Weekend: Happy Hanukkah, Southern California

The Festival of Lights begins with a sparkly series of menorah lightings around the region.

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Light the Candles, and spin the dreidel, and gather together with family and friends as the Festival of Lights begins on Sunday, Dec. 22. A number of spots around our area will light menorahs and hold a host of joyful activities. The Original Farmers Market will once again host the building of a mega LEGO menorah on Dec. 22, Mari LA is cooking up a traditional Hanukkah meal over eight tasty nights beginning on Dec. 22, and the nightly menorah lightings start to shimmer on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. And in Beverly Hills on Dec. 22? A festive evening of face painting, doughnuts, and, yum, hot latkes is ahead.

Happy 111th, Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade: Decorating a boat takes some time, plenty of inspiration, and oodles of moxie when it comes to mast adornment. It isn't nearly as easy as a tree, nor a mantel, and yet several sail-loving people undertake this tremendous task each year at this grand-of-scale, oh-so-historic parade, which will see over 100 glittering vessels skim across the harbor water. See the dinghies and yachts from land, an eatery, or another boat, through Sunday, Dec. 22.

Holiday Spectacular: For over four decades now, the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles has been delivering delightful and dazzling shows to audiences, with the annual seasonal treat being among the most lavish and bright. The 2019 concerts will take place at The Alex in Glendale on Dec. 21 and 22, with nods to "Love, Actually," Broadway favorites, and, oh hello, "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Tickets to this absolutely effervescent affair? Start here.

Winter Solstice Talks: Learning more about our home turf, as in this here planet, and its equator, and the longest night of the year, and the arrival the coldest season, at least 'round the Northern Hemisphere? You can do all of that, twice, by visiting Griffith Observatory on Saturday, Dec. 21. Winter solstice begins that evening, but if you call upon the cosmic landmark at local noon or sunset, you'll soak up some solid solstice knowledge, and for free, too.

Las Posadas, that song-filled search for the inn, is a Christmas Week tradition in numerous cities, including our own. If you'd like to follow Mary and Joseph on their journey, make for Olvera Street any night through Tuesday, Dec. 24. It's all free to see, the music is sweet and guitar-beautiful, and the comedia "La Pastorela" is presented each evening. Plus? There shall be a nightly piñata, if your tots would like to take a turn.

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