For transplants to Los Angeles, Christmas in Hollywood can be quite jarring. First of all, if you come from a colder climate, Christmas doesn’t seem to be the same when daytime temps in Los Angeles can reach into the 80’s. Yes, there is Christmas music playing in the stores and Christmas decorations are up, but Christmas lights on palm trees look a bit odd to people from northern latitudes. Christmas in Hollywood can be especially hard for people spending their first Christmas holiday away from home.
In the novel, Palm Avenue, two of the characters are transplants from Colby, Kansas. Ashley, the protagonist in the book, is spending her first Christmas away from her family and knows few people in Los Angeles. Brady, her ex boyfriend is also in LA, and is involved in a twisted relationship with a woman he just met. Both are nearly 2000 miles away from their friends and family. Neither handles it well.
Many people have unrealistic expectations for holidays to begin with. They either have fond memories of past Christmases, or painful memories that come up every December. Some people think that everyone is having a better holiday than they are. Everyone else has more friends, more family, and more wealth, and more Christmas cheer. Bah humbug!
Christmas in Hollywood Activities
- Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade
Ice skating in downtown LA
Christmas at Disneyland
Christmas boat parades
The Nutcracker Ballet
So, many transplants to Los Angeles turn to substance abuse and sexual misbehavior to anesthetize the pain of their loneliness. Alcohol and drugs can usually make a bad Christmas better in the moment. Kinky sex can completely alleviate feelings of rejection, failure, and low self esteem for a minute. The characters in Palm Avenue resort to these things, thousands of miles away from their loved ones.
A passage from the book describes what Ashley is feeling on her first Christmas away from home, “Ashley had never felt so desperate in her entire life. She guessed that was because life had been handed to her on a silver platter. She had a wonderful childhood on the farm, despite what differences she had with her father. She had many wonderful Christmas celebrations with her extended family – aunts, uncles, cousins, and grand parents. Her poor great grandmother was sitting in that nursing home with dementia. Her old dog, Scooter, was probably curled up in a pile of straw out in the barn.”
Christmas in Hollywood can of course be fantastic, depending on your frame of mind. The weather is usually better than anywhere else in the United States, the food is great, and there are more holiday events and concerts than anyone can possibly see. Some people even volunteer to feed the homeless on skid row and other selfless activities like that. Self centered people who are prone to addiction tend to suffer the most. The ebook version of Palm Avenue is now available, and you may purchase it here for immediate download.