Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Los Angeles Kids Off The Couch: Happy Holidays to All!

Fill your Days from Now until 2012
Ticket Giveaway: Family 4-Pack for OVO on February 15

We've got plenty of "have-fun-with-your-family, counter-program the mall" ideas to get you through to New Year's. And just remember, if the gifting is making you crazy, there is always this time-tested solution to all gifting problems -- at least for the youngest on your list.

Ticket Giveaway: OVO from Cirque du Soleil opens under the big top at the Santa Monica Pier on January 20, 2012. This family show is set in the teeming, buzzing world of insects. We have one Family 4-Pack to OVO for Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 8:00 PM. If you are able to attend that show you can enter to win by writing to us Can't go that day? Click here to purchase your own Family 4-pack.

Chilly Fun: Take a break from shopping to strap on some ice skates and twirl the year away. Outdoor rinks in Santa Monica and Pershing Square are open through mid-January. The 4th Annual Snow Days will be celebrated at Pasadena's Kidspace Children's Museum during the week after Christmas. Teach your kids how to make a snowman!

What to do with Out-of-Towners? Besides catching up on your Pacific Standard Time options, here are a few shows that are worth catching: Digital Darkroom, just opened at The Annenberg Space for Photography, and if you are any type of shutterbug, you'll be inspired to take your casual snapping to a new level. Sponsored by Adobe Photoshop, Digital Darkroom showcases the finest artists working in this "new medium", displayed in the most advanced digital facility in the world. The whole family will enjoy seeing the variety of the manipulated images - from dogs dressed as people, to incredible athletic portraits, to dream-like flights of the imagination by new artists, young and old. Best of all, it's pretty easy to dash over from the Century City Mall and take a gander. Click here for our detailed review of the show. If it turns out you love Jerry Uelsmann (whose work is featured at Digital Darkroom), you're in luck because he has a show up at Peter Fetterman Gallery in Bergamont Station. We also really enjoyed Modern Antiquity at the Getty Villa (it's free, but call for a parking reservation), that juxtaposes classical busts and sculptural remnants with spectacular modern paintings by Picasso, Leger and others. Open only through January 16, 2012 - so drop by on your way to or from Malibu, where browsing and people-watching at the Lumber Yardwill make anyone from out-of-state green with CA envy.

New Year's Plans: Still looking for a cool way to ring in the New Year? You can help build the Natural History Museum's first-ever Rose Bowl float (some shifts still open!). There's New Year's Eve with Pink Martini at Disney Hall, or The Golden Stag New Year's Eve Party at LACMA, with big band swing and Roaring 20s style. Or, for the kids - celebrate at noon at Kidspace in Pasadena, or at 6:00 PM and 9:30 PM try theSanta Monica Playhouse's Musical Review.

Year-End Giving: A few years ago we decided to start a family tradition of setting aside some money that everyone in the family gives away together to those who most need our help. Here are links to some of our favorite charities, as well as some first-hand knowledge of a program we participated in for the first time. Our son's soccer team adopted a family through the Children's Hospital Holidays from the Heart program, and our teens were touched to meet the patients and their siblings and hand deliver the gifts on their wish lists. If you like to get involved locally, consider helping a soup kitchen (they're all particularly needy this year), picking up a few extra gift cards at Target and sending them to foster kids through a charity we work with(United Friends of the Children), or sending money to support writing and tutoring in under-served neighborhoods through 826LA. If your family decides they want to donate to an environmental cause, look into building wells in Africa withCharity:Water. We are big fans of Heifer International (help a family sustain itself by giving animals - an idea that's easy for kids to grasp) and Operation Gratitude (care-packages for US soldiers overseas, started by our a mom in Encino).

Looking ahead to 2012: For all you super-duper advance planners -- you know who you are -- think about a family show from They Might Be Giants at UCLA Live on January 28, 2012 at 2:00 PM or one of two free World City concerts on January 14, 2012.

Kids Off The Couch
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