Sunday, December 07, 2014
A Perfect Holiday
Traditionally, I lean towards the bah, humbug version of Christmas celebrations for many reasons...
...but there is something about Palm Springs' embrace of the season that is endlessly charming.
In the middle of the desert you can stumble across a decorated bush with no purpose other than to give random public pleasure.
The annual Festival of Lights parade on Palm Canyon Drive is a goofy, small-town mash-up of Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade with a dash of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York with different neighborhood groups maneuvering huge balloons down the main drag.
Seemingly every teenager who lives in Palm Springs also marches in the parade, either as an electrically pulsing pom-pom drill team member, an illuminated marching band player, or as part of some other group that needs bodies and light.
My favorite Palm Springs Christmas tradition involves banners painted by children from grammar school to high school age, selected through an annual competition. To keep costs low, each banner has to have the same image painted twice on the front and back, a serious undertaking just in terms of the large scale, and most of the young artists ace the challenge.
Other towns have tried to duplicate the art project, most without success. The possible crucial difference may be the leadership of Joy Meredith, the owner of a New Age store downtown called Crystal Fantasy who has been running the annual Christmas banner show with the aid of art school teachers in the public schools for the last 20 years. They contribute to a perfect warm weather Christmas holiday in a vital, original way.