Christmas in California

4 January 2018

About a year and a half ago Marget and Seth moved to California, which was terrible in pretty much every way for us (because they are far away now!!), but seemingly a good choice for them :) The silver lining? This year, we got to spend Christmas in California! Here are a few photos and what we did, if you’d like to see…

John, June, and I flew out at 7am on Christmas morning. We were NOT about to spend $600+ dollars for a plane ticket for our not-yet-two-year-old, but were VERY thankful to score an empty seat in our row on not just one but both of our flights! Hallelujah and thank you, Delta!!! June decided she did NOT enjoy the cool headphones we’d gotten her in preparation, but was content to simply watch the TV screen on the seatback and push all the buttons repeatedly for the duration of our five-hour flight :)

Marget and Seth live in a beach town near LA, and the first afternoon, we walked to the beach at sunset! It was the perfect wide-open arena for J’s current favorite game, run and chase.

For Christmas dinner we had ragu and papparadelle, a newish Thomas family tradition! We opened gifts a little bit at a time over our entire visit. June doesn’t seem to have totally grasped presents – she was just kind of happy to be included :) This, however, was clearly her favorite toy she received!

The next day we went for a hike at Forrestal Preserve and had lunch at Malibu Eatery (yummy grilled chicken tacos!). I was so proud of our little hiker – she walked at least half of the steep uphill climb!

We also visited the tide pools across the street, beneath the Trump National Golf Course.

In the evening, we walked the canals of Venice to look at the Christmas lights (such a crazy place!!), then had a delicious dinner at Rose Cafe. On a return trip I would love to do some shopping on Abbot Kinney – so many cute shops!

The next morning we took the walking path that runs through Marget and Seth’s neighborhood to their favorite playground, where we ate a mixed-up breakfast of bagel sandwiches from Noah’s and acai bowls from Paradise Bowls. My first time eating the latter – SO good and so California :)

As you can see, Uncle Seth was the fan favorite all week :)

Pretty soon it was time to head to LA for an al fresco lunch at The Paley and a matinee performance of Hamilton!!! Yes!

Needless to say, it exceeded all expectations. And the theater was so beautiful! I feel so lucky that we got to see this spectacular show – what a treat.

On our last full day we had breakfast at Uncle Bill’s, a pancake hole-in-the-wall, then spent a few hours back at the beach. There was much digging, and Marget and I played Chicken Foot.

Our flight home was uneventful, and now as I sit here writing a few days later, it is SNOWING! So different from warm Cali, although to be fair, snow is rather unusual for North Carolina.

Hoping you all had wonderful holidays breaks, as well!!

Affiliate links are used in this post!

10 Responses to “Christmas in California”

  1. Okay, clearly we need to have a family hangout because it appears June has grown up into a little kid since I last saw her?! Let’s get something on the calendar :) It looks like y’all had a wonderful and sunny Christmas!

  2. I had no idea you were in Cali for Christmas! So special and WARM looking too :)

  3. Wow, what a way to spend a holiday! Happy 2018 to you, Thomas fam!

  4. What a FABULOUS way to spend your Christmas – and those gorgeous sunset skies.
    The beach is always good for the soul x

  5. Rob

    “Run-and-chase” — like Maggie! June’s hair is getting so long! In some photos, Wes looks so much like Seth!

  6. Jen K

    As a Michigander, I love, love, LOVE seeing June’s M22 shirt!! 💕


    Yes!! John’s family has a cottage in Michigan, and her grandparents bought it for her when we visited this summer!

  7. Marget

    How cool for the kids to grow up with Christmases on both coasts (and Minnesota!)- it isn’t just about snow and reindeer! And we LOVED having you!

  8. Laura M.

    Hi Emily!
    Happy New Year to your sweet family! Would you share (either here or in a future post) how you keep Miss June entertained on long trips now? We have a little guy almost the exact same age as June, and I was amazed to read about your road trips to Michigan and Maine. We take a lot of 3-4 hour trips (road trips and flights) but by the end of 4 hours we’re all toast! We are hoping to make the 15 hour road trip to see family this summer, and I’d love to hear how you make that work. Thank you!


    Hi Laura! Great question!! At June’s current age, my biggest recommendation for a really long trip is to take advantage of the night when she’s sleeping. For our Michigan trip, we left at 4am, getting about 5 hours under our belts before she woke up and we stopped for the first time. For our Maine trip, we left at 8pm and did the entire trip overnight. Rough on parents, but sooooo much easier when they’re little and just don’t understand why they have to be in the car for so long! Other than that, we build in enough time for frequent stops (sometimes every two hours or so), and we try to make those stops ones where she can run around. We also keep the snacks and songs and distractions flowing while driving, often with a parent riding in the back with her to help facilitate. We’ve even talked to family members on FaceTime to break things up! :) And sometimes, of course, she’s just not happy and we have to keep pushing through! It’s been about 6 months since our last big driving trip and she is more interested in videos now than she was then, so I’m not sure how we’ll incorporate that down the line, if at all. We don’t have an iPad or tablet, so it would just be on our phones if we chose to do that. We shall see!

Em Likes comments!

Em reserves the right to restrict comments that are not kind or do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!