Friday, December 11, 2015

Grab some cultural gusto to get yourself in the holiday spirit

A walk through Gran Canaria  resulted in Cookie and Keller being invited to participate in a nativity.


Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are dressed for the holidays,
in concert and in a fun Barnes and Noble commercial.


SINCE CHILDHOOD, the holiday has for me meant plays, movies, and, of course, the famous "Nutcracker."
The story of the Christmas toy that comes alive -- of wondrous travels and journeys of the imagination -- surely influenced my lifelong love of travel.
San Diego  Ballet's "Nutcracker" entertained the writer
during many years of reviewing theater and the arts.--

                                                                              San Diego Ballet photo
I've seen and reviewed "The Nutcracker" 50 times -- in as varied a roster of productions as the Bolshoi in Moscow and the Alberta Bair Theater in Billings, Montana, where San Diego Ballet's touring production used local dancers.
FOR WHILE I love traveling and theater all 12 months of the year, my two favorite pursuits are  particularly satisfying during the holidays. One memorable Christmas, Santa came by our Bora Bora cottage and tossed candies from his kayak onto  the porch of our beachfront hale.
Another time, we left our ship and walked into a village in Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. We stopped at a nativity, listened to carolers and became wisemen for a few minutes at the invitation of the locals!
Get in the holiday spirit with a concert -- we saw Lady Gaga last holiday 
season, here in a Christmasy red gown, and playful with the trumpeter.
ANOTHER CHRISTMAS found us in Santa Barbara on a whale watching adventure. Fantastic to do something different on a holiday.  Nothing like gilding the lily.
Or spend an hour in a book store -- great gift ideas, and you might bump into Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett!
Embrace the crowds, noise and activity. People are dressed merrily, smile more, enjoy being seen and seem generally more generous, forgiving and patient.   
SOME OF my favorite holidays have been spent on the road -- Fiji, Moscow, the South Pacific, Asia, and here in America, with loved ones in Atlanta, northern California and Montana, always with the Yorkies, Nick and Nora, in tow.
Get outside your comfort zone this holiday -- maybe don a wet suit
and go play with the whales. by day, then take in a concert or play at night.
They love the holidays, too, and usually acquire a few new toys -- and plenty of holiday Greenies for snacks.
WE RECOMMEND a happy dose of whale watching followed by a visit to a theater or concert hall to add spice to the holidays.  See a cultural event, movie or "The Nutcracker."  Here in the San Diego area, we have a half-dozen "Nutcracker" options  California Ballet Company’s glittering production at the Civic Theatre heads the line-up of "Nutcracker" options in San Diego County, performing this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 12 and 13.
HORNBLOWER has whale watching and holiday dinner cruises -- a perfect double-header for me is an outing on the ocean followed by "Nutcracker."
YOU MIGHT consider a musical.  Nearly every town in the free world -- city or village --  has a Christmas pageant or concert.  Here in San Diego, we enjoyed Cygnet Theatre's "A Christmas Carol" with  Sean Murray's clever musical weavings of traditional carols into the story.
COMING NEXT:  We ushered in the holiday at the
world famous Catalina Casino recently, complete with
a Christmas tree atop its 10-story fame. Catch us
weekends while you're remembering to explore, learn live!
"This Wonderful Life" is on tap at North Coast Repertory Theatre, a smart, snappy one-man show with all the familiar voices and characters of the beloved Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed movie, "It's A Wonderful Life."
AND THERE'S San/Diego Symphony's popular pops concert, next Sunday, at 2 p.m. at Copley Hall.
Here in San Diego, we have the fabulous Gay Men's Chorus, gospel and blues concerts, Hanukkah songs and more. The Gay Men's holiday show is this Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Balboa Theatre downtown San Diego. nutcracker/


  1. Your care-free holidays sound marvelous! You are very fortunate. Let me enjoy vicariously, as I so often do with you two. We look backward at some great times and look forward to more. It's a busy time, these "holy-days", spent writing checks, doing Christmas cards, an Open House at a neighbors, a cantata at church, opening gifts with family on Christmas morn, lots of cookies, and lots of joy. Our best wishes to you both.

  2. Fun to get me in the spirit of the holiday -- it really is a good time to reflect, be thankful, maybe a little more adventurous. I'll take a page from these two fun-seekers.

  3. Took friends to "The Nutcracker" way over here in snowy Montana, and delighted in reading that it is still going strong in San Diego where I was born and saw many a "Nutcracker" as a young girl.
    I've switched places with the writer, whose roots are in Montana...... fun piece and I'm having a white Christmas. Miss the ocean, though. But we have Sugar Plum Fairies here in the wild west, too.

  4. I enjoyed the options -- didn't make any of them except by "armchair" but I have spent months in Avalon in Catalina, so look forward to the next feature. This is a fun find. Not the usual "quick bites" superficial look at places, people and events. Keep it coming, Cookie.