Los Angeles

Netflix New Year's Eve Countdowns Let Families Celebrate Early

Ah, New Year's Eve. What was once a wild night out can be downright grueling for parents already running on empty after weeks of holiday planning and organizing, er, fun. Wouldn't it be nice to convince the little ones that 5pm is the perfect time to ring in the New Year? Break out the confetti and sparkling apple cider, because Netflix has your back with 14 on-demand New Year's Eve countdowns, many of them featuring your kid's (or even your) favorite stars.

It's the no-cry solution to an early bedtime for all, because the new year can now happen any time you want it to happen. It's also a simple way to get kids in on the festivities, celebrating new adventures as a family. 

Looking for more New Year's Eve fun? Venture out armed with our list of the best kid-friendly celebrations in your town: New York City, Los AngelesLong IslandNew Jersey, Boston, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and Houston.

Holiday Giving: Mommy Poppins Families Give Back to Local Communities

Every year we share articles about how families can volunteer and donate during the holiday season. But, we are also parents raising our children and working to improve our communities ourselves. Even as our website has grown (Hello, DC and Chicago!), we are proud to say that the values and mission of Mommy Poppins have not changed. We are committed to helping children and families, both online and in real life.

This year, we invited team members from each of our local areas to pick a holiday drive or organization that helps children in need. We funded a shopping spree or, if the holiday season was just too crazy, made a direct donation. In order to do as much good as possible, not just for children, but for local businesses too, we targeted some of our favorite local toy stores to make our purchases. Our children were great helpers in picking out gifts and delivering them.

As the founder of Mommy Poppins, I am grateful to our amazing team for rallying during the hectic holiday season and doing so much good. In all, we donated over $8500! Thanks also to all the local businesses, large and small, who support Mommy Poppins with advertising dollars throughout the year. It makes providing this resource to families for free possible, as well as these donations and our other initiatives. We are humbled and grateful for the support of our readers and local business community.

Read on to find out where our local families shopped and donated.

 

A Different Sort of Christmas Lights: Check Out the Magical Lanterns at the LA Arboretum

Still sad about the DWP shuttering their holiday lights? In the five years since that free public display closed, a number of shows have popped up around town. The LA County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is the latest to join the LA Zoo and Descanso Gardens with its own event. Moonlight Forest features more than 60 Asian-created lantern displays. The festival isn't free, but you might find it blows the old DWP display (and a few others) away. 

Best Family Travel of 2018: Great Cities, Beaches, Hotels, and Memories

Our Mommy Poppins families really traveled this year! We scoped out some amazing cities with our kids in tow, from New Orleans to Santa Barbara, up to Vancouver and over to Chicago.

There were some epic science museums to explore, Christmas towns to make us cheery, gorgeous beaches, fun at amusement parks, and of course, a slew of entertaining family-friendly resorts, from Mexico and the Caribbean to Los Angeles and New England ski resorts.

So if you’re planning your next family vacation, take a look at our favorite destinations from the last year, including these warmer climates for February or spring break. In each profile, we highlight the most kid-friendly activities and events and let you know what to skip with toddlers or what to see with the teens.

47 Things To Do around LA When Everyone Else Goes Away for Christmas

Shhhhh. Do you hear that? Wait—I think.... Yep! They're gone! All those people whose families live on the east coast, in the Midwest, in the Bay Area—they're all standing in their socks at airport security, telling their kids to hurry up and knock back that juice box before they miss their plane. Doesn't it make you glad to be in LA?

The marvelous secret I never knew in my childless, travel-at-will days is that for roughly 10 blessed days in December every year the highways of Los Angeles open up—and I'm not talking the San Andreas Fault way. While all those other Angelenos are away, you can do anything, anywhere, and it need not take you more than 20 minutes to get there. Have friends you miss in Burbank? Never get to the beach? Now is the time to start checking items off our 100 Things To Do in LA Bucket List, or try a few of the far-fetched and fun outings below that won't feel nearly so far during LA's true Holy Week!

Holiday Top 10: Best Christmas Fun of the 2018 Season You Don't Want To Miss

It's a little overwhelming, isn't it? I collect fabulous things to do with kids for a living, and this time of year has me teetering on a precipice between ecstasy and panic attack—because there is just SO MUCH TO DO! There are so many incredible, awe-inspiring, photo-op demanding, once-a-year holiday experiences on my list that my kid is starting to hide from me. There's a limit to how much fun a person can take.

So I'm taking a breath and making a top 10 list. Believe me, there is plenty more to do; our Ultimate Free Holiday List is a great place to start, and our event calendar an obvious place to continue. You'll run out of energy before we run out of suggestions, I assure you. But if you're looking for a Top 10 List before your family has you committed, here's what you came for.

Christmas Weekend: Best Activities for LA Kids Dec 22-25

Happy Holidays, folks! We're smack dab in the middle of a festivity frenzy, with Christmas and Kwanzaa coming on strong. (Those of us who are been-there, dreidel'd-that, done with Hanukkah can turn our attention to the Baby New Year's impending arrival. And Mary Poppins!)

This weekend offers the last chance to put the finishing touches on Christmas, before the big guy comes down the chimney late Monday night. Across Southern California, lights are twinkling, nuts are cracking, and reindeer are romping, as moms and dads scramble to buy last minute gifts (while finding time for a seasonal spectacle or two).

And then comes Christmas. No doubt many of you plan to spend Christmas Day at home with friends and family. For those of you looking for activities outside the home, good news: we're here to help. First up, we offer 25 Things To Do on Christmas Day. And if your kitchen closes on Christmas Day, we present a list of restaurants that are open. Christmas is the gift that keeps on giving, and after the presents are all exchanged we can still enjoy the gift of other people being gone. (Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the freeways much more bearable.) For holiday cheer that continues on into next week, might we suggest some of LA's finest Christmas light displays, or some in Orange County (and, if you're willing to spend a little, some holiday light displays are worth the ticket price). 

And this year we have a special surprise under our tree: Mommy Poppins has just launched sites in Washington, DC and Chicago!  Thank you, Santa, it's exactly what we wanted!

Mommy Poppins’ New City Sites Washington, DC and Chicago Launch for Holidays

As we approach the 12 year anniversary of Mommy Poppins, it’s amazing to reflect back on the past years, even as we are looking forward and adding new cities to our community.  Just like my children, who have grown in ways I never would have imagined, Mommy Poppins has become so much more than I ever planned for it to be when I started writing those first blog posts as a New Year’s resolution in 2007. 

This week we added Washington, DC and Chicago to our growing list of cities that now includes Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Houston, as well as NYC, Long Island, New Jersey, Westchester, and Connecticut.

Grand Park's Free Holiday Lights Display Makes a Trip to DTLA Worthwhile

Let's just agree that you can never have too many holiday light displays. Enjoying things that go sparkle in the night is a great way to create a holiday outing without breaking the bank—but maybe you'd like something more interactive than the good ol' drive past the neighborhood lights? Then jump at the chance to check out Grand Park's free Winter Glow light display in Downtown LA.

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