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By Greg Aragon
“Christmas is coming, reindeer are running and I’m waiting on Santa.” As these lyrics to the song “Waiting on Santa” recently ran through my head, I thought about a few of my favorite Southern California holiday getaways.
A new one for me is at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, where each weekend through Saturday, December 29, guests of all ages are treated to a magical “snowfall” thanks to Hollywood-style special effects on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm – 9pm on The Lookout, the Hotel’s chic outdoor lounge. Warm beverages including cocoa, ciders and toddies are available along with roasted chestnuts and themed food selections from Executive Chef Mario Alcocer.
The festive alpine backdrop of the giant sequoias and patio landscaping provide a scenic backdrop to capture the moment in pictures. Local residents and Hotel guests alike can participate in the “snow” events.
The 270-room hotel, located about 40 minutes west of Pasadena, is even offering two fun seasonal stay and play packages, which include deluxe accommodations, a $50 daily dining credit, Spa savings, welcome drinks, and exclusive offers from luxury retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Off Fifth. There is the Winter Spa Package, which is ideal for couples or girlfriends getaways, and the “Let it Snow Package,” a one-night escape perfect for families, and available Friday or Saturday evenings.
During Let It Snow weekends, a variety of additional family activities are planned, including searching for the Hotel’s “Elf on the Shelf,” with elf story-time and tuck-ins for children, cookie decorating with the pastry chefs and supervised Kids Club activities and dinner on Saturday nights.
Families can also visit the concierge to learn about more local festivities taking place in the area, including “Train Rides to the North Pole” in Filmore and the annual tree display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. For more information on Four Seasons Westlake Village, visit: www.fourseasons.com/westlakevillage.
Another new favorite of mine is STATS in Pasadena, which I discovered last year. Located in an historic red brick building in Old Town Pasadena, this timeless arts and crafts stores is transformed each holiday season into a magical wonderland of Christmas trees, snow angles, elves, and thousands of lights, trees, wreaths, garlands, decorations, ornaments, wrapping paper, ribbons, candles, and even a section of old toy trains and miniatures.
The place has everything anyone could want to display for the holidays. I’m not a big decoration shopper, but this store is really a must-see Christmas extravaganza.
STATS, which is also known as Fishbecks Patio Center, is located at 150 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. For more info, visit: www.statsfloral.com or call (626) 796-9255.
And then there is “Christmas Tree Lane,” a state historical site, where for more than 100 years, volunteers have decorated a tree-covered section of Santa Rosa Street in Altadena with more than 10,000 thousand twinkling lights. The event is held nightly and is said to be the “oldest large-scale Christmas lighting spectacle in the United States.”Christmas Tree Lane is located on Santa Rosa Avenue, between Woodbury Ave and Altadena Dr in Altadena. For more info visit: www.christmastreelane.net.
Just down the street from Christmas Tree Lane is the Balian Mansion in Altadena, which puts on one of best light shows you’ll ever see at a private residence. Each year since 1955, the owners have decorated their estate with thousands of lights and Christmas figures and ornaments. Decorations includes giant-sized images of Santa and his reindeer; Frosty the Snow man; a large nativity scene; and much more. To get to the house, exit Allen Ave. north off the 210 Freeway and turn right on Mendocino Lane. If it’s nighttime, you can’t miss the magnificent glowing mansion.