SO MANY OF OUR HOLIDAY RECIPES... and traditions and games and songs have been passed down over the ages that it can be hard for a new way of doing things to find purchase. Nostalgia, in short, reigns high over the end of the year, and pondering how our foremothers and forefathers decorated the tree and hosted gift exchanges is something many people do, the better to fill their holiday homes with historic meaning. But where to find inspiration on the wayback merrymaking, if your mom gave away a lot of the old ornaments and you can't find your grandpa's recipe for latkes? Charles Phoenix can help. He's the history-minded, ribbon tie-rocking, Cherpumple-baking entertainer who is known for his kitchen skillz, his old-style showmanship, and those famous slide shows he hosts throughout the year. Several are coming up, in cities around Southern California and the desert, too, and they all bear a tinsel-kitschy aura and plenty of eggnoggy attitude.
PALMDALE, PALM SPRINGS, BREA: Much of Mr. Phoenix's inspiration comes from Americana-tinged road trips, so it feels right that he himself does a bit of road-tripping around the sparkliest season. His first stop is in Los Angeles, on Dec. 12, but then he heads north and east and south over the days that follow (with a final two-nighter at Brea's Curtis Theatre on Dec. 19 and 20). The slides are as saturated as a greeting card from 1972, with deep reds and greens and all of the metallic shiny tree-ness the mid-century produced (which was a whole bunch). Some of his stops'll have dessert, some will include cocktails for sale, so just check out the full schedule before landing on your chosen location. Will the pictures of '50s people, gathered around a space age-inspired coffee table, give you the gumption you need to trick out your own den in high holiday fabulousness? It's worth a start, especially if you long for the look and shag-carpeted style of another, not-so-long-ago age. Christmas may have been more Kodachrome-y a half century ago, but reproducing that now, or at least paying homage, only takes a little oomph, a little imagination, and a little goosing a la Charles Phoenix's famous slides.