City-wide event is dream come true for Del Mar resident

By Claire Harlin

Jamie Sutton is throwing a Christmas Party — and he’s inviting about 35,000 guests.

The Del Mar resident is the brains and labor behind the first-ever Christmas Tabernacle, to be held at Point Loma’s NTC Liberty Station Dec. 16-18. The family-friendly event will feature more than 100 vendors, a food court, Christmas concerts and performances, a living nativity scene, interactive workshops, a real snow play zone and a themed Christmas tree area. Admission is $12-$18 and multi-day passes are available.

The upcoming event is a dream come true for Sutton. Growing up, his family had annual passes to all the major parks — Disneyland, SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo —and they attended each at least 10 times a year, he said.

“One thing I always noticed was how people seemed so happy on those days,” he said. “I thought to myself that everyone couldn’t be that happy all the time, so it was something about those experiences that made all their troubles go away, even if it was just for one day.”

Sutton said it was “magical” how people could leave it all behind at the gate, and he knew from a young age that he wanted to recreate those types of experiences for others.

Mix with that Sutton’s passion for the Christmas holiday and a dedication to the religious values it’s based on, and A Christmas Tabernacle was born.

“We’re seeing event names change to holiday this and that. Everybody is so PC (politically correct),” he said. “The idea is to go back to being just Christmas.”

Sutton’s Christmas spirit may be as big as his entrepreneurial spirit. He started his own tourism magazine company at the age of 20, and has always kept a book of business ideas close. His ultimate goal is to own his own theme park, and Walt Disney is his biggest idol.

The idea of A Christmas Tabernacle came up last November.

“It was the holidays, so I was in the mood,” he said.

He started doing research on the viability of such an event and saw there were few large Christmas events that would rival his.

“The more I looked into it, the more excited I got,” he said, adding that there will be a major philanthropic aspect to the event.

The Christmas Tabernacle will feature a forest of 100 Christmas trees that will be uniquely decorated according to themes that will complement each tree’s business sponsor. Those trees will then be donated to families based on need. There will also be a craft station called Santa’s Workshop, where families will be able to make original gifts that can be donated to families in need, if they so wish. A Christmas Tabernacle will also be working with local schools and churches, providing discount tickets for fundraising efforts.

For more information about A Christmas Tabernacle, including, sponsorships, vendor opportunities and tickets, visit or contact Linda Lopez, managing director, at or (619) 754-9508.