It’s the holiday season and that means plenty of free and low cost events to help celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Westchester/Playa must be on the “nice” list this year, because Santa is stopping all over town to collect Christmas lists, pose for free pictures and spread holiday cheer. Whether you’re interested in fanciful lights, arts & crafts, breakfast with Old St. Nick, or even a chance to have your picture taken in a giant snow globe, local businesses and community groups are making sure there’s no shortage of activities and events to help create a little holiday magic this December.
Mark your calendars for this month’s holiday happenings:
Festive Fridays and Runway Fundays at Runway Playa Vista Runway
Playa Vista is helping people get into the holiday spirit with festive events all month long. The shopping center, which includes Whole Foods, Cinemark, Sol Cocina, Hopdoddy and more, is hosting the following free events in December:
• Friday, December 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. stop by for a screening of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and a performance by the Bob Baker Marionettes at 5:30 p.m.
• Sunday, December 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Santa will be posing for pictures and passing out candy canes, while guests enjoy a winter playground, complete with a real snow play area.
• Friday, December 15 from 5 to 9 p.m. Hal’s Bar & Grill, Sol Cocina and Whole Foods will be participating in “Beer & Cheer!” Seasonal beers, wine and cocktails will be available for purchase, while guests enjoy holiday music, a pop-up marketplace, ugly sweater contest and more.
• Sunday, December 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. the center will host “Santa and Hockey!” Participate in a puck shoot, enjoy all day entertainment, kids’ crafts and shopping. Santa will also be taking photos with kids of all ages and fur babies, so don’t forget your camera!
• Friday, December 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. enjoy hot cider and s’mores, while cozying up at the center’s fire pits. Musical performances and the chance for kids to create mini gingerbread houses round out the event.
Runway Playa Vista is located at 12746 W. Jefferson Blvd. in Playa Vista. Parking is available at the paid parking structure off of Jefferson between McConnell Ave. and Village Drive.
For more info, visit facebook.com/RunwayPlayaVista.
Marina del Rey Boat Parade
The Marina is the place to be on Saturday, December 9 for the 55th Annual Holiday Boat Parade. The festivities kick-off at 5:55 p.m. with a fireworks show, before the boats launch for the two hour parade around the Marina’s main channel. This year’s theme is “Let’s Dance,” so visitors should expect between 40 and 50 boats and yachts decked out for the holidays with festive music, lots of lights and fun decorations. Boats will be judged in a variety of categories, including “Best Overall,” “Best Theme” and “Best Spirit” by LAX Coastal Board Chair, Liz Hall, and LAX Coastal Honorary Mayor, Garrett Smith.
This year’s Grand Marshal is award winning journalist Carol Costello. Costello is the host of HLN’s Across America with Carol Costello, a two hour news show airing weekdays covering the day’s news and most-talked about stories.
Approximately 25,000 people head to the Marina to view the parade each year. The most popular viewing spots include Fisherman’s Village (13755 Fiji Way) and Burton Chace Park (13650 Mindanao Way). Live announcements will be made at these two locations. Event parking is available in county lots around the Marina for $5 to $15.
For more info, please visit mdrboatparade.org.
Ever wondered what it would be like if it snowed in Marina del Rey? Snow Wonder is your chance to live in a winter wonderland courtesy of the Department of Beaches and Harbors and over 80 tons of snow.
Snow Wonder attendees can enjoy real snow, sledding, arts & crafts, face painting, music, food trucks and more!
The event is free with food for purchase. Snow Wonder will take place on Saturday, December 9 from noon to 6 p.m. at Burton Chace Park, located at 13650 Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey.
RSVP online and save time by printing and filling out a liability waiver at mdrholidays.com.
Stephanie Younger Group Holiday Launch Party
The Stephanie Younger Group recently moved into a new Westchester location, and they’re celebrating their new office with a holiday launch party. The community is invited to check out their new digs on Sunday, December 10 from noon to 5 p.m. for holiday treats, carolers and photos with Santa.
The party will take place at 7296 W. Manchester Ave. in Westchester (located in the Playa del Oro development).
For more info, visit stephanieyounger.com.
Winter Fest at Westchester Farmers’ Market
Throughout the month of December, the Wednesday and Sunday Westchester Farmers’ Market is celebrating the holidays with winter fruits and vegetables for purchase, arts and craft vendors, activities for the kids and free gift wrapping (donations appreciated) from local Girl Scout troops. On Wednesday, December 13, the holiday activities will be super-sized.
Follow the farmers’ market at facebook.com/westchesterfarmersmarket for updates on December activities.
The Wednesday Farmers’ Market takes place Wednesdays in Westchester Park from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Sundays in the Westchester’s Triangle (6200 West 87th Street) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Breakfast with Santa
You’re invited to have breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 16 from 8 to 11 a.m. Boy Scout Troop 716 is hosting this inaugural event, where attendees can enjoy a pancake breakfast and have their picture taken with Santa. The cost to attend is $5 per person or a new toy to donate to charity.
RSVPs are appreciated at email@example.com. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Breakfast with Santa will be held at the Westchester United Methodist Church Hall, located at 8065 Emerson Ave. in Westchester.
Playa Venice Sunrise Rotary Annual Santa Tour
Santa and his elves will be making special stops in Westchester and Playa del Rey on Monday, December 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. Santa will be riding in the LAPD Sleigh and will have special help from the LAFD. At each stop, Playa Venice Sunrise Rotarians will be handing out cookies and hot cocoa to the crowds. Look for the “Santa Stop” signs for where to meet.
This year’s Santa route is:
• Playa del Rey stop, 5:15 p.m. at 79th Street and Berger
• West Westchester stop, 5:45 p.m. at 7507 W. 90th Street
• Kentwood stop, 6:15 p.m. at 7901 Chase Ave.
• North Kentwood stop, 6:45 p.m. at 7234 Ogelsby Ave.
• Nielson Field area stop, 7:15 p.m. at 8818 De Haviland Ave.
In case of rain, Santa will be at Fire Station #5, located at 8900 Emerson Ave. in Westchester from 5 to 7 p.m.
For more information, please call (310) 963-9494.
For the first time this year, “Marina Lights” will be shining bright at Burton Chace Park from December 9 through December 31. From 4 to 10 p.m., visitors are encouraged to visit the park, located at 13650 Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey, to check out the light displays. Stop by on select Saturdays for even more holiday fun and refreshments for purchase from Churro Boss. For a unique holiday photo, bring your camera on Saturdays from 4 to 8 p.m. to have your picture taken inside of a giant snow globe. All activities are free, with snacks for purchase.
On Saturday, December 16 and December 30 the Voices of Christmas, a Victorian caroling group will be delighting visitors with their a capella stylings from 4 to 6 p.m. On Saturday, December 23, The Wonderelles will be playing 1950s rock versions of popular holiday songs from 4 to 6 p.m.
To top off a fun evening in the park, holiday movie favorites will be played on Saturday, December 16 (Home Alone), Saturday, December 23 (A Christmas Story) and Saturday, December 30 (It’s a Wonderful Life) starting at 6 p.m.
For more info, please visit mdrholidays.com.
Holiday Crafts for your Pets & Pet Travel Tips at PetSpace
If you’re still looking for the perfect gift for your four-legged family members, Annenberg PetSpace has you covered. RSVP for their “Holiday Crafts for Your Pets” event on Wednesday, December 20 at 2 p.m. for a chance to create unique gifts for your cat or dog.
Attendees of all ages will have the chance to make ornaments, decorations, holiday stockings and toys for their fur babies. The cost to attend is $5 and all supplies will be provided.
The Wallis Annenberg PetSpace is located at 12005 Bluff Creek Dr. in Playa Vista. To RSVP, please visit annenbergpetspace.org/events.
Traveling this season with your pets? Every Wednesday at noon in December PetSpace is hosting informal presentations on the dos and don’ts of traveling with your animals during the holidays. RSVP at annenbergpetspace.org/events.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks & Glow Party
Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a few thousand of your friends at Burton Chace Park. Festivities start at 7 p.m. with a glow party for the whole family. From 7 p.m. to midnight, enjoy dance music, DJs, dancers, a photo booth, bubbles, food trucks, giveaways and more. At 8:59 p.m. visitors can start the countdown for the east coast’s New Year’s celebration and a ten-minute fireworks display. Another ten-minute fireworks display and countdown will take place at 11:59 p.m.
Burton Chace Park is located at 13650 Mindanao Way in Marina del Rey.
For more info, recommended viewing locations and parking, please visit mdrholidays.com.