This Editor’s Notebook contains a calendar of fun things to do, important things to know, ways to get involved and events to put on your calendar.
Local holiday festivities kick off in Northeast Los Angeles on Sunday, Dec. 1, with the 75th annual Northeast L.A. Holiday Parade on N. Figueroa Street from Avenue 60 to Sycamore Grove Park. The parade starts at 1 p.m and features marching bands, Santa Claus, local leaders, vintage cars, parade horses, fire trucks, police motorcades, fun, family and community.
Here are more local ways to get into the spirit of the season:
The lightings of NELA’s public Christmas trees bring out families, neighbors and Santa Claus to enjoy the flip-the-switch moment from dark to light as well as music, refreshments, mirth and frivolity:
The 12th annual Glassell Park Christmas Tree lighting will be on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. in the Rite Aid parking lot (4044 Eagle Rock Blvd.)
The 49th annual Eagle Rock Christmas Tree lighting will be on Friday, Dec. 6 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Eagle Rock City Hall (2035 Colorado Blvd.)
The Highland Park Christmas Tree lighting on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. will be outside the Highland Park Senior Center (6152 Figueroa St.)
The 75th annual Candelight and Carols performance at Pasadena Presbyterian Church will feature adult and children’s choirs, gifted soloists, audience carol singalongs, handbells and the Friends of Music Orchestra, in a glorious church setting made for music. Highlights of this year’s program include Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on Christmas Carols, an excerpt from John Rutter’s Gloria and Clement Clarke Moore’s classic poem, “The Night Before Christmas,” accompanied by the orchestra. Saturday, Dec. 7 / Two performances: one at 4:30 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m. / A celebratory reception follows the evening performance. / Free admission, voluntary offerings are welcome / 585 E. Colorado Blvd. / Pasadena
At Occidental College, the Glee Club and the Symphony Orchestra will present a combined Winter Concert featuring selections by J.S. Bach, C.V. Stanford, David Conte and other composers, as well as holiday favorites. / Sunday, Dec. 8 / 4 p.m. / Herrick Chapel on the campus of Occidental College / 1600 Campus Road / Eagle Rock / $15 general admission
Los Angeles Master Chorale, under the artistic direction of Grant Gershon, has holiday-themed concerts throughout December, including the season’s most rousing singalong: the 39th annual do-it-yourself version of Handel’s Messiah, where Gershon conducts the audience as the chorus, a chamber orchestra and four soloists. Wednesday, Dec. 18 / 7:30 p.m. / Walt Disney Concert Hall / 111 S. Grand Ave. /Downtown L.A./Tickets $25 to $85, depending on seating /For more holiday programming information: Lamasterchorale.org
By participating in these toy drives, you brighten the lives of children and teens in Northeast L.A. who might otherwise go without gifts at Christmastime. New and unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at:
LAPD Northeast Division, 3353 N. San Fernando Road. Gifts are collected for children age 3 to 12 until Monday, Dec. 9. There is special need for gifts for children ages 9 to 12. You can also make a monetary donation toward the purchase of gifts at the LAPD Northeast Toy Drive “Go Fund Me” site: gofundme.com/f/lapd-northeast-blend-christmas-toy-drive or by check to the nonprofit organization, BLEND-Business Law Enforcement Northeast Division, 3353 N. San Fernando Road, L.A. 90065.
Optimist Youth Home and Family Services, 6957 N. Figueroa in Highland Park. Toys and gifts will be collected until Tuesday, Dec. 10 for the at-risk youth who live at OYHFS. Gifts for teens and young adults are especially appreciated. For questions, email: Rantoniosubias@oyhfs.org.
Arroyo Vista Family Health Center at 6000 N. Figueroa St. in Highland Park or at the Lincoln Heights location at 2411 N. Broadway. The toys are given to children who are seen at the clinic in December.
The Charles Dickens style town square of the Heritage Square Museum is the setting for Yuletide Cinemaland, a production of Eagle Rock-based Street Food Cinema that combines classic holiday movies with Christmas carolers, hot chocolate, mulled wine, craft beer and more. Screenings will take place at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on December 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27 and 28.
Over the course of the eight days, nine holiday favorites will be shown, including The Muppet Christmas Carol, Elf, Hook and Jingle All the Way. In addition to the movies, you can also explore the museum’s Victorian-era homes authentically decorated for Christmas, take Victorian dance lessons and join piano sing alongs in the Perry Mansion ballroom. Heritage Square Museum / 3800 Homer St. / $20 General admission, $10 ages 6 – 12, ($5 for Victorian dance lessons) Free for children 5 and under / For more information, visit: streetfoodcinema.com
The Audubon’s 120th Christmas Bird Count, the nation’s longest running community science bird project, will be conducted from Saturday, Dec. 14 through Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. Each count takes place in an established 15-mile wide diameter circle and is organized by a count compiler. Count volunteers follow specified routes through the designated 15-mile diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. The information that is gathered informs Audubon’s work throughout the year.
If you are a beginning birder, you will be able to join a group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher.
You can participate in as many bird counts as you wish. There are even opportunities to participate in the count from your home, by counting the birds that visit your yard.
You can find everything you need to know to sign up here: audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count.
T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times.