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Holiday Season

February 4, 2014 | By Tiffany Hsu
J.C. Penney Co., the retailer attempting a return to glory using deep discounts and Super Bowl tweets typed with mittens, said its holiday sales grew last year for the first time since 2011. The Plano, Texas, company said sales at stores open at least a year were up 3.1% during the all-important nine weeks of the holiday season, compared with the same period in 2012. For the full fiscal fourth quarter, which ended on Feb. 1, so-called same store sales were up 2%. The chain suffered a 32% plunge in same-store sales during the same quarter a year earlier.
December 19, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
The greatest of all holiday specials, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," is on ABC at 8 tonight (Thursday). (It's also available to stream free via Hulu.) I wrote about it a few years back and, unable to say it any better, regift that review to you here. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" makes its yearly visit this week, in all its gorgeous melancholy. One of the first and still relatively few holiday perennials created by television, it remains, after nearly 50 years, as fresh as snowfall.
October 18, 2012 | By Shan Li and Adolfo Flores, Los Angeles Times
With the holiday season approaching, retailers are rushing to put the latest toys on shelves and roll out extra services, all to woo parents who may be spending a bit more on Junior this year. Among the items ready to go are Lego Friends construction play sets, Monster High dolls, Batman Dark Knight action figures and collectible Squinkie Zinkies, all expected to be big sellers this year. A ghost of Christmas past - the Furby toy that resembles an owl - is reappearing this year, decked out with extra features.
December 17, 2013 | By Patrick Kevin Day
It wouldn't be the holidays without a performance of a timeless Christmas classic from a boys' choir. And what better ensemble to see perform than the Vienna Boys' Choir? And who better to perform with them than international screen superstar Will Ferrell? Well, it wasn't really the Vienna Boys' Choir on "Late Show With David Letterman" on Monday night, but it was Ferrell continuing his seemingly never-ending promotional tour for the upcoming "Anchorman 2. " And the song he selected was "Christmas Time Is Here," first performed on "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on CBS in 1965.
November 15, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
It's time to start taking bets on what tablet will reign supreme this holiday season. On Thursday, the folks behind made a bold prediction: They say the Kindle Fire HD will outsell the iPad mini by 2 to 1. To back up that claim, the coupon clearing house website cited data collected from its website that shows nearly twice as many searches for the words "Kindle Fire HD" compared with "iPad mini" in the last three weeks.  ...
November 13, 2013 | By Susan Denley
Tis the season for shopping venues to deck their halls. Many are having celebrations to mark the beginning of the holidays. Among the events coming up in the next few days: --Mickey Mouse and friends from Disneyland are expected at Fashion Island's two tree lighting ceremonies at 6 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday. The events will take place in the Neiman Marcus/Bloomingdale's courtyard at the mall at 401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach. After Saturday, the tree will be lighted every day at 5 p.m. --The Christmas tree lighting at the Grove is an entertainment spectacular.
November 10, 1991 | SUSAN PATERNO
Is anyone ready for Christmas? Bob Kemp of Glen Burnie, Md., is. His Christmas card arrives in Huntington Park on Nov. 17--four balloons, some as tall as three-story buildings, that will float above the city for the annual Christmas Lane Parade.
February 22, 2003 | BOB MIESZERSKI
Harlan's Holiday, who had his biggest win as a 3-year-old in the 2002 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, heads a field of 11 in the $500,000 Donn Handicap at 1 1/8 miles. Owned by Starlight Stable and now trained by Todd Pletcher after winning half of his 12 starts for original trainer Ken McPeek, Harlan's Holiday won his first start of the year Feb. 2. The 7-10 favorite, he was kept wide by jockey John Velasquez and went on to a workmanlike win in 1:42 1/5 for the 1 1/16 miles.
September 5, 2011 | By Andrea Chang, Los Angeles Times
As retailers head into the all-important holiday season, they have reason to be optimistic: Months of solid sales are widely expected to carry through to the end of the year, when shoppers are most likely to open their wallets. Positive holiday performance could have a far-reaching effect. With consumer spending accounting for about 70% of the nation's economic activity, robust sales could breathe life into what has been a sluggish year so far for the broader economy. Many industry analysts are predicting a good — but not great — holiday season.
December 17, 2010 | By Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
It's tempting at this time of year, with worn-out Christmas tunes blaring nonstop through every grocery store, hair salon and shopping mall from here to the Atlantic, to believe that, musically speaking, there's nothing new under the holiday sun. But you've never really heard "Jingle Bells" until you've heard it sung by Tuvan throat singers in an arrangement that sounds like bluegrass from one of the outer rings of Saturn. That's one of the sonic surprises that's likely to greet audiences this weekend when forward-gazing banjo player Béla Fleck brings his band, the Flecktones through Southern California on a brief holiday tour highlighting music from their Grammy Award-winning 2008 album, "Jingle All the Way. " For that collection, which snagged the pop instrumental album award two years ago, 11-time Grammy winner Fleck and his genre-blind associates did what they'd been doing for nearly two decades: They threw out the rule book, abandoned all sense of musical convention and let their inspiration run wild.
December 16, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Amazon workers in Germany went on strike Monday, protesting the working conditions at the online retailer's shipping centers. The workers' union, Ver.di, also sent a delegation to the company's Seattle offices. "The Amazon system is characterized by low wages, permanent performance pressure and short-term contracts," Ver.di said in a statement. Amazon employs about 9,000 workers in Germany plus an additional 14,000 seasonal workers; not all of them are union members. According to estimates, about 1,600 people took part in the strikes Monday at three German locations: Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, and Graben.
December 13, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
The tendency of high-tech entrepreneurs to swank around as if they own the world, whinging endlessly at the slightest inconvenience and wrinkling their noses at the proles standing in their way as they change the world, is so well-documented at this point, it scarcely needs repeating.  The question no one seems to have an answer for is: Why do they feel the impulse to air their grievances on Facebook? The latest entrepreneur to let his self-esteem get the better of him is one Greg Gopman, the head of an outfit called AngelHack.
December 12, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - First-time jobless claims surged last week to a two-month high after plunging to near a six-year low the previous week, highlighting the volatility of the data during the holiday season, the Labor Department said Thursday. About 368,000 people filed for initial unemployment benefits in the week ending Saturday, up from a revised 300,000 in the previous week. Economists believed the earlier figure was artificially low because of the Thanksgiving holiday that week.
December 12, 2013 | By August Brown
If you're planning to play one of R. Kelly's recent albums to liven up your holiday parties (and really, who isn't?), make sure you check the album art first. That's because his forthcoming Christmas album (due out in time for next year's holiday) would be a much more seasonally appropriate choice than his lascivious new one, "Black Panties. " Don't mistake the Christmas record as being exactly wholesome, however, he told Rap-Up Interview . "It's gonna be a lot of lovemaking.
December 3, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
In December, Southern California public gardens aren't so much about what's growing as what's glowing. Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, the Living Desert in Palm Desert and the San Diego Botanic Garden open for nighttime lights or luminaria displays. And Scrooge drops in for weekends at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge. Here's a list of holiday happenings at these gardens: Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont: Follow the more than 1,000 candle-lighted luminarias along a loop trail in the garden at night on weekends leading up to Christmas.
November 29, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu, Andrea Chang and Saba Hamedy
At 6 a.m. on a chilly Thanksgiving, hours before most Americans awoke, let alone began roasting their turkeys, Manny Rios Jr. was rushing into a Kmart store in Burbank. Fueled by free coffee and doughnuts catered by the retailer, the 47-year-old North Hollywood postman, his son Alex, 19, and a few dozen others steered their carts past fully staffed cash registers and a glittering display of Christmas trees. Rios' targets: a $39.99 7-inch Android tablet discounted more than 40%, a $179.99 RCA television that was 25% off and a Proscan DVD player marked down to $14.99 from $29.99.
January 24, 2012 | By David Sarno, Los Angeles Times
Remember when seeing an Apple Inc. iPad on a bus, an airplane or the subway was a startling new experience? Now you might be startled not to see one. Over the holiday season, so many people bought tablets for each other (and, presumably, themselves), that U.S. tablet ownership nearly doubled among adults, to 19% in January from 10% a month earlier. The rate is growing quickly: In May 2010, shortly after the debut of the iPad, only about 3% of consumers over age 16 owned tablets, according to survey information from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
November 29, 2013 | By Daniel Fink
Some celebrate Christmas, some Hanukkah and some Kwanzaa, but to me the coming holiday time is potlatch season, and it's starting earlier every year. A potlatch was a festival of the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest during which the host distributed property and gifts as a way to demonstrate wealth, generosity and social standing. Guests would reciprocate at a later time with items that matched or exceeded the value of the original gifts, or risk being humiliated. Although births and marriages were sometimes acknowledged at a potlatch, the main purpose was the reciprocal redistribution of wealth.
November 22, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu
Los Angeles residents will outspend fellow Americans this holiday season, shelling out $428 on average for gifts compared with the $421 national average, according to a report from Deloitte. The consulting firm surveyed 5,018 consumers nationally, with 506 of them from Los Angeles. The amount is a slight drop from last year, when Angelenos on average said they would spend $430 buying presents. This time around, however, they'll lavish their funds on gift cards, making it the most popular holiday item, outpacing clothing.
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