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The Hollywood Christmas Parade: A Symphony Of Spirit

A nut cracker float at The Hollywood Christmas Parade.
The Hollywood Christmas Parade, Photo by Feria Magazine

My Christmas journey in Los Angeles now includes the famous Hollywood Christmas Parade. I wrote about this idea of framing certain moments in life with artistic imagination, in my article on Sparkle DTLA. Basically, I’ll find a few seconds in the present moment, and use my imagination to artistically frame those few seconds, as my own personalized work of art.

I’m genuinely present for that fleeting moment, and for a few seconds, my life itself has become the medium.

It might sound silly, right? But go ahead and try it sometime. Because I think you’ll find moments in life more flavorful when you frame them with your artistic imagination.

How exactly do you do this? What I love about art is you can make your own rules. Do it your own way.

“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

-Dr. Seuss
The Grinch didn’t steal your car, it was LA Parking Enforcement.

The Grinch Who Towed Christmas

It was my first experience at the Hollywood Christmas Parade, like, ever. We had been camping at our spot on the sidewalk for several hours. A man walks by…

“Y’all are out here early huh?! Y’all about to watch all the cars get towed and everything!” he jokingly said.

Well to my realization, it wasn’t much of a joke. Not long after, LA Parking Enforcement arrived on the scene. And they really did tow all the cars that were parked on the curb. I know that’s a shitty thing to happen to them, but there were signs! “NO PARKING DURING PARADE!” And it was kind of funny hilarious watching the cars get towed with no mercy. And that man totally called it!!

(Okay I’m not framing that moment with artistic imagination, that was just a funny moment.)


As the parade was beginning, we could hear the sirens of the fire trucks getting closer. A friend of mine nudges me…

“ARE YOU READY JOHN?! ARE YOU READY?!?!” she cheerfully asked me with a glowing smile and heart of excitement.

Damn I felt her excitement! And as the fire trucks drove by tossing plush animals to the kids…she was the loudest one in the crowd.

“WOOOOOO!!!” she screamed repeatedly to the fire trucks, nearly breaking her vocal cords.

The LA Fire Department tossing plush animals to the crowd at The Hollywood Christmas Parade.
Let it snow with plush animals!

Yeah, my friend is a young rockstar. And now whenever I’m about to do something daring in life, I’ll have that memory from the Hollywood Christmas Parade to boost my spirits.

“YEAH I’M READY!!” I’ll think to myself with a smile, as I replay that fleeting moment in my imagination.

On We March

The Hollywood Christmas Parade featured marching bands from the military, LA high schools, universities, and other organizations. And because this was the Hollywood Christmas Parade, they were playing Christmas tunes! (One marching band played Frozen’s Let It Go.)

Let me tell you, I LOVE the sound of the marching band! I have an entire Spotify playlist of just marching band themes! But you know what’s really nice? Marching bands in the Fall. Hearing the sounds of each instrument play in symphony as the chilly breeze is felt in the air. It reminds me of my time at high school and university. The atmospheric sounds of school spirit. But more so, to me at least…the marching band is the music of humanity’s spirit.

The marching band at The Hollywood Christmas Parade.
Rum Pa Pum Pum through the universe!

I took a moment as one LA high school marching band paraded along the street.

“Damn, the universe is vast. I don’t know where time began, or where it ends. But we’re here right now, I’m here. This very moment is a point in time, in my life’s history, and in the timeline of humanity. The human spirit marches forward tonight.”

Feria Finale

What a grand time at the Hollywood Christmas Parade. Parades are a collection of cultures expressed through the arts. They embody music, performance, set design, all unique to the time and place. At any given parade, there are actually two parades happening. The street parade, and the invisible parade of synchronized human emotion. That’s what I saw at The Hollywood Christmas Parade…the spontaneity of cheer, the rapport among strangers, and the collective creativity of cultures on Christmas. Humanity at its best.■

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