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The Start of the Christmahanukwanzaa Season

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Yes, we know it's not even Thanksgiving yet and it's a little difficult to feel holiday cheer in the sweltering 80-degree weather, but Christmas has already begun in the mind of retailers across Los Angeles. In our family the Christmas season always 'officially' started the day after Thanksgiving, when we would put up the lights on the outside of the house. The Grove, however, has dictated the start of the season as tomorrow, November 19th, so LAist thought we would give readers an early report on the holiday madness to come.

Do you crave snow in LA? Well, stop by The Grove shopping complex to experience their version of snow; a substance that actually resembles soap bubbles or foam. Tomorrow The Grove celebrates the start of the Christmas season with the fifth annual lighting of their 100-foot tree at 7pm. Musical performers include Hall and Oates, Five for Fighting, and Katharine McPhee.

Pershing Square in downtown just opened its outdoor ice skating rink for its ninth season. They charge $6 per skating session with a $2 skate rental fee. Their hours are Monday -Thursday 12:00p.m.-9:00p.m. and Fri/Sat/Sun 10:00a.m.-10:00p.m.

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The 75th annual Hollywood Christmas Parade will be led by a yet to be announced Grand Marshal (past Grand Marshals include Ron Howard and The Governator when he was just an actor) along a 3-mile Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards next Sunday.

Read more about the start of the holiday season on TV, in theatres, and at Starbucks under the cut.

Photo by Julianne Fishell via Flickr.


In TV news, the USA Network jump-starts its holiday season with the premiere of Elf. You already missed tonight's airing but it will be on again at 8 o'clock tomorrow night. While LAist favors A Christmas Story and hokey claymation films from the 1960s and '70s (like "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"), there's something about seeing Will Ferrell in tights and a bright green elf outfit that gets us in the Christmas spirit.

In theatres, The Santa Clause 3 (how did the franchise even get this far?) nabbed the number 2 spot and two more holiday movies are slated to open in the next few weeks, Deck the Halls and The Nativity Story. LAist recommends seeing the animated film featuring penguins, Happy Feet, or the new 3-D version of The Nightmare Before Christmas (possibly the perfect way to bridge Halloween and Christmas).

Starbucks and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf have already introduced their winter holiday drinks (bye bye pumpkin spice frappuccinos!). While we order peppermint mocha frappuccinos year round, for the next month you can get them topped with red sprinkles and chocolate syrup, yum. Starbucks also offers eggnog and gingerbread lattes while Coffee Bean has peppermint lattes, winter dream tea lattes, and eggnog lattes.

At Target we were pleased to find special edition holiday packs of Jones Soda. For Thanksgiving they offer the following flavors: turkey and gravy, sweet potato, dinner roll, pea, and antacid. The winter holiday pack seemed a little more palatable with flavors including sugar plum, egg nog, and candy cane. The most exciting holiday find, however, came in the candy aisle when we discovered Hershey's limited edition chocolates. They're making chocolate mint kisses, dark chocolate nuggets filled with chocolate mint truffle filling, and miniatures in mint milk chocolate, mint white chocolate with candy bits, and mint sweet chocolate (yes, we have a fondness for mint).

Photo by Juan de Real via Flickr.