Holiday Fun in Julian

The rural town celebrates Christmas with fun events and activities for all ages.

Julian snowscape

Visit Julian

It may seem rather difficult to go “walking in a winter wonderland” in California, but deep in the Cuyamaca mountains, the town of Julian still celebrates Christmas the old-fashioned way.  Holiday-lovers find great joy and fun in their festivitiesevery year.

During the holidays, sleigh bells begin appearing as snow falls from the sky leaving the whole town painted in white perfectly  replicating a ‘California version of the North Pole.’ And although many may have their own holiday traditions, Julian offers varied activities and opportunities to celebrate the winter holiday in a way that even Santa Claus would find fitting.

Julian Pies

The winter festivities begin on Nov. 26 with the annual Country Christmas Tree Lighting. Presented by the Julian Merchants Association, hundreds of visitors gather at Pioneer Park to witness the gorgeous  lighting of the Christmas tree. The event begins at 2 p.m.

Additional fun will be hosted by the Fort Cross Old Timey Adventures, where guests can take part in various activities such as candle dipping, cider pressing and tasting, rustic ornament making, tomahawk throwing, holiday hayride, rope-making and even a country hoedown. The activities take place on Sat., Dec. 3 and Sun.,Dec. 4 from noon to 5 p.m.


Julian Christmas Tree

Held daily from Thurs., Dec. 8 thru Fri., Dec. 23, the 22nd annual Victorian Christmas Teas will spice up the Julian Tea and Cottage. Young girls can dress up for the event, where a wide selection of decadent food is served. The scrumptious food includes finger sandwiches, tea breads, scones and desserts. Vegetarian or gluten-free? Not to worry- alternates can be supplied with advance notice. Guests can choose from  preferred seating times of 11:30 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. Adult tickets are priced at $26.95 and $12.95 for children. Reservations can be made on the Julian Tea and Cottage website.

Adjacent to the Julian Market, guests are treated to live historic reenactments. These historical seasonal comedy skits are held Sunday afternoons. Guests can also watch the Living Nativity performance staged at the Cider Mill on Main Street. The event features locals portraying Joseph, Mary and the shepards. And at 7 p.m., The Julian Community Choir performs “Handel’s Messiah.”

Old Book Store

For visitors interested in browsing the mountainous scenery, the Holiday Home Tour takes guests on a tour to five selected homes residing in the rural town.  Guests can either choose a 9 a.m. tour or 1 p.m. tour. Guests meet at the Julian Community Methodist Church where they will be assigned to cars.


Naturally, Julian’s Christmas celebration wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Santa Claus himself! Children and adults can take photographs and prepare to share their Christmas list and wishes. Santa will also be ready to eat more than just cookies, with the town’s ‘Breakfast with Santa’ event at the Pine Hills Lodge. On Sun., Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., guests can enjoy home cooked brunch alongside Santa. The event requires reservations with tickets for adults priced at $15.95 and $10.95 for children ten and under.   

Julian Horse ride

Apart from the holiday events, guests can shop local boutiques and attend craft shows showcasing holiday collectibles and decorations. Visitors can sip the town’s renowned apple cider or hot chocolate, while singing along to the holiday tunes. Plus, Julian is home to their signature apple pies and cinnamon rolls.

Whether caroling or sightseeing in this rural town, Julian transforms into that winter wonderland of everyone’s dreams to assure that every guest enjoys a “Holly Jolly Christmas.”