by Neena Strichart
Night before last, as is tradition this time of year in my part of town, the City of Signal Hill hosted their annual tree-lighting event. Taking place, as usual, at Discovery Well Park in Signal Hill, the city’s Mayor Michael Noll, with just a flip of a switch, illuminated the giant Christmas tree-shaped display atop the hill. The festivities were indeed holiday-ish with hot beverages to warm our tummies and yummy cookies provided by Rossmoor Pastries. So nice to see Santa there, too!
With the tree-lighting behind us, Steve and I are moving forward with the rest of our holiday plans. There are parties to attend and shopping to complete, and since Christmas and Kwanzaa are less than three weeks away, we have already started the quest to find the perfect gifts for those on our lists. For the easiest way to beat the madding crowds, we do our level best to shop locally in our own circle of influence– our own back yard. We find that local merchants are traditionally friendlier, more willing to give the very best in customer service, and some even offer complimentary gift wrapping or help with shipping!
For those who you know would prefer receiving gift certificates or gift cards, drop by your local hairdresser, restaurant, coffee house or small retailer. They are happy to offer cards and certificates in almost any denomination. Gift cards, like cash, are the gifts you know won’t be returned.
To simplify the shopping experience even further, take a stroll in Bixby Knolls tonight for the First Fridays December event. Dozens of local merchants and restaurants will be putting their holiday décor on display to help us get in a festive mood. Blair from the Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association tells me that tonight’s Christmas tree- and menorah-lighting event will once more take place in the parking lot of Nino’s Ristorante (at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Roosevelt Street). Although the actual lighting will happen at 6:30pm, folks will start gathering around 6pm. Those who arrive early will have the opportunity to enjoy the song stylings of Bearcoon (Solange Igoa and Andrea Walker), who categorize their type of music as Hillbilly Mountain Blues Lumberjack Rock.
For an extra-special treat, make sure you stop by the Expo building on Friday evening and take advantage of the beginning of the two-day Uptown Village Market. Located at 4321 Atlantic Ave., the market will feature more than 90 artisan booths along with live music. Those who stop by on Saturday from 11am to 5pm can also enjoy drifts of manmade snow. Remember: Support your local businesses. You’ll save money, time and gas!