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Avoiding the mall (and the television) can help delay the chaos of Christmas a li’l bit, but once your neighborhood is all lit up again, all bets are off. It seems the shopping (and stressing) season gets more intense the more lights start to shine around town. Head it all off at the vibrant experience known as Zoo Lights, where you can dive headfirst into the holidays. The Zoo promises this year’s “wild wonderland of lights” will offer more animal characters and wildlife-inspired displays, and some fresh interactive fun like “the world’s largest illuminated pop-up storybook.” A festive family or date night, the after-dark event also offers comfort food and drinks and photos with the man himself, Santa Claus, on select nights for an additional fee. During Preview Week, November 15-21, non-member admission is $12.

Los Angeles Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive, Griffith Park; runs through Jan. 5. $11.95-$16.95, free parking. lazoolights.org/