I love me some cheesy Christmas spirit. I love it even more when its free. If you’ve hit your spending limit on Black Friday shopping for yourself (guilty), I’ve compiled some cheesy, gaudy, and annoyingly ways you can enjoy free Christmas spirit in Los Angeles.
1. The Grove
Every Instagrammer’s wet dream. Besides the gingerbread house and Santa flying over the crowd, be sure to enjoy the sky soap we like to call snow at 7pm and 8pm as well as live music during the weekends at 6:50pm and 7:50pm now until December 31st.
Fairwarning: you will be tempted to make this particular trip a very expensive destination. With the ice skating, the fine dining, and of course, the parks, Disneyland is very captivating. But a stroll through downtown Disney will fill you up with so much Mickey Mouse cheer, it will make you break out in Frozen lyrics.
The best thing you can do with your friends (besides baking inappropriate gingerbread men and getting wasted on cider) is dressing in cute flannels and walking the streets of Candy Cane Lane. Think of that one neighbor’s tacky light display and multiply that by the whole block. My recommendation: bring a thermos of hot chocolate, a small blanket, and park on Martha St. around 5 pm to avoid major traffic. The light show takes place between Lubao and Oxnard St. in Woodland Hills from the 2nd Saturday of December until December 31st.
I can’t think of anything more Californian than a bunch of fancy boats decorated in funny lights and Santa garb while everyone watches in awe, jealousy, and freezing weather. Insert The Californians clip. But I’ll be damned if I miss this Angeleno tradition. Make sure to bring lots of layers for this one night event on December 13th 5:55 pm-8:00 pm. Like any other parking situation in Los Angeles, make sure to park far away and walk or take a lyft. Arrive at least half an hour early and flask it up with your favorite wine or spiked nog.
Off key and can’t hold a tune? Perfect, you’re invited. As there is no experience necessary, drink what’s left of that flask and go to the Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles on December 19th to sing Christmas carols with the community. The event starts at 6:30pm and runs until 8pm, but the free tickets are distributed on a first come, first serve basis. So head on over at least an hour early.
Spirited all year ‘round with random lights shows and busking, the Third Street Promenade ups the ante with decorative trees and holiday music. While most of the other events are within a time limit or a particular day, Third Street is gettin’ jolly all day, errday.
7. L.A. Live
SoCal meets New York with this gaudy, but cheesiest of the cheese light display. While the ice rink is around all season, the Nokia Plaza transforms for only 3 days with sledding, Santa, and the like from December 2nd-4th. I have yet to participate in this festivity, but it might be LA’s most famous Christmas event.