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Photo by Jill Wellington via Pixabay

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This holiday season is shaping up differently due to the pandemic – but several East County locations are still finding ways to celebrate the season with drive-through holiday light displays, socially distanced celebrating, and virtual visits with Santa. 

La Mesa Holiday in the Village Dec. 5

La Mesa will host its annual Holiday in the Village on December 5th from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., including a holiday craft market, with modifications approved by county health officials.

You’re invited to come ring in holiday cheer amid a jingly winter wonderland in La Mesa’s downtown village, where guests can enjoy holiday music, craft vendors, a food court and holiday joy globe  photo station.  See the Red Toy Soldier and Reindeer of Winter as you peruse the village.

To protect public health, temperature checks, masks and social distancing are required. There is no admission fee for this event, which you can learn more about at

Enchanted Village at Noah’s Homes Dec. 18-23

Noah’s Homes, a nonprofit serving adults with developmental disabilities will be holding its Enchanted Village holiday extravaganza in Spring Valley from December 18th through 23rd from 5 to 8 p.m.  But this year, the event will be drive-through instead of a walking experience, with holiday music and lights.

Guests will begin the adventure at Steele Canyon High School and travel to a winter wonderland with drive-through candy cane light tunnel, over  half a million lights, an 18-foot tall musical Christmas tree, themed zones such as Candyland and Holiday Under the Sea, and socially distanced interactions with characters like Buddy the Elf.  You can also have family photos taken in your car –with a digital Santa Claus added in.

Over 1,800 vehicles are expected to attend over the six days and tickets are limited. For tickets ($65 per vehicle) visit

Drive-through Holiday Extravaganza in Santee Thursdays-Sundays in December

Lantern Crest Senior Living in Santee will transform into a drive-through holiday extravaganza open to the public each Thursday through Sunday night in December  from 6 to 8 p. m. Lantern Crest is located at 300 Lantern Crest Way in Santee.

Guests will see holiday displays and light shows. There is no admission charge, however there is also a drive-up Santa's Workshop where guests can purchase cocoa, apple cider, cheesecakes bites or enjoy a photo booth.  Proceeds benefit Lantern Crest Foundation to benefit low-income seniors in the San Diego area.

Santa visits – real and virtual – with Parkway Plaza in El Cajon

Visiting Santa is a treasured holiday tradition. This year, despite a pandemic, Parkway Plaza regional shopping mall in El Cajon is making sure that every child can see Santa. With help from the elves and partners at Cherry Hill Programs, you can either visit Santa at the mall or online now through December 24.

For in-person Santa visits and photos, you can make an appointment online at Walk-ins will be taken on a space available basis, though children won't be sitting on Santa's lap this holiday season, due to social distancing needs.  

Or you can sign up for a virtual holiday experience this holiday season.

Reservations are limited for virtual Santa options, some of which are complimentary, while others have fees. Options include a live Zoom video call with Santa, virtual photos of kids or pets with Santa, story time with Santa and more.

To make a reservation for a virtual Santa visit, you can go to at

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