It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas thanks to Coronado’s “Flower Lady” Shanel Albert and her family. This weekend marked the opening of Coronado Tree Farm, a one-stop winter wonderland for holiday cheer, Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands and all other décor needed for decking the halls in style.
Coined the “World’s Prettiest Christmas Tree Lot” by Joe Little of NBC San Diego, the Coronado Tree Farm graces the shores of the San Diego Bay near the Ferry Landing at 1333 First Street, close to where the weekly farmers’ market is held.
The site is remarkable with its picturesque bay and city backdrop, but the real holiday magic is thanks to its thoughtful creators, the Albert Family. “My husband and I are obsessed with Christmas,” says Coronado Flower Lady, Shanel Albert. “My family had a Christmas tree farm when I was little, so the idea has always been in the back of my mind. A few weeks ago, we decided to go for it.”
Shanel and her family had just a few weeks to pull everything together after clearing her plans with the Coronado Ferry Landing and San Diego Port Authority. As first-time vendors on the Bay, the Alberts wanted to create something that was more than just a parking lot full of trees. And so their holiday marketplace features local vendors with handmade ornaments and novelty gifts. Fresh kettle corn and decorative confections are plentiful and available for purchase. On weekends, visitors to the Coronado Tree Farm can enjoy “Elf Universe” by purchasing a punch card (starting at $20) to enjoy a full collection of games and activities such as face painting, arts and crafts, letters to Santa, and more.
Shanel believes, “The holidays are all about family, so we have everyone involved. The kids are here running the games. We’ve recruited cousins, nieces and nephews to help out. My father in law made each of the wooden photo boards by hand.”
Shanel was also purposeful about including the wider Coronado community in the first-ever tree farm. She enlisted Coronado High School student Ryan Wood to play live music on Fridays, and familiar vendors such as Amalo Brew (the coffee shop at the Coronado Public Library) are also part of the ‘Farm.’
And, of course, no Christmas destination spot would be complete without a visit from Santa himself. On Fridays and Sundays, Santa joins the Coronado Tree Farm between 5pm and 7pm to pose for photos and listen to wishes as he makes his list and checks it twice.
Whether naughty or nice this year, everyone should pay a visit to the Coronado Tree Farm this season. Its thoughtful charm and stellar views promise a healthy dose of holiday spirit and a renewed sense of pride for the gift that is Coronado.