Sunday marked the last night of Hanukkah, and next week is Christmas, and that means that we have all been systematically bombarded with Holiday Things To Do for weeks now. Many of them are predictable: performances of The Nutcracker, residential areas glutted with holiday decorations. The same things that happen year in and year out in cities across the country.
But in between all that seasonal muck, there are also a handful of holiday things in L.A. that are actually awesome and that you might legitimately want to do. Like, of your own volition. Here are seven very carefully curated seasonal events happening over the next two weeks that sound fun for reals:
The Holiday Mini-Retreat at Larchmont Sanctuary Spa (now through January 1)
Dropping a wad of cash on a spa treatment might not seem like a smart choice. But if you can get past the trepidation—or even if you’re just like, YOU KNOW WHAT, SCREW IT—check out Larchmont Sanctuary’s Holiday Mini-Retreat. It includes a 60-minute Swedish massage and a 20-minute aromatherapy foot treatment, both of which might even prepare you to tolerate your visiting relatives. > The Holiday Mini-Retreat is available at Larchmont Sanctuary Spa now through January 1, for $127.
Jumbo’s Clown Room Holiday Party (December 16)
Nothing says “the birth of our savior” like scantily clad ladies, dollar bills, and whiskey, and it all comes together at Jumbo’s Clown Room’s annual holiday party. The event promises drink specials, an appearance by Santa, and top secret give-aways. The ladies are also collecting toy and gift donations for local domestic violence shelter Angel Step Inn. So put those extra dollars to a good cause, then enjoy the show. > Jumbo’s Clown Room Holiday Party, December 16 from 6pm – 2am. Admission is free. Dancers work for tips.
WeDidIt Holiday Party (December 17)
The WeDidItCollective will be hosting their annual holiday party at The Regent Theater in DTLA, featuring music by the collective’s own members (including Shlohmo, RL Grime, Ryan Hemsworth, and Groundislava). The event will also feature special guests as well as soft goods (tbh we have no idea what that means, but maybe it’s the Collective’s own merch?), and is open to anyone 18 and over. > WeDidIt Holiday Party, December 17 at The Regent Theater. Doors at 8 p.m., tickets are $20.
Artists & Fleas LA (December 19 and 20)
Artists & Fleas LA is actually open year-round on the third weekend of every month. But if you still have gifts to buy, or if you need some last-minute home decor because your parents are visiting and you need to at least give off appearances of adulthood, or if you just want to buy some stuff/walk around DTLA/have a snack, this month’s event is excellently timed. The market is held at a former truck service station on Mateo Street in the Arts District and hosts exactly the kinds of vendors you’d expect: vintage clothiers, letterpress printers, handcrafted candle makers, L.A.-based jewelers, food trucks, and sorry we’re leaving right now to go wait in line. > Artists & Fleas LA, December 19 and 20 from 11am – 5pm. Admission is free.
The Unique, One-of-a-Kind, Handmade Ornaments Show (through December 20)
Traditional holiday ornaments are fine and all, but most of the time they’re glass or ceramic and will break if you breath on them wrong. Or, at the very least, they’re covered in snow-colored glitter that will stay on you for all of eternity if you handle them for more than two seconds. Well, all of that changes with the Unique, One-of-a-Kind, Handmade Ornaments Show at the Iam8bit Gallery in Echo Park. The show features ornaments from artists all over the world made with materials that won’t scar you—emotionally or physically—at prices starting around $10. > The Unique, One-of-a-Kind, Handmade Ornaments Show, now through December 20 at the Iam8bit Gallery. Admission is free. Check event website for hours.
Bootie L.A.’s Anti-Holiday Party (December 19 and 20)
If you never want to hear the phrase, “just hear those sleigh bells ringing!” ever again as long as you live, then this is the event for you. The bi-weekly dance night is having a very special Anti-Holiday party, which promises “No Christmas music.” The Anti-Holiday Party will be at The Echoplex on December 19 and The Regent Theater on December 20. > Bootie L.A.’s Anti-Holiday Party, December 19 and 20 at The Echoplex and The Regent. Doors at 9pm and admission is $10 on both nights.
Go Drink These Delicious Holiday Cocktails (any time you want*)
After you’ve finished your holiday shopping—or, honestly, after just a day at your job—you deserve a special holiday cocktail. Here are some awesome libations, made just for the season:
- Harlowe Bar‘s L.A. Snow Day tosses up cognac, rum, menthe pastille, sugar, cream, candy cane bitters, and egg, topped with chocolate shavings. The Barrio Sour mixes up tequila, mezcal, lemon juice, Demerara syrup, egg white, and a spiced Cabernet float.
- The Magnolia House‘s Nonino Worry About It, made with cognac, Panamanian rum, Amaro Nonino, apple and decanter bitters, and cinnamon; or, toss back an Oaxacan Blood Winter, which mixes mezcal, egg white, lemon, house mulled wine, L’Authentique Genepi, and a garnish of star anise.
- Plan Check Kitchen and Bar‘s Aerated Aged Eggnog, a delightful combination of bourbon, cognac, and rum, with a garnish of nutmeg and orange peel.
- The Normandie Club‘s seasonal Old Fashioned, with coconut bourbon, apple brandy, spiced almond demerara, and angostura bitters.
- Estrella‘s Fireside Noggin combines egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder, milk, cream, madeira, and mezcal. Their Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll pairs tequila, mezcal, rosemary infused honey, fresh ginger, and grated nutmeg.
> Harlowe is located in West Hollywood; The Magnolia House is located in Pasadena; Plan Check has locations in West L.A., Fairfax and downtown; The Normandie Club is located in Koreatown; Estrella is located in West Hollywood.
*until the season is over