Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Column: The Crowd: ’Tis the season for holiday giving

It is one of the time-honored Newport holiday traditions. “Christmas At The Ritz,” which unfolded Dec. 8, is the 32nd annual celebration produced by Women of Chapman in support of major funding projects at Chapman University in Orange.

The Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Beach welcomed the “dressed-to-impress” crowd for a sold-out luncheon and fashion show presented by couturier Grayse and jewelry purveyor Margaret Rowe. The super-dynamic Sheri Nazaroff chaired with assistance from a “who’s who” committee of long-time devotees. Among the notables were Leslie Cancellieri, Cynthia DeBaun, Lisa Hallaian, Mona Lee Nesseth and Barbara Eidson.

Women of Chapman President Anne Manassero greeted the arriving guests. Adrienne Brandes, Donna Bunce, Carol Lee, Pam Selber, Heidi Miller, Laura Baratta, Donna Bianci, Donna Calvert, Kathy Hamilton, Sue Hook, Donna Miller, and Toni Redman were among the VIP gals turning out for Chapman.

The significant underwriters were “grand patrons” Janet Curci, Sally Segerstrom, and corporate donor Whittier Trust. Also front and center were Laura Khouri and the ever-present support of Julia and George Argyros and the extended Argyros family.


Charlene Prager, widow of the late great restauranteur Hans Prager of Newport’s former Ritz, where the Chapman holiday luncheon originated, shared thirty-two years of Christmas memories with many in attendance.

Providing True Warmth On The Holidays

O.C. activists Bette and Wylie Aitken, mainstay supporters of a wide variety of humanitarian, cultural, scientific and civic endeavors, have a holiday tradition that really provides warmth on Christmas Day — and all winter season long.

We may live in climate paradise in the O.C., but winter nights can often dip below 40 degrees, even reaching freezing.

So, the Aitken holiday party is not about exchanging gifts. It’s about bringing gifts — specifically warm coats, jackets and clothing — for less fortunate O.C. citizens living on the street, in cars, under freeway overpasses or wherever shelter can be obtained.


The Aitken invitation spells it out. It reads, “There are over 15,000 homeless people (in the O.C.) but only 3,000 beds in shelters.”

The Dec. 2 event held at the Aitken residences in Anaheim Hills gathered hundreds of coats, sweaters, scarves, and jackets that were then donated to the Salvation Army’s Hospitality House in Santa Ana.

Wishing Daily Pilot readers a New Year of health, contentment and peace.

B. W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.