For the fifteen years I’ve lived in Los Angeles, every Christmas Eve I’ve enjoyed The Magical Christmas Caroling Truck. For the 26th year, the sixty-two foot tractor-trailer will wind it’s way through the neighborhoods of Toluca Lake and North Hollywood between 4:30 and 11pm tonight, spreading lots of holiday cheer along the way.
Honestly, I can be a bit bah-humbug this time of year, but the truck never fails to get me feeling a little more of the “holiday spirit.” Back in 1994, we had no idea what the racket was outside of our Toluca Lake area apartment. We ran outside and were amazed by the brightly lit holiday show traveling down our street. When we moved into a house a couple of years later, we were delighted to find out we were still on the caroling truck’s route! It has become a tradition that I hold near and dear and look forward to every year now. Our neighbors have a party and when the truck hits our street, we rush out and enjoy, occasionally even walking along with it for a while. Instead of having to go out and find lights to look at, they come to us!
The vehicle is adorned with thousands of lights, blasts holiday music, all while over 200 people sing and dance on and along side the truck. A separate train car rides behind carrying Santa (or one of his “helpers,” since his will be busy, of course) and there is snow. The truck ambles along through the neighborhoods, stopping from time to time. It seems like it gets just a little more festive every year, if that is even possible.
Even if you don’t live in the neighborhoods The Magical Christmas Caroling Truck visits, you can bring the family to the area and enjoy. See the truck’s website for photos and videos, as well as a map of the approximate times and locations. This just might become one of your favorite holiday traditions too!
With just two days of shopping left, the Christmas rush was on at Seventh and Broadway.
The year was 1951.
Photo from the USC Digital Library
Christmas can be a difficult time for those of us who are not Christians and who do not celebrate it. As a result, each year, something invariably causes me to have a Christmas Gripe. Yesterday evening, I found my CG for this year, at my local Ralphs supermarket.
There are two types of Christmas music that Ralphs could have chosen to play. They could have chosen the non-denominational type, which includes Santa, Jingle Bells, sleighs, and the like. Or they could have chosen the heavy-handed religious type, including lyrics along the lines of “Jesus is our Lord and our King.” Unfortunately, Ralphs has chosen the latter. It’s no fun to be pounded with these specific religious messages while strolling Ralphs’ aisles. And given the large number of Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, and other non-Christians in our area, I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way.
what in God’s name should I do about this, after the jump
Do you like history and tradition? Are you a sucker for a classic Christmas film? Then dress up in your Sunday best, grab a shoe shine, and head Downtown this weekend.
The Los Angeles Conservancy is presenting Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, at the newly restored Million Dollar Theatre (1918), Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children twelve and under. A limited number of tickets are available at The Conservancy’s website.
Make it your new family tradition. Your kids will be able to tell their kids what Broadway was like before the return of the streetcar!
The Million Dollar Theatre is located at 307 South Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, walking distance from the Metro Red Line Pershing Square Station and Civic Center Station.
A couple of days ago, Julia wrote about the Christmas Tree disposal program in Los Angeles. Here’s what Santa Monica’s program looks like. The local drop-off point along California Street, between Lincoln and 7th, along the edge of Lincoln Park, was a veritable forest of discarded Christmas trees yesterday.
Whatever you celebrate, however you celebrate, and especially for those of you who don’t celebrate, I’m going to be a sap for a moment and send out a big fat I LOVE YOU GUYS and I hope you spend the next few days having fun.
Be safe & be healthy and have a happy holiday.
Photo by the one & only Pickles.
In times like these, there are few things that warm the heart like a Twitter exchange about life in Los Angeles:
The stars were shining over Broadway, as thousands turned out for the Christmas Parade in Downtown Los Angeles.
The year was 1940.
Photo from the Los Angeles Public Library
People from all over the city descended upon Pershing Square to witness the lighting of a 105-foot Christmas tree. With the flip of a switch, the holiday season in Los Angeles had begun.
The year was 1949.
Photo from UCLA Library Digital Collections
Here are 4 reasons Los Angeles should be embarrassed by the Lighting of the Angels at L.A. Live:
- Host Adam Corolla – Yes, he’s a Los Angeles native. He can be pretty damned funny. But, is this really the guy you want to host a family-friendly tree-lighting event at the newest entertainment venue in L.A? He admittedly strayed from the teleprompter, got lost in what he was saying, and made Britney Spears visibly uncomfortable when mentioning her rise “from the ashes.” I hate to be the one to ask the question. But, was Seacrest not available?
- The Politicians – These are talking heads that wear suits and take credit whenever they can. A photo op turned into a battle for stage time as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Councilwoman Jan Perry, and the dude from AEG all had to get their speaking time. Separately. Then, a bunch of other suits had to come on stage to get some face time, too. Not to mention the fun little jabs at who is a Trojan and who is a Bruin. So much for making this anything more than a local interest story.
- Britney – Natalie Cole sang. The highly-anticipated superstar shopping a brand new album didn’t. She didn’t dance. She hardly said a word. But, boy can she hold a wireless mike and throw a fake switch to light a fake tree.
- The Tree – I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that they made a mistake by not having a real Christmas tree to offset all the concrete, glass, and flashy advertisements of L.A. Live. But, it’s part of a 7-minute holiday multi-media light show, they said. What could go wrong? Nothing, if you like a botched countdown and a “tree” that just changes colors to music. I think you can buy those at Target.
Los Angeles missed another opportunity tonight. It could have begun an annual tradition rivaling the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center. It could have given the network reason to broadcast the event nationwide and show L.A. in a moment of festive glory. Get Kanye up there rocking a remake of Christmas in Hollis. Let the Foos do another orchestral masterpiece. Invite the Pussycat Dolls to do… whatever it is that they do.
Tonight, we witnessed something cheesy, fake, and lacking in that old holiday magic. What we got, was your parents’ old aluminum tree with the color wheel, and a joint visit from all your boring aunts & uncles.
Come to think of it, maybe it was perfect.
A Christmas tree light show at LA Live, the Grammy museum opening, and the return of Cole’s highlight the busy commencement of the holiday season in Los Angeles. And guess what? It’s all happening Downtown. Just in time to abuse Metro’s late night Red Line and DASH hours. Fill your Calendar app accordingly.
- Ice Skating in Pershing Square with daily concerts. What, no outdoor movies this year? At least you have an excuse to wear that Old Navy scarf of yours in 80-degree weather without looking like a total Hollywood jackass.
- ESPN Zone opens at LA Live. There is no local NFL team to cheer on to the playoffs, and the BCS Champion, the Super Bowl Champion, and the Gold Medal Curling Team of the 2010 Winter Olympics have already been decided by HAL 9000. But you can still watch the events as they happen on a bunch of big TV screens.
This has to stop. I know we’re in the middle of a Depression an economic downtown, and you’re just looking for something to make you feel better. To make you feel happy again. To forget all about 2008. You’re looking forward to Christmas. Yeah, I dig that.
But, this does not excuse breaking the rules.
I can forgive the early shopping. I can even let slide the early light displays all over town. What I cannot forgive, is you buying a Christmas tree on November 30.
I’m talking about you, Mr. Mercedes SUV, rolling through NoHo at 12:34PM on Thanksgiving Sunday. Sure, the 7ft. Douglas Fir tied to your roof may look great tonight. But, your tree will be dead before it counts.
Nobody likes a dead tree on Christmas. Nobody.