By michael-leonard creditor / flexible fotography
Like many San Diegans, I came from elsewhere. Both other places I have lived are in colder climes, so when I first came here (on a short winter vacation that became permanent) I was fascinated with the way Christmas is celebrated in warm latitudes. Like flocking of Christmas trees to simulate snow. What? I never even heard of that until I got to SoCal.
But what I really like is not ways that cold-weather traditions are mutated, but rather the original ways that a holiday associated with winter and being indoors is celebrated in warm weather.
San Diego has some unique ways of celebrating Christmas that are dependent on the warm climate. Like the holiday parades in many San Diego neighborhoods, which would be misery in, say, New York City. (A Thanksgiving parade is one thing; a month later would be something else entirely.) Christmas trees as a community project, and Santa arriving on a surfboard — or a Class-A — instead of a sleigh, are others.
Now, these things may seem old hat today. But I got here a while ago: 1982, when not only was San Diego the only place I ever knew of with a Christmas boat parade, but there were two.
By the way, I call them all “Christmas” parades in the captions because back then all these holiday functions were called Christmas whatevers. The names have all become more inclusive except for the community of La Jolla, which refuses to expand their “Christmas” Parade to include other holidays.
So, here’s a photographic look at some of those unique, very San Diego, holiday celebrations.
All photos © michael-leonard creditor / full-size images @ flexible fotography