You know how every single action movie from the '80s that takes place in Los Angeles begins with wide shots of sunny, palm tree-laden streets and ironic Christmas music? Well, Christmas in L.A. isn't really like that. It's cold. It's damp. And the CVS by your house won't stop playing that alternative rock version of “Little Drummer Boy.”
And so it is that many Angelenos mentally shut down until sometime after Valentine's Day. Here, then, are eight other signs it's the “holiday season” in the land of sunshine and fro yo:
Angelenos are not exactly the most formal dressers on the planet, but things get a little ridiculous this time of year, as grown men can be seen wearing sweatpants all hours of the day, showing up to work looking like hobos waiting in line at the methadone clinic. The thought process may go something like this: I'm not leaving the house, I'm not leaving the house, fuck it, I have to leave the house, but I'll be damned if I'm going to wear actual pants. In L.A., 'tis the season for giving up.
7) Crowded Malls
If you've been to the Grove lately, you've noticed that it's packed in like a Guatemalan soccer stadium. Between shoppers foaming at the mouth and the mile-long line to sit on Santa's well-worn knee, L.A. malls become so densely packed they risk going supernova and forming stars. Avoid at all costs until the New Year.
6) Production Shuts Down
Coffee shops, car washes and movie theaters are packed this time of year, in part because of all the unemployed production folk who end up with nothing to do (it's okay, it's okay! they're well-compensated for their admittedly arduous jobs) as the “industry” basically shuts down and all the highfalutin producers fly off to Belize or some shit like that.
Turn the page for more ways it's look like Christmas in L.A., including a tell-tale sign at Trader Joe's.
5) Movie Season
It's the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas? Nah. Hannakuh? Huh? The McRib? Meh. December in L.A. means one thing: movies. Big blockbusters, overwrought Oscar bait, and everything in between.
No film is too small, no matinee too early to draw a decent-sized crowd, including the hardcore nerds who stay for the final lines of credits to see who the key grip was and if Sandy from Specialty Sound got thanked. The popcorn is saltier, the goobers are sweeter. And it's not like you can do anything outdoors.
This time of year, people rediscover soup like it's the hottest food trend since kale salad. Alright, we get it. You loooooooove soup. But is talking and talking about it gonna solve anything?
3) Trader Joes Goes Big on the Sugar
Christmas at Trader Joe's really brings out the fat kid in all of us: Minty Mallows, Peanut Brittle, English Toffee, salted caramel butter cookies. And all sorts of peppermint crap: peppermint taffy, peppermint waffle cookies, and perhaps most sinister of all, the chocolate-covered peppermint Joe Joe's, their knockoff of the Oreo. Not to mention pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, even pumpkin-scented baby lotion, which some customers learn the hard way you're not supposed to eat.
Turn the page for the final two ways it's beginning to look like Christmas in L.A., including our shockingly inclement weather.
2) Bad Parties
Parties are normally a time of merriment and drunken tomfoolery, and maybe a chance to fool around with a girl named Stevie who may or may not have just had her driver's license revoked. But with December comes a cavalcade of trying social obligations. Office parties are perhaps the worst/best offenders here, but don't discount the tree-trimming party, the dreidel-and-latke bash, or any event with the words '”annual,” “ball,” or “do” in the title. Skipping them all would be the safe bet, but then you're that angry shut-in who never leaves the house.
Your best bet may be to go down to a hospital and drink out of every water fountain. With any luck, you'll contract some non-fatal illness and be able to wait out the holiday season with dignity and comfort.
And the No. 1 reason you can tell it's Christmastime in L.A..:
1) Everyone is Shocked at How Cold It Is
Weather is the conversational go-to all over the world — except in L.A., where the 72-degree day is practically a Westside to Echo Park birthright (make that 85 in the Valley), and everybody makes fun of the TV stations for even having a weatherman, despite the fact that they have the best names and the best tans. But then December rolls around, and people simply lose their bearings. A 55-degree day sends many an Angeleno into an existential tailspin, like if they have to wear a heavy-ish jacket then they can't rely on anything — and what's next, gravity reversing itself, dogs wearing overalls?