CROWN CITY'S CROWNING DAY: Even if your out-of-state relatives aren't able to make it out west for the holidays, they can still have their Golden State sojourn via one of the best known, most colorful, and sunniest spectacles on the planet. (Well, sunniest most years, we'll add, and 2015 looks as if it will follow that tradition.) Well, they can have their televised sojourn, that is; the Rose Parade screens just about everywhere there's a screen, and while it is a total delight to see the bud-bedecked floats, the brassy bands, and the mane-combed horses on a 27-inch TV, seeing it just feet away is another matter entirely. Which means that we Californians have the chance, with just a drive, to witness the pomp, circumstance, and mondo moving parts of all of those state-of-the-art floats up-close, on Colorado and Orange Grove Boulevards. Is it a bucket list kind of thing, for many a Golden State resident? You bet: That and seeing the redwoods are bullet points that tend to show up on a lot of life lists. Have you, as a Californian, seen the Rose Parade live yet? No? And it is on your gotta-do-it-once roster? Well, it is coming back around, which is no shocker, as everyone but everyone knows the date.
JANUARY 1, 2015... is the 126th roll for the procession at the flowery heart of the Tournament of Roses. The theme is "Inspiring Stories," which hopes will encourage "everybody to celebrate the many people who elevate the human spirit." The list of floats is lengthy -- AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Kiwanis International, and Trader Joe's will all make a showing -- and visitors to the Crown City can check out the floats being decorated in the days ahead of the parade. (Also, anyone can eye them after they park after the parade, at the ever-popular Float Showcase.) And while the stands do get busy come New Year's Day, there are many spots to stand and see the action, though tried-and-true fans do arrive well in advance. So, is this that bucket list year? Where you get some Golden State icons done, done, done? Let's make 2015 a bit more about travel, fun, and following through, and kicking that off on New Year's Day is a very promising start.