Episode #103: Christmas Spirit vs. the Force

I do a lot of walking in the South Bay area of Los Angeles. There’s always the beach, of course, but they don’t allow dogs. (Spoiler alert: we have a dog now. Yes, there will be future posts involving canine characters.) Also, the beach doesn’t have hills. I like hills. They keep my butt firm. Hills are also the gateway to amazing views.

The main reason to walk up into the Hollywood Riviera.
The main reason to walk up into the Hollywood Riviera.

Sometimes I see foxes. Sometimes coyotes. No matter when I walk, though, I usually see a red-tailed hawk.

Can you see her? At the top of that massive Australian star pine?
Can you see her? At the top of that massive Australian star pine?
Can you see her NOW?!
Can you see her NOW?! She’s off to get a squirrel. Hopefully the one taunting my dog from the top of the fence.

Sometimes, I find other weird creatures on my walks:

This figurine was probably forgotten when the new Star Wars merchandise arrived.
This guy was probably forgotten when the new Star Wars merchandise arrived.

But when December arrives, the majority of the sights on my walks are holiday decorations. The decorations are installed by the men. Dads, mostly. Some Dads are merely ironic:

Seen in 70 degree weather. Gotta love the blooming camilla behind Mr. Snowman.
Seen in 70 degree weather. Gotta love the blooming camilla behind Mr. Snowman.

But the majority of Dads appear to be of the opinion that:

IMG_5185a) More is better.

b) Bigger is better.

c) Everything but the kitchen sink is best of all!

The ferris wheel in the rain.

Some of the decorations in the South Bay are WAY over the top, such as the “Sleepy Hollow” Neighborhood. The lights are blinding, with thousands of trees draped, and all items illuminated — everything from mini-ferris wheels to Santa’s Workshops. The city finally blocked off certain streets during the month of December. Locals offer to chauffeur visitors around in golf carts hung with more lights.

IMG_5250Yes, Andy and I will probably succumb to the madness and walk through Sleepy Hollow tomorrow night, but this year it’s not my favorite display.

No, this year I think some Dads are more excited about the new Star Wars movie than Christmas. And in honor of opening day, I thought I’d share my favorite — an evolving lawn tableau. (Speech bubbles provided by me.)

Week One:


Week Two:


This Week:


May the spirit of Christmas & the Force be with you all.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

24 thoughts on “Episode #103: Christmas Spirit vs. the Force”

  1. Can I just say I hate those big blow up things? There’s a gigantic Abominable Snow Monster at the end of my street. Sorry if I sound like scrooge, I know it’s ‘for the kids.’ The rest of the neighborhood looks pretty with all the lights and candles in windows. There’s a guy in Bill’s town that decorates every square inch of his yard with lights and figurines, both secular and religious. His driveway even has a dome of lights across it. Feels like old town Vegas…but we never miss the chance to drive by. Happy Holidays to you, Andy and your families!

    1. Ha, yes, I am not a huge fan of the inflatables. I’m a white lights and red bows and evergreen branches kinda girl. But an abominable snow monster from “Rudolph?” That is pretty funny. Also, a little more traditional than the Santa in a helicopter down the road.

      Happy Holidays to you and yours as well! Though I am hoping to get out another post or two before Christmas. In between baking and traveling and hopefully skiing.

  2. Haha I love the Star Wars twist!! Any plans on seeing the movie?

    Although I didn’t decorate my house this year, I gotta say that seeing Christmas lights all throughout the neighborhoods makes it actually feel like Christmas.

    You live in South Bay!? I thought it was the valley? Dang girl that’s a nice area! You’re where all the Japanese are!

    1. Yes, we have a very large Japanese subculture — we have a Marukai! A Daiso! Excellent sushi and gyoza, too. (Our favorite ramen closed, though. Bummer.)

      But fear not. We are not in a really expensive place like Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, or Palos Verdes. Our neighborhood is reasonably diverse, which is nice. A couple from India behind us, multiple Asian families on our street, plus Latinos, Filipinos, and even a few working class white retirees.

      I did live in the valley, though. For a long time. Before Andy.

      I think we will let the excitement die down and wait to see the Star Wars movie until New Year’s. We’re traveling soon and the best theaters are in LA!

  3. BTW I love the Christmas theme on your blog. Almost makes it feel like Christmas here in L.A. I heard SLC, Utah got dumped on (and will continue to receive heavy snow), so I’m very excited to freeze my ass off in a blizzard for a white Christmas in Utah.

    1. Thank you! I love it, too. It’s the only snow in LA. Yes, we are going to be braving some Utah blizzards, too…or so I hope. It was a toss-up whether we went to NH or Utah this year, and thankfully Utah won, because New Hampshire is green and wet. But I’ve been watching the weather reports and Utah looks fantastic, especially for snow.

      Travel safe and don’t forget your long underwear. 🙂

  4. I’ve tried doing outdoor lights a time or two. But it’s cold and my fingers hurt and I can’t figure out where to plug it in. (As you can see, I don’t have the patience for it.) So I’m glad that my neighbors provide some Christmas lights.

    My seven-year-old grandson has his Star Wars costume and movie tickets for him and his parents prepared for this weekend. Plus he and his friends have caught up on all previous Star Wars movies. I’m looking forward to seeing it sometime. The trailers look great.

  5. I do wonder why the bigger the better. Sometimes, the bigger the uglier. It’s summer whenever Christmas rolls around in Australia. And because it’s usually warm but not overly warm this time of the year, quite a number of Australians like decorating their house with Chrismas decor from top to bottom. Think flashing lights on the roofs and down the sides of the house – so much so that their house looks like something out of Disney land.

    I used to have a neighbour who did exactly that and so many cars always stopped by to take a look.

  6. I had forgotten how much folks / neighborhoods like to get crazy with lights. I think it’s a nice idea even though the electricity bill must be atrocious. Of course, I’d go crazy if it was in my ‘hood. It’s funny in SE Asia, the Christmas fanfare is everywhere. You’d never know you were in a Buddhist country 😉

    1. Years ago, I watched a whole TV show on the electricity bills for some light displays. Hundreds of dollars a day!!

      But now some of the homeowners have solar panels and they say the lights cost them nothing.

      Yeah, that’s how Christians are going to take over the world. Pretty Christmas lights and tacky Christmas kitsch.

  7. Ha! Ridiculous and yet somehow endearing. There are virtually no Christmas decorations in Johannesburg over Christmas because nearly everyone leaves town for Christmas. I kinda miss them but I also kinda don’t.

    1. Yeah, Christmas in warm climates bugs me. I think it’s better to avoid that whole depression by enjoying the local surroundings and not fixating on the missing snow and roast beef. Have a mango or whatever. 🙂

      1. Yep, that’s pretty much what I usually do. Although this year is my first year celebrating with my South African boyfriend’s family. They have ham and Christmas pudding and all that, amidst blazing heat. Should be interesting.

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