Efficient holiday cheer

pinata.gifI know everyone’s up to their eyeballs in holiday shenanigans right now, which may or may not include shopping, wrapping, tree acquisition/erecting/decoration, dealing with overexcited kids and probably the dreaded holiday travel. I travel pretty much constantly, so I am never home and therefore never have time to take care of personal stuff like gift purchasing and shipping, so I usually order online when I’m in between airports. But this year, I wanted to give something a little more personal, so I figured out a way to get everything done in a really short period of time, and still make it on time to the airport.

Stop #1: The Christmas tree auction in Chinatown. Tammara mentioned it last year, and after talking with most of my neighbors this year I realized that almost all of them got their trees at the auction. One of my neighbors got a 9-foot tree for under $40! Crazy!

Stop #2: San Antonio Winery. We stopped in for a bit of dinner at the restaurant, which was quite tasty, and then checked out the goods in the adjacent gift shop. They carry chocolates, trinkets, and of course, their wine, which makes a nice gift for parties – it’s a unique, locally produced gift for that finicky Angeleno oenophile on your list. And they have an abundance of sweets in case you want to treat yourself. After all, you’re hard at work!

Stop #3: Olvera Street. I am a history geek, so I like wandering around old areas of cities and soaking in their history and vibe. Here, I can combine that with a little shopping and uh, medicinal margarita sipping. During the time leading up to Christmas, Olvera Street also hosts Las Posadas, a ceremony commemorating the journey of Mary and Joseph that led up to the birth of Jesus. The procession happens daily, December 16th-24th, from 7:30 PM-8:15 PM, but if you show up early at 6:30 you can see the pinata being broken.

Olvera Street is located at the El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historic Park, 845 N. Alameda Street. Check out the site for information and directions.

Stop #4: On your way to the airport, grab all those recently-purchased items and head about a mile south of LAX to Manhattan Postal Center. They’re in Manhattan Beach, and I went by there today to ship a computer with DHL, some documents with FedEx, and some fragile art with UPS, and they packed everything up, had it printed, ready, and done in freakin’ minutes. The owners are really nice and were both there helping to get everything done quickly.

Stop #5: LAX. You’re done! You finished shopping, got some unique gifts for friends and family, and since you shipped everything you don’t need to check any bags. All you need to do now is get your boarding pass. If you’re headed out of Terminal 4 (American), go in the second door from the right, next to the Qantas and First Class check-in. Go all the way to the left of the row of First Class counters and you’ll see a small baggage screening station (not the big one with the x-ray, the little hand-check one with the metal counter). Directly to the left of that station, there is a lone electronic check-in kiosk that you can use if you’re not checking bags. I travel through LAX at least 25 times a year and I’ve never seen a line at this kiosk. I used it today while there was a 25-person deep line at the other self-service check-in lines and was able to zip right up to security. Though I don’t have superseekrit check-in tips for the other terminals, I’m sure some of our readers have some ideas!

So there you have it: how I completed my holiday shopping in 24 hours or less!

Now, tell us your quick and dirty holiday efficiency tips.

Image from olvera-street.com