Holiday Happenings and ways to give back this month

There may not be a lot of Santa-themed events happening this month, but that doesn’t mean the community is lacking in holiday spirit! While December traditionally has some of our favorite events–we will miss the LMU Tree Lighting, Santa Tour and Marina del Rey Boat Parade, to name a few–we’re thankful to still see so many opportunities to donate and support those in need.

Here is our roundup of holiday happenings and ways to give back this month.

More than 20 homes will be decorated for the Holiday Light Tour including the one pictured here.

Holiday Light Tour and Contest | December 19

The Westchester Mental Health Guild is helping spread cheer throughout the neighborhood with their first Holiday Lights Tour and Contest on December 13th through the 19th! Load the family in the car, pack some sugar cookies, blast holiday tunes and enjoy driving through Westchester and Playa del Rey to view 20-plus highly decorated homes that are sure to dazzle and bring smiles with their lights, inflatables and decor. 

With the Guild’s largest fundraiser of the year, the Holiday Home Tour canceled, they’ve pivoted to create this new event for the community to enjoy. A $10 donation to support Airport Marina Counseling Service (AMCS) gets you a map of the locations, a chance to vote for your favorite home and an invite to a drive-through cookies and hot chocolate pick-up on December 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. at AMCS’ parking lot.

For more info and to make a donation to receive the map, visit holiday-lights-tour.eventbrite.com.


What do you love the most about the holidays? Share your photos with us for a chance to win a $100 gift card and support your favorite local nonprofit!

Home for the Holidays Photo Contest with the HomeTown News and Zacha Homes | Through December 18th

The HTN and Zacha Homes have partnered this month to help make spirits bright with a Home for the Holidays Photo Contest! By participating in the fun, not only will you have the chance to win a prize, you’ll also have the chance to support your favorite local nonprofit!

What do you love the most about the holidays? Baking cookies? Putting decorations on your Christmas tree? Spending time with your family? Take a photo of whatever your favorite holiday pastime is and upload it to Instagram. Follow and tag @zachahomes and @thehometownnews by December 18 to share your photos with us and be automatically entered for a chance to win a $100 gift card to your favorite local business! You can also email your photos to westchesterhometown@yahoo.com.

Three lucky winners will be announced on December 20, and in the spirit of giving, we’ll also make a $100 donation to our winners’ local charity of choice (must be located in Westchester, Playa del Rey, Playa Vista or Marina del Rey). 


Spreading Holiday Cheer with Grass Roots Neighbors | Through December 14th

Playa del Rey’s Grass Roots Neighbors is collecting $25 gift cards to Target and Walmart to help make this season special for the 90 kids they serve through their program.

Gift cards can be dropped at the Grass Roots Neighbors’ headquarters at 6804 Vista Del Mar in Playa del Rey, Monday through Friday noon to 1 p.m. Digital gift cards can also be purchased and emailed to grassrootsneighbors@gmail.com.

Gift card are asked to be delivered to Grass Roots Neighbors by December 14.


Joy for the Holidays with Silicon Beach Social | Through December 13

Silicon Beach Social has partnered with A Place Called Home for a Toy Drive!

Contribute with a monetary donation until December 9th and toy donations will be accepted until December 13. Buy online at amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2y92f42zg8r73?ref_=wl_share.

The Toy Drive wish list includes sports activities, board games, plush toys, and arts & crafts.

You can also drop off toys at The Good Pizza and Lily Love Boutique in the Playa del Rey Shopping Center on Manchester and Falmouth.


Drop off your letters to Santa through December 16th at Runway.

Letters to Santa and more at Runway Playa Vista’s Wonderland | Through December 15th

There’s a special Santa mailbox at Playa Vista’s Runway Wonderland display and you’re invited to drop off your letters through December 15th!

Santa will read some of these letters live on the Runway Facebook page on December 9th and December 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Runway is also hosting a Toy Drive and through December 20th, you can drop off an unwrapped, packaged toy to drop outside of Huzzah Toys and Micro Kickboards during business hours. The toys will be distributed by the LAPD Pacific Division to families for the holidays.

While you’re in Runway, make sure to check out their Sound Forest with colorful lit up “trees” from 5 to 8:35 p.m. daily.

Runway Playa Vista is located at 12775 Millennium Drive in Playa Vista.

For more info visit, runwayplayavista.com.


Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Lights Display | Through December 19th

With no Marina del Rey Boat Parade this year, boaters are being encouraged to keep the tradition alive by decorating their boats with colorful displays all month long.

Stroll through the Marina to view the boats at various docks in Fisherman’s Village, Burton Chace Park and along the Marina Promenade through December 19th. Make sure to keep a look out for your favorite boat display, as you’ll have a chance to vote for your favorite.

To vote, post a photo of the boat you like the best on your own Facebook or Instagram page with the hashtag: #mdrholidays. Please also email your photos to mdrboatparade@gmail.com. Voting is open through Sunday, December 20th.


For more info visit, mdrboatparade.org.


Last year’s LMU tree lighting. This year’s event has gone virtual.

Virtual Tree Lighting with Loyola Marymount | December 11th

Join Loyola Marymount for a virtual tree lighting ceremony on December 11 from 5 to 6 p.m. The tree lighting will feature speakers from LMU and a special visit from Santa Claus to wish everyone Happy Holidays.

200 lucky attendees will win the coveted limited-edition 2020 Christmas Tree Lighting mug.

To RSVP, please visit https://www.lmu.edu/holidays2020.


Adopt-A-Family with the LAX Kiwanis | Through December 15th

The LAX Kiwanis, Westchester Family YMCA and the LAPD have teamed up for their annual Holiday Adopt-a-Family Program and they’re inviting the community to help support families in need this holiday season. Items requested include bath towels, bed sheet sets, toiletries, socks, beanies, pillows, grocery gift cards and toys.

Items can be dropped off at the Westchester Family YMCA, located at 8015 S. Sepulveda Blvd. through December 15. For more info, email  johnloussararian@ymcala.org.


Food Pantry, LAX and Toiletries & Winter Clothing Drive | Various

The Westchester Rotary and their Young Professionals Group are holding two charity drives this month. First up, they are partnering with the Food Pantry, LAX for their Christmas Bag-It-Up program. People are invited to fill up bags with holiday food items, which will be distributed to pantry clients. The bags are asked to be filled with the following: a large can of ham, one package of potatoes, two cans of vegetables, one can of fruit, one can of soup, one jar of peanut butter, one package of cake and frosting, one box of cereal, one package of pancake mix and one box of macaroni and cheese. 

Bags can be dropped off to the Westchester Family YMCA between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. through December 6. The Y is located at 8015 S. Sepulveda Blvd. in Westchester.

The club is also collecting items to support Playa del Rey’s Power of a Shower, a nonprofit which provides houseless individuals access to showers and a place to put on clean clothes. Items requested include deodorant, underwear, socks and beanies. Donate through the Power of a Shower Amazon Wish List, which can be viewed at powerofashower.org.


Holiday Food Drive at The Book Jewel | Through December 6

Through December 6, stop by The Book Jewel to drop off donations  of nonperishable canned and boxed items for Food Pantry, LAX. The pantry is especially in need of box cakes, frosting, pancake mix and boxed potatoes.  

Anyone who donates will be entered into a raffle to win one of four $25 gift cards to the store. The Book Jewel is located at 6259 W. 87th Street and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Playa del Rey Toy & Animal Shelter Supply Drive | December 5th

This year’s Toy Drive is curbside drop-off only.

On Saturday, December 5 from 9 a.m. to noon, Jane St. John, RE/MAX and Felicia St. Denis, Flowers by Felicia, will hold their annual toy drive benefiting Children’s Hospital L.A. and an animal shelter drive. Load your car with new toys and pet supplies and volunteers will be stationed at Triangle Park (Waterview and Trask Ave. in Playa del Rey) and the Flowers by Felicia parking lot (200 Culver Blvd.) to collect them. Grocery gift cards or checks to Children’s Hospital L.A. are welcome. Volunteers are also available to pick up donations.

For more info, please call Jane St. John at (310) 567-5971.


Winter Clothing Drive | December 5th

Have some warm clothing in your closet you’re looking to donate? Stop by Westchester Lutheran on Saturday, December 5 between 9 and 11 a.m. for a drive-through drop-off of your hoodies, sweatshirts, jackets and other winter clothing to benefit Hoodies for Hope, a pending nonprofit started by WLS students.

Westchester Lutheran is located at 7831 S. Sepulveda Blvd. in Westchester.

Due to the changing nature of COVID restrictions, activities may be canceled or modified. We’ll make updates on our facebook.com/thehtn page.

 Hosting a holiday donation drive this month? Let us know by emailing us at westchesterhometown@yahoo.com.

Posted December 2020.