The holidays can be a particularly rough time to be in need, and donating toys during the holiday season can truly change the lives of children. Plus, showing our kids how the community rallies is important. We can make time to volunteer with our kids—a great holiday tradition—and kids can also experience the joy of giving by passing along some of last year's gifts, sharing the old with someone new before finding out what Santa delivers this season. When we pursue the parental thrill of buying super-cool toys, wrapping them, and making our kids' day on Christmas or Hanukkah, maybe we could add just one more for a child in need. We know of some great places to bring both kinds of toy donations—new and gently used—to spread around some of that holiday joy.
Years spent at Nickelodeon prepared Roberta to launch Mommy Poppins' Los Angeles branch. She served as LA Editor for GoCityKids, National Editor for ParentsConnect, and Editor for NickMom. After two years as Mommy Poppins' LA Editor, Roberta became Editor-in-Chief at Mommy Poppins - which works out well for her son, who enjoys his role as Chief Guinea Pig for all things fun in LA and beyond.
Latest posts by Roberta
LAX plus kids plus holidays? There is no way to sugarcoat this; it's a deep breath and into the abyss at the best of times, but recent changes at LAX have made this holiday season even more nerve-wracking. If the Park 'n' Fly lot next to LAX was your jam, it's been taken over by a whole new kind of jam. If you were used to calling an Uber or Lyft while pulling your bag off the belt, forget it. And if you're an old-school taxi line kind of family, you're not finding a ride at the terminal either.
There is a lot of info out there at the moment; we've made some calls, followed some links, and shaken some people by the lapels to gather the info below. And if all else fails? The Proud Bird by LAX has a playground AND a liquor license...
When the lights start going up, then you know it's Christmas! And whether your holiday of choice is Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, or Kwanzaa there is a timeless joy in taking a spin around the neighborhood holiday lights. Flashy light displays that charge admission—like the LA Zoo Lights, Enchanted Forest of Light, or Queen Mary Christmas—are always fun, but there is a particular magic to those over-the-top lawn 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 extra special Christmas neighborhoods are.
Los Angeles is all about outdoor activities at Christmastime—and nothing says "This is why I moved to Southern California" quite like a Christmas boat parade. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, boat owners gussy up their crafts and parade them up and down waterways for applauding spectators, who line the harbors and marinas from Dana Point to Ventura. Driving around looking at holiday lights is great; letting them float by you at one of these dozen sailing holiday parades is even better.
Wracking your brain for family activities on Thanksgiving Day? Filling your house with family during Thanksgiving is wonderful, but sometimes you just want everyone to get out of your house. We mean this, of course, in the nicest possible way. After all, this is sunny SoCal, and maybe your guests have traveled far to enjoy LA. Telling them where to go is just being a good host, right? Even if the family members in your home on Thursday are the same ones who are always there, knowing what's open could be invaluable—both for clearing the house to prepare the meal and for walking it off afterward. Our event calendar has the full listing of Thanksgiving day happenings, and our holiday guide has a few ideas, too; the suggestions below are 19 places you may not have realized have opening hours on the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
London is a city so famous for fun things to do that they say when you tire of it, you're tired of life. Of course, try impressing a kid with a quote like that, and he'll show you tired of life! The proof for kids is always in the pudding (so we've included several restaurants that have delicious pudding). Each of the 50 items on our Best of London list is a tried and true kid pleaser, from pirate ships to princess' palaces, with a good dose of Harry Potter, the Beatles, all the king's horses, and all the king's men thrown in. Some of these items need planning ahead; others make for neat spontaneous adventures when you've got an hour to fill in Greenwich Mean Time. One thing's for sure: these 50 great things to do in London will leave no one time to get bored.
Mall Santa photos have a special place in many of our hearts at Christmas time, and holiday activities really aren't complete without that Santa Claus in Miracle on 34th Street. Still, we're raising Southern California babies, not little Manhattanites, 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, and at any number of holiday shopping events. But for a real Angeleno Christmas photo, snap a selfie with Santa at one of these fun, funky, and totally LA Father Christmas experiences.
November is time to hit the berms!
Rumor has it that in some parts of the country sledding involves getting cold and wet. How very... un-Californian. Oh, sure, there are places near LA to go sledding on snow if that's your thing, but we're raising California kids—and that means beach sledding. Every winter a few Los Angeles area beaches get their annual sand berms—intended as protection against winter storms and violent surf. Or so they say. The real purpose is clearly to lay the groundwork for the ultimate SoCal winter sport: sand sledding. We've got the lowdown on when those
sledding hills storm berms are going up.