This is the year that Christmas doubt was expressed at our house, and the doubt extended all the way down to poor old Donder and Blitzen: "I don't think reindeer are real," he said. Clearly, it was time to check out the Reindeer Romp at the LA Zoo - an annual holiday event I had yet to put on the family agenda. Not only did it take care of the doubt - we had a fine day out.
And now it starts. We've had our Thanksgiving turkey and lit our Hanukkah candles, not to mention shopped Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Green Tuesday, and There Must Be Something Left to Buy Wednesday. There's no kidding ourselves: the Christmas season is here and now. Santa Claus has come to town, and he won't leave until he's had a year's worth of breakfasts. (He really likes breakfast.)
Unlike certain other parts of the country that shall remain nameless (no need to go rubbing it in the noses of cities like, say, Boston), LA is all about outdoor activities at Christmastime - and nothing says "This is why I moved to Southern California" quite like a Christmas boat parade. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, boat owners gussy up their crafts and parade them up and down waterways for applauding spectators, who line the harbors and marinas from Dana Point to Ventura. Driving around looking at holiday lights is great; letting them drive by you is even better...
It’s time to flip the on-switch for Orange County’s annual show of over-the-top holiday light displays, which are at least as extreme as the ones in LA. From the north end to the south, Orange County boasts a number of spark-tacular holiday adventures to walk or drive through. Some are individual homes; some are entire neighborhoods, and let’s not forget one illustrious Boat Parade. All in all, you and yours can take joy, with oohs and ahhs, in the mega-watt experience sans the hefty Edison bill. So, pack up your gloves, scarves, hot chocolate and flip-flops. Pile in the car and take a drive to see a bounty of wintry wonderland lights.
First there was Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, and now we have the next in the themed succession: Giving Tuesday. This time, instead of being asked to shop here, there, and in our PJs, we're asked to share the wealth.
There's an undeniable thrill in buying shiny new, super-cool toys, wrapping them, and making a child's day on Christmas or Hanukkah; why not add one for a child in need? Or, if money is too tight to donate a new toy, how about passing along some of last year's gifts as you make room for what Santa delivers this season? We know of some great places to bring both kinds of toy donations and spread around some of that holiday joy.
Mall Santas have a special place in many of our hearts (and in most Southland shopping centers), and the holidays really aren't complete without a round of Miracle on 34th Street. Still, we're not raising little Manhattanites; we're raising Southern California babies, and that calls for an outside-the-box kind of Santa Claus photo. If you're in search of quantity, Santa can be found in every mall, at every Christmas tree lighting, at any number of holiday shopping events, and even at one or two Nutcracker performances. But for some real Angeleno quality, snap a photo with Santa at one of these fun, funky, and totally LA Father Christmas experiences.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Of course actual snow in Los Angeles County is rare enough to be saleable on ebay (anyone still have that 2007 Malibu snow in the freezer?), but several Southland locales offer a reasonable facsimile of snow at this time of year. From Anaheim to Pasadena, we get several opportunities in the coming weeks to introduce our kids to snow, without introducing them to picking up their wet snow gear from the floor. And most of the events below are free!
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