‘Twas the Nice Column Before Christmas

Photo by Margie Barron

Fritz Coleman’s Christmas tree lighting with Ken Vick and the Marines.

Let’s see, who’s on the nice list this year? Certainly Toluca Lake’s honorary mayor Fritz Coleman avoids the “coal in your stocking” debacle by being a great guy all year round. But the spotlight shines especially bright on Coleman during the holidays when folks tune in NBC4’s much-loved weatherman to see “Fritz’s Holiday Lights” segments each night. He’s been spreading the joy of the season for 11 years now. And Fritz’s best holiday displays will be turned into a one-hour Christmas special. So look out for it.

Coleman also did a special segment as he officiated at the annual Toluca Lake Merchant’s Holiday Open House Christmas tree lighting ceremony with a bunch of carolers and cool kids. That took place in front of the Ramsey-Shilling Real Estate offices this year. And since the date was Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, World War II veteran Ken Vick, who lives in Toluca Lake with his wonderful wife Ollie, was enlisted to help flip on the lights. During his NBC4 weather telecast Coleman praised Vick as a hero, and invited all the military veterans on hand to join him and accept the thanks from a grateful nation.

Another fellow who puts the spotlight on our service men and women is Joe Mantegna, who has hosted the PBS Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day tribute concerts, along with Gary Sinise. The star of CBS’ Criminal Minds, Mantegna also goes out to visit army hospitals to show his support for our military. “I want them to be recognized and appreciated for their service,” he reported.

This holiday season Mantegna served as Grand Marshal of the 2012 Hollywood Christmas Parade Benefiting the Marine’s Toys for Tots, and said it was an honor. “It means a great deal to me to be part of this fine American tradition that has brought wonderful holiday cheer to millions over its 80-year history.”

A long-time resident of Toluca Lake, Joe and his wife Arlene own the “Taste Chicago” restaurant in Burbank, featuring his favorite foods from his hometown. Obviously good food is a big part of celebrating the holidays, along with good cheer. Joe noted, “In my family Christmas is one of the most joyous times of the year. I was so happy that we could celebrate it together in the streets of Hollywood with all the other families who saw this year’s parade.”

The second annual super-swinging “Home for the Holidays” big band concert presented by Rob Gonzalez certainly showed the true spirit of the season at the elegant Montage in Beverly Hills. It was a benefit for the Blood:Water Mission that helps bring fresh water to African villages and care to those suffering with AIDS. A great musician with a big heart, Gonzalez founded the Music Equal Love company that is “dedicated to making music about giving back rather than excess.” Helping Gonzalez host the concert was the stunning Justified actress Joelle Carter. Bless them both and all the boys in the band for being generous with their talents and gifts.

Speaking of gifts, Distinctive Assets’ gift-giving leader Lash Fary (he created the marketing craze of celebrity swag over a decade ago) will once again play Santa for Hollywood’s brightest stars. The innovative, useful, and fabulous products and services that will fill his sack include All Sports Couture NFL tops, Creative Nail Design, “BellowsDimondDesigns,” M3K Beauty products, Barley Labs dog treats, Slimware portion control plates, KIND Healthy Snacks, Dude Wipes, The Green Garmento, Krystal Klear Water filtration systems, and a Koloa Landing Wyndham Grand Resort Kauai getaway.

Who’s on Fary’s nice list? Would you believe Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Eva Longoria, Debra Messing, Mary J. Blige, Justin Timberlake, Emily Van Camp, Aisha Tyler, Jane Lynch, Ryan Gosling, Angela Bassett, Nancy O’Dell, Fergie, and Josh Duhamel? Plus Kathy Griffin and Chelsea Handler, who obviously only pretend to be naughty girls. I guess Santa knows best.

Merry Christmas to all, naughty or nice!

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