It’s the Christmas crunch! Gayle shows you how to get some holiday cheer this weekend.
Saturday @ 11am
12th Annual Operation Santa Paws
Abused and neglected animals in shelters and rescues need holiday love, too! That’s why volunteers, toys, treats and supplies are needed for the 12th Annual Operation Santa Paws. Check out the website Santa Paws.info for a complete list of volunteer and pet product drop off locations. More than 40-animal care organizations will benefit from your holiday generosity.
Sunday @ 7pm
Charles Phoenix Retro Holiday Show
Natural History Museum
Get in the holiday mood with Americana historian Charles Phoenix style at his retro holiday show, which includes the classic living room slide show his mid-century holiday slide collection and his festive food crafting creations.
Saturday @ Noon
The 90 That Built LA
Los Angeles Urban League
Museum of African American Art
4005 Crenshaw Boulevard
323 294 7071
You will find Stevie Wonder, MAGIC JOHNSON, and the late KTLA Anchor Larry McCormick exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of African American Art. Admission is free!
Saturday @ 10am
African American Military Portraits from the American Civil War
California African American Museum
600 State Drive
213 744 7432
Also free, this exhibit of remarkable photographic portraits of African American soldiers and sailors who fought in the Civil War. This exhibit includes biographical research, original period documents, and artifacts.
Saturday @ 7:30am
2012 Holiday Lights Neon Cruise
Meet @ 4th & Main Street
Downtown Los Angeles
213 489 9918
These colorful lights are NOT Christmas decorations! These are the neon lights we can enjoy all year round as well as Saturday night on the “Holiday Lights Neon Cruise.” Did you known neon signs illuminated L.A. nights beginning in 1923 with two Packard car company signs n downtown L.A.? It’s true and that’s sample of what you will learn on neon cruise. l
50th Annual Huntington Harbour Holiday Boat Parade
714 840 7542
The Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Cruise of Lights® offers narrated boat tours through the waterways of Huntington Harbour in Huntington Beach, California. In December both locals and visitors share the beauty of thousands of lights and animated displays on brightly decorated homes, docks, decks and boats.
Ice Rink at the Spectrum
71 Fortune Drive
Let’s ice skate! Irvine Spectrum Center’s outdoor Holiday Ice Rink is a family tradition. Find the skating fun at the Giant Wheel Court adjacent to Nordstrom and Macy’s.
15th Annual Downtown on Ice
532 South Olive
Get your glide on for the holidays at DOWNTOWN ON ICE. Pershing Square attraction is open everyday through January 21, 2013.
A two-dollar skate rental and a six-dollar one hour skate session treat you to a glowing ice skating rink framed by towering trees and skyscrapers.
There are free events at the rink such as a winter concert series, championship skating exhibitions, and broomball games.
Ice at Santa Monica
1324 5th Street
Ice skate at the beach. The corner of 5th Street and Arizona Avenue has been transformed into ICE at Santa Monica. The 8,000 square foot rink by the beach offers residents and visitors a little taste of winter without the bite.
This rink is open daily through Martin Luther King Day in January.
Saturday @ 9am & 3:30pm
Woodland Hills Ice
6100 Topanga Canyon Boulevard
818 854 4151
Skate for a discount in Woodland Hills. Wear pajamas at 9am to the Woodland Hills ice skating rink. Get a discount. Wear daylglo with an outfit from the 1980s at 3:30pm. Yes, get a discount.
Mothers apply to skate their sons at 6:30pm. They get to skate for free.
Skytown Indoor Trampoline Park
1101 California Street
909 335 7275
You don’t want to skate? Then, jump around at the SkyTown Indoor Trampoline Park.
Slam basketball, Jump into the Pit , or try Trampoline Dodgeball.
Now through Sunday, December 23rd
Candy Cane Christmas
125 West “B” Street
Learn the dying art of handmade Christmas candy at Logan’s Candies. The family owned business is demonstrating the 1933 tradition of handmade candy canes.
Flair Cleaners Holiday Clothing Drive
Flair Cleaners wants us to do MORE than get our clothes cleaned. Flair is having a holiday clothing drive. Stop by one of Flair Cleaners’ five locations in Studio City, Valencia, Burbank, Santa Monica, and Redondo Beach, to make a clothing donation in one of the large donation boxes in the lobby of each store.
The clothing drive benefits the National Council of Jewish Women Thrift Shop, the Disabled American Veterans, St. Vincent de Paul’s Thrift Store, and Helping Hands for the Blind.
Saturday @ 10 a.m.
An American Christmas
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum
40 Presidential Drive
805 520 9702
This is a holiday classic! “An American Christmas” at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. Tour the winter wonderland of 25-trees decorated to celebrate defining moments of American history from the Revolutionary era to the beginning of the 21st century.
By the way, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve will be collecting new, unwrapped toys for needy, local children. Donate a toy worth more than ten dollars, get a discount on exhibit admission.
Trees, Trains, & Traditions
Richard Nixon Presidential Library
18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard
714 993 5075
A magnificent collection of 25-breathtaking trees decorated to reflect the spirit of the holidays from countries and cultures around the world, specially themed trees and five model railroad systems celebrate the holiday season at the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda.
Saturday @ 2:30pm
Bob Baker’s Nutcracker
Bob Baker Marionette Theater
1345 West First Street
213 250 9995
Here’s another sign of the season. It’s the 52nd season of “Bob Baker’s Nutcracker”, the marionette version of the ballet classic.
“Bob Baker’s Nutcracker” is an hour-long production. After the show guests are invited to visit with the puppeteers and have refreshments in the famous Party Room.
The historic Baker marionettes that have been entertaining children since 1960.
Chill @ The Queen Mary
1126 Queens Highway
877 342 0738
This is the coolest place in southern California. The Queen Mary presents CHILL AND THE ICE KINGDOM, a winter wonderland for the entire family.
Celebrate the holiday season with ice tubing, an ice skating rink, a holiday village, and Santa Claus!
Saturday @ Noon
Television Out of the Box
Paley Center for Media
465 South Beverly Drive
310 786 1091
Television Out of the Box” is a partnership between Warner Bros. Television and the Paley Center for Media. The exhibit gives everyone a peek at iconic series ranging from Murphy Brown to The Mentalist and props from Tony Soprano’s robe to Daisy Duke’s actual “Daisy Dukes!”
Saturday @ 11 a.m.
No Strangers: Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World
Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Avenue of the Stars
213 403 3000
There are “no strangers” at the Annenberg Space for Photography. That’s the name of the new group photography show about the wonder of culture and the plight of indigenous people. The free exhibit includes a series of lectures. Saturday the topic is “Painted Bodies of Africa: Documenting a Disappearing Word. This massive exhibit is FREE!
Sunday @ 10am
Indiana Jones & the Adventure of Archaeology: The Exhibition
Discovery Science Center
2500 North Main Street
Let’s explore! Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology: the Exhibition is waiting for you at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. This innovative exhibition, made possible by Lucasfilm Ltd., presented by the National Geographic Society and produced by Montreal’s X3 Productions, features an extensive collection of Indiana Jones film materials from the Lucasfilm Archives, along with photos and videos from the National Geographic Society and artifacts from the Penn Museum.
Toyota – Lexus Tether Retrofit Program SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.
English 800 745 Safe
Spanish 800 747 SANO
Before you get on the road this holiday weekend, take some time to make sure your child’s car seat is safe. SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., in collaboration with Toyota and Lexus dealers, is assisting customers with the installation of tether anchors in the TOYOTA-LEXUS TETHER RETROFIT PROGRAM.
Pre-2000 model year vehicles qualify for the program. All major manufacturers are participating. For more information and to learn if your vehicle qualifies for this program, go to the SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. website.
Saturday @ 10am
Space Shuttle Endeavour
Samuel Oschin Pavilion
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Drive
323 724 3623
If you have not seen the space shuttle Endeavour, this might be a good weekend to stop by the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center.
The massive orbiter is accompanied by a massive exhibit that tells the California story of its 25 missions and the support equipment and team required.
The Holiday Season
Chris Byrnes’ Time to Play Hot Holiday Toys 2012
Chris Byrne, The Toy Guy
Time to Play Magazine
229 West 28th Street, Suite 401
New York, NY 10001
Chris Byrne, the “Toy Guy” and Time to Play have been tracking store sales since early October and talking to retailers in order to give viewers the inside track on 10 toys you should order today, if you want to get them for your kids this holiday season. This season’s hottest toys cover a wide variety of products, from high tech to basic play, suggesting that a good toy is one that inspires engaging play.
Here is Chris Byrnes’ TIME TO PLAY HOT HOLIDAY TOYS 2012:
LeapFrog LeapPad 2 Explorer (LeapFrog) — The LeapPad was the #1 toy last year and has been selling out consistently all year, making the Time to Play Most Wanted List. The new version is sturdier, has twice the memory, better performance, and front and rear cameras for the same $99 of the original. This has emerged as the iPad for kids. Chris got more calls in December last year from people desperate to find this toy than at any time since Tickle Me Elmo in 1996.
Furby (Hasbro) — Furby is back and better than ever. Hasbro has really gotten the technology right. He’s more interactive, more amusing and more engaging than ever. Plus there’s even an iPod or iPhone App that you can use with him to expand the play. According to Walmart, Furby is one of the top toys that people are putting on layaway and is also on the Time to Play Most Wanted List.
Monster High High School Playset (Mattel) — Another hot layaway item, the Monster High High School Playset is the first dollhouse for the super-hot Monster High dolls, which continue to be one of the hottest fashion dolls out there. It’s got the ghoulishly good humor of the line, including a “basketball court” and coffin lockers as well as an innovative fold-up design.
Crayola Digital Light Designer (Crayola) — This digital designer lets kids draw with light and a touch-sensitive stylus and is a stand-alone unit that lets kids explore color, technology and animation. The Crayola Digital Light Designer reflects the trend seen over the past couple of years that combine electronics with arts and crafts.
ZX Crossbow (Zing) — Introduced earlier this year, the Zing Crossbow has been so popular that retailers can’t keep it in stock. People love the soft, safe fun and the action-packed play.
NERF Elite Hail Fire (Hasbro) — Another huge hit on the Time to Play Most Wanted List, the NERF Elite Hail Fire has the ability to shoot up to 144 darts rapid fire. You’ve never seen a NERF battle like this!
LaDeeDa (Spin Master) — This is a big year for fashion dolls, and the LaDeeDa collections show all the signs of being a breakout hit. Not only are they gorgeous dolls, they also inspire girls to be creative in their own right. These are appealing to slightly older, slightly more sophisticated girls who have a great, whimsical fashion sense.
Perplexus Twist (PlaSmart) — The original Perplexus Epic and Rookie puzzles have been sell outs in the specialty market. These hard-to-put-down puzzles are appealing to those who love a challenge and parents who appreciate its great value pricing.
Micro Chargers (Moose) — Micro cars are another huge trend this year. Exclusive to Toys “R” Us, Micro Chargers have a unique charging system that revs the cars and then sends them racing on tracks. With two different versions for stunts and speed and a high level of collectibility, this toy is racing off shelves.
Skylanders Construction Sets (MEGA) — For fans of the Skylanders game, a huge hit in the video game arena, these construction sets are a new way for fans and young kids to get into the excitement of the game. This toy also made the Time to Play Most Wanted List.
As director of content for “Time To Play,” Chris Byrne brings 29 years of industry experience in the toy industry to his role as a researcher, analyst and consultant with New York-based Byrne Communications. He has worked with a variety of Fortune 100 companies tracking kid trends, product development and strategic marketing campaigns and is regularly sourced by the investment community for insights into all aspects of the toy industry. Chris is widely published on the topic of toys and family life and in addition to his work with “Time to Play” he is editor-at-large for the trade publications Toys & Family Entertainment and Royalties.