Los Angeles

Best Christmas Lights and Awesomely Decorated Homes around Los Angeles

Whether your holiday of choice is Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, or Kwanzaa there is a timeless joy to be found in taking a spin around the holiday light displays. And while the glammy glitz of The Biltmore is always fun, there is a particular magic to those over-the-top holiday light displays created by someone's (if thankfully not your) next-door neighbor. Even better is a whole street made up of nothing but this kind of neighbor, and we know where a few of those are.

Snow Sledding or Tubing for Los Angeles and SoCal Kids

They whiz down the hill, rosy-cheeked and squealing, sometimes making it to the bottom and sometimes not, their sleds in one direction, their giggling bodies in another. The magical mixture of snow, cold air, velocity, and the unknown makes snow sledding and tubing endlessly enticing; skiing is great, but sometimes there's nothing quite like good, old-fashioned sledding. And lucky us: even though we live in Southern California (where sleds are more often used on sand than on snow), we can still partake in this splendid winter adventure.

Coco: Pixar's New Day of the Dead Animated Film, a Parent Review

Mortality, legacy, and forgiveness. These are heavy subjects for an animated movie aimed at families but, once again, Pixar rises to the challenge. Coco is a visually stunning, thematically rich, and emotionally powerful film that resonates differently for various ages. Set against the backdrop of Día de los Muertos—the Mexican holiday honoring the dead—Coco is Pixar's first feature to focus on a character of color. Miguel Rivera, a 12-year-old aspiring musician, is magically transported to a luminous afterlife where he uncovers long-buried secrets and realizes the importance of family.

Chances are this movie is on your kids' wishlist, but perhaps you're worried a flick focused on—let's be blunt—death might make for an upsetting experience, especially if you have tots in tow. Read on for everything you need to know before you go to this PG-rated release, as well as whether it's worth splurging on 3D.

Fun and Free Things To Do Thanksgiving Weekend with LA Kids, November 23-26

In recent years, Thanksgiving was all about cute mash-ups (remember Thanksgivvikuh?), Black Friday shopping, and outrage over Thursday-is-Not-Friday-But-the-Middle-of-a-Holiday sales. This year, Hanukkah is buried unobtrusively in December, and many major retailers are promising to stay closed on Thursday. (You go, Lakeshore LearningHome Depot, and Barnes & Noble! As for the rest of you, time out with no pumpkin pie.)

We've found a few family friendly venues open on Thanksgiving, where you can enjoy a little morning cardio, a visit with animal friends, and maybe a good meal. (Make sure you check the hours for the day; some places are closing early.) You can make your Friday about shopping, or you can gather the family for a flick, whether new or timeless. Once again, Saturday is the new Friday, and it's all about the local.

We here are thankful for much, and hope you feel the same way. We're thankful for our beautiful climate, which lets us sled on the sand as easily as on the snow. We're grateful for the truly unique shows, spectacles, and experiences that come our way this time of year. We're grateful for the health and well-being of our loved ones, and we're grateful for you, our readers. Happy Thanksgiving, guys!

Keep reading for some of our best finds for fun this Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and, thankfully, Thanksgiving weekend...

Enchanted: Forest of Light Is Descanso Gardens' Christmas Walk in the Woods

If you are one of the many Angelenos whose paths rarely lead them through La Cañada-Flintridge, then perhaps you've never visited Descanso Gardens. It would be understandable; most of us need to drive a befuddling combination of highway numbers to get there. Well, 'tis the season to download Waze and get there, because Descanso's holiday light display, Enchanted: Forest of Light, is worth the drive and then some. Home holiday lights are lovely and cheery. Boat parades are delightful and so SoCal. But Descanso's holiday woodland light show is an experience unto itself and one to bundle up the kids and make time for.

Amazing, Kid-friendly Features at these Airports Make Family Travel Suck Less

There are all sorts of things to look forward to when we travel, but the airport is not generally one of them. If flying with kids conjures up images of agonizing lines, stressful bathroom visits, and long walks down grimy hallways with cranky toddlers, maybe for your next trip you should try rerouting through one of the airports below. These 10 US hubs have all gone the extra mile to make an airport into a destination kids will remember as part of the adventure. If your trip starts, finishes, or lays over at one of our favorite kid-friendly terminals, you can look forward to play areas, interactive exhibits, rides, and more to keep ahead of the turbulence.

Holiday Volunteering: Helping LA Kids Find Their Spirit of Giving

Sharing traditions with our children makes the holidays all the sweeter. The pies we bake, candles we light, songs we sing, and the gifts we give enrich the rhythm of this festive season. Volunteering to help those in need is another tradition we can offer to our kids. Giving our time and attention to our communities, whether we're dishing up food or singing Christmas carols, is often the best gift of all. And setting up our kids for a life of sharing and empathy is a gift we give to them and to the world they inherit.

10 Ways To Take Photos with Santa Claus Like an Angeleno

Mall Santas have a special place in many of our hearts (and in most Southland shopping centers), and the holidays really aren't complete without a round of Miracle on 34th Street. Still, we're not raising little Manhattanites; we're raising Southern California babies, and that calls for an outside-the-box kind of Santa Claus photo. If you're in search of quantity, Santa can be found in every mall, at every Christmas tree lighting, at any number of holiday shopping events, and even at one or two Nutcracker performances. But for some real Angeleno quality, snap a photo with Santa at one of these fun, funky, and totally LA Father Christmas experiences.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Zoo Lights, Surfing Santas, Doo Dah, and Mariachis

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go. I mean everywhere. The malls you expect. Mallsmallsmalls. Look at those trees! And town centers, more or less like malls, I guess. And on the stages, the seasonal theatrical productions are starting. Don't forget the zoo, day and night. And the beach! Who knew: Santa's a surfer dude!

Like a good Santa, he is bringing toys to all the girls and boys. So whether you're hoping to see Shopkins  or tiny trains under the tree, whether you're a super fan of  Minecraft or My Little Pony (or even Moby Dick), this weekend Santa has something in his magic bag of tricks for you.

Too early, you say? Can’t possibly be time to deck the halls? If you need further proof that Yuletide is upon us, all you need do is open your windows and check out all that snow. Ho ho ho indeed!

Keep reading for our holliest, jolliest picks for this weekend.

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