By Alene Dawson
Special to the Los Angeles Times
November 28, 2010
The trappings of the holiday season are all around us this time of year, in television commercials that portray wintry wonderlands, in Christmas carols that command "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow," in images of Santa in his ermine-trimmed suit and cap, and of whole families bundled in bulky sweaters and mufflers while they build snowmen or sip cocoa.
What's a Southern Californian to do? While surfing on an 80-degree Christmas morning is yuletide paradise for many and watching the Marina del Rey or Newport boat parades or the annual Sunday-after-Thanksgiving Hollywood Christmas Parade are certainly traditional treats, there are other destinations for those needing a more nostalgic cold-weather-related holiday fix, many replete with opportunities to wear those oh-so-cute winter accoutrements: earmuffs, a scarf, boots, a hat and mittens.
LET IT SNOW!
We're just a short drive away from skiing and snow, but holiday "snow" is just across town or closer. Like a town square on steroids, the Grove goes all out to create a holiday-time extravaganza. At 7 and 8 every night through Dec. 24, the mall's showpiece fountain does a choreographed dance to favorite Christmas tunes, concluding with snow falling to the song "White Christmas." http://www.thegrovela.com
During Beverly Hills' Deck the Hills event from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 9 you can shop and stroll underneath a dusting of snowflakes while more than 40 stores and boutiques along Rodeo Drive host holiday events including wine and Champagne toasts and horse and carriage rides. Santa will visit too. http://www.beverlyhillsbehere.com
In celebration of what it calls Grinchmas, Universal Studios in Hollywood promises the Grinch, his faithful dog, Max, a Whoville choir, a nightly tree-lighting ceremony and tons of fresh snow. Guests can tour the sets of Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" film, enjoy a wintry playground of snow and build snowmen. It all begins on the weekend of Dec. 11 and 12, and then goes daily from Dec. 18 through Jan. 1, during regular park hours. http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com
Disneyland offers a "Winter Wonderland" where the entire Disneyland Resort is transformed with hundreds of thousands of lights, and fireworks are accompanied by snowfall. There's a Main Street Christmas tree lighting, seasonal treats and real reindeer through Jan. 1. http://www.disneyland.disney.go.com/events/holidays
OUTDOOR ICE SKATING
There are many indoor places you can ice-skate year round in Los Angeles, but outdoor rinks pop up just in time for the holidays. New this year and with an adult spin, the W Hotel in Westwood has transformed its pool deck into an ice rink. You can skate, or partake of warm comfort foods such as soups and s'mores and oh-so-delicious grown-up drinks including hazelnut espresso martinis, pumpkin lattes and spiked hot chocolates, through Jan. 24. Skating costs $10 for one hour, which includes skate rental. The rink is open 3 to 10 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends. 930 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 208-8765.
Other rinks include those listed below. All are available for party rental, and you can check their websites for times of operation.
L.A. Kings Holiday Ice at LA Live. Kids can skate with Santa from 7 to 8 nightly through Dec. 22, and the rink will remain in operation through New Year's Eve. 800 W. Olympic Blvd. $12 for unlimited skating, including skate rental. http://www.lalive.com/holidayice
Pershing Square Downtown on Ice. Organizers call it a "frosty tradition," and Pershing Square offers a flurry of free events including a holiday concert series, a craft area and a "snow zone." 532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles. (213) 847-4970. Admission is $6, and skate rental is $2. Open until Jan. 1. http://www.laparks.org/pershingsquare
Ice at Santa Monica. 1324 5th St., Santa Monica, (310) 496-9880. Admission and skate rental, $10. Open daily through Feb. 15. http://www.downtownsm.com/about/icerink
Thousand Oaks Holiday Ice Rink. 2200 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. (805) 494-0514. Admission, $9 for one hour of skating. Skate rental, $3 regular, $4 for hockey skates. Open daily through Jan. 17. http://www.thousandoaksicerink.com
Looking for a place to cozy up with a hot chocolate or hot toddy while being mesmerized by the crackle and scent of burning wood? Raffles L'Ermitage in Beverly Hills and Casa del Mar in Santa Monica have snuggle-worthy fireplaces in their lobbies. Mix in some mistletoe, and it could be the beginning of true love.
Raffles L'Ermitage, Beverly Hills. 9291 Burton Way, Los Angeles. (310) 278-3344.
Casa del Mar, 1910 Ocean Way, Santa Monica. (310) 581-5533.
There may not be roasted chestnut carts lining the streets like you find on State Street in downtown Chicago, but Trader Joe's fresh Italian Chestnuts, sold in the produce section, are easy to cook — just cut an X in the shell and bake at about 425 degrees for 20 or 30 minutes. They are thoroughly addictive. $4.49 for 16 ounces.
Sing your heart out with one of these community singalongs:
Downtown Los Angeles Soul Fire Community Chorus holiday caroling, from 8 to 9 p.m. Dec. 21, at Pershing Square. 532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles. http://www.laparks.org/pershingsquare/communitySingAlong.html
Montana Avenue annual holiday walk with music and caroling, from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 3. Participating Montana Avenue shops will be having sales and special promotions, too. http://www.montanaave.com
Angel City Chorale holiday concert and singalong, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 and 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Tickets range from $17 to $40. http://www.angelcitychorale.org
Los Angeles Music Center singalong, music center plaza. 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 17. Free but tickets are required and will be distributed starting at 6 p.m. 135 N. Grand Ave. (213) 972-3660. http://www.musiccenter.org/cal/events/
Holiday Sing-Along at Walt Disney Concert Hall, at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 18. Tickets range from $32 to $83. 111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 850-2000. http://www.musiccenter.org/cal/events/
The Grove and the Americana at Brand will have strolling carolers through Dec. 24. Hours vary, but you can expect to see them Friday through Sunday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
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