Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Weekend Feast for December 1st - 4th

Kick off your first December weekend tonight in Chinatown at the second annual Chinatown Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony -  Central Plaza, 943 N. Broadway from 6p.m. - 8 p.m. 

Chinatown is a great neighborhood to shop for unique Holiday gifts; tiny toys for stockings or dreidle prizes, teas and lovely cups for teachers, one of those cool silk jackets for your pink haired teenager.  One of my favorite things to buy is Joss paper, sheets of rice or bamboo paper that are burned in traditional Chinese ceremonies honoring deities or ancestors.

There are several different styles, sizes and colors of paper.  Each has a particular meaning  (Wikipedia's article is pretty good and I direct you here for details) and is designed for a specific category of spirit or rank of deity. Many styles feature gold or silver to signify good fortune, and all of them are gorgeous and inexpensive ( like, $1.99 inexpensive.) I am respectful of the original intention but I am captivated by the sheer beauty of the paper. I use it to wrap presents and make cards.  A pack of Joss paper would make a lovely gift for an artist or crafter, for kids as a part of an art box or for people like me who just love paper ( hint, hint.)  You will find it in stores throughout Chinatown.

The economy may have lightened our wallets and reduced our spending options this holiday season (not necessarily such a bad thing, perhaps it's an opportunity to get creative and really give from our hearts) but nothing can take away our fantasies!


Let your "one day I'm going to live in a great big mansion with each room decorated by a famous designer" dream out to play at the Greystone Estate in Beverly Hills when the Maison De Luxe designer show house opens its doors Friday, December 2nd.  Ooooo, the names... Martin Lawrence Bullard (I haunt the website) Margie Grace and her heavenly gardens, Kathryn Ireland (another fabulous site for inspiration.)  Greystone Estate is worth seeing empty but filled with the work of these and other designers, the 46,000 sq feet, 18.5 acre property built for the Doheny Family in 1928 gives ample food for dreams.  Show house hours are Dec 2-22, Tuesday-Sunday from 10am - 3pm daily. Admission is $35 with a portion of the proceeds designated for the preservation of the Estate. A designer lecture will be presented each Friday and costs $50 which includes admission to the show house tour.  Click here for details and tickets.

Lots to do around Abbot Kinney this weekend as Friday is First Friday - shops and galleries open late, food trucks, street life - and Sunday, December 4th is the Abbott Kinney Winter Holiday Stroll.

See the tiny print? It says there's a winter kidland in the Brig parking lot ( I don't know why I love this idea so much, but I do) with REAL SNOW, family activities and a hipster Santa from 1 - 4.  Honestly, I have no idea if they have hired a hipster to play the jolly man but it is Venice so I'd put money on the guy having good eyeglasses at the very least.  Sparkly stores, music and all around good cheer can be yours just by walking around. A pretty good way to spend Sunday afternoon.

Okay moms here's a little early present from me to you.  Saturday, December 3rd is CARnival at the Peterson Automotive Museum! A great time for dad to take the kids away for a couple of hours, right?  Wait, I don't mean away..... that sounds bad.....hum..... OUT! Take the kids out is what I mean and what a fun place the Peterson is for dads and kids.  I'm just kidding, of course. I mean, why would any mom, just over Thanksgiving, trying to get ready for the holidays never mind work and with 3 weeks of school vacation taunting her from right around the corner need a Saturday afternoon away from her kids? Okay, I really am done now. And honestly I like the Peterson, it's fun and interesting. There's stuff to look at but there's also stuff to climb on, to play with. It's a pretty active place and kids generally love it. 

 CARnival goes from 1:30 - 4 and features all kinds of activities; games, stroytelling, scooter races etc.  Plus the special exhibits, including Supercars, above, as well as ongoing presentations of famous vehicles from movies and TV shows are always fun.   Click here for hours and directions etc.

And finally, for special gifts for certain not-going-to-find-it-on-amazon folks on your holiday list,  I encourage you to check out Unique LA, running Saturday and Sunday from 11am - 6pm at the California Market Center, 110 E. Ninth St, downtown. Unique LA is the largest independent design show in the country featuring more than 325 artists and crafts people.  The $10 admission price ( kids 12 and under are FREE)  entitles you to well-designed cotton tote bag, beverages, and craft and DIY workshops.  There are 2 cafes so you can grab coffee or something to eat, free portraits and a print will be available from the photo booth, no doubt a dj will be spinning - the whole vibe is just good. Support artists and our local economy while you have fun at this family friendly event.

Have a great weekend!

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