Snow during the holiday season in Los Angeles? That’s just one of the ploys business owners are doing to attract visitors this holiday season.
Disneyland’s Christmas Wonderland has set the gold standard for holiday decorations. Cheerful carollers, the fireworks show, a 60-foot Christmas tree and the signature snowfall are just a few of the reasons that this theme park is often visited during the holiday season.
“It’s a winter wonderland. I go all the time,” said Melissa Zonne, a sophomore at USC. “The elaborate decorations and snowfall always put me in the holiday mood.”
Similarly, the Grove transforms into a romantic but overpopulated spot for the holiday season. It is home to a 110-foot Christmas tree, the largest in all of Los Angeles. The lighting of the tree will take place Nov. 23 at 7:30 p.m. The tree lighting would not be complete without a fireworks display and snowfall of their own. The snow will fall every night during this holiday season beginning at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“I really like to go to the Grove during the holiday season. They have a fun Santa exhibit and that fake snow that I like to play with,” said USC junior Lindsey Jones.
Another popular place to visit during the holiday season is Griffith Park. The Department of Water and Power has teamed up with the park to organize a popular festival of lights display that stretches a mile long. The intricate display has been a significant player in attracting visitors during the holiday season for the past 12 years.
“I lived near Griffith Park growing up and we often visited the light festival. It’s a cool place,” said junior USC student Kevin Homsy.
A destination common to many USC students during the holiday season is in Pershing Square.
This outdoor event center converts into an ice oasis for all to enjoy. Situated between historical landmarks and the giants that align the downtown skyline, the ice rink offers a romantic date destination.
“I took my girlfriend last year and it offered something a little different in a date,” said Andrew Meagher, a junior at USC. “It’s not every day that you can go ice skating outdoors in L.A.”
Candy Cane Lane in Woodland Hills is an eight square-block area complete with decorative lights, figures and artificial snow. My advice: park the car a few blocks out; grab a jacket and some blankets to keep you and your significant other warm as you stroll around the festive neighborhood.
“We spend more money on the Christmas lights and displays than we actually spend on Christmas gifts,” said long time resident Kyle Visciglia.
If you are willing to make the drive, there is no better place to get into the holiday spirit than in Long Beach.
The Christmas Boat Parade held in Naples, a community in Long Beach, attracts upwards of 60,000 people. It usually takes place on the second Saturday of December. The amount of lights used on each boat rivals the houses of Candy Cane Lane. The boaters cruise through the canals and along the Alamitos Bay entertaining the enormous crowd of onlookers.
If you don’t want to travel so far to get in the holiday spirit, try Starbucks’ holiday blends. Careful though, the blends are not exactly the healthiest of treats.
“I know it’s bad for me but in order to kick off my holiday season, I must indulge in a Starbucks gingerbread latte,” said USC senior Alex Lienhard.
From gingerbread latte’s to gingerbread houses, USC students celebrate the holiday season in many ways.
“I throw holiday parties every year,” said Lainie Ransom, a sophomore at USC. “Last year, I had a tacky sweaters themed party and it was a huge success.”
Costume parties are always a big hit during the holiday season. Not only are the outfits outrageous and memorable, but festive too.
“I wore a onesie [or footy pajamas], like a kid on Christmas morning,” said USC senior Sven Jansson. “Everyone loved when I’d wear the [bottom] flap down.”
No costume themed party would be complete without holiday decor. It seems like every store you walk into has holiday decorations for sale, choosing the right one is tough.
“Pottery Barn, Target and Williams and Sonoma are my go to stores for any of my holiday needs,” said Jennifer Phillips, a junior at USC. “Cinnamon candles are just about the only thing I need to get me in the holiday spirit.”
The decorations are just the half of it. The party would not be complete without cheerful Christmas songs. Coast 103.5 begins playing all your favorite holiday songs the day after Thanksgiving.
“I love it. You can never start the Christmas carols too early,” said junior USC student Dan Griffith.
Not everyone has the proper accommodations to host a holiday party. An old-fashioned holiday flick like “Miracle on 34th Street,” or something a bit more modern in “Die Hard” or “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.
“My favorite holiday movie is ‘A Christmas Story’. There’s nothing better than sitting around with my family and watching this hilarious classic—it’s become a tradition,” said Allison Young, a sophomore at USC.
The holiday season is loaded with tradition. Whether it is something as simple as watching a family movie or as extravagant as throwing a Christmas party, don’t let this holiday season spoil because of the economic turmoil. There are plenty of festive activities to do, while remaining budget conscious. So, go out and spread the holiday spirit with those around you.