Needless to say, I'm a Christmas freak. I listen to Christmas music the first day of November. I light pine scented candles before I think about Thanksgiving. The day December 1st hits, I get my tree, decorate for Christmas, and begin binge watching every version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and all of the classic Christmas movies ever made. Heck, I'm even writing a mini-series about Christmas in Northern Wisconsin. There will never be enough Christmas in my life, especially living out in Los Angeles where there is no snow.
With this being the case, my need for reinforcements in the building of Christmas cheer is great and necessary. Over the years here, I have found just the events to help boost up that special feeling of holiday spirit to get me just where I need to be by the time I get to visit my family back home in the Midwest. If you're like me and need some pep in you Christmas step, take a look-see at the best seasonal events in the Los Angeles area listed below!:
Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood
Join the Whos in Whoville for the infamous Whobilation at Universal Studios Hollywood!! If you grew up with How The Grinch Stole Christmas, you would love nothing more than to see the theme park decked in the most extravagant holiday decoration, snow, and to see the Whos dance and sing on stage with all of their Christmas cheer! You'll also see the Grinch trying to steal Christmas, but of course in the end feeling all of the love and joining in on the celebration. Not to mention - you'll have a photo opportunity with The Grinch's dog, Max - who is an absolute sweetheart. Grinchmas and the Tree Lighting Ceremony happens every weekend from December 3rd until the 14th, then afterwards, it happens every day until January 1st, 2019! All the while, while you're at Universal, make sure to also visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to see the snow in Hogsmede an the beautiful lights displayed on the Hogswarts castle!
Get your tickets here: https://store.universalstudioshollywood.com/PurchaseTickets.aspx
Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza
Sleepy Hollow is an entire neighborhood in Torrance, California right off of Robert Road where each and every house decorates in lights for Christmas! On top of this, most lights have their own theme that they stick to, whether it's A Christmas Story, Wrigley Field and the Cubs, Star Wars, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, or even the video game Fortnite! Not to mention, after you park your car and are walking around the neighborhood, there are several homes selling hot chocolate, popcorn, hot dogs, sodas, baked goods, even soup! Of all the Christmas festivities to enjoy, bundling up and heading to Sleepy Hollow for the lights is my absolute favorite. The event of course is free, just make sure you park along the Pacific Coast Highway, Calle Mayor, Prospect Avenue, or Doris Dr. while you're there for ample spots so you can walk in on Robert Road. This event happens rain or shine the weekend after Thanksgiving - so go, enjoy, and respect the residents and their homes! Also* there are usually no public restrooms or porter potties - so hit the restroom before you go just in case!
Here is the address!: 23254 Robert Rd, Torrance, CA 90505
La Zoo Lights
Ah! This place is the most fun - especially for the family! At the LA Zoo Lights, you enter the zoo at night and walk through a wonderland of sensational and mesmerizing neon light set-ups that more often than not, resemble zoo animals. With this walking experience, there is a lot of ground to cover, new light worlds to see, and although not all of the animals are out, you still get the chance to see the Koalas, the reptiles, and even Reindeer! Heck - you even get to feed them! Of course, there are snacks here too including hot chocolate and popcorn, churros and the like. The LA Zoo lights are something you don't want to miss! The dates here began November 16th and will go until January 6th! So hurry on over!
Here are discounted tickets from Groupon!! Be sure to download the Ebates extension for cash back!:
If that link doesn't work, here's the direct link to the LA Zoo site:
Christmas at the Grove
Though the Christmas celebration happens the Sunday before Thanksgiving (this year it happened on November 18th), you can go to The Grove any time throughout late November through early January to see the magic The Grove has to offer! With a Christmas Tree that ascends into the night sky, lit for all of the town to see - along with the falling snow, the elaborate lights, wreaths, ornaments and decorations, spending time within the walls of this outdoor mall sipping coffee or hot cocoa will have you immediately feeling the Christmas spirit. While you're here, you could also get all of your Christmas shopping done, visit Santa Claus in his workshop, catch a movie, and grab dinner with your honey or best friends. What sounds better than that? Make sure you go at nighttime to feel the ultimate magic! The Winter Wonderland event (meaning the snow and seeing Santa) only lasts until December 25th though, so hurry - hurry! To stay up to date with other Christmas events at The Grove, follow the link below!:
Here is the address: 189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Christmas at the Queen Mary
At the Queen Mary's One-of-a-Kind Christmas, happening from November 23rd-January 6th, 2019, you're able to explore the immaculate ship, its decks, and experience a taste of old Christmas with Carolers making their way throughout the floors, Santa waiting to greet you, beautiful lights and tasteful entertainment to enjoy throughout the night. Did I forget to mention that there will be several musical performances, an ICE SKATING RINK atop the ships sport deck, hot chocolate with Mrs. Claus, performances and snacks in Gingerbread village, and an 80 foot tall Christmas tree upon the Ship's bow. There are also additional opportunities such as breakfast with Santa and a holiday dinner show that you'll need separate tickets for, but of course are more than worth it - especially for the little ones! There are even a few tours of the ship included!
Check out tickets here: https://www.queenmary.com/tickets/
Groupon Deal: https://www.groupon.com/deals/queen-mary-christmas-2018
Hollywood Christmas Parade
Every year on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, the Hollywood Christmas parade comes to Hollywood boulevard and lights up the streets with music, gigantic balloons, TV, Movie, and radio stars, candy, fundraisers, volunteer groups, and more! This parade gives you a sense of Christmas and community spirit that truly ignites the Holiday season with a grandiose celebration for all of Los Angeles to come and enjoy (especially if your sports bar where you watch Sunday Night Football is on the boulevard). No matter the year, this is an event you wouldn't want to miss. Hosted by Laura McKenzie and Erik Estrada, its a night you won't forget. It starts at around 5:30PM, and will go for about two hours. Bring your chair, a blanket, and a bag for candy!
There are also tickets to sit in the grandstands - a prime seating area for the parade! This way you won't have to jump or stand the entire time to see over everyone enjoying the parade. Though I wouldn't say it's completely necessary, if this sounds like your cup of tea - here is the link to getting tickets!:
Of course, visiting Disneyland during the Holidays is a no-brainer, but if you're able - be sure to go within the first two weeks of December to miss the families coming over Christmas break!! With crowds that are almost unsurmountable during the later part of the month, you'll want the best chance you can get to see the beautiful holiday lights at Disney including Sleeping Beauty's Castle, The Haunted Mansion, It's a Small World ride, meeting Santa and the princesses, the Christmas Fireworks, and not to mention the Christmas parade which happens at 3:30PM and 6:30PM at the park. If you truly want to feel the magic of Christmas, along with how you felt as a child during this time, Disneyland is definitely the place to go. Remember, California Adventure is a completely separate park from Disney - though most definitely worth it! Be sure to get the Park Hopper pass!
Click here for tickets: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/tickets/