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The Holly, Jolly, Shopping-est Week Ahead: Events for December 2-8, 2023

Find unique gifts for all the special people in your life, while supporting local artisans at Craft’s annual Holiday Marketplace.

Good golly do I have holly and jolly, and comic conny and jazz. Okay, that’s where the rhyming ends, but its also where I begin to tell you about this awesomely eclectic week of events I have in store for you! And since I’m feeling particularly lazy today (hey, it’s been a long week), I’ll save my clever quips for next week and provide you with this cleverly executed list instead.. You’ve got Dasher, and Dancer, and Comic Con and Vixen, Kinpaku, Furoshiki, Squid Game trials, and Hanukkah, but who do you recall – is the most famous event of all? Well, that’s for you to decide. Hope you enjoyed that, now go out and have some fun, why dontcha.

Arts, Culture, and Entertainment

AN EVENT FOR FANS. BY FANS. Comic Con has arrived at the LA Convention Center for a full weekend of comics, gaming, cosplay, anime, pop culture, and exclusive merch! This Fri-Sun, Dec 1-3, come out and connect with other like-minded fans for the first time or the 10th time at this world famous event. Show off your best costumes, meet and greet with your favorite actors and creators at exclusive autograph and photo op sessions, and be free to let your freak flag fly! Tickets start at $20 for kids 7-12 (0-6 are FREE) and $34-$105 for adults. Autograph and photo op sessions available for purchase as well. Hours are Friday: 4-9 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

Since ancient times, kinpaku has been used to apply delicate gold leaf to various surfaces, from high art to everyday design products, and on Sat, Dec 2 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., JAPAN HOUSE LA will be giving you the gift of a Kinpaku Workshop (Gold Leaf Pressing), for the low low cost of just $33. Create your own original work of art to gift yourself or someone special, complete with a beautiful container to wrap it in. The workshop will also highlight the works of Gomei Kinpaku Kogei, a fourth-generation Kyoto firm which has created distinctive kinpaku for everything from domestic Buddhist altarware to Tiffany & Co. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to learn from experts about this captivating art form! Bonus: participants will also get to munch on a selection of food items from JH’s WAZA Shop during check-in time. All materials will be provided. Register Now!

And speaking of wrapping that gorgeous original piece of gold leaf art you just made, why not explore JAPAN HOUSE while you wait for the Furoshiki Workshop (Sustainable Wrapping) to start at 3:30 p.m. that same day, Sat, Dec 2. For over 2,000 years, the square cloth known as furoshiki has been a simple, elegant, and sustainable method of Japanese “wrapping”, used for everything from special gifts, to groceries, to everyday items. In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn about the history and culture of furoshiki, along with a variety of useful wrapping techniques. Don’t miss the chance to make a positive impact on the environment while adding a touch of elegance to your gift-giving. The cost is $30, and includes two beautiful printed furoshiki cloths to take home, as well as complimentary refreshments from the WAZA Shop during the check-in time. Register here.

As summer is now just a distant memory, I’m sure y’all are missing the sweet and sultry sounds of jazz, but not to worry because on Wed, Dec 6, Levitt Los Angeles will be celebrating its Sweet 16 with a fundraiser at the legendary Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood!  As Levitt LA continues to grow into “a cultural destination and point of pride for our city” they invite you to invest in joy, creativity, and community (I’m down for that).  Aside from live music, there’ll also be a live auction with tickets to things like Disneyland, concerts and experiences. You can make a cameo or stay the night for the full dinner and performance experience! Event will take place from 6-9 p.m. Tickets range from $50-$250; $8 parking located right next door.

Greetings, Los Angeles. Would you like to play a game with me? I have studied you closely, brought Squid Game to your city, and now I’m seeking worthy competitors who appreciate a good challenge for Squid Games: The Trials! You’ve seen the show on Netflix (disclaimer: I have not), now play it in real life! Six challenges will put your skills to the test in an immersive competition like no other. Sign up now and be one of the first to accept the Front Man’s challenge. Are you ready? Some games may be familiar to you, others will not. If you manage to survive, you can refuel with Korean-inspired food, share a toast at  Gganbu Bar, and buy yourself a souvenir at Squid Mart. Soon enough, it will seem as if it was all just a dream. So what do you say… game on? The Game takes place at 200 N. Fairfax Ave. starting Wed, Dec 6. Tickets start at $39; VIP Package is $99. 

Christmas and Hanukkah

It’s probably fair to note that holiday season is also most definitely holiday boutique season, and we’ve got a bunch of them this week.  First up is the St. Brendan Christmas Boutique, which is happening todays, Friday, December 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Brendan School, 238 S. Manhattan Pl. Check it out to find unique and memorable gifts for everyone on your list…and 20% of all purchases goes directly to St. Brendan’s School.

Next, also starting today, but running from Friday through Sunday, Dec. 1-3, is the Art Lounge Collective‘s holiday bazaar.  Take 20% off all in-store, ArtLounge Collective purchases through the weekend and enjoy pop-up boutiques from local artists. In addition, there will also be a festive Cocktail Reception, on Friday, December 1, 7-10 pm, in collaboration with the creators of Once Upon a Cocktail, as well as live poetry throughout the weekend with typewriter poets from Pride Poetry and an exciting Watercolor Demonstration, taking place from 3-5 pm on Saturday. It all happens at the Art Lounge Collective, 145 N. La Brea Ave., which is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 10am to 6:45pm.

On Saturday, Dec. 2 Tailwaggers gets into the holiday spirit with its annual Santa Paws and Mrs. Claws pet photo event in the parking lot of the store at 147 N. Larchmont Blvd. from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be holiday elf booths with complimentary pet treats and a winter wonderland of snow. And proceeds from the event benefit the Tailwaggers Foundation, supporting pet rescues and non-profit organizations that provide life-saving treatments to sick and injured animals.

Meanwhile, the Craft Contemporary’s Annual Holiday Marketplace is also finally here. On Sat, Dec 2 and Sun, Dec 3 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., The Craft will be hosting this much anticipated festive shopping weekend showcasing 20+ local artisans and designers. Find a unique gift for everyone on your list and enjoy drinks, music, and crafty workshop activities while shopping a curated selection of one-of-a-kind creations, like jewelry, ceramics, vintage and contemporary textiles, craft supplies, homewares, and more! Workshops include, 3D Paper Snowflakes ($15), Sustainable Wrapping ($80), and Candle Making ($95); all materials included. And if you’re a member, enjoy early access, and first dibs, on Saturday from 10-11 a.m. Tickets for Saturday are $9 at the door and include museum admission; Sunday is pay-what-you-can. 

Moving on to Sunday, Dec. 3, it’s also Merry Melrose at the Melrose Trading Post, 7850 Melrose Ave., every Sunday in December from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each week will feature different festive happenings at the popular craft and vintage market, and this week there will be a visit with Santa from 12-3 p.m., free professional photos with Santa, and artist Corie Mattie (AKA the L.A. Hope Dealer) will be live-painting a canvas Peace Mural from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.  There will also be artist-made photo opps throughout the market (including a Mega Mirror wall for group selfies), pop-up performances by the cast of Little Women Ballet, a Girl Scouts of America gift wrapping booth, and Typewriter Poets from the L.A. Poet Society – definitely something for everyone!

Also on Sunday, Dec. 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can go back to St. Brendan School, 238 S. Manhattan Pl., for its Christmas Carnival.  Enjoy carnival games, bouncy houses, prizes, activities…and meet Santa, too.  Food options will include barbecue, pretzels, ice cream, snow cones, cotton candy, popcorn, candy buffet, hot cocoa, and cider., and you can purchase a $30 all-play wristband, with great prizes for pre-orders.

Next on Sunday, Dec. 3, the Original Farmers Market, at Third & Fairfax, will be holding its big Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree holiday extravaganza from 2-7 pm. Highlights will include a live reindeer photo opportunity, youth performances by Grand Arts High School holiday carolers, a dog adoption hosted by Love & Leashes, a churro pop-up at El Granjero Cantina, and a Santa Hat decorating craft activity perfect for the little ones as well as live musical and variety entertainment throughout the day with performances by vintage-inspired bands, playing classics from the 50’s and 60’s with vocalists The MoonRays, and the rock n’ roll band, Crown City Bombers. And, Santa’s favorite Elf/Juggler, Mickey O, will delight audiences with his yuletide antics.

On Wednesday, December 6, the Ebell of Los Angeles offers its annual Holiday Boutique, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Admission is free and open to all, and the event will definitely help elevate your gifting game with unique finds from a variety of unique local artisans who provide one-of-a-kind hand-crafted treasures and superb tasty treats. (Note: there’s also a holiday luncheon in connection with the boutique, but unfortunately, reservations are already closed.)

Later on Wednesday, Dec. 6, there’s also a chance to spread a little holiday cheer in the larger community with LAPD Olympic Station’s annual Shoes from Santa event.  You can donate a pair of new shoes for school age children (cash contributions to buy shoes are also welcome!), and then join Santa and his elves for hot chocolate, treats, and distribution of the shoes.  The big shindig takes place starting 6 p.m. at the LAPD Olympic Station, 1130 S. Vermont.  Shoes and cash donations can be dropped off ahead of the event.

“Happy Hanukkah, Monica! May your Christmas be snowy, Joey! Happy New Year, Chandler and Ross! Spin the dreidel, Rachel!” If you’re a fan of Friends, then you know that’s a version of Phoebe’s Holiday Song from one of the show’s classic episodes, also serving as a delightful intro to this next event taking place not too far away in Culver City. Come join the CC community on the first night of Hanukkah, Thurs, Dec 7, for a Grand Menorah Lighting and Chanukah Celebration starting at 5 p.m. This festive evening will include a magic show, live music, hot latkes and donuts, a caricature artist, arts & crafts, free raffles, and a free gift for each child!  Admission is FREE and open to all. The festivities continue on Fri, Dec 8 with an evening of tradition, inspiration, and a delicious  Shabbat Community Dinner at 7 p.m. And be sure to check the website for on-going events through Dec 15.

If you could have dinner with anyone living, deceased, or fictitious – who would it be? Vincent Van Gogh? Aristotle? Stevie Nicks? How about Santa? Well, on Fri, Dec 8 you and the kiddos can do just that at the Ebell’s Supper with Santa event! There’ll be craft making, a savory holiday buffet dinner, special performances by the legendary Bob Baker Marionettes, and Santa, of course! Catch a photo op with old St. Nick and create lasting memories of a special night with friends and fam in the photo booth. Doors open at 5 p.m. Tickets are $55 for Members and $65 for Non-Members; $30 for kids 3-12; and $20 for the little ones, age 2 and under.

Ongoing Seasonal Entertainment

Meanwhile, many of the multi-week holiday entertainment opportunities continue this week, too.  For example, bring your friends to or plan your date night at the annual LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE!!enjoy the ice rink before and after a game or concert. General Admission tickets are only available for purchase on-site at the ice rink box office during hours of operation. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for kids, seniors, and military. A limited quantity of Fast Pass tickets will be also available, but online only for $45 per person. Open now open through Dec 31. Pricing includes skate rental. Hours now – Dec 18: Daily 5 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. (4 sessions); Dec 18-31: Daily 4 p.m. – midnight (4 sessions).

And more ice skating! Get in your favorite form of seasonal exercise/making a fool of yourself at the Holiday Ice Skating Rink in DTLA’s Pershing SquareNow – Jan 7, get as close to a winter wonderland in LA as you can, cruising along the ice among skyscrapers, while you picture yourself surrounded by trees, on a lake, in a forest, somewhere far far away. Anyhoo, back to reality now, be sure to lookout for special events happening throughout the month as well. Skate rentals are included in admission ($20 per hour). Lockers and skating aids for the kiddos are $5 extra. Rink opens at 11:30 a.m. daily; closing times vary. And will be open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve/Day, and New Years Eve/Day.

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and the L.A. Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow experience is giving us those holiday feels with another season of lighting up your world! Come explore an immersive landscape filled with dazzling new lantern sculptures of animals, blooming flowers, towering trees, and more, for a nature-focused holiday celebration! Ticket prices vary depending on day of the week, check website for deets (and see the Buzz’s cool photos here). Zoo Lights on display now – Jan 7. 

Also lighting up our lives this season, is the third edition of Lightscape at the L.A. County Arboretum. Located a little east of LA in Arcadia, the Aboretum’s uplit trees and illuminated installations will once again dot the roughly mile-long pathway for the 2023 season, which has been “reimagined” this with an expanded trail. The light cathedral will, of course, make its return, as will the fire garden, one of events favorite highlights. Santa will also be there on select dates! Tickets range from $29-$35 and $14-$18 for kids (under 3 are free).  Lightscape will be yours to behold from now – Jan 2.

And even more magical light displays for your sight to see! Now – Jan 7, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in a shimmering nocturnal wonderland at Descanso Gardens Enchanted Forest of Light; an interactive, nighttime experience, featuring a one-mile magical route through the garden. There will be returning favorites, including an entire town of “stained glass” creations by contemporary sculptor Tom Fruin; sparkling geometric installations from HYBYCOZO; Flower Power on the Promenade; and exquisite lighting effects in the Ancient Forest, as well as fresh delights to keep you in awe (click here for a preview). Advance tickets are required for entry and will NOT be sold on-site. Entry times start at 5:30 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m. Gardens close at 10 p.m. Tickets are $35-$45 for adults and $25-$30 for kids ages 2-12.

Community and Local Government 

Come together with your community at an event focused on greening and beautifying 4 different school campuses in Hollywood for the LAUSD Board District 4 School Beautification Day! On Sat, Dec 2 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., you’ll have the opportunity to participate in hands-on gardening projects, mural painting, classroom organization, and more that will benefit students and the greater school community. And in hopes of capturing the spirit of the holiday season, there will also be festive, kid-friendly activities at each site, along with a donation drive benefiting students experiencing homelessness. The day will take place at Hollywood High (kickoff and check-in location), Bancroft Middle School, Van Ness Elementary School, and Vine Street Elementary School. Sign-up here. Water and refreshments will be provided. Children of all ages are welcome.

Click to see larger flier.

Also on Saturday, December 2, the Beverly Kingsley Manor Neighborhood will be welcoming its Los Angeles City Council District 10 Councilwoman, Heather Hutt, to address issues that have been affecting the neighborhood. The meeting will start at 10:00 a.m. at the community room at the Anderson Munger Family YMCA, 4301 W 3rd St. Neighborhood attendees are encouraged to walk, though parking is available for $5 per vehicle in the parking garage.

Next up, the cool cats of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council will have a couple committee gatherings this week, starting with the Resilience Committee on Thurs, Dec 4, followed by the Sustainability Committee on Fri, Dec 5. Check the GWNC website for locations, times, and agendas.

And their friends across town, the Mid City West Neighborhood Council, will close things out with a FAR (Film, Arts, and Recreation) Committee meeting on Fri, Dec 5 at 7 p.m. Check Mid City’s website for details, agendas, and full schedule. Unless otherwise specified, all MCW meetings will still be held in-person at the Pan Pacific Park Senior Center (lunch room) located at 141 S. Gardner St.

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Julia Christiansen
Julia Christiansen
Julia is a native Angeleno and jack of all trades, having worked in television, visual effects, professional sports, health and wellness, and custom design. She currently resides in El Segundo.

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