Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Los Angeles Christmas

Coming from a country that celebrates the longest Christmas in the world (as verified by CNN in this article), celebrating the Christmas holidays anywhere else is, well, a challenge. Ever since moving to the states, I’ve felt the most homesick during Christmas… which is why for the past 3 years, I’ve found a way to go home to the Philippines every December. I had to get my yearly dose of Filipino Christmas carolers, early morning mass and the smell of bibingka and puto bumbong, and most especially the warmth and hospitality of the people who make you feel at home, safe, and incredibly well-fed. :)

This year though, I decided to stay in LA. I figured, I was leaving soon anyway, might as well make the most out of my remaining few months living here. Now, 5 days before Christmas, I’m glad I did.
The temperature has dropped, and it’s been really cold the past few weeks – which I love. I like wearing the coats, and being bundled up in blankets, and the smell of the cold air. We don’t really experience temperatures below 80 degrees in the Philippines, so Fall and Winter are definitely two of my favorite seasons.

I’m all about making the most out of any holiday… and I do what I can to feel the Christmas spirit! This is how I celebrate my Los Angeles Christmas...


First there was Chill. It seriously was the best way to kickstart the holidays... being blasted with frozen winter wonderland joy! From an ice skating rink, to snow tubing, to carolers, and an ice kingdom... Chill definitely makes for a great Christmassy experience! (For my full post and more photos - click here)


Then I went and saw the movie, Rise of The Guardians (at the constant urging of my youngest sister). What an awesome movie!!! I LOVE Rise of the Guardians. Absolutely love it... I had no idea who Jack Frost was before this (apart from him being responsible for the nipping at your nose). Now, I think I'm in love with him. If you guys want a proper dose of Christmas spirit - go and see this movie NOW.


The Grove is an outdoor entertainment complex in LA - right next to the Farmer's Market and CBS studios.
This is where I spot most of my celebrities :)

This is my favorite place in LA. It’s beautiful regardless of the season, but they really deck it out during Christmas!

One of the great things about this place – apart from the way it looks – is that in December, at 7 and 8pm every night, they have snow! They schedule these snow machines to go off every night for a fun fake-snow experience! It may sound silly – especially to those in the East Coast and Midwest who probably curse the inconvenience the snow brings, but for us mere folk in sunny SoCal, snow is like magic. It is to me, anyways.

Santa flying with his reindeers!

That's Santa's house!


I also made sure I made my way down to Long Beach to visit my friends and my former home… Downtown Long Beach is so pretty at night, especially with all these Christmas lights!


I've only really ever experienced an Ugly Christmas Sweater party here. I suppose it's an American tradition? We definitely don't do this in the Philippines because it's too hot to be wearing any sweater, let alone a thick Christmas one! This year my office Christmas party had a "Tacky Christmas Sweater" theme and whoever had the tackiest/ugliest wins a hundred bucks. I tried my best, but unfortunately the other contenders had way more experience than I did in creating these awful yet awesome sweaters. We had a great time though, and the photos turned out great!

My coworkers and I at our Tacky Christmas Sweater party


I like to hold my hair for balance when I'm snowboarding
California is one of the only places in the world where you could go surfing and snowboarding on the same day. For those of you who didn't think it snowed in SoCal, you are mistaken, my friend! The most popular skiing/snowboarding spots close to LA are either Big Bear Mountain or Mammoth... both of which are anywhere from 3 to 5 hours away. I've been to Big Bear. In fact, that's where I learned how to ski. A friend of mine introduced me to Mount High - even closer than the others at an estimated travel time of 1.5 hours from Los Angeles. That's where I learned how to snowboard, and I've been going there every year since! I love snowboarding, and I LOVE SNOW!

My cousin and I goofing around fresh powder at Mt. High

I'm going up to the mountains this weekend for my snow fix... I purposely scheduled it like that because I've been itching to have a White Christmas since forever... And since it doesn't look like it's going to happen ON Christmas day, I'm settling for snow a few days before Christmas. :) I do what I can... I'm still hoping for a miracle though! A White Christmas is on the top of my grown up Christmas list.

I think I've done a pretty good job making sure I make the most out of my December in LA... and I still have a week till the 25th! I may be far away from my real home in the Philippines, but on Christmas eve, my family and I will be stuffing ourselves with home cooked meals and exchanging presents just like we normally would if we were home. Thanks to technology, we'll be able to Skype our friends and family to wish everyone a merry and safe holiday, and do virtual toasts with them on the computer screen. It won't be the same - but it will be enough :)

And as for you guys ---

Have yourself a merry little Christmas, for it's the most wonderful time of the year! Even if the weather outside is frightful, the fire inside is so delightful! Everyone's dancing merrily in a new old fashioned way, so deck the halls with boughs of holly! And although it's been said many times many ways, Merry Christmas to all, and to all good night! <3

Happy Holidays, everyone!