Thursday, December 24, 2015

Don't celebrate Xmas? 7 other things to do!

Ashley Wells, CC Liu, Seth Auberon, Pat Macpherson, S. Sheldon (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; based on KPCC FM's Kristen Lepore, Kristina Bravo, Kellie Galentine (SoCal's
Snow-capped peaks over the City of Los Angeles, our own Himalayan range: the foothills of Angeles National Forest ( See Option 4 for "a walk on the wild side" (WQ),
("American Dad"/FOX) The Best of evil Grinch "Roger the Alien" (WARNING: Vulgar! Rated PG!)

What else is there to do besides Xmas?
Budai (Hotei) Bodhisattva is fat, jolly
Eating Chinese food on Xmas Day is a longstanding tradition for those who skip the overly commercialized holiday, an orgy of capitalism and Christian hypocrisy.

Fine Garden, Veggie Paradise, and MANY MORE are among a few great spots to dine all over the U.S. on Dec. 25. Many Angelenos celebrate the yuletide season by attending a midnight mass or carrying out last-minute gift wrapping sessions. But for those who avoid the nonsense and family fights, or those who are looking for something else to do this year, there are good alternatives and festivities. From Jewish comedy in Hollywood to some of the best Chinese food in the country, here are some other options.

Euro-Xmas: trolls, Krampus
Elon Gold and other Jewish comics will take the mic at the Laugh Factory on Thursday evening for its Merry Erev Christmas event. The next day, the venue will host its annual free Christmas comedy feast for people in need and others looking for something fun to do. Comics and celebrities will dish out the food (first-come, first-serve, so come an hour early) followed by a comedy show. To receive four free tickets to a show, contribute to the Laugh Factory's holiday toy drive with a toy valued at $20 or more.
  • When: 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm, Dec. 24; 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 5:00 pm, and 7:00 pm on Dec. 25
  • Where: 8001 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood
  • Price: Merry Erev Christmas tickets are $25+
  • Christmas Day Feast is FREE
  • Need a JuBu date? Try Matzoball Los Angeles
  • When: 9:00 pm-2:00 am on Dec. 24 (ages 21-49)
  • Where: The Room Hollywood, 1626 N. Cahuenga Blvd., LA
  • Price: Tickets are $30
2. Eat Chinese food 
For many people, eating delicious Chinese food on Xmas (Chinese "Sing-dan-jeet") is a sacred tradition. See, which lists the best restaurants all over the USA, Chinatown, and beyond. You don’t have to make reservations, but expect a line. For other dining options on Christmas Eve, think. There's plenty of ethnic food.

"The War on Christmas" (Tom Tomorrow/
Get into an empire state of mind on Dec. 25 with a visit to Vincent Laforet's "Air" photography exhibit at the Fahey/Klein Gallery. The exhibit showcases Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Miami, and London, along with other big cities across the globe, through the lens of Laforet. The cityscapes take you into the sky as you look into the bright lights and breathtaking views of some of the world's most renowned cities.
  • When: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Dec. 18-Jan. 30, open Xmas
  • Where: Fahey/Klein Gallery, 148 N. La Brea Ave., LA
  • Price: FREE
Go out into the forest in the snow, or bring the forest indoors and sprinkle it with foam.
4. Take a walk on the wild side!
Kwan Yin of Compassion
Looking to get back to some real roots this holiday season? Try the woods. Mother Nature is calling -- and all of the bhumi-devis (nature spirits). Los Angeles has some of the greatest walking and hiking trails in the entire country. Above Pasadena there is the massive Angeles National Forest. But near Santa Monica Beach there are the lesser traveled Santa Monica Mountains, the largest public lands in the United States, a nature preserve.

L.A. really does have forests and hills (wiki).
It was once Native American territory (of the local Chumash and Tongva tribes) with sweeping vistas of Santa Monica Bay, Catalina Island, and neighboring Ventura County. Bring some good shoes, binoculars, a camera phone, and lots of water. It's all that's needed to get started. Beware of mountain lions, bears, snakes, and sudden cold (pack a jacket). Nature will be wide open while everyone else battles traffic down in the city. Send Wisdom Quarterly pictures and good adventure stories.
5. Catch a movie 
The Buddha in shimmering tree lights!
Escape the Xmas chaos with a movie -- or two! There are several big releases on Dec. 25, and whether it's boring "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" for the third time, wicked Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, Arthouse stuff at Laemmle's, or some J-Law, there's a movie out there. Movies opening Dec. 25th:
  • "Joy" starring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro
  • "Daddy's Home" starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg 
  • "Concussion" starring Will Smith and Alec Baldwin
  • "The Danish Girl" starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander
  • "Point Break" starring Luke Bracey
6. Spend a day at the beach
Take a day trip out to the beach on Xmas. Point Dume in Malibu is always a great spot to visit if looking to spend a Friday off by the shore. With weather forecasts in the high 50s in Malibu on Dec. 25, the day will be clear for some outdoor fun. Pack a thermos of hot tea and a "California winter" picnic, or when you get hungry, head over to Cholada Thai Beach Cuisine for some pad thai. See the map for directions to Cholada Thai.

7. Meditate at Lu Mountain Temple
See a portion of the world's largest collection of Buddhist relics known as miraculous and magical shariras in Sanskrit. Meditation will be going on 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the chan sesshin. See Wisdom Quarterly or or for directions and all of the details. Instructions are available in English, Vietnamese, and Chinese.
  • Lu Son Temple (Lu Mountain)
  • 7509 Mooney Drive
  • Rosemead, California 91770
  • (San Gabriel Valley near the 60 Freeway before the 605)
What are your favorite things to do on Dec. 25? Where are your favorite places to go? Let KPCC (SCPR) know in comments, on Facebook or Twitter.

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