December 28, 2013 (San Diego) – Each holiday season, the County of San Diego and I Love a Clean San Diego work together to remind everyone that holiday recycling goes beyond just wrapping paper and gift boxes, your tree can be recycled too!
Christmas trees can be recycled into mulch and compost which are then used to improve soil health at residences, public parks, and local farms.
Most trash companies offer curbside-pickup of Christmas trees. For instance, EDCO will pick up trees in front of single family homes from December 26 until January 10. Trees taller than four feet should be cut in half, and be sure to remove all decorations, lights, tree stands and nails. EDCO accepts flocked trees covered in artificial snow, but some trash companies do not, so be sure to check with yours.
December 24, 2013 (North Pole) – Children and the young at heart can track Santa’s flight across the globe today and tonight at www.noradsanta.com. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tradition dates back to 1955, when a Sears store’s holiday ad had a misprint, directing callers to Santa instead to an agency that was NORAD’s predecessor. Colonel Harry Shoup had his staff provide radar locations for Santa making his way south from the North Pole.
This year’s site includes videos, games, Santa’s village, holiday songs and more. Clicking any location on the interactive map brings up photos and details of every city shown on the site, which also tracks number of packages delivered and more. Start tracking Santa here: http://www.noradsanta.org/
East County Magazine readers who wish to see some elaborate holiday lights and decorations can head to several neighborhoods in towns across East County to drive by and enjoy these sparkling sights of the season.
December 23, 2013 (El Cajon) -- The Neighborhood Market Association has partnered up with Chaldean-Middle Eastern Social Services and the Chaldean American Association to help sponsor this year’s Chaldean Community Toy Giveaway, which provided over 7,000 toys to children in need this holiday season.
“Nothing brings a community together like being able to work towards bringing a smile to the face of a child, ” says NMA President and CEO Mark P. Arabo, “every disadvantaged kid deserves to feel special during this season.”
December 23, 2013 (Santee) – As part of its commitment to the communities in which it builds, Pardee Homes announced on December 18 a $5,000 contribution to the Santee Santas Foundation to purchase food, toys and flowers for local families and seniors this holiday season. The grant, made possible through Pardee’s parent company, Weyerhaeuser, will help support the Santee Santas’ signature effort, an annual holiday children's toy and food program focused on bringing the holiday spirit to about 300 families in need.
December 22, 2013 (East County) If you’re looking for some festive ways to ring in the New Year, you don’t have to head to the East Coast, since East County has plenty of celebrations--from New York-style parties to gourmet dinners, concerts, an art show, and more.
December 19, 2013 (San Diego) -- Christopher Caluza, Philippine national champion, performed as the grand finale at last night's holiday ice show at the Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center Ice Arena. The show also included performances by skating school students, from tots to senior citizens.
Caluza got his start training at local ice rinks before gaining international acclaim. I recall seeing him landing splits on the ice when he was a young kid; we all knew he was destined to be a star! Click here to view the video of his performance: http://youtu.be/7gHnrQA21Gw
December 19, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Looking for some unique gifts for those on your holiday shopping list? Here are some gift ideas that are made or located right here in East County, so you can support our local economy while delighting your friends and family.
December 14, 2013 (La Mesa)-- It's time for East County Magazine's annual "Feasting & Merrymaking" party on Sunday, Dec. 15 from 3-7 p.m. in La Mesa! To comply with county event requirements, this year's party is a private event open only to our subscribers. Fortunately, subscriptions are free! Sign up at the top right side of the homepage to subscribe to our weekly e-newsletter, then email firstname.lastname@example.org for details and directions.
This year's event features great food including prime rib and chicken from Pinnacle Peak, salads and sliders from bridges, wines from San Pasqual Winery and Maness Vineyards, lots of great prizes and surprises! We also have VIP guests including Cogresswoman Susan Davis and representatives from the cities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Santee and El Cajon. We hope to see you all there!
December 14, 2013 (San Diego) - Visit Westfield UTC every Saturday night in December leading to Christmas as Palm Plaza is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. Each night from 5-8 p.m. enjoy live entertainment, snow cascading from the rooftops, complimentary s’mores and hot cocoa stations, photo fun for the whole family and lite bites from your favorite eateries.
December 10, 2013 (La Mesa)--La Mesa is transformed into a Victorian wonderland on December 13-14 during its old-fashioned Christmas in the Village. The family friendly event features horse-drawn carriages, strolling minstrels, carolers and street entertainers along La Mesa Boulevard.
Carnival rides, ponies, puppet shows, live music stages, bonfires and an outdoor market round out the traditional holiday fun.
December 12, 2013 (Alpine) – When the curtain went up on stage at the DreamCatcher Lounge last night at Viejas Casino and Resort, it revealed 12,017 toys to benefit local children this holiday season.
Representatives of Viejas Tribal Council also presented a $15,000 check to East County Salvation Army Captain Terry Masango on behalf of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, along with the largest donation of toys ever received by the local Salvation Army chapter.
December 11, 2013 (Lakeside) -- Barona Resort & Casino has unveiled a charming gingerbread village called “Barona’s North Pole” which was cooked up by members of Barona’s award-winning culinary team. The village was the creation of Chef de Cuisine Erin DePompeo and Chef de Partie Ashley Rodney with help from Chef Jose Barajas.
Measuring 50 feet long, the gingerbread village welcomes guests to Barona’s bustling food court and entrance to the Season’s Fresh Buffet. The team spent more than 900 hours creating the winter wonderland on weekends and before and after their shifts.
December 7, 2013 (Alpine) – On December 11th at 6 p.m., the curtain will rise at the Viejas Dreamcatchers Lounge to reveal results of this year’s Viejas Holiday Toy Drive. The goal is to bring in donations of 10,000 toys to brighten the holidays for East County families in need.
The Viejas band of the Kumeyaay Indians joins in the 39th annual East County Toy Drive to support Stoney’s Kids and Salvation Army of East County.
December 6, 2013 (Alpine) – Viejas Outlets officially kicks off the holiday season this weekend with the lighting of one of Southern California’s largest trees and a free ice skating performance by regional, national and international ice skating competitors.
A massive 60-foot holiday tree will be illuminated at 6 p.m. on Saturday, December 7 at the Viejas Outlets ice rink followed by free ice skating performances by some of the world’s best ice skaters. The ice rink will be open to the public immediately before and after the event, with special pricing for kids, seniors and military.
Lakeside’s Maine Avenue comes alive with the sights and sounds of the holiday season on Sunday, December 7 from 4 to 9 p.m. when the Lakeside Chamber of Commerce will host the 15th Annual Spirit of Christmas on Maine (between Woodside and Laurel).
This free, fun-filled family event will include a tree lighting ceremony, visits with Santa, vendor booths, kids’ activities, food, music and entertainment by local bands & schools.
Alpine celebrates the season with the 17th Annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights & Festival on December 6 at 6:30.
This family-friendly event, sponsored by the Alpine Chamber of Commerce, also features a visit from Santa and his helpers, Christmas caroling and a snow mountain for sledding at the Alpine Community Center on Alpine Boulevard.
November 26, 2013 (SanteE)--Santa and snow are in the forecast on Sunday, December 8th from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the annual Santa at the Lakes EVENT at Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve. You'll find plenty of snow for sledding, Santa visits, and s’mores around the fire as highlights of this year’s event.
November 28, 2013 (Santee) – The second annual Waddle and Trot 5K run began and ended at the Pathways Community Church, the sponsors of the event. Proceeds will be evenly split between the Santee Santas and the Santee Food Bank. This was a certified 5K run on a fast and nearly flat course around Santee Lakes. The family-friendly event attracted serious runners to casual walkers on a sunny beautiful Thanksgiving morning.
On the starting-line were contestants with team shirts and bright-colored running-shoes. In the middle of the crowd were great grandfathers, teenagers, parents with infants and children. Near the back were dozens of strollers with precious cargo along for the ride.
This was my first 5K run ever and I found myself locked in an epic battle for last place.
November 28, 2013 (Ramona) – Two of East County’s more unusual holiday traditions will take place this Saturday in Ramona. The public is invited to bring new toys, clothes, gift cards, household items or donations to the Holiday House Motorcycle Run, which helps the Ambassadors Foundation benefit children, senior citizens, military members and animals. Later , the Ramona Trails Association and San Vicente Saddle Club will hold a Turkey Trot for outdoor enthusiasts, with a potluck lunch at Hellenback winery.
November 28, 2013 (El Cajon) – Just in time for Thanksgiving, El Cajon resident Jacque Bradfute and her 6-year-old stepdaughter, Haley, have new holiday decorations to replace a stolen display. The heartwarming donations came from a secret Santa with help from El Cajon residents Deena While and Shirley Johnson.
On Monday, just after putting up holiday décor including an inflatable Santa, Bradfute heard a commotion and came out to find everything missing, like a scene straight out of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
November 27, 2013 (El Cajon) – The 7th annual Jingle Paws Walk for Pets will be held on December 7 at Wells Park in El Cajon.
This popular holiday event also features Santa’s Playground complete with games for dogs and their owners, an agility course for your pet. New this year -- a lure course for dogs that love to run is available for an additional fee.
Santa’s Village features vendors with pet products, photos with Santa, refreshments and a silent auction. Plus guests can meet adoptable pets from local rescue organizations.
Don’t want to cook? Bon appétit! Several restaurants in East County and San Diego’s inland region are offering Thanksgiving feasts for dining in or take-out. Feast your eyes on this year’s offerings from Andiamo, Bleu Boheme, Cali Comfort, and Pine Hills Lodge. Know of a feast we missed? Please post in the comments section below.
November 24, 2013 (Alpine) – Lions Tigers & Bears is holding its 2013 Christmas Festival on Dec. 7 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 24402 Martin Way, Alpine. Watch the animals open their presents and do your holiday shopping all in one day at this fun-filled family event. There will be many local vendors, food, entertainment and even Santa Claus.
November 23, 2013 (Santee) -- On Friday night, area residents celebrated the upcoming holidays with the lightng of the tree at Santee Trolley Center for the 10th year.
Although thunder could be heard throughout East County, the storm let up just enough for everyone to enjoy the festivities. The event began at 5:30 p.m. with music, activities and booths where kids had a chance to make holiday crafts. A jumper, horse-drawn carriage rides, and a visit from Santa were some of the favorite attractions.
November 23, 2013 (Mt. Helix)--Sounds of the season will emanate from the Mt. Helix Park Amphitheatre on Sunday, December 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. during the annual Sing-along Christmas Caroling Party, a free family event.
Gina Seashore, known locally as That Music Lady, will be leading the caroling supported by a group of musicians. Free, hot coffee and cocoa will be available and SPRITES (a local mother-daughter philanthropic group) will provide free, baked goods. Santa will be visiting from the North Pole to hear the wishes of the younger carolers. Donations of canned goods will be accepted for distribution through the Journey Church food pantry.
November 15, 2013 (El Cajon) – The 67th annual Mother Goose Parade will roll out at 10 a.m. on Sunday, November 24 complete with floats, marching bands, and radio personality Shotgun Tom Kelly as grand marshal. Mother Goose Village will also be set up at the Prescott Promenade, 201 East Main Street, with fun actiivites from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The parade, a cherished East County tradition that draws hundreds of thousands of spectators, begins at the corner of Main and Magnolia in downtown El Cajon, continuing eastbound to Second Street and East Main.
November 17, 2013 (El Cajon)- On November 14, the Salvation Army of El Cajon Corps held its 38th annual Kettle Kick Off party at Hooleys Irish Pub and Grill in the Grossmont Center mall. The day after, people started ringing bells at different businesses for people to put money in the red kettles to raise money for East County children and families in need during the holiday season. This year will be a challenge because of when Thanksgiving falls, and the season will be shorter than last year. The organization hopes to provide 500 families with Thanksgiving baskets.
ECM interviewed Captain Terry Masango (photo, left), administrator of all of Salvation Army’s services and pastor of the Salvation Army El Cajon Corps Community Center. “We have senior homes, serve meals to the seniors, have after school youth programs, and serve groceries to 1100 families a month,” he said, adding that Salvation Army believes in offering help to those in need as part of its mission. ”We’re also in the process of registering 1400 families for Christmas.”
November 18, 2013 (Lakeside) – The Lakeside Historical Society will be hosting its 25th Annual Holiday Home tour on Saturday, December 7, 2013, beginning at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Enjoy a self-guided tour of five unique homes in the Lakeside area.
The homes include a view lot atop Rattlesnake Mountain, two homestead cottages in Morena Valley complete with Clydesdale horses and a collection of antiques, another Morena Valley home with a beautifully landscaped yard, and a Eucalyptus Hills home, all decorated for the holidays.