PARADES ON THE PACIFIC: Cable brims with shows featuring people covering their homes in strings and strings of lights, but we here in Southern California face a rather unusual challenge when it comes to decorating for Christmas: How do we run the blinking bulbs up the mast or along the bow? It's boat parade time just off our shores, and while the venerable Newport Beach parade is still a week away, Naples, Oxnard, and Kings Harbor Yacht Club -- where NBC4's Fritz Coleman will serve as grand marshal -- are ready to show off the yuletide-spirited yachts. The date? They all happen on the same night, so choose your shoreline with care, holiday boat parade fans: It's Saturday, Dec. 13.
POINT FERMIN LIGHTHOUSE BIRTHDAY: If you want to be wave-close, but would rather admire a structure that has ties to the ocean, rather than, say, a boat, you'll have that opportunity, too, in the days ahead, with a nice bonus: cake. It's the Point Fermin Lighthouse's big 140th birthday, and the San Pedro landmark will celebrate on Sunday, Dec. 14 with tours, remembrances, and, yes, the traditional doughy sweet stuff that marks a momentous occasion. It's pretty, it is historic, and may it last forever (the lighthouse, not the cake).
"THE GODFATHER" DOWNTOWN: It's one of our most famous flicks dealing with family complications, and, hoo boy, what complications it serves up, grandly and with style. Alison Martino, daughter of Al Martino -- he played Johnny Fontane -- presents as part of the Vintage LA night, and Kenneth Turan of the LA Times is there to chat ahead of the screening. Place? Million Dollar Theatre. Date? Saturday, Dec. 13. Will there be cannoli? Well, Grand Central Market is right next door and full of good eats.
MANET'S THE RAILWAY: The Norton Simon Museum is about to have its big, rosy international television appearance, on New Year's Day, but the Pasadena institution is making big, rosy headlines for another reason: Édouard Manet's "The Railway" just debuted there on Dec. 5. Don't dally, if you want to see this masterpiece, as it is on loan from The National Gallery of Art in Washington through early March.
What to do, where to go and what to see
ON THE STAGE: Angela Lansbury stars as the exuberant Madame Arcati in Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit." The snappy supernatural treat is on through the middle of January at The Ahmanson. And if Jane Austen makes you swoon, and puppets make you clap, you are in luck: The Broad Stage presents "Northanger Abbey" as presented by people and puppets (the company is Box Tale Soup, specifically). You read that right: Austen. With. Puppets. What a magical world we live in, indeed.