How to Christmas in California!

So it's December 3 and I am READY TO GET INTO THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT. My radio is tuned to 103.5 KOST for 24 hours of Christmas music, my decorations are up, and I am shopping like a madwoman (I love you, The Internet!).

Having come from the Great White North (well from its annex, Michigan), I must say that it's a little harder for me to automatically get into the spirit post Thanksgiving while living in California. This is primarily because of the weather - like most people, I associate Christmas with festive sweaters and scarves, beautiful snowy landscapes, and hot alcoholic beverages. This current rainstorm aside, we don't get much chance for any of that in December in LA!

(Out-of-towners reading this post - I know, I know. I swear I'm not complaining about our 72 degree days and ease of travel and lack of salt and snow damage on our cars. OK MAYBE I AM A LITTLE. But I recognize we're very lucky to have this weather too.)

Anyway, what I'm trying to get to is - I compiled a Top Ten List of LA Christmas Activities to help jumpstart your Christmas spirit and keep it humming all December long.


  1. Check out the Holiday lights!
    • Remember the totally awesome LADWP lights show that they used to do every year in Griffith Park? It's finally back, but in a new format as the LA Zoo Holiday lights! They have all the same displays but now there are MORE and also ANIMALS. It's $13/adult and $11/child.
    • If that's feeling too pricey for you, you can always drive around Hastings Ranch - that neighborhood goes bananas at Christmas! Just tune into 103.5 and drive around the neighborhood. Or even take a walk, if you're feeling particularly non-LA that day

  2. Take in a Christmas Show!
    • If you're looking for comedy, Largo and UCB have a ton of great holiday themed shows to get you ho-ho-ho-ing (I'm hilarious). Check out their calendars to learn more about Santa-thon hosted by Fred Willard and the Merry Nic Cagemas Dinner Party.
    • Dickens' A Christmas Carol is on at Pasadena's A Noise Within. They just added six more shows!
    • The Los Angeles Ballet with perform The Nutcracker at these various locations. Every Christmas we saw The Nutcracker when I was growing up...I have such fond memories of it!

  3. Stay home and invite people over!
    • There's so much to do in your own backyard! And here in LA, we can actually use our backyards during the winter months. So get out there and heat up that fire pit. 
    • Or have folks over for a cookie making party!
    • Or just invite people over to drink delicious holiday cocktails!

  4.  Go ice skating!
    • Oh, I love ice skating! And what's better than ice skating when it's 70 degrees out? Time Out has a list of all the possible places to ice skate in LA!

  5. Check out the Holiday Markets!
    • There are so many places to find adorable, unique gifts for those you love. Artisanal LA and Unique LA are just two of the many! (and they are both this coming weekend, FYI) You'll find a full list here.

  6. Stop in on Santa Claus!
    • Santa wants to see you! And seeing as I work for Dreamworks Animation, I HAVE to plug Adventure to Santa, a new Santa experience in the Glendale Galleria. Come see Santa AND Shrek!

  7. Buy Candy Cane Joe Joe's!
    • Candy Cane Joe Joe's are delicious and about $3/box. They are basically perfect in every way. Eating three of them will automatically get you into the Christmas spirit.

  8. Take a day or weekend trip somewhere cold!
    • You should hit up Big Bear Snow Play in (you guessed it) Big Bear! It's great for kids and adults alike. Sledding (or tubing, use tubes) is never more fun than when you're on a packed snow chute that's primed for ultimate enjoyment. Also, Big Bear doesn't get that cold, so it's not difficult to stay out on the hill for a long time (as it is in so many other winter sport locations).
    • Or head up into the mountains of Temecula to visit Julian, a sweet and sleepy town surrounded by oodles of wineries, apple orchards, and holiday cheer. Check out their holiday events here. I definitely recommend staying the night. You must!

  9. Or instead...go to the beach!
    • Instead of seeking out the cold, embrace the warm! Head to the beach to spend your holidays at the water's edge. Last year at Christmas when it was crazy warm, we waded through tide pools at Abalone Cove. It was delightful.

  10. See your favorite Christmas move on the big screen!
    • The Arclight is showing a bunch of Christmas movies on the big screen! Find movies, dates, and locations here. I would love to see Scrooged on the big screen! 
Hope you're happy and enjoying the start of this wonderful season!

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