It's easy enough to spend all our time around the holidays doing anything but enjoying ourselves. But when we picked up a maphawk map we got some better ideas.
Around this time of year we make a special effort to spend time with friends, at home or at someone else's home, instead of in malls or getting crazy on the road (it's just too easy to get sucked into the craziness). Like we said, a big part of that is staying away from the car which, in LA, is easier said than done. A simple errand a couple of miles away can take an hour with everyone else on the road trying to get their holiday shopping done. So we're trying not to contribute.
One of the things we want to do is take advantage of all the neighborhoods in LA that we normally don't take the time to explore. We're too busy, etc. Maphawk maps are helping. You can find them for free by the register in most local shops. They've created maps of every neighborhood in LA to help you find your way and to encourage you to explore a neighborhood that you might not be totally familiar with. They outline scenic walks, local eateries, great shops and landmarks. If you want to totally avoid driving, you can pick up a map and discover or rediscover your own neighborhood. Do it with a friend or two and you'll do your part to contribute to real holiday spirit. We find that just taking in the sights, connecting with people and discovering a new place can take the place of needing to bring more things home. The experience is enough when you take the time to enjoy it.