San Diego Community Christmas Center

Who We Are...
We are a committee with a desire to present a single, totally non-commercial celebration of the true "Spirit of Christmas."

We are a non-profit committee dedicated to keeping "Christ" in Christmas in Balboa Park.

We care for and display the 32 life-sized figurines that depict the birth and life of Jesus.
The Annuciation
No Room at the Inn
The Angel comes to the Shepherds
The Nativity
The Wisemen
Fleeing Egypt
Jesus in the Temple
Jesus with the little children

Along with the Nativity scenes that are displayed in the Spreckles Organ Pavilion, the committee decorates the divider approaching the Organ Pavilion with Santa and his 8 reindeer.  In years past, we also were responsible for decorating and lighting the 20-foot pine tree planted near the pavilion.  For over 63 years this committee has been committed to keeping these symbols represented in the public square.

In 1992, the committee built a Gingerbread booth to sell cookies and coffee to support the on-going maintenance, repair, permits, and insurance needed to put the display up each year.

The late internationally-known sculptor, Rudolph Vargas, was commissioned in 1951 to make the first figures for the San Diego Christmas tableau.

"Art for the sake of inspiring the hearts of men to the greater honor and glory of God." Rudolph Vargas

The Nativity Scene was first displayed at Horton Plaza, then at the Civic Center on Pacific Hwy.  Finally, in 1953 the location was moved to Balboa Park. Through the years, as funds became available, more scenes were added.

This past year, the artist Barbara Jacobsen, has spent countless hours refurbishing the entire collection of figurines to authenticate the time period of Christ.

Before "December Nights" (14 years) it was called "Christmas on the Prado" for 24 years.  When the Balboa Park committee changed the name, the committee decided to have our own Christmas celebration, tree lighting opening of the display, free from the commercialism.

It's a San Diego beloved tradition to visit the Park and view the display.

paul schmidt

Paul Schmidt


Paul Schmidt is Chairman of the San Diego Community Christmas Center & is a respected leader in the history of  Christmas in San Diego!

The Christmas Center maintains Balboa Park's prominent Santa's sleigh & reindeer, the nativity scenes & Christmas Center at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion.

In 1982, the Center planted San Diego's living Christmas Tree which has grown to over 30 feet in height and hosts San Diego's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the last Saturday in November!

About Us

Coming soon!