• Pamela Froman

Coolest Holiday Activities

It's the most festive time of the year and the most fun too! There are so many activities that can allow you to enjoy the holidays. You can celebrate everything from tree and menorah lightings to visits with Santa Claus and joyous things to do with family and friends.

Christmas trees are one of the most amazing ways to decorate for the holidays. Head to a Christmas tree farm because the real thing is the best way to celebrate. It's truly a family adventure to cut down and bring home your own Christmas tree. There are many incredible farms in Los Angeles to check out.

Hagle Tree Farm in Somis is a great place to begin a family tradition. They offer everything you need to cut down your tree – saws and wheelbarrows, tree netting and twine. Haggle Tree Farm also has family attractions like a petting zoo, pony rides, and even tri-tip barbecue...yum!

With locations in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley, Christmas Ranch Tree Farms has been entertaining families with its trees for over forty years. This farm features bow saws, transport carts, netting machines, and even twine to help get your tree home. Christmas Ranch Tree Farm also provides free hot chocolate, coffee, and candy canes. Pre-cut firs are also available.

Decorating the interior of your home is an amazing way to express festivities. Los Angeles offers the best spots to score all of your holiday decorations.

Christmas Traditions in Canoga Park is a one-stop-shop with everything you could dream of when decorating your home. Adorn your house with a warm, holiday spirit.

If you want to truly show off your home, spend some time walking through Aldik Home in Van Nuys. This gorgeous shop features new and unique holiday themes every year. Buy ornaments, ribbons or one of the 70 varieties of decorated artificial Christmas trees on display.

Going ice skating is perfect for a romantic date or a fun afternoon with the family. You can make some of your favorite holiday memories on the ice!

The Los Angeles Kings Valley Ice Center is located in the heart of the San Fernando Valley in Panorama City. This ice skating spot is perfect for friends and family. They offer hockey, public sessions, skating schools, private lessons, curling, figure skating and much more!

The Holiday Ice Rink at The Lakes at Thousand Oaks is back this year, running through Feb. 2. Get ready to skate with festive music, hot chocolate, and plenty of holiday cheer to go around. Skate rentals are available but guests may bring their own. Tickets to the rink can be purchased onsite at the ice rink ticket window. All tickets are priced at $20, including admission and skate rental.

Pershing Square's ice rink is a favorite. The downtown Los Angeles venue is popular so get your blades ready (or rent them on the spot) for fast and furious one-hour sessions that don't disappoint.

There is nothing so festive as eggnog. Whip up an eggnog cocktail and invite your friends over! Most eggnog recipes follow a basic formula: eggs are mixed with sugar, milk or cream, and liquor. You also have the choice between brandy, whiskey, or rum, no liquor at all, and even egg-free options. Made-from-scratch eggnog is the perfect way to keep holiday traditions alive.

Hop aboard the Polar Express for a train ride to the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the classic story as they travel on the Polar Express for a magical one-hour trip to meet Santa. Once onboard, your car hosts will work their way through the coach and punch your golden ticket before hot chocolate and a delicious cookie are served by dancing chefs. Passengers then read along with the classic children's book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. Tickets are on sale now for rides at the Fillmore & Western Railway Co. in Fillmore.

The Holiday Light Festival Train Ride is a festive one-mile train ride through Griffith Park. Riders will experience tens of thousands of lights to get you in the holiday spirit.

Take the Sugar Plum Express Holiday Village & Tree Train! Once there you can select a pre-cut Christmas Tree, take photos with Santa, purchase unique gifts & goodies, enjoy the Winter Wonderland walk-thru, Carousel rides, hop on the Holiday Jolly Jumper, see Santa's Workshop and crafts. Also view the Koi fish, pigs & birds while exploring.

It's not Christmas without an ugly sweater. Looking for epic threads? Tipsy Elves has you covered with the world's most popular ugly Christmas sweaters created with premium materials and a comfortable fit. There are hundreds of styles and designs! Get together with friends for a tacky holiday sweater party, so everyone can show off their funky finds.

Kids wish for Christmas magic. And the Postal Service can help when Santa replies to your child's letter – complete with the North Pole Postmark! The Greetings from the North Pole Post Office program adds to the excitement of Christmas and is ideal for getting kids interested in letter writing, stamps and penmanship.

Sending and receiving holiday cards is a must when it's the festive season. Spread the cheer with custom Christmas cards. Upload your own holiday snaps to create a photo Christmas card, or explore hundreds of seasonal card templates. Best of all, it's free!

Playing in the snow is possible even here in sunny Southern California. You don't have to go far to get to snow. Snow Day Los Angeles offers more than 10,000-square-feet of synthetic snow that will take your family to an icy, snowy wonderland. Go tubing, wander the penguin holiday light path and take an Instagram in the giant 3D Frozen Time photo booth. Visitors can also eat tasty treats from local food trucks, or sip hot drinks and visit the bar after playing in the snow.

Whether your kids beg you to make one, or it's on your bucket list during this holiday season, making a gingerbread house isn't as hard as it seems. With the right recipes, tools, and techniques, it's easy, and fun experience for the whole family.

There are several spots to see life-sized gingerbread houses. The Beverly Wilshire features a gingerbread house in the lobby made from wood but covered in gingerbread. The JW Marriot L.A. Live also features a great gingerbread house to see. Step inside where there is a bar and cocktail tastings daily. Anaheim's Great Wolf Lodge has created a huge gingerbread house as well. Weighing in at over 600 pounds, it has 50 pounds of icing and 135 pounds of candy!

What is more festive than seeing Christmas lights? There are plenty of spots for holiday viewing.

Christmas Tree Lane is one of Southern California's most celebrated areas during the holidays! The mile-long drive in Altadena features some of the best holiday lights anywhere.

It may not snow in Los Angeles, but there are plenty of holiday light shows. One of the best is Candy Cane Lane. This eight-block residential area has been taking it to the next level for over 60 years. It features a dazzling annual Christmas lights display and is located at the intersection of Lubao Ave. and Oxnard St. in Woodland Hills.

The annual Venice Canals Holiday Lights Tour takes you along the storied walkways that make up Abbot Kinney. The tour shows off the beautiful canals strung with seasonal lights.

See over 400 animated figures and more than 4.5 million lights stretched across The Festival of Lights. This tasteful work of art can shake the scrooge out anyone. It may be a drive to get out to Riverside, but the sight is well worth it.

Lights of Display features elaborate Christmas themed animatronic characters, as well as a thrilling light show with holiday music. The show, which has been put on for years, is put on by Valley resident Mike Ziemkowski at 3901 Longview Valley Rd. in Sherman Oaks.

The Annual Menorah Lighting and Chanukah Celebration at The Commons at Calabasas is planned for Dec. 23. Enjoy live music, treats, the lighting of the menorah, and more.

Holiday events are taking place all over Los Angeles. And there's no better way to celebrate.

The Skirball invites families to celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of light, on Dec. 15. Festivities include live music and dance performances, hands-on workshops, storytelling, tasty treats, and more.

Experience plenty of holiday fun at CHILL at The Queen Mary! The 38,000-square-foot ice park features ice skating, bumper boats, a zip line, shuffleboard, ice tubing, and much more.

Take a self-guided tour at LA Zoo Lights that lasts from 60-90 minutes where you'll see animal-themed light displays, including 3D projectors, lasers, and thousands of LED's, as well as a water show, live reindeer, and music.

Enchanted: Forest Of Light is an interactive nighttime experience at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge which offers a stunning display of holiday color as you walk through over a mile of some of the Gardens' most beloved areas. Tickets have timed entry and must be purchased in advance.

Visitors to Knott's Merry Farm can witness "snow" falling and the theme park's decorations, entertainment, and food are transformed for a festive feel. Hear Christmas tunes by the Calico Carolers, a singing quartet dressed in Victorian-era clothing, and check out the Holiday Ice Show starring Snoopy and all of his friends.

Happy holidays!

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