I have to begin by acknowledging that this is a holiday season unlike any other. Normally at this point in the year, I’d be reminding you to save the date for the annual Holiday Open House and commenting on how busy and bustling the next few months will be, stuffed with parties and travel and large family gatherings. Instead, for many of us, this time promises to be quiet, even bittersweet, capping off a difficult year we’ll be glad to leave behind at midnight on December 31.
Yet instead of dwelling on all we’ve lost and what looks different, I believe it’s important to focus on what we still have and what will endure — and as always for us at Toluca Lake Magazine, that’s the strength and connectedness of our community. Our neighborhood’s recent Harvest Festival and Halloween events show that we can still celebrate together, even from a safe distance. And that same creative and communal spirit can bring enthusiasm and warmth to our winter holidays, too, whatever form they may take. So with this issue we bring you a local resource kit you can use regardless of how big or small your festivities turn out to be, whether you go out or stay home, and no matter how merry or meh you may feel this year.
There’s certainly no more comforting way to enjoy the season than with delectable desserts and cozy cocktails, so we’re highlighting one of each from local favorites Lou the French on the Block and Verse. These treats are expertly prepared by the pros at their respective eateries, but in case you’re looking to graduate from sourdough and banana bread and try a new kitchen project, we’ve scored the recipes so you can enjoy them without having to change out of your sweatpants.
It’s no secret that times are tough economically, especially for small businesses, and keeping your spending in the community is more important than ever. That’s why we’ve put together an expanded shopping and gift guide for Toluca Lake and its surrounding areas, loaded with ideas to deliver a much-needed pick-me-up to everyone on your list while making sure that the local institutions we love will survive and thrive into the new year and beyond. And because the season of giving isn’t just about the presents you can buy and wrap, we’re including local nonprofits you can support in their mission to help the vulnerable members of our community. We’re also profiling some of our neighbors who are working hard to contribute to worthy causes and make a difference all year long.
Please support our local business community, because it’s a vital part of the spirit that makes our neighborhood special — not to mention our magazine. Thanks to the support of our advertisers, this is our biggest issue yet! That’s a remarkable achievement in this challenging year, and we owe it all to their belief in our publication and our community. Please, show them your love in return by giving them your patronage whenever you can. We couldn’t do this without them, and Toluca Lake wouldn’t be Toluca Lake without them.
However you celebrate this season, I wish you and your loved ones peace, good health and good spirits.