Different communities across the Westside are ringing in the holidays safely

By Holly Jenvey

Holiday decor at Santa Monica Place will include a 50-foot tree in the Center Plaza with a 14-foot snow globe.

Even though COVID-19 has canceled many holiday plans, you can still safely experience the festivities on the Westside through in-person and virtual activations. From pretty lights displays to socially distanced events and more, here are some of the different ways that local communities are bringing on the holiday cheer.

Culver City

• Virtual Holiday Tree Lighting (December 10, 6 p.m.)

Ring in the season with virtual festivities leading up to the Culver City tree lighting. Enjoy a special guest appearance by Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins and enjoy performances from Culver City High School’s Academy of Visual and Performing Arts and more. The Culver City Council Members and Santa Claus will also make an appearance. Get the chance to count down with Mayor Goran Eriksson as he flips the switch on the 22-foot Rocky Mountain pine tree. The event will be hosted by Darrel Menthe.

Stream the event by visiting downtownculvercity.com

Marina del Rey

• Festival Lights at Fisherman’s Village (throughout December)

Throughout the month of December, you can take a walk through the winter wonderland and see the village shops and trees light up with vibrant colors.

• Holiday Boat Lights Display (December 5-19)

Even though the annual parade was canceled this year, you can still watch boats sailing through the marina glimmering with holiday flair. You can also vote for your favorite boat by taking a picture and posting on Instagram using the hashtag #mdrholidays. The contest ends on December 20 at midnight so be sure to cast your vote soon. Three boaters will be awarded cash prizes and three voters will win gift certificates to Marina
restaurants and attractions.

For more information, check out visitmarinadelrey.com

Playa del Rey/ Westchester

• Westchester Mental Health Guild’s Holiday Lights Tour (December 13-19)

The Westchester Mental Health Guild is hosting a drive-by house tour presenting the holiday lights in the community. This is in place of touring five special homes every year. 21 homes and one church will be beautifully decorated for the holidays; enjoy a self-driving tour of the displays after dark. $10 registration includes home list, map and voting ballot.

To register, visit westchester

Santa Monica

• Winterlit (November 27- January 3)

Winterlit makes its comeback in Santa Monica as it illuminates Third Street Promenade with holiday art installations and festivities. Thanks to Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., you can enjoy the holiday shopping experience or just drive by and see tens of thousands of lights shine over your favorite stores along with activities that the whole family can enjoy safely. Attendees can experience a new augmented reality app that allows them to explore the open air entertainment district through the palm of their hand. You can also see installations from the Art of Recovery initiative at the Santa Monica Pier. Children can put together their wish lists this year thanks to special mailboxes on the Promenade. If letters provide a return address, Santa will write back!

• Holiday Shopping at Santa Monica Place (through December 24)

See the 50-foot tree in the Center Plaza along with a giant 14-foot snow globe, amongst other decorations. You can shop safely with curbside pickup, virtual queuing, in-store pick-up, and takeout dining options. Concierge is available to answer questions, simply text (310) 499-2928 to get in contact. Santa Monica Place is also holding the Gift It Forward Sweepstakes, where you can nominate someone who went above and beyond for you, your family or community this year. If you nominate someone, you can win $500.

For more information, visit santamonicaplace.com

• The Wishing Tree from the Pico Improvement Organization (through December 23)

Make a wish this holiday season with the sparkly Wishing Tree at the Pico Pop Up located at 2802 Pico Blvd. Visitors of all ages are encouraged to make a wish with a hope or dream and then attach the slip to the tree. There will also be graffiti art by Pico Artists, photography of Pico merchants, a Pico Mural Walking Tour Map and surprise free gifts. The Pico Pop Up is open daily from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m. Wish slips can be found at Virginia Ave Park Library
(10 a.m-4 p.m.) and the Pico Farmers Market on Saturdays.

• Miracle on Main Street (throughout December)

See iconic holiday displays this season thanks to Miracle on Main Street, including a 40-foot shopping cart tree. The tree will be lit up for the 26th year in a row in the Edgemar building. You can also see the beloved 13-foot Noble fir tree that stands over Main Street on the Heritage Museum lawn.

For more information, visit mainstreetsm.com


• Venice Chamber of Commerce Virtual Happy Hour-Cocktails and Furry Companions (December 16, 5-6 p.m.)

Enjoy a happy hour with fellow members of the community from the safety of your own home. Introduce your furry friends on Zoom while savoring tasty cocktails. Registration is free of charge, however a $10 donation is encouraged to support Chamber programs. Those who aren’t members of the Chamber of Commerce can attend two events prior to joining the organization. A Zoom link will be provided upon registration.

For more information, please visit business.venicechamber.net/events

• 2020 Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run (December 1-30)

The Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run, LA’s largest holiday running event, looks forward to another great year in 2020. This year it has gone virtual! Join for all the holiday fun you love, from the comfort of your home or your favorite local route. Whether you’re running the 5K, 10K or Kids Fun Run, celebrate the 12 days of Christmas through fun holiday challenges and activities. Your virtual run registration will include the annual Christmas Run shirt and finisher medal.

For more information, visit christmasrun.com