Best Bets for the Break: A quick guide to online entertainment and virtual experiences

The San Diego Symphony presents the holiday concert "Noel Noel" online Friday, Dec. 18.
The San Diego Symphony presents the holiday concert “Noel Noel” online Friday, Dec. 18.

This is a continuing series of online activities to undertake on your computer or tablet during your quarantine quandary.

Lectures & learning

Author and screenwriter Samantha Silva will discuss her book “Mr. Dickens and His Carol” online Thursday, Dec. 17.

• Warwick’s bookstore presents author and screenwriter Samantha Silva at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, via Facebook Live. Silva will discuss the new paperback edition of her debut novel, “Mr. Dickens and His Carol,” with Warwick’s director of events, Julie Slavinsky. Free.

• The San Diego Model Railroad Museum presents the next part in its virtual “Modeler Citizens” series at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17. “Jewels of the Season,” a collection of ornaments handcrafted by San Diego artisans Florence Hord and Elizabeth Schlappi, has been displayed at the Timken Museum of Art for more than 20 years. Lynne Thompson will speak about the history behind the ornaments. Register at Donations are accepted.

• The La Jolla Community Center presents a holiday wine tasting, “Raising Expectations,” at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17 online. Certified wine specialist Stefano Poggi will instruct participants in pairing holiday meals with one or both of the Italian wines featured. $45 for both bottles of wine to be picked up at the Community Center or delivered in the 92037 ZIP code. Register under “Virtual classes” at

Family & children

• Birch Aquarium will livestream a Scuba Santa dive at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19. Viewers can see local creatures such as leopard sharks, moray eels and a 300-pound endangered giant black sea bass while Birch Aquarium naturalists narrate the feeding and answer questions. Free.

Art & culture

• The San Diego Symphony presents the holiday concert “Noel Noel” at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, online. The collaboration will feature the orchestra along with the San Diego Children’s Choir, San Diego Master Chorale, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz and Reka Gyulai, principal dancer of the California Ballet, in holiday selections led by guest conductor Timothy Semanik. Free and available to stream through Dec. 31. Register at

• Write Out Loud presents its virtual holiday story theater Dec. 18 through Jan. 6, called “Giving Season 2020.” The production is aimed at all ages and includes a visit from Santa Claus. Free. Register at

• City Ballet of San Diego will stream “A Masquerade Nutcracker” from Dec. 18 through Jan. 3 online. The show, containing a new spin for the coronavirus pandemic, was choreographed and filmed for in-home viewing. $29-$99.

Scripps Ranch Theatre and Oceanside Theatre Company present “A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play” Dec. 19 through Jan. 3 online.
Scripps Ranch Theatre and Oceanside Theatre Company present “A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play” from Dec. 19 through Jan. 3 online.

• Scripps Ranch Theatre and Oceanside Theatre Company present “A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play” from Dec. 19 through Jan. 3 online. The filmed 2018 play is based on the Charles Dickens classic. Free.

• The Old Globe presents its holiday AXIS event at 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, online. The event features an interactive Grinch craft and the premiere of an original script written and developed by participants in the Old Globe’s Community Voices

• KPBS presents the Old Globe production of Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” at noon Sunday, Dec. 20, on radio and online. The 23rd annual production also will run at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24. Free.

• Bach Collegium San Diego continues its 2020-21 virtual season with “A Baroque Noel: Bach & Vivaldi” on Tuesday, Dec. 22. The program, part of the four MainStage Concerts, features two works from the classical composers infused with Bach Collegium’s approach, along with a talk led by Daniel Melamed. $25 ($80 for all four concerts).

• The 36th annual Mission Fed ArtWalk is virtual this year through Dec. 31. The festival showcases every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, glasswork, photography and fine jewelry. Free registration.

• North Coast Repertory Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol” online through Dec. 31. The reimagined production, directed by David Ellenstein, features James Newcomb and the entire story from one man’s perspective. $35-$54.

• North Coast Repertory Theatre is streaming “An Iliad” online through Jan. 3. The adaptation of Homer’s classic poem about the Trojan War stars Richard Baird and is directed by David Ellenstein. $35.

• La Jolla Playhouse presents “A Christmas Carol” online through Jan. 3. The one-man version stars Tony Award winner and UC San Diego graduate Jefferson Mays. $50.

• La Jolla Playhouse presents “Spittin’ Truth to Power While Light Leaping for the People” online. The commission by Alyce Smith Cooper and Shammy Dee uses music, images and storytelling to create a three-part Digital Without Walls piece. Free.

Virtual events

• La Jolla United Methodist Church and Pacific Beach United Methodist Church invite the community to an online “Blue Christmas” service at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21, intended to support those coping with grief, sadness, depression or loss this holiday season. Free. or

• Mission Fed Credit Union has launched a holiday fundraiser to benefit three local nonprofit partners: The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, San Diego Rescue Mission and The Salvation Army San Diego County. The campaign runs through Dec. 31.

What have you found for entertainment and other activity from a (social) distance? Email your leads to