– By Kieran MacIntyre and Bella Elbaum
Christmas tree lighting ceremonies tend to be tawdry excursions for the family at their local shopping plaza or city park. The tree lights up and the pretty decorations become luminous, there’s a golf clap and everyone walks away. Universal Studios Hollywood gives this ceremony one hell of a Los Angeles treatment.
Every December Universal turns their theme park into Grinchmas, an homage to their 2001 film and the classic Dr. Seuss tale. The entertainment capital of L.A. Universal erects a massive snowy crooked tree that is decorated and festooned beautifully and the park is overrun with the jubilant citizens of Whoville, and don’t forget the rhymes, so many rhymes.
This years tree lighting ceremony a real treat for Angelenos, with the Whos dancing around, the MayWho (Mayor for you non-Seuss heads) making his proclamation, and of course one of the greatest literary curmudgeons himself, The Grinch and his adorable pup Max to spoil all the fun. But his efforts were in vain when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti came to the stage.
Garcetti delivered a tight and bright speech to the crowd about how Los Angeles is “The creative capital of the world” and reminded us why Universal symbolizes our creative culture.
He delivered a minor oration in Spanish before the lighting that garnered a lot of laughs from the crowd. We have nothing to say about his policies or other plans for the city, but if a mayor of Los Angeles can deliver a bilingual speech that can bring laughs in both of our cities’ vernaculars and drop an F bomb when our city’s NHL team wins the Stanley Cup as he did this summer, then he’s alright in our book.
After his speech, Garcetti then delivered an eloquent Seussian rhyme, special guests Yvette Nicole Brown, Alex and Carlos Pena Vega are brought on stage, the music kicks in and the Whos and the Not-Who guests coalesce to light the tree with strangely obtuse lighting switch, also in obscure Seuss fashion. The tree lights up and “dramatic” fireworks shoot overhead, the ceremony ended in a very Blitzkrieg Bop fashion but it was one of the most exciting tree lightings we had ever witnessed.
It’s difficult not to like anything Dr. Seuss related. If you don’t it’s possible you might have a black hole where your heart is supposed to be.
Universal really put in a lot of effort and time to make this a happy and jolly event that people of all ages could watch and enjoy. Not only was it stunning, but it had somewhat of an intimate feeling to it.
It was definitely a bit crowded, and you absolutely had to do your best to avoid those dreadfully tall people, but the surrounding area was the perfect size. You could see the dancers, actors, the mayor, and of course Max the dog perfectly.
The best part about it was that everyone seemed excited and happy to be there to perform for us! For them this isn’t a job, it’s a way to bring the people of Los Angeles together, and share the love during this fine holiday season. The lighting of the tree is an event that they put on every year, but every time it is done with love and care just as if it was their first tree lighting ceremony.