Los Angeles, California
As Christmas parades go, few are as relatively star-studded as the Hollywood Santa Parade. Formally known as the Santa Claus Lane Parade and the Hollywood Christmas Parade, this holiday tradition dates back to 1928. Hollywood’s elite, from big name stars to up-and-comers to favorite old-timers march for over three miles along Sunset Boulevard and Hollywood Boulevard as a celebrity honor guard for Santa Claus as he ushers in Tinseltown’s holiday season.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce established the original Hollywood Santa Parade as an answer to the highly popular Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. According to legend, parade planners scheduled the Hollywood Parade on a different day so that Santa would not have a conflict. Launched at the beginning of Hollywood’s golden age, the parade became a showcase for movie stars and other celebrities, a tradition it has maintained ever since. According to tradition, actor and singer Gene Autry was inspired to write the classic Christmas song Here Comes Santa Claus while marching in the parade in 1946.
The Hollywood Christmas Parade has had difficulties in recent years due to budgeting issues. In 2007, it was nearly cancelled after nearly eighty years, but was saved when the City of Los Angeles took it over from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. In recent years, attending celebrities have been largely from the television industry, with a heavy focus on up-and-comers that appeal to younger children. The eclectic mix of participants in recent years has included Bob Barker, David Caradine, Shirley Jones, Casey Kasem, Fred Willard, the Wayans Brothers and Buzz Aldrin.
The Hollywood Santa Parade traditionally takes place on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. It begins on Hollywood Boulevard in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, then continues to Vine Street and Sunset Boulevard. There is no charge to watch the parade, however reserved seats in the stands are available for $35.00. Web: www.thehollywoodchristmasparade.org (official website)