It was a big weekend with the Thanksgiving holiday and for the first time I can recall, many of us also celebrated Hanukkah. I love this time of year filled with tradition, gathering together and sharing. I was a little under the weather so I spent a lot of time tucked into my bed watching everything from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to news stories reporting on another American tradition: Black Friday and now of course Thanksgiving Day shopping. For those of you who have never partaken in this popular post-turkey past time, the reports on the crowds and lately, the drama that ensues must leave you wondering why so many Americans like to kick-off the holidays with such a chaotic tradition.
Having been shopping on Black Friday a few years back, I have to say I completely understand the appeal. That year, I was on a mission to buy televisions as my staff gifts so along with everyone else, I headed for the shopping mall to Best Buy first thing Friday morning. It was as crowded as I expected it would be but the store was well prepared and they were very organized. Standing in line, there was a lot of camaraderie, and I enjoyed chatting with everyone about their purchases and hearing about their plans for the holidays. I still remember one gentleman I met who had a strategy with his wife. He dropped her off at another store so they could make the most of the day.
Even though Black Friday did not become part of my holiday tradition, I am glad I tried it at least once. This holiday season I am looking forward to sharing in the spirit by experiencing the unique and different seasonal festivities we have here in Southern California.
One of the most spectacular holiday celebrations is the Naples Holiday Boat Parade in Long Beach. The houses on Naples Island also put on one of the best Christmas and Hanukkah lights display. There is nothing quite like strolling around the island and admiring the breathtaking lights.
In downtown Los Angeles, the Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live offers ice-skating with the iconic Staples Center as a backdrop. If you're not up for slipping on a pair of skates, you can head over to Pershing Square to watch a professional holiday skating exhibition. You can also enjoy one of the holiday concerts. There is a gorgeous Menorah on display right there in the square. If you're looking for some cultural and religious history, close by on historic Olvera Street you can catch one of the nightly presentations of Mary and Joseph's candlelit procession to Bethlehem.
I love to take long drives and this time of year one of my favorite places to go is Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena. Christmas Tree Lane is a California landmark and it's also on the National Register of Historic Places. It is absolutely breathtaking and as you drive along, you'll feel like you've been transported to Bedford Falls from It's a Wonderful Life.
With so many wonderful festivities all over Southern California, it's hard to pick just a few. That's why I've decided to kick off a new holiday tradition of my own. Instead of doing the same thing every year, my new tradition will be to experience different traditions every year.
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