Christmas means tamale season in Southern California

Customers line up outside Southland restaurants to pick up their annual Christmas batch of tamales

For many in Los Angeles, it’s as much a tradition as hanging up Christmas lights or putting presents under the tree -- the annual buying of tamales.

Though they’re great any time of the year, tamales are the traditional Christmas Eve meal for countless Southland families -- and restaurants take note.

On Wednesday, customers began lining up before 6 a.m. at restaurants from the San Fernando Valley to East L.A., where Tamales Lilianas was open bright and early to begin the holiday rush. The restaurant, among others, prepares thousands of tamales in the days leading up to Christmas and then sells them to customers by the dozen.

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