phoenixar/CC)

Caroling at Las Posadas In Old Town San Diego  (Flickr User phoenixar/CC)


Near Old Town the Amtrack Surfliner makes a stop. In the distance we can hear the trains whistle blowing out Jingle Bells in full holiday cheer.



Things are going to get a bit scattered now as we leave Old Town and blitz tour San Diego Christmas fun, consider it the Christmas Rush. Here is a quick spin on the Holly Jolly Holiday Tour followed by another tour offered by YouTube user hernholmgroup.



Like many cities, San Diego has a Candy Cane Lane street of houses that are lit up like freaking holiday wonderlands. We take a walk down the street. Sorry for the amateur quality.



San Diego means water to many people. In addition to the Naval Base, San Diego is famous for being the home of Sea World. The park has its own holiday festival, Snow World at Sea World. Here is promo clip,



The Parade of Boats really summarizes San Diego's yacht lifestyle. With the relatively warm California evenings, folks line the shore to watch the San Diego fleet of Christmas Ships as they parade by. Here are some images and a video from previous years parades. The pictures are from 2012 and the video is from 2010. We'll take our bleacher seats in the Port of San Diego.

2012 San Diego Bay Parade of Lights (Flickr User Port of San Diego/CC)

 (Flickr User Port of San Diego/CC)

 (Flickr User Port of San Diego/CC)

 (Flickr User Port of San Diego/CC)

 (Flickr User Port of San Diego/CC)

 (Flickr User Port of San Diego/CC)
 (Flickr User Port of San Diego/CC)

 (Flickr User Port of San Diego/CC)

 (Flickr User Port of San Diego/CC)


There is plenty more to see around Christmas in San Diego, hopefully this has given you a little taste of the season in Southern California.

Playlist Additions


Before we begin, here is a fun San Diego Christmas song I did not have in my collection.



Since we begin today's post in Old Town, which was a Mexican town even before it was an American one, our first addition is an album of Latin Christmas carols. It's a free download from Amazon that you can get by visiting my gift shop page for this post.

Album: Fiestas Navidenas Various Artists

  • Melodias Navidenas Tony De La Rosa 2:44
  • Carta Santa Claus Linda Escobar 2:47
  • Jingle Bells Polka Los Hermanos Ayala 2:02
  • Mi Negra Navidad Los Gavilanes 2:17
  • Hoy Conjunto Bernal 2:47
  • Auld Lang Syne Tony De La Rosa 2:18
  • Un Ano Mas De Carino Beatrice Llamas 3:17
  • Navidad Polka Los Hermanos Ayala 2:03
  • Gracias A Dios Eligio Escobar 2:12
  • Pastorcillos Linda Escobar 1:48


From there I pulled a few other Mexican carols from my library, Portland's Trail Band break from their usual Americana style to provide us with three Mexican folk songs. Following them, we have a song from Scott Kritzer. He is another Portland artist, who was a guest of the Trail Band at their annual Christmas concert a few years ago. Unfortunately, I could not find any YouTube videos to share of either the Trail Band or Scott Kritzer. so if you want to hear them you might need to download them. Our last track is a bit of a variation on the Latin theme with Celia Cruz performing a Christmas mambo. It works as a bridge to our next group of additions.
  • Aleluya P'urepecha Peace On Earth The Trail Band 3:25
  • Faltan Cinco Pa' Las Doce Peace On Earth The Trail Band 2:54
  • El Rorro Making Spirits Bright The Trail Band 2:01
  • Villancico De Navidad (Christmas Carol) A Classical Guitar Christmas Scott Kritzer 2:28
  • El Cha Cha Cha De La Navidad Mambo Santa Mambo: Christmas From The Latin Lounge Celia Cruz 2:30


Next up, we send up a very American salute to the city that lives in San Diego's shadow, or vice versa, Tijuana.  Last year we talked aboput Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. We also talked about imitators to the Herb Alpert sound. Our next addition is an album from one of those knock off imitators. I give you Tijuana Christmas by the Border Brass.

Album:Tijuana Christmas Border Brass

  • We Wish You A Merry Christmas
  • God Rest You Merry Gentlemen
  • What Child Is This
  • Deck The Halls
  • Jingle Bells
  • Tijuana Christmas
  • Jolly Old St Nicholas
  • Christmas Bells
  • The First Noel
  • Silent Night

With so many Mexican, and Mexican inspired songs added to our playlist this week, I really need to include the most obvious Mexican Christmas song to most Americans: Feliz Navidad. I have a variety of versions and styles from the classic José Feliciano to a La Bamba mash up by Los Straitjackets, to a groovy blues by Los Lonely Boys, Freddy McGregor puts a Jamaican reggae spin on the number before a more modern Dj tOp dOg bringss his own dub style to the song
  • Feliz Navidad José Feliciano 3:05
  • Feliz Navidad 'Tis The Season For Los Straitjackets Los Straitjackets 3:10
  • Feliz Navidad Christmas Spirit Los Lonely Boys 2:28
  • Feliz Navidad Trojan Christmas Box Set Freddie McGregor 4:31
  • Feliz Navidad 2012 Wild Xmas With Bomarr, Vol. 7 Dj tOp dOg 4:29 LINK


In addition to Old Town, this post featured a trip to the Parade Of Boats. To celebrate that we have a collection of versions of the tradional and nautically themed carol, I Saw Three Ships., First, Bing Crosby croons his was through a medley of carols that ends with I Saw Three Ships. Eric Rigler provides a Celtic version before ex-Byrd Roger Mc Guinn shares an acoustic folk rendition . McGuinn's Folk Den blog that has a wide variety of Christmas and other folk songs available for free download.

After Mc Guinn, the Barenaked Ladies give a stridently folky take on the carol, The Trail Band, The Pioneer Brass and De Organographia follow with fairly traditional interpretations. None of those last three recordings had relevant video to share.
  • Christmas Carols: Deck The Halls/Away In A Manger/I Saw Three Ships Bing Crosby Sings Christmas Songs Bing Crosby 3:28
  • I Saw Three Ships Traditional Celtic Christmas Eric Rigler 3:55
  • I Saw Three Ships Folk Den Roger McGuinn 2:05 LINK
  • I Saw Three Ships Barenaked For The Holidays Barenaked Ladies 1:07
  • I Saw Three Ships Christmas with The Trail Band The Trail Band 2:10
  • I Saw Three Ships A Pioneer Brass Christmas The Pioneer Brass 1:56
  • I Saw Three Ships The One Horse Open Sleigh De Organographia 1:29


Signing Off and Coming Attractions

With less than a week to go before Christmas arrives, this will be the last Christmas themed post for the year. I hope you enjoyed hearing about How they do Christmas in San Diego. If you are a San Diegan and think I should have been talking about some other Christamas event, please let me know in the comments. From Portland, I can have a limited view and its always good to hear from "boots on the ground".. I hope you have a Christmas full of joy and good cheer. God bless us everyone!

Next Week: We'll take a look back at Old Highway Notes in 2014. The places we've been and the things we have seen. The songs we have heard and the stories we have told.
Two Weeks: Our Florida stretch of Interstate 95 has led us to Port St Lucie. We will look at the it's Spring Training ballpark and see what else the city has to offer.
Three Weeks: The Chicago, Illinois origins of Route 66 have kept us mired in The cities rich musical history, The trend continues as we look at a classic film that both pays tribute and parodies the cities blues heritage,


Mileage Stats

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Highway 101: 22 Miles/2 Countries/1 State/578 Tracks/285 Videos/27 Posts

Interstate 95: 123 Miles/1 State/68 Tracks/109 Videos/13 Posts

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