In a city where Santa arrives on a surfboard rather than a snow-covered sled, the holidays are often remembered by sunshine and shopping instead of snowmen. If you’re looking to make your season bright with more traditional holiday celebrations, San Diego offers a host of performances certain to spread the seasonal cheer with holiday jingles, festive characters and classic Christmas stories.
From the classic A Christmas Carol to the more contemporary take on “A Christmas Story,” there is plenty of local theatre to keep you smiling from ear to ear with cheer this holiday season.
Discover our top San Diego theater picks for the holiday season.
A Christmas Carol
The Cygnet Theatre is putting a modern twist on the classic Christmas story of Ebenezer Scrooge with their live radio play complete with holiday music, vintage style commercials and live sound effects. From Nov. 29 to Dec. 24, you can be a part of the play’s live studio audience and help bring the story of Christmas drear and cheer to life. For more information, visit cygnettheatre.com
For a more traditional take on the holiday tale, the South Coast Repertory will present their 34th annual production of the Charles Dickens masterpiece from Nov. 29 to Dec. 26. Watch Hal Landon Jr. as he plays Scrooge in a holiday adventure with Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit and the three ghosts of Christmas and get into the spirit of the season. For more information, visit scr.org.
Transport yourself to a magical land of dancing sugarplum fairies, twirling toy soldiers and whimsical swaying snowflakes with San Diego Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker on Dec. 20-22 at UCSD’s Mandeville Theater. The local troupe boasts an international cast featuring talent from China, Japan, Mexico, South Africa to present over 100 dancers in beautifully created costumes against stunning backdrops and the sounds of Tchaikovsky’s original score. For more information, visit sandiegoballetdancecompany.org.
The California Ballet Company will feature a live orchestra accompaniment to their Nutcracker presentations from Dec. 14 to Dec 22, along with post-performance Sugar Plum Parties with cast members. For more information, visit californiaballet.org.
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Spread the cheer with the classic Dr. Seuss tale of a holiday scrooge that is transformed by the spirit of his surrounding Who-neighbors. From Nov. 16 to Dec. 28, the Old Globe Theater will be turned into a wintery Whoville for the presentation of the family favorite featuring cheerful carols, colorful costumes and of course, a very merry ending. For more information, visit theoldglobe.org.
Holiday Pops - An Americana Christmas Concert
Celebrate the season with San Diego native and Grammy Award-winning banjoist and guitarist Alison Brown in a holiday concert unlike any other from Dec. 20 to 22 at the Copley Symphony Hall. Brown will be joined by conductor Matthew Garbutt, the San Diego Master Chorale and the San Diego’s Children’s Choir for an evening of holiday favorites with a bluegrass twist and classic yuletide hits. For more information, visit sandiegosymphony.org.
Festival of Christmas & An American Christmas
Hotel del Coronado presents two unique holiday shows, both produced by Lamb’s Players Theatre. Festival of Christmas runs Nov. 29 to Dec. 29 and features Catch a Falling Star - a brand new script masterfully written by Kerry Meads that tells the tale of a woman’s efforts to create the perfect holiday gift. An American Christmas, running Dec. 16 to Dec. 24, is a 1910 feast and celebration inside the ballroom, where music and dance are enjoyed during a five-course Christmas meal. For more information, visit lambsplayers.org.
The Humbug Holiday Spectacular
The North County Repertory Theatre presents the hilarious story of Horatio the Humbug as he struggles to create the perfect holiday musical to gift to the feared Spirit of Christmas. The story is performed, written and conceived entirely by duo Phil Johnson and Omri Schein and is sure to become a new family tradition with its playful songs, thrilling dance numbers and comedic flavor. Performances will take place from Dec. 11 to Dec. 28. For more information, visit northcoastrep.org.
A Christmas Story & The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Relive the story of Ralphie as he fights to convince his parents into gifting him with Red Ryder B.B Gun and sports a pink bunny onesie in this theatrical take on the holiday classic. Performances will take place Dec. 20 to Dec. 22 and Dec. 27 to Dec. 29. Mission Theater will also present a pageant from Dec. 13 to Dec. 15 filled with traditional angels and shepherds along with contemporary mean girls, dream sequence dancers and more to create a one-of-a-kind Christmas spectacular. For more information, visit missiontheater.com.
Discover more holiday ideas in our entertainment section