Friday, December 15, 2006

Traditions (#11)

You might think with all of this theme tree and decoration switchery that occurs around here, we do not have any annual Christmas traditions*. That is just not true. Here are a few of the things we make a point to do every December:

1) El Capitan Theatre. The first year we were dating, we went to see Toy Story 2 at El Capitan. We didn't know anything about the theater, but figured it had a cool interior - a welcome change from the nearby AMC - so that was the reason we went. The tickets at that time were $15 each. We balked a little at the price, but figured it was a function of seeing a movie in Hollywood.

A guy was playing the organ inside the beautiful and lavish theater when we walked in. Ok, we said - this was worth the extra admission. Then, before the movie started, there was a wonderful live Christmas production. The theme is different every year, and does not necessarily relate to the movie playing. There are always Disney characters interspersed in the skit. One scene that first year had Mickey and Minnie ice skating. Then, this huge jiggly snowman character joined them. BT laughed in a way that I hadn't heard him laugh up until that time. I was so worried. I had chosen the theater, and figured he was thinking this was the lamest thing he had ever done. Quite the contrary - I have since learned this laugh is the one that only comes out when he is overly amused at something (my equivalent is the "laugh attack'). Fun memory, and we wouldn't miss going to theater around Christmas. We do wish that they'd bring that snowman back, though...

2. Knott's Berry Farm. For those of you that haven't visited Southern California, there is a lesser known amusement park here in the shadow of Disneyland called Knott's Berry Farm. I think it claims to be one of the original theme parks in the country, and developed as a side business to selling Mrs. Knott's jams and famous chicken dinners. It is such a cute little place - I highly recommend visiting it if you in town. Just so we're clear - this is a real theme park, not just a glorified carnival. This ride
evokes a primal scream from me every single time. Anyway, weekends during the month of December, you bring an unwrapped gift worth $10 to donate to a Toys for Tots program, and you get into the park for freeeeeee! You would think this would make it impossible to get around the place, but, sadly, Knott's does not get the attention that it deserves. Except maybe at Halloween.

3. Naples Christmas lights. This is a relatively new tradition for us. To date, we have not seen the actual boat parade, or, better yet, ridden on a gondola during the parade. Again, this may be news to people outside the area - Venice Beach has canals, and so does the Naples area of Long Beach. The home owners along the canals do not spare any expense in decking out their houses. There are Christmas and Hanukkah displays. Walkways line the canals that allow you to view the lights if you are cheap like us and won't shell out the money to rent a gondola or an electric boat. Very fun - highly recommend it to people in the LA area.

4. Zoolights. You may recall that my parents live in Arizona? So, when we visit them for Christmas, we go to see the wonderful light display set up throughout the Phoenix zoo. A fun family tradition.

So, that's how we celebrate Christmas. Other traditions are developing with both of our families, like BT playing Santa for our nieces and nephews. But, I think you have to do something at least twice before it can be considered a tradition.

* T
hough, when I think about it further, having a different themed tree every year becomes a tradition in itself. Huh.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! These are all exellent ideas that may work their way into our Christmas traditions.

jungle dream pagoda said...

These are wonderful traditions! I will soon post about my fave tradition with my girls!
That El Capitan tradition sounds like one I would looooove to do.