Ho, ho, honk if you see one: Car wreaths, some as big and round as Santa himself, have become a trendy seasonal item for warmhearted Southern California motorists.
The faux snow-covered pine rings, some homemade and others factory produced, have appeared quicker than a wink on all kinds of vehicles, from cabs to Cadillacs, from dump trucks to delivery vans.
There's a simple reason so many motorists are jolly about the holiday hood ornaments.
"I figure I spend so much time in my car, I should decorate it for Christmas," says Timi Krissman Freshman, 48, a real estate agent who paid $18.50 at Geary's of Beverly Hills for a 14-inch, synthetic, frosted wreath covered with pine cones, miniature apples and a red velvet bow.
"I think it's great because everybody is so intense right now with the hassle of Christmas," Freshman says. "The wreath just gives everybody a little lift."
The decoration does produce pleasant reactions, agrees Jim Morris, president of Perry Morris Corp., an equipment leasing firm. Ever since he plastered a plastic pine wreath on his Mercedes, "people think I'm Santa," Morris says. "They smile and honk and wave."
Putting a wreath on her red Pioneer not only "has put me in the spirit of the season," it also transformed her Jeep, says motorist Healy Cosay, adding, "It's like (being in) your own personal sleigh."
That was Bruce Meyer's intent when he created the auto wreath that is sold at Geary's, where he is president. Four years ago, he made a wreath for his wife's car. Based on reactions to it, he saw the market potential for the item, which he listed this year in Geary's mail-order catalogue. The firm has sold more than 2,000 wreaths, which attach to a vehicle's grill with plastic ties.
"They're just a very friendly gesture for the season," Meyer says. "I guess you could say we're driving motorists crazy with Christmas cheer."