The Valley Line: Barely a ‘Bah! Humbug!’ heard as holiday activities get underway

Yes, indeed, it is looking a lot like Christmas in and about our community. Last Friday afternoon, the annual Festival of Lights illuminated our burg with magic. With the flip of a switch from Santa Claus, the VIP of the festival, all of the trees in the median along Foothill Boulevard were outlined with tiny white lights. The bandstand at Memorial Park is looking so festive with its colored lights.

It was a joyous event featuring carolers, Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the naming of the new La Cañada Flintridge Royal Court.


On Saturday night, at least 2,000 people visited the charming village of Montrose for its 41st annual Montrose Christmas Parade. School bands, festively dressed special groups walking the route and Santa doing a fly-over from a helicopter were just some of the highlights.


About 20 members of the Oakmont League gathered at the home of Allison Weir for the League's Mannequin Christmas gift exchange and luncheon.

The home was beautifully decorated and the planned luncheon was savory. The fun part came with the give-and-take gift exchange.

Among the revelers were League President Lydia Trout, Nina Ratliff, Pam Sorem, Judy Mendicina, Jerri Clark, Fran Buchanan, Mary Broerman, Patsy Dewey, Carol Eldred, Ellen Farwell, Marion Graydon Greene, Zeva Joulhian, Mary Jo Ferrell, Shirley Johnstone, Kimberly Klosterman, Jackie Kubel, Chloe Ross, Alma Tycer, Donna Sauer, Cathy Steel and Sharon Swinford.

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A clear indication for me that the Christmas season is here happened when I attended A Noise Within's production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

It is such a fun presentation with great costumes, singing, dancing and superb acting.

After the production, the actors invited the audience to join them for a cup of fizzy apple cider. They signed playbill programs and answered questions about their roles.

Geoff Elliott, co-producer artistic director of A Noise Within with his wife, Julia Rodriguez Elliott, played the role of Ebenezer Scrooge.

"When I saw my first live performance of 'A Christmas Carol' nearly 35 years ago, I fell in love with the message perhaps because its message of forgiveness and transformation, struck a chord," Geoff Elliott said. "Whatever the reason, that first performance sparked a lifelong love for the story and we at A Noise Within are blessed to have it return to the stage for another year." This delightful production runs through Dec. 23.

By the way, here is some interesting Christmas Carol trivia I culled from the playbill to put in your brain and you can entertain someone with these details at the next cocktail party.

It took Charles Dickens just six weeks to write this work in 1843. Ten years after its publication, Dickens gave the first public reading of "A Christmas Carol" in Birmingham, England's town hall in front of an enthralled crowd of 2,000. The audience consisted of all working people from the town and the performance lasted just under three hours.

Dickens' original show did not have a single prop of costume. Dickens himself performed a one-man show, filling his stage with a throng of characters from his imagination "like an entire theatre company under one hat."

Dickens' pre-show ritual was pretty interesting. On performance days, he began with two tablespoons of rum (flavored with fresh cream) for breakfast, followed by a pint of champagne for tea. Then, a half-hour before the show, he would drink a raw egg beaten into a tumbler of sherry! I guess that made the show even merrier — or at least it made Dickens merrier.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada Flintridge social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.