The best way to keep the energy up and the family drama to a minimum this season? Keep everyone busy! Sing-alongs, classic movies and a certain president’s board game are all on tap—in other words, it’s about to get real festive, real fast.
Have Some Laughs at the Holidays’ Expense
Seasonal shows have a tendency to be heavy or heaven-help-us sentimental. Consider this the irreverent antidote to all that: Santasia, a revue that’s run for the past 18 years in New York and Los Angeles, is series of musical comedy sketches à la SNL. The romp spoofs various dysfunctional families around the holidays (but not so fiercely that you won’t want to attend with members of your own).
Through Decemeber 25; Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; santasia.com
Attend A Feel-Good Movie Revival
Want to show around a visiting relative without having to really get into a deep conversation with them? Get tickets for the both of you to see a throwback film on the big screen. The American Cinematheque is showing Auntie Mame, It’s a Wonderful Life and that classic action-Christmas hybrid Die Hard.
American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood; 323-466-3456 or americancinemathequecalendar.com
Sing Along With Some Modern Families
The pageantry, the creativity, the natty dressing…yes, we’re talking about the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles Holiday Spectacular. The Glendale-based performance involves Malibu monks, elves that are just a little “extra,” snow, sparkle and a Santa or two. This year’s show, titled “Modern Families,” benefits two organizations devoted to finding homes for children, specializing in LGBTQ families.
December 14, 16, 17 at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; 818-243-2539 or gmcla.org
Meditate On Gifts Gone By
While not strictly holiday-themed, the pop-up Museum of Failure is catnip for all ages: This traveling international exhibit, which originated in Sweden, profiles corporate products and services that just didn’t quite catch on. Now-president Donald Trump’s version of Monopoly from 1989, the iPad ancestor known as the Apple Newton and the coffee-flavored Coca-Cola Blak are among goodies exhibited at the A + D Museum.
Through February 4, 900 E. Fourth St.; 213-346-9735 or aplusd.org
Walk Through a Winter Wonderland
Every December, L.A. neighborhoods get decked out in next-level lights (see: Christmas Tree Lane and Balian House). But if you’re looking for a more immersive experience (without, you know, trespassing on someone’s property), head to Descanso Gardens’ Enchanted: Forest of Light to stroll through rainbow-tinged greenery, LED tulips, glowing lanterns and myriad other Instagram opportunities.
1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge; descansogardens.org