’Twas merry and bright and festive with family and friends

| December 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

It was a merry and bright evening in Brookside on Dec. 3, when Santa, Mrs. Claus, and two shiny white steeds came trotting down Tremaine Avenue to bring the little ones joy, Christmas spirit and a bit of off-key singing. The horses, of Dream Catchers Carriages, waited patiently

TWO WHITE STEEDS pull a carriage full of carolers through Brookside streets.

while families took turns climbing and disembarking from the wagon as they journeyed around the neighborhood, belting Christmas carols and sipping warm and festive drinks. The adults enjoyed mulled wine and eggnog, while the kiddos drained cup after cup of hot cocoa. The

LOCAL PARENT and children enjoying a Brookside evening of Santa and fire engines are (left to right) Archie Abramson, Helen Howe, Robby Persson and Amir Joseph.

drinks were complemented by cookies, cupcakes, chocolates and peppermint sticks. To everyone’s great “surprise,” Fire Station 61 made a grand entrance, escorting three of its best engines to the event. Kids climbed aboard the trucks while the firefighters socialized with the local parents and organizers. Even Santa got in on the act! Carolers were asked by the Brookside Homeowners Association to bring an unwrapped toy for the fire station’s gift drive, and from the look and sounds of the festive merriment, it was a successful event for all!

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JLLA COMMUNITY Achievement Award recipient Jen Lilley (left) with JLLA president Katherine La Spada.

The Junior League of Los Angeles (JLLA), whose offices are located on the north end of Larchmont Boulevard, almost next door to the Larchmont Chronicle, held its annual Harvest Boutique on Dec. 3, at the Skirball Cultural Center in West Los Angeles. The League’s event is now 24 years young and still going strong, bringing in much needed dollars to help the organization fund its mission. In 1926, local Los Angeles women, Chronicle publisher John Welborne’s mother among them, established the JLLA as an “organization of women whose mission is to advance women’s leadership for meaningful community impact through volunteer action, collaboration and training.”

Guests at the 2023 Harvest Boutique bid on silent auction items including art, jewelry, apparel, services and travel, then strolled into the Skirball’s Guerin Pavilion to dine and listen to inspiring stories of hope and action. Actress Jen Lilley, an advocate for foster youths (who fostered two boys herself before adopting them), received the Community Achievement Award, and Teresa Grady Weeden was the Spirit of Voluntarism winner. The event raised approximately $130,000. Local attendees included Windsor Square resident Tessa Madden, member of the JLLA Board of Directors.
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NGA MEMBERS (left to right) Kiel Fitzgerald, Shay Callahan and Beverly Brown take a dinner break while packing gift bags for Good Shepherd.

On Dec. 7, the women of NGA showed up in force to the Hancock Park home of Stephanie Sourapas to assemble holiday gift bags for Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women and Children. The dozens upon dozens of gift bags included robes, slippers, socks and toiletries that will surely delight and warm the residents of Good Shepherd during the festive season.

While packing the gift bags, the members learned that NGA recently donated $10,000 to Operation School Bell, which is being used to buy shoes for LAUSD kids in need. Members are also currently seeking contributions for their annual giving campaign to help support their partner agencies over the next year, which include Alexandria House, Assistance League of Los Angeles, Aviva, Imagine LA, Los Angeles House of Ruth, McIntyre House, Pacific Clinics and their newest partner agency, SunnySide5, which provides transitional housing for young adults aged 18-30 who are experiencing homelessness while enrolled in college or pursuing a trade.

After packing up the bags, the women enjoyed a homemade dinner courtesy of chefs Georgia Bell and Tim Abell of Sweets2Savory that included such Mediterranean delights as vegetable salad, chopped salad, Pasta Bianco with hot, crispy bacon, fresh baked bread, and an array of gourmet sweet treats and cookies.
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SUPPER WITH SANTA attendees at The Ebell included (left to right) Monica Gamboa, Daphne Brogdon Peel, Ebell President Laurie Schechter, Georgette Gamboa, Assemblyman Rick Chavez Zbur, Amara Lowry and John Lowry.

The always resilient and 100-year-old Ebell of Los Angeles wasn’t going to be defeated by COVID-19. After a four-year hiatus, the beloved holiday tradition of Supper with Santa returned with jingle bells blazing on Dec. 8. Co-chairs Julie Stromberg and Daphne Brogdon Peel brought back all of the beloved holiday

SANTA SUPPER guests Shaun Hu (left) and Leo Stromberg get ready to rumble, balloon-style.

traditions, including craft tables, ornament-making and holiday tiger eyes. Balloon animals were in high demand as Ebell member June Bilgore rallied the volunteer elves to use their creative rubber-bending energies on everything floaty.  Ebell chef Tom Bellissimo served up a delicious buffet of short ribs and gnocchi. For dessert, everyone made a quick beeline to the sundae bar. Yes, before you ask, there was hot fudge. After dinner, children and their chaperones were treated to one-on-one time with the one-and-only Santa Claus, who listened to every wish and request for Christmas morn.

LONGWOOD HIGHLANDS residents David Shadle, Nicki Renna and daughter Stella enjoy the Supper with Santa sundae bar.
Photos of Ebell Supper with Santa by Rex Peel

Of course, Supper with Santa wouldn’t be Supper with Santa without the world-famous Bob Baker Marionettes, and this year was no exception. To capture the memorable evening, there were two photo booths, as well as a professional photographer who snapped pictures of the children with Santa himself. Julie Stromberg was overheard stating what everyone was feeling: “This is the perfect event for children because they can be free and be kids!” For those of you who were unable to attend this year, never fear, the next Supper with Santa is only a short 365-ish days away!

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LARCHMONT CHARTER SCHOOL’S World Fair attendees stroll among various food booths. LCS photos by Anna Anik

SMILING faces organize sweet treats for the LCS World Fair bake sale.

PARENTS work the Korean food booth at Larchmont Charter School’s World Fair.

BRIGHT colors adorn the LCS Mexican food booth.

The annual Larchmont Charter School World Fair celebrating the many cultures of the school took place on Dec. 9. Food, fun, family and friends abounded as attendees strolled among the many booths set up at the school’s Fairfax Avenue campus.

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LANDMARK LAWRY’S Restaurant was the setting for 2023 Holiday Party of the Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society.

A memorable holiday dinner took place Dec. 10 for members of the Windsor Square – Hancock Park Historical Society and their guests at the landmark Lawry’s the Prime Rib restaurant on La Cienega Boulevard. The restaurant’s Oval Room was filled to capacity with partygoers including four United States Marines who were present as the Society’s guests and who also collected the toys brought for the Marines’ Toys for Tots campaign. As the Marines and others enjoyed their dinners, carolers circulated throughout the room, taking requests for Christmas carols. (Sadly, the carolers did not have an arrangement to allow them to sing the popular Irving Berlin song, “Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow,” that originally featured Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen in the 1954 movie, “White Christmas”!)

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SNOW surprises Larchmont Boulevard visitors outside of DMH Aesthetics early in December.

But speaking of snow, it fell on Larchmont (well, outside of DMH Aesthetics at 111 N. Larchmont Blvd. one evening) and was on the ground on Dec. 2 in the Tailwaggers parking lot, where Santa Paws and Mrs. Claws posed with patrons and their pets while holiday booths distributed complimentary pet treats. The event, featuring real snow and benefitting The Tailwaggers Foundation, was well attended by pets and people alike.

HONEY AND MINNIE of Larchmont Village enjoy the snow at Tailwaggers’ Santa Paws event.

WINDSOR SQUARE residents Danielle and Himesh Pathmanathan with their dog, Chloe, get their photo taken with Santa Paws and Mrs. Claws.

VISITORS and their dogs play as snow fills the Tailwaggers’ parking lot on Dec. 3.

FAMILIES enjoy playing in the snow in Page Academy’s parking lot.

SANTA greets fourth graders from St. Brendan School while collecting toys for children in Los Angeles during the Rotary event.

A week later, there was more real snow on which to play, plus hills of the chilly stuff down which to slide, in the parking lot of Larchmont’s Page Academy. That snow-centric family event was organized on Dec. 10 by Wilshire Rotary as a gift to the community in connection with the club’s “Give a Gift to Santa” program that gathered up toys for the Salvation Army to share with needy children in Southern California communities.

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LADIES IN RED ringing in the holidays are Margo O’Connell, Susana Funsten and Barbara Wagner.

A mid-month gathering of friends and neighbors in Hancock Park found people ringing in the holidays with delicious food and drink at a happy conclave peppered with lively conversation. The Dec. 17 party was poolside; it is Los Angeles, after all. Mary and Kevin O’Connell caught up with fellow Hancock Park residents Sally Keller, Susana and Peter Funsten, Carlotta Keely and Judge Skip Byrne, along with Windsor Square denizens Tom and Terry Kneafsey and Judith Miller. Mary O’Connell’s artist brother, Peter Adams, was there from Pasadena. (Mary’s husband, Kevin, is host Michael O’Connell’s brother. Michael gave all credit for the outstanding party organizing to his bride, Margo.) A seemingly endless array of unusual and tasty canapés was presented by Chef Alex Manos of Gourmaze catering. Enjoying those and visiting with many friends in attendance was Marlborough’s former Head of School, Barbara Wagner. The scene was festive, and several people said they were glad to be sharing family and holiday news in person and not just via Zoom.

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And now you’re in the Larchmont know!

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