HO!HO!HO! Replaced with a Stroll

Santa Claus was being hoisted over Swarthmore on Monday, November 12, as Caruso Palisades Village decorations were being set up for the holiday season 

A Photo of Your Kid with Santa? It Will

Be Costly in Caruso’s Palisades Village

For as many years as locals can remember, the Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce sponsored Holiday Ho!Ho!Ho!, which involved closing off a street in the Village, first Swarthmore and then later Antioch.

The Chamber offered hot chocolate and popcorn and set up tables with free crafts and cookie decorating for kids who came to visit Santa. There was a coffee cart and a balloon man and face painting. Fancy Feet dancers performed and, on several occasions, movies were shown on an outdoor screen.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus would arrive on a Fire Station 69 engine, joined by Mr. and Miss Palisades and several other town luminaries, and would make their way to a sleigh constructed by local contractor Tim Marschall (TMC General Contractors).

Children would form a long line and, one by one, tell Santa their wishes, often handing him a list. If a child asked for a dog, Santa would always say, “I’ll need to talk that over with your parents.”

Last year there was nearly perfect weather and a full moon. One small child asked Santa how his reindeer were able to fly, and the big man whispered “Magic.”

It was indeed magical, even if there were no professional photographs for sale. Often the entire family would come aboard the sleigh and sit next to Santa and have a friend take a photo.

This year the Chamber is no longer sponsoring Santa; instead, parents need to make an appointment at Caruso’s Palisades Village if they want their kids to see the jolly man.

According to the Caruso website, “Walk-ups are welcome, but wait times may vary.” Santa is available from November 26 through December 14 and reservations start at 10:30 a.m. and run through 7:50 p.m. in 10-minute increments.

There are four options: 1) $100–The VIP package includes a flash drive with all images and Santa video, four photos (5×7, 3×5, or wallet), two ornaments and an all-day valet pass; 2) the $75 Premium has an email link to images and videos and four photos; 3) the $65 Package A includes an email link to images and video, a 5×7 photo and two 3×5 photos; and 4) $45 buys an email link to images and a magnetic frame.

If you do not want one of the above options, your child may still visit Santa, but you may not take a personal photo.

The website notes that 5% of the photo proceeds will be donated to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Instead of Ho!Ho!Ho!, the Chamber will sponsor a “stroll through the village” on November 30 from 5 to 8 p.m.

During that time, every guest will receive a map of the business district divided into three sections, with participating businesses posted. A guest must visit at least three businesses in every section and have their map stamped. At the end of the stroll, turn in the map, which will be entered into a drawing for $1,000 and a free lottery holiday scratcher.

With a receipt of $200 that evening, the Chamber of Commerce will offer free gift wrapping at its office, 15330 Antioch St., between 5 and 8 p.m. Visit: Palisadescamber.com.


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25 Responses to HO!HO!HO! Replaced with a Stroll

  1. Rena Repetti says:

    Thanks for keeping us informed, Sue. POV discussed the HoHoHo with Rick Caruso as one the “six (6) days per year” that “Swarthmore Avenue shall be allowed to be closed to vehicular traffic.” Now Swarthmore has for all practical purposes been absorbed into the mall (e.g., management appears to close it down at will despite Caruso’s signed agreement with the neighborhood), and our community’s holiday tradition is no more.

  2. Tom Hofer says:

    If 5% of the overpriced photo “proceeds” goes to a charity, where does the other 95% go? That’s not a donation – that’s a joke.

  3. Sigrid Hofer says:

    Thank you, Sue, for keeping us informed.
    What a shocking, disgusting thing to do to OUR town and our long and cherished tradition! Unbelievable!
    Are we now all under the spell of Caruso and have to do his bidding?

  4. joan graves says:

    It’s now all about money. No longer a giving jolly Santa, but rather pay me. How much is it worth to you?
    Bah humbug!

  5. Sherry Martin says:

    We so appreciate you and your articles, thank you for keeping us informed. It seems little by little we are loosing our Village to the very commercial and powerful. From street closures to staples in trees and now taking our holiday traditions. I like the beauty of the Caruso architecture and landscape, but I don’t think my family will be shopping there except, perhaps, at See’s Candy. It’s all so expensive – catering to the wealthy. I’m so sorry to loose the local flavor, merchants and traditions.

  6. Marge Gold says:

    I’m curious. Why is Swarthmore now closed? The sign said the 12/13/and 14.

  7. Alice Clement says:

    This is pretty unacceptable and what is wrong with the Chamber of Commerce that it abandons it’s long tradition because another business is setting something else up.

  8. Patty Dobrowitsky says:

    This is the mission statement of the Pacific Palisades, which seems to have abdicated all responsibility to all members except one – CARUSO. Their web site is on -line, I encourage everyone to email the board of directors with their comments.

    MISSION STATEMENT: To actively promote a successful business atmosphere in Pacific Palisades did not come about by accident. It is the result of dedicated businesses and residents working together. If there are problems affecting the business environment and the community, the Chamber and the City work together to solve these problems.

    The need for strength and unity is ongoing in order to preserve and enhance the Palisades and its special quality of life. Through various projects, working on community problems helps businesses demonstrate to the public that they are socially responsible to the local needs and cares of the community.


    The major responsibility of the Chamber is to further the economic well being of the business community. The Chamber functions as the “headquarters” for the business community by representing and promoting its member businesses. If you don’t own a business, consider becoming a residential member. The imagination and variety and scope of activities are the ingredients that generate enthusiasm.

    The Chamber provides the means for service, retail, and professional business to unite and improve the entire community. Chamber activities and events are planned, organized and carried out by a volunteer board of directors elected by its members. Board meetings are open to all interested parties. The Chamber enables its members to accomplish collectively what no single person could do. It catalyzes energies of its volunteer to give strength and vitality back to the membership. Involvement in the Chamber of Commerce , whether by attending its many social events or working on a committee, will give you an opportunity to meet business and residential members and exchange ideas or develop new business contacts.

    If fun-raising is your interest, we highly recommend getting involved with the Chamber. We are committed to setting the stage for effective teamwork within the community. The chamber office staff responds yearly to hundreds of in-person mail and phone inquiries, providing business referrals and information about the community and City services. Thus, the Chamber serves as the information center for the area, greeting newcomers and answering questions about shopping, employment, housing, schools, recreation and other community amenities.

    If you have a question, the Chamber has the answer!

    Jump Start Networking Breakfast at K

  9. Kathleen Jensen says:

    I suppose this makes sense if the farmers market is relocating to Antioch St (the former location of the HoHoHo festivities). It makes me wonder if that’s the plan. Who knows?

  10. Sue says:

    Why would a “proposed” move of the Sunday morning farmers market interfere with a Friday night tradition?

  11. John Schwartz says:

    Sue–your publishing this and Circlingthe News are invaluable. Vera and I thank you!

  12. Louvenia Jenkins says:

    Thanks so much Sue for keeping us informed and connected!

  13. Sara Singer says:

    Well I guess Caruso has become “The Grinch that SOLD Christmas for his own profit”!
    My family will not support such a blatant money grab. We will truly miss
    our wonderful annual holiday tradition of attending the Ho Ho HO Fair, visiting with
    friends, listening to the Carolers and waiting to visit Santa and Mrs Claus and take a nice FREE family photo on my IPhone! I don’t see any holiday tradition in getting
    a map stamped at a store. Looks like we’ll be visiting Santa somewhere
    else. But I guess Caruso needs to do this to off set the current lack of shoppers at the stores. Bah Humbug…..

  14. marge gold says:

    I agree with you Sue. One thing has nothing to do with the other.

  15. Sandy says:

    Your article has generated lots of dialog on ND. Would be great to see the community come together and organize a sweet holiday celebration…on the south side of Sunset. Thanks for bringing the details of Caruso’s Christmas plans to our attention.

  16. Cassandra Stajduhar says:

    This has garnered a fair amount of attention on Next Door and it appears a home-grown Ho Ho Ho event may be in the works for the Rec Center. Stay tuned!

  17. Miriam Schulman says:

    Thank you for this information, Sue, even though it is is disheartening and repellant. Is it legal for private photos to be disallowed? It’s certainly greedy and Scrooge-like. The Chamber of Commerce should be embarrassed to have let the Village’s lovely and welcoming tradition be turned into another crass money grab.

  18. Amelita Dolorico Fronsdal says:

    Wow! Such blatant greed. My husband and I have strolled through the past community-sponsored holiday celebrations. It was nice to see children and their parents enjoying the singing of the local school choir and the pictures with Santa. Don’t allow rampant commercialism take over the fun of your family activity.

  19. Where does the information come that personal cameras are not allowed? It’s not on the Palisades Village website.

  20. ROSANNE MANGIO says:

    Sue who are Caruso’s flunkies that are on the Chamber Board???? I bet they squeezed the rest of the Board into NOT doing the Santa event this year because it takes away from their little show…….I think all the people who think this Caruso take over of our TRADITION is a very bad idea should meet at the Chamber office and let them know how the people feel……When is the next Chamber Board meeting??? If people want to STAND UP, and speak up I would be part of it…

  21. Sue says:

    I called to ask if one could take a photo. The one question I didn’t ask was if you have more than one child, could you group them together or was the cost per child.

  22. Lee Calvert says:

    Sue, as usual, you say it like it is — you have my admiration and total respect for all you do — love you, Lee
    p.s. I’ve been a Chamber member for well over 25 years – even before Arnie – served hot chocolate (free from Mort’s) long ago on Ho Ho Ho day.

  23. Sarah Arsone says:

    Chamber Website Says “This event is complimentary and open to the public. “To ensure the safety of guests, security screenings will be conducted at all entry points.” This means Caruso forces control me walking down my own Street which is Swarthmore. This is unacceptable.

  24. Keith Lander says:

    Why in God’s name did the good people of Pacific Palisades allow the tearing down of their charming and heartwarming village to be replaced by crass commercialism?? That was the heart and soul of Pali; quiet, forgotten, out of the way, local, sweet smelling air and not much going on and a lazy air of fellowship and friendliness. Used to love strolling around the neighborhood, knipping in for a drink or some light shopping….

  25. Linda Andrews says:

    There are no permits filed to shut down the streets in the Palisades Village on Sunday November 25, 2018. And so far there has only been 1 event permit (the grand opening) filed to close vehicular traffic in the Palisades Village but there are 3+ reported Palisades Village street event closures.
    There is an event permit for the Huntington Palisades (HPPOC Holiday Celebration) on November 25, 2018 and there was an event permit to close streets for the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, November 22, 2018.
    (Search Council District 11 with dates)
    City Event Enforcement needs to address this.
    bssspevents@lacity.org (213) 847-6000

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