Los Angeles

Frozen (PG): Parent Review of the New Disney Film

Frozen, the latest animated feature from Disney, offers thrilling landscapes, Broadway caliber songs, and two fully-realized female leads. Some aspects may be too scary for kids four and under, but older kids are likely to be delighted with this enchanting tale. And for Angelenos, a holiday run at El Capitan is always a treat, with snowfall and breakfast options to boot. Read on for everything a parent might want to know before buying the ticket.

Panto in Pasadena: Aladdin and His Winter Wish (Parent Review)

The Lythgoe Family Productions British panto-style production of Aladdin and His Winter Wish at the Pasadena Playhouse is an exuberant theatrical experience, delivered with a wink and a smile. The celebrity-studded cast is out to have a good time, and they make sure to bring the audience along for the ride. If you're wondering whether this holiday show is the right one for your family, read on!

Fun & Free Things to Do This Weekend with LA Kids: Disney on Ice, Dickens Festival, and Gift of Knowledge, Dec 14 - 15

I don't mean to scare you but Christmas is in two weeks. Less maybe, depending on when you're reading this. So we're talking, what, maybe eleven shopping days? Twelve if you're lucky. And that's if you're willing to face the malls or shell out for expedited shipping.

Don't get me wrong; we can help you out. Mommy Poppins can direct you to the finest holiday cheer, all the boat parades, Santa breakfasts (what is it with the Jingle dude and breakfast? Will someone buy him dinner already!?), Nutcrackers galore (no lie, this whole post could have been filled with nothing but Nutcracker); we can point you towards the most elaborately decorated houses, and we can even tell you where to find a spare reindeer (in case yours is in the shop), but as for what you're going to place under the tree...

... well, whaddya know? Looks like we can help you with that too. Turns out we've got a few giveaways coming up, You're going to want to pay close attention, read your email and check it twice, because you do not want to miss out on the serious swag we are giving away.

In the meantime, keep reading for our favorite picks for this weekend (think of it as an early Christmas present)...

Fun & Free Things to Do This Weekend with LA Kids: Snow, Holiday Walks, and Boat Parades, Dec 7 - 8

And now it starts. We've had our Thanksgiving turkey and lit our Hanukkah candles, not to mention shopped Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Green Tuesday, and There Must Be Something Left to Buy Wednesday. There's no kidding ourselves: the Christmas season is here and now. Santa Claus has come to town, and he won't leave until he's had a year's worth of breakfasts. (He really likes breakfast.)

Of course, December in LA is more than just Santa Claus. It's holiday lights. It's boat parades. It's Nutcracker upon Nutcracker, and snow, snow, snow. It's also the time of year that our calendar is so jam-packed that our weekly posts can only scratch the surface of the infinite possibilities for family fun. Trust me, though we do our best to highlight the hottest and the coolest, you're going to want to peruse our full calendar to make sure you're not missing a thing.

(Like say a giveaway. Which we might be doing at any time now. Like for instance, right this minute.  And it could be for something awesome. Something princess. Something Disney. Just saying.)

Here are our favorite picks for the weekend, just to get you started...

Snow in LA? Where To Find Holiday Snow without Leaving Town

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Of course actual snow in Los Angeles County is rare enough to be saleable on ebay (anyone still have that 2007 Malibu snow in the freezer?), but several Southland locales offer a reasonable facsimile of snow at this time of year. From Anaheim to Pasadena, we get several opportunities in the coming weeks to introduce our kids to snow, without introducing them to picking up their wet snow gear from the floor. And most of the events below are free!

Black Friday Deals, Sales, and Shopping Tips for Families

Whether you're a compulsive shopper or a conscientious objector, it's hard to ignore the fact that Black Friday, the day formerly known as the day after Thanksgiving, is packed with major deals. While the idea of starting holiday shopping in a throbbing mob at midnight (or right after Thanksgiving dinner at some locations) sends some people off in search of anything else that's open on Thanksgiving, those who can't resist the deals might be interested in these kid-centric highlights. And if your family is divided right down the middle, why not divide the day between shopping and volunteering?

Whether you shop Friday or another day this holiday season, you may want to check out these national retailers who give a percentage to charity with every purchase, too.

Fun & Free Things to Do This Weekend with LA Kids: Frozen, Hanukkah Festivals, & the Autry is 25, Nov 23- 24

Okay, you've got like maybe a five minute breather before all holidays break loose. You know what I'm talking about. The Thanksgivikkah convergence, in which you must ask your child to channel sublime gratitude while opening the floodgates to eight crazy nights of "me want."  I'm talking about the late-on-the-scene Turkey Day resulting in a shorter than usual shopping season, (though someone might want to tell that to the elves already decorating our local malls). I'm talking about non-stop jingling bells, twinkling lights, and shaking jelly-bowl bellies from now until the new year.

But this weekend, and probably this weekend alone, does not HAVE to be about the holidays. You can celebrate fandom and circus life, toast the Autry on its anniversary, or call me Ishmael with all the other whale-heads reading Moby Dick on the beach.  You can see Disney's Frozen a full five days before the rest of the country. You can dance in your pj's, bust some myths or bust some moves with female mariachis.  You can give thanks, not in a turkeys and pilgrims way, but in a grateful for good health way.

Or you can dive in with both feet and make this weekend an all Hanukkah, getting ready for Christmas, holiday superfun time for the ages. We've got your back either way.

To get you started, here are our favorite picks for the weekend:

Fun & Free Things to Do This Weekend with LA Kids: Winter Wonderland, Explore Your Universe and Santa Claus Arrivals, Nov 16- 17

Oh, you better watch out, you better not cry, you'd better not pout, I'm telling you why:  A) because pouting is really annoying, right up there with whining, B) because the Caffeine Fairy is coming to town, bringing sugary stimulation to good mommies and daddies everywhere, and C) because you'll scare away the reindeer. (They're a skittish breed, especially when they're hyped up on frappuccinos).

Santa's coming, too, drawn in by the first signs of winter (all that ice and snow we've been having).  As in seasons past, he can be found at tree lightings and breakfasts across the Southland.  Now might be a good time to start putting some check marks in your "nice" column; count on Mommy Poppins to lend a helping hand.

In fact, we want to help you all the way through this holiday season, every Thanksmakwanzakkah moment of it. Take a moment to sign up for our emails (if you haven't already) so you can be the first to get the latest scoop from us....

...such as our favorite picks for the weekend:

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