Monday, December 10, 2018

A Venice Winter Wonderland!

Sometimes it's hard to tell what time of the year it is around Venice, with the year-round lovely weather always pretty much the same, but Christmas time is different. You know.

The halls of the houses get decked, Christmas lights show up everywhere, and one day a year there is even snow. This weekend was jam-packed with holiday cheer, although the 25th Annual Venice Surfathon took place on Saturday, making it feel all summery again. It was bright, warm, and sunny as the surfers from all different categories got into the water to ride the decent waves. It's always good to see the surfers out there every year, as it really becomes a reunion of longtime friends. It was very California to sit on the sand watching the competition while seeing snow on the mountains in the distance. I love that.

The snow day was Sunday at The Brig in the parking lot, where they truck in the snow annually to give the Venice kids a little taste of what winter is like in other places. The lines to take a spin down the icy snow were long, and everyone was in a festive mood. There were holiday arts and crafts, food trucks, and the chance to tell Santa Claus just how good they were this year.

The LAPD had a police sleigh (?) parked out front, and kids lined up to be handed up to Santa in the cop sleigh, which is both cute, and kind of funny. There was a different Santa later in the day to sit on the Santa throne, which may have confused some little ones who were there long enough to catch both, but still great. I love this little snow day every year, as it's a gift to the whole community, and people love it. It shows on their faces, and lets you know that our people are still here. Thanks, Brig!

We had a full agenda of holiday revelry on the books for Sunday, and raced downtown after sledding to see the wonderful Hansel And Gretel opera, which was a real treat. Getting our culture on meant that we were late getting back to Venice for the annual Venice Canals boat parade, but I was told that the actual flotilla was very sparse this year ... like five boats strong.

The sidewalks were full of partiers out to see all the brightly lit bridges and homes, but the actual parade participants were few. This tells me that there is either a lack of holiday spirit, which would be sad, or that many of the canal homes are being rented out for Air BNB, and no real members of the community really live in them, so the renters don't know to participate. That is a real bummer, especially for such a wonderful, special part of Venice that this annual parade always is.

The bridges were fantastic this year, maybe making up for the lack of nautical fun. There was the great VeNICE one, and the Eiffel Tower bridge was also very impressive (I like to think it's to show our solidarity with Paris, and also climate change awareness, but they might just like Paris).

Many homes were brightly lit and hosting parties, with both the lights and the sounds reflecting off of the surrounding waters. People seemed to shut it down extra early this year, which was kind of a buzzkill, but it was nice just to walk the sidewalks and see all the bright decorations. If (WHEN!) I live in the canals one day, you better believe this annual event will be made to be beyond memorable. The dark houses on this special day were sad ... and should be lived in by people that get it, and super appreciate the unique and fun place that they live. I'm working on it.

Time is flying and Christmas will be here before we know it, with everyone scattering to places all over the globe. It's great to have these little unique to Venice holiday memories to take with us and share with the world. I love it. I hope everyone got to go, and if you didn't, you should just take a walk through the canals on any night this holiday season. Your own reflections will join those of the lights, and you will feel the holiday spirit rise up inside of you, no matter how you are feeling. It can't help but cheer you up ... and to that, I say CHEERS!

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