When does the holiday season's traditional celebrations truly gain lift-off?
The merrymaking might first achieve early momentum when you bite into your first gingerbread man, or sing your first carol, or wrap your first gift, or do all three at once, should you be especially talented (you just need to keep the gingerbread man in one hand and the wrapping paper in the other and your mouth free for caroling).
But for many Southern Californians, the large-scale tree lightings serve as the initial launchpad for the season, and one of the mondo-est and earliest of the fir-y bunch is on the close horizon: The Grove.
What to do, where to go and what to see
The mid-city shopping center, which turned 15 in the spring, has been a glittery go-to for seasonal Novembertime celebrating since it opened, and 2017 will live up to that tradition.
The theme? "Celebrate the Joy — A California Christmas." The date? Sunday, Nov. 12 (true, there once was a time when the lighting happened on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, but nowadays it is the Sunday before the Sunday before Thanksgiving).
The time? Pre-show is at 7, but arrive early, as in early early early, three earlys in a row, because that's how firmly we believe in your earliness at this event.
The showy spectacular, which is presented by CITI, will have its starry line-up, as has been the Christmassy case in years gone by. Band of Merrymakers, Jordan Fisher, Jordin Sparks, In Real Life, and Ruben Stoddard will appear on stage and an array of seasonal ditties shall be performed
Will Santa be there? Of course. Will there be fireworks? Yes. How about that snowfall, the lightly drifting flakes that are now as much a part of a Grove holiday season as shopping bags and cups of cocoa?
Point those cameras up, because, yes, the faux snow shall fall (though some may land on your lens, which is also kind of charming).
It's all free, but we did mention the early early early part, so arrive well in advance of the official 7:30 p.m. kick-off of the main event.