Poll: It Wouldn’t Be Christmas in Coronado Without …

The Hotel del Coronado's 2011 ornament, a must-have for our parents and many Coronadans at Christmas.


The holidays in Coronado are truly special. Our lighted tree-lined main street, the glowing twinkle-lights of local businesses, the Christmas parade and the majestically decorated Hotel del are part of many family traditions centered around Coronado landmarks.

And with the addition of the ice rink at the Hotel Del, many add ice skating by the sea to an already magical list of things to do here!

Part of the holiday season revolves around shopping, and this too can be conveniently accomplished with a few added bonuses you may not get at the malls: Fewer crowds, and with our city’s gift of free parking during the holidays, less time wasted going around structures looking for an open spot.

Parents Talk would like to share some of their favorite things to do in Coronado for the holidays, as well offer a few shopping tips by filling in the blank in this sentence:

“It wouldn’t be Christmas in Coronado if we didn’t ___.”  If you’d like to share your favorite Coronado holiday activity or shopping tip go ahead and fill in the blank in the comments. We’d love to hear them!

Parents Talk wishes you and yours Happy Holidays!

Tonia Accetta: Heading to the Hotel del after or during Thanksgiving to enjoy the decorations and indulge in the glamour of the boutiques is a great way to get in the festive mood. I love to find special Christmas gifts locally and you may be pleasantly surprised to enjoy great customer service without the crowds, and prices that are very competitive. I highly recommend Birkenstocks the shoe store and Emerald City. Skip Nordstrom, leave your car in the driveway and ride your bike through the village for a simple way to enjoy your Christmas shopping.

Tam Dorow: This year my goal is to purchase gifts from local and/or recycled sources.  I mean things made within the San Diego area, not just sold here.  I think there are many unique, beautiful and quality items to be found. There were so many wonderful things at Artisan’s Alley a couple of weekends ago. Austin’s Galleryis a great little co-op shop with many things made by people in Coronado and San Diego. My kids come here for teacher gifts. 

Thre’s gift certificates from local shops: Bay Books, Holland’s Bicycles, Awesome Artist and the movie theater; or the local restaurants. At Il Fornaio, if you purchase $100 dollars worth of gift cards, you get a $20 gift card. 

The gift shops at the Hotel del are always packed with wonderful gifts.  The annual Hotel del ornament is always a great gift. Don’t forget to ask for the 10 percent local discount at the del.

Also, outside Coronado, there’s a group of boutiques in South Park, near 30th and Juniper, where my daughter and I found some really cute and yes, useful gifts made by local artists. Some of the stores are: Make Good, 2207 Fern St., Progress, 2225 30th St., Junc Boutique, 2209 Fern St., The Grove, 3010 Juniper St., and Mythology, Eco Boutique 2365 30th St. 

Kurt Sauter: The great thing about Christmas in Coronado is the rhythm of the season that develops as you live here for a while. After
Thanksgiving you go to the Hotel del to see the decorations and get the annual ornament before they sell out. They never sell out that soon, but you can’t take a chance.

Next is the opening of the Christmas season at the Del with the fireworks and then the Christmas parade with Santa and the lighting of the tree. Shopping downtown seems different with the decorated trees and green hoods over the parking meters. We love the parade of lights and sometimes go both Sundays to the Ferry Landing to watch the crazy people party on their lit-up boats. If you don’t save enough time to skate at the Hotel del, you can always do that after Christmas day.

The best part of Christmas in Coronado is the people. There is always a gathering of friends to enjoy the season with. I have a friend who makes the perfect beverage to keep you warm at the Christmas parade. It has a secret ingredient that I once suspected was lemongrass but now I know is really holiday cheer.

Suzette Valle: It wouldn’t be Christmas in Coronado if we didn’t buy a cup of hot chocolate and take an evening stroll through the Hotel del to see the magnificent Christmas decorations! We make a yearly trek over to the Del with our family and out-of-town guests to get a huge dose of the holiday spirit.

My favorite store to wander through is Babcock and Story at the Hotel Del. It is bursting with eye-candy for the seaside home. Also, getting hostess presents before heading to a Christmas party is a breeze here: Infused olive oils, napkins, spreads and other Christmas-themed items aren’t too expensive and are always appreciated.  

As a coffee addict, Starbucks on Orange Avenue is the place where I pick up things for teachers and teenagers; gift cards and mugs are very popular and always a welcomed Christmas present (hint!). I also like to give certificates for the Coronado Golf Course grill. We like going there and taking in the beautiful view of the bridge, the bay and the greens while enjoying some comfort food.  

Another delightful gem is the Attic, with two locations in Coronado. I love stepping back in time when I walk into the shabby chic shops and look at the old-fashioned crowns and unique Coronado-themed pillows, kitchen towels and runners. They have retro ornaments, and even some with special references to our beloved island.

For us, these wonderful holiday activities also serve as gentle reminders of just how lucky we are to live in this southern-most piece of paradise on the left coast!


Note: Our parents will off Dec. 22 to enjoy the holiday with their families.

Tonia Accetta is stay-at-home mom of a teenage boy and a preteen girl. She moved to Coronado in 2002 with her husband of 15 years.

 Tam Dorow emigrated from Vietnam when she was 10. She worked at all of the Big 3 U.S. car companies and has been a stay-at-home mom of two for the last 10 years.

Kurt Sauter is a father of two sons, works part-time as a chief engineer and system architect and volunteers with Coronado youth sports organizations.

Suzette Valle is a 20-year Coronado resident who was recognized by Time Warner as one of the local “50 Best Moms” in 2006. She has appeared on the Dr. Phil Show and blogs at MamarazziKnowsBest.com.