The 2019 Guide to Family Holiday Events In and Around New Orleans

Disclosure :: the 2019 guide to family holiday events in and around New Orleans is sponsored by Lakeside Shopping Center.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in the Crescent City. There’s no end to the festivities and fun that the holiday season brings to New Orleans. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of family-friendly holiday events in New Orleans. Check back frequently; we will be adding more New Orleans holiday events as they are announced. As always, check our Event Calendar and Monthly Guide for even more family fun! Click on the category of holiday fun you’re seeking and you’ll be brought to the listing of those events. 

The entire team at New Orleans Mom wishes you and your family a peaceful, festive, and fun holiday season.

Holiday Events In and Around Baton Rouge

Holiday Events In and Around Lafayette

New Orleans Family Friendly Featured Holiday Events 

Santa’s Arrival at Lakeside Shopping Center (November 23 at 8am)

‘Tis the season of Magic & Memories! Join Lakeside and jolly old St. Nick for a season of comfort and joy. Special activities at the arrival celebration include crafts for kids, letters to Santa, Mrs. Claus meet & greet, and of course, photos with Santa himself. Santa and the North Pole Express Train will be at Lakeside November 23rd-Christmas Eve. Don’t forget the Santa Photo Express Pass! You can book online and save time waiting in line for Santa photos, which means more time for festive fun!

Black Friday Brunch & Bubbles at Lakeside Shopping Center (November 29 at 8am)

Find something for everyone on your list this Black Friday! Shop and dine Black Friday from 7am to 9pm.

Find the Lakeside table at Center Court and show a $50 Black Friday shopping receipt from any store in the mall and you will receive a VIP Brunch from Lakeside & Bravo! (Must be 21 years old to enjoy the bubbles!) Offer good while supplies last.

Groups of 3+ shoppers wearing matching t-shirts will be entered into the Black Friday raffle drawing.

The 2019 Guide to Family Holiday Events In and Around New Orleans

Check out our event categories included below and jump straight to that section by clicking below to see all of the family friendly holiday events in and around New Orleans this year!

Holiday Teas, Concerts & Merriment | Santa Meet & Greets | Holiday Lights | Sips & Shops | Nutcracker Performances | Fun Runs & Races

Holiday Teas, Concerts & Merriment

Teddy Bear Teas, Caroling, Concerts and parades (of course) … there’s something for everyone no matter what holiday you celebrate or how you celebrate it.

Beignets WITH Santa on the Bayou (November 23) :: Join New Orleans Mom for our annual holiday event — Beignets on the Bayou presented by Bambino Sitters NOLA: Babysitting Made Easy for The Big Easy! This festive holiday event will feature beignets via Beignet Belle Catering and photos with Santa at the gorgeous Sacred Heart campus in uptown New Orleans AND at Fleur de Lis Event Center in Mandeville. All guests will leave with fun swag and gifts, and with the donation of physical items to Raintree Children & Family Services, guests can enter to win incredible prizes such as a gift card to Brennan’s Restaurant, 4 tickets to Audubon Zoo Zoo Lights, Mox Shoes, goodies from Monogram Express and more! Purchase tickets HERE for the Southshore event and HERE for the Northshore event! 

Breakfast With Santa at Brennan’s (December 14) :: Join Santa at Brennan’s for a seated meal and enjoy all kinds of holiday fun, like a Cookie Decorating Station, Holiday Face Painting by Faye Graham, Balloon Twisting Fun, Reindeer Games in the Courtyard, Photo Opportunities with Santa in his Sleigh & “Elfies” with the Elf on the Shelf.

Cookies With Santa at St. Martin’s Episcopal School (December 14 | 10am) :: On Saturday, Dec. 14, St. Martin’s Episcopal School’s Performing Arts Department will host Cookies with Santa, a fun-filled event for the entire family. The festive event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in Saints Hall on the StM Campus (225 Green Acres Road, Metairie, La 70003). Attendees will celebrate the season with cookies, hot cocoa, and a visit from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their elves. Come join the fun and have a picture taken with Santa, listen to storytelling by Mrs. Claus, create a holiday craft, and enjoy holiday music. Cost: $20 per family.

A Christmas Story: The Musical at the Saenger Theatre (December 17-22) :: From the songwriting team behind the smash hit Tony Award-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen and the Academy Award-winning film La La LandA CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL, brings the classic 1983 movie to hilarious life on stage! Set in 1940s Indiana, a young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker schemes his way toward the holiday gift of his dreams, an official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. Nominated for three 2013 Tony Awards including Best Musical, the Associated Press calls A CHRISTMAS STORY, THE MUSICAL “a joyous Christmas miracle,” while The New York Times writes “I was dazzled. You’d have to have a Grinch-sized heart not to feel a smile spreading across your face.”

Louisiana Children’s Museum Festival of Trees (November 30- December 29) :: Enjoy the museum’s creative collection of holiday trees created by local schools, artists, and community partners as well as community performances by local choirs, dance groups, jazz ensembles, school bands, and more! Trees will be on display throughout the month of December.

Krewe of Jingle Holiday Parade (December 7 | 1:00pm) :: There’s always a reason to have a parade! New Orleans’ official holiday parade, the “Krewe of Jingle,” will once again delight locals and visitors alike with authentic parade floats, marching bands, stilt walkers, Christmas characters and other magical surprises!

Holiday Movies on the Mississippi (December 6, 13, & 20 | 6:30pm) :: The Downtown Development District and The Outlet Collection at Riverwalk present three weekends of special outdoor movie showings at Spanish Plaza! December 6 – The Grinch (2018 Version) December 13 – The Muppet Christmas Carol December 20 – Elf.

Caroling in Jackson Square (December 22 | 7:00pm) :: This local favorite event is free and open to the public. Join in a truly moving annual tradition as Jackson Square brims with thousands of candlelit faces and spirits lift as high as the spires of the St. Louis Cathedral. Candles and song sheets provided. Gates open at 6:30pm, and Caroling begins at 7:00pm. 

French Quarter Holiday Home Tour (December 22 | 1:00pm) :: Savor the holiday spirit as Patio Planters of the Vieux Carré presents French Quarter residences and historic homes dressed for the season. The tour includes interesting architectural styles and home furnishings, as well as a variety of collections of Christmas decorations. This December fundraiser is a prelude to the highly anticipated Caroling in Jackson Square later in the evening.

PRCNO Holiday Home Tour (December 14 and 15 | 10:00am) :: This is your chance to tour beautifully trimmed homes in the Garden District and admire the architecture and history of the neighborhood. The tour is a self-guided walking tour starting at Trinity Church, with stops at eight gorgeous, decked out homes. The tour also includes access to an extensive holiday boutique featuring dozens of local artists, craftsmen, and retailers; as well as regional cuisine, located at the tour headquarters at Trinity Episcopal Church.

A Merry Canteen Christmas With the Victory Belles (December 1-23 | Weekends and Select Weekdays) :: The Victory Belles are back this Christmas season with all your favorite holiday tunes! When a WWII veteran gifts a trunk full of wartime memorabilia, the Victory Belles unwrap so many memories and reminisce the best way they know how—singing in beautiful three-part harmony!

Teddy Bear Tea at the WWII Museum (December 7, 14 & 21) :: The annual Teddy Bear Tea is the perfect holiday experience to share with children and grandchildren. The event will feature delicious food and sweet treats, lively music from the Victory Belles, and an extra invitation for their favorite teddy or doll! Young guests will be entertained by favorite holiday songs, a festive photo station, and even a special visit from Santa at this all-new holiday event. Young guests will leave with a teddy bear—and warm memories they’re sure to treasure for years!

Chabad-Chanukah at the Riverwalk (December 22 | 4:00pm – 6:00pm) :: A celebration of Jewish pride on the Mississippi River and the lighting of Louisiana’s largest Menorah. Gather with hundreds of community members for this public Chanukah celebration. Includes food, music and much more.

Jewish Children’s Regional Service Latkes With A Twist (December 12 | 7pm) :: JCRS will host its 5th annual community-wide Hanukkah party, “Latkes with a Twist,” on Dec.12, at Press Street Station located at 5 Homer Plessy Way in the historic Faubourg Marigny. The Washington Post has listed our event as one of the Top 10 Hanukkah parties in the US! Frank Brigsten, chef and owner of Brigsten’s, will be the featured “Latke Master” along with NOCCA culinary students and friends. 

Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch With Santa (Various Dates) :: 2019 Dates: Friday, December 20 with seatings at 11:00 and 1:30 and on Monday, December 23 with seatings at 9:00, 11:30 and 2:00 pm. Please call 504-522-7261 or email [email protected] for reservations (required) and information. Includes live Jazz entertainment, full brunch buffet, special kid’s buffet, visit with Santa and a gift for every child.

Holiday Tea at Longue Vue House & Gardens (December 14) :: Children and families are invited to join Longue Vue House and Gardens for some festive holiday cheer! Enjoy celebrating the holiday season at Longue Vue with an afternoon tea, festive holiday crafts, and photos with Santa. An assortment of tea, cookies, sandwiches and sweets will be served. Reservations are required and seating is limited. Loupe Photography will be present to take pictures with Santa. Prices for this are listed on our website.

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (various holiday concerts) :: Enjoy the sounds of the season, with a wide variety of concerts around the metro area, including the  LPO Holiday Spectacular on December 14th, featuring none other than the 610 Stompers! The Yuletide Celebration concerts are on December 5th, 6th & 8th, and and the Baroque Christmas Concerts are on December 19 and 20. Each concert will feature their own special holiday twist. Check the LPO website for full details and event information.

Holiday Tea at the Windsor Court (Select Dates through December 31) :: The centerpiece of the New Orleans Holiday Season, seatings include a properly brewed pot of tea; a glass of sherry, sparkling wine or specialty cocktail; an enchanting selection of English tea sandwiches; seasonal scones with clotted cream; and a final course of gourmet desserts.

Papa Noel Tea at the Davenport Lounge, Ritz Carlton Hotel (select days in December) :: Head to the Davenport Lounge for a special holiday celebration featuring an appearance by Papa Noel. Children will enjoy cookie decorating, viewing The Ritz-Carlton’s one of a kind gingerbread display, and other holiday surprises. Seatings at 11:00am or 2:30pm.

Build Your Own Gingerbread House, Main Lobby, Ritz Carlton Hotel (Select Days in December) :: Continue the tradition with The Ritz-Carlton as children of all ages are invited to build a festive gingerbread house. Price includes one gingerbread house with all of the decorating essentials and holiday refreshments. Each house can accommodate up to four guests. Adult supervision and reservations are required. 12:00pm or 3:00pm seating times available.

Royal Teddy Bear Tea at Royal Sonesta New Orleans  (December 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 at at 11:00am & 2:00pm) :: Little Princes & Princesses are invited into our Magical Royal Kingdom at Royal Snownesta where their fantasies come to life in our beautiful Grand Ballroom! Featuring story time with Mrs. Claus, a sing-a-long with Rudolph, the Sugarplum Fairy and Marching Toy Soldiers for an interactive holiday adventure that children of all ages can enjoy. Word has it that Santa himself will make a special appearance all the way from the North Pole! Photos with Santa will be available for purchase before and after each seating.

Teddy Bear Tea at The Roosevelt (select days in December) :: Our elves are busily preparing for this popular event that delights and excites children of all ages!  At Teddy Bear Tea you will be taken on Santa’s journey to the rooftops of New Orleans. Santa and Mrs. Claus will welcome you and your children while you enjoy a presentation of delicious holiday food, specialty teas, and tasty pastries, as well as sparkling wine and mimosas for Mom and Dad. Insider’s tip: The Roosevelt has one of the most spectacular light displays to enjoy if you don’t want to splurge for the tea itself!

Brunch with Santa at the Bourbon Orleans (select days in December | 10:00am and 1:30pm) :: The Bourbon Orleans Hotel invites you and your family to celebrate the magic of Christmas at Brunch with Santa and his Elves at our historic Orleans Ballroom. A variety of food will feature specialty stations to traditional brunch fare. Adults will enjoy free flowing mimosa and poinsettia cocktails. There will also be a special appearance by historic New Orleans characters, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Santa & Mrs. Claus and live musical entertainment.

Deanie’s Seafood French Quarter Candyland Christmas (December 7, 8, 14 & 15) :: Treat your kids and family to a Christmas celebration featuring Vince Vance New Orleans’ premiere family entertainer. Enjoy delicious treats, traditional Christmas caroling, pictures with Santa, a full buffet breakfast and more. 

Ponchatoula Christmas Parade (December 8 | 6pm) :: Please join us for our Annual Ponchatoula Christmas Parade! The theme this year will be “Christmas On The Bayou”! It’s going to be a great time, so bring the family out to watch!

Hammond Christmas Parade (December 7 | 5:30pm) :: Cypress Pointe Hospital is proud to present the Rotary Club of Hammond 61st Annual Christmas Parade Saturday, December 7, 2019 starting at 5:30pm. This year’s theme is “I’ll  Be Home for Christmas.”

Yawn Station Christmas Tree Farm (Opens November 23rd) :: Choose and cut your own from the trees tagged. The field will contain trees from 3 to 10 ft in height.  A number of Fraser Firs in all sizes are shipped in from the higher elevations of Mitchell County in North Carolina arriving for the week of Thanksgiving.  Pre-cut trees will be trimmed and placed in water upon arrival to keep them fresh.

Benedict’s Plantation Breakfast with Santa (December 8th | 11am-1pm) :: Please join us for a fabulous morning of Holiday fun and food!  Start with our sumptuous breakfast buffet and holiday dessert bar.  We will have dishes to please both adults and children alike.  Then head over to the petting zoo ( Toddler Express) or craft stations.  Of course, Santa will be available for photos and Christmas wishes.  Come visit him in our beautifully decorated Sugar Plum room.  He will have a special gift for all the little boys and girls. Mrs. Claus will be greeting guests and bringing her homemade cookies to decorate.  Our elves will be on hand for some holiday face painting and crafts.

Mount Carmel Academy Breakfast with St. Nick (December 14 | 9:30am) :: Fun for the whole family including Christmas-themed arts and crafts, games, pictures with Santa, and a full breakfast. Activities and Santa Photos begin at 9:30 a.m., and breakfast will be served from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Holiday Teas at La Petite Palace (Various dates in December) :: La Petite Palace will host a variety of holiday parties. Check back soon for updated information!

NOLA Christmasfest (December 20-31) :: On December 20, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center magically transforms into the North Pole. Admission to the Christmasfest gets you access to a Kringle Carousel & carnival rides, giant inflatables & climbing wall, indoor ice skating rink (includes skate rentals), a life-size maze, snowball fight & ice slide, children’s crafts & New Orleans-themed gingerbread house exhibit, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and other holiday characters. Dozens of decorated Christmas trees and millions of lights will be on display for attendees to enjoy.

Caroling Down the River: Christmas Eve on the Creole Queen (December 24) :: A Christmas Eve Cruise on the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen is the perfect New Orleans way to spend the night before Christmas. Enjoy a delicious feast with family and friends among beautiful holiday decorations in an elegant dining room. Dance and sing along to a live jazz band under the stars from the upper deck, offering the best views in the city.

Creole Queen Cajun Holiday Tea with Papa Noel (December 14 & 15 | Boarding: 10:00am AND 1:30pm) :: Come pass a good time aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen with Papa Noel, Mrs. Noel, Gaston the Gator and other jolly Cajun characters during this enchanting family festivity. Enjoy a classic holiday tea with tempting treats, storytelling, face painting, magic tricks, children’s activities and merriment while cruising the mighty Mississippi. Come hold a real live alligator and, as lagniappe, each child gets a special present. Seating is limited, so make your reservations early!

Christmas Under the Stars (December 6-14) :: Join the City of Slidell for multiple days of holiday celebration at Griffith Park in Olde Towne Slidell 6 to 9 pm. This event features thousands of twinkling lights, festive decorations, visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, the Parade of Trees, and a life-sized Christmas Village. Admission is free.

Holiday Concert with the Northshore Community Orchestra (December  19 | 7pm):: The City of Slidell invites you to attend a Holiday Concert with the Northshore Community Orchestra on in the Slidell Municipal Auditorium. Admission is free.

Steele’s Christmas Tree Farm (Opens Thanksgiving Day at 2:00pm) :: Make family memories at this Christmas tree farm in Angie, Louisiana. A short drive from New Orleans, you can give your children the experience of cutting down their very own tree. Steele’s has been in business for over 30 years and has hundreds of trees to select from, up to 12 feet tall!

Norco Christmas Parade (December 1 | 2:00pm) :: A yearly tradition, the Norco Christmas Parade is a holiday favorite in the River Parishes. Featuring this year’s theme “Norco Noel: Norco Through the Years,” this parade features visits from local marching bands & dance groups, festival queens, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Local teams compete with creative floats and marching groups to match this year’s theme. Starting on Washington Street and ending at River Road & Apple Street, it finishes with a community celebration that includes caroling, the lighting of the Christmas tree and visits with Santa & Mrs. Claus (and pictures, too!)

Annual Festival of the Bonfires (December 13-15) :: Christmas on the river, Cajun style! Enjoy great food, live entertainment, crafts, Santa’s Very Merry Forest and carnival rides throughout the weekend. Each night will be highlighted with a single bonfire lighting. Come out and experience a prelude to the famous Christmas Eve Bonfires: A tradition unique to St. James Parish and all the world!

Christmas Eve Bonfire Express (December 24 | 4:30pm) :: Celebrate a time-honored Louisiana tradition: the lighting of the bonfires on the banks of the Mississippi River!  The Bonfire Express includes round-trip transportation to view the bonfires that light the way for Papa Noel (our Cajun Santa Claus) to bayou country. For many years this Cajun community has built mammoth wooden structures such as cabins, tepees, & riverboats along the Mississippi River levee. Come see the “feux de joie” (fires of joy)! Some walking is necessary

The Polar Express New Orleans (Various Dates) :: Do you believe? Powered by Amtrak and featuring local actors, this one-of-a-kind experience opens December 9th and runs through January 1st.

Holiday Gingerbread Workshop at Red Fish Grill (December 7 & 14) :: tart a New Holiday Tradition! Kids of all ages are invited to partake in this festive and fun tradition of building and decorating gingerbread houses at Ralph Brennan’s Red Fish Grill.  Spend time with family decorating pre-assembled gingerbread houses with handfuls of holiday candy, royal icing, and celebratory sprinkles, personally procured by Santa’s elves.  Order from our shareable seafood menu, complete with special brunch dishes, kids menu and featured Holiday Cocktails, as well as a full bar.  Visit the festive Hot Chocolate Station, where kids get interactive by selecting their favorite toppings. Adults get in on the action too, by spiking theirs with a favorite holiday spirit! Santa, his elf, and our “Elf on the Shelf” will make table visits and offer digital photo downloads with “Social Ring by Boogie Booth!” (included in the price of admission). In addition to this new offering, we will have our traditional holiday backdrop set up for family photos at the end of the workshop if you’d like to take your own keepsake photos. 

Christmas at TerraBella ( December 6| 6pm-8:30pm) :: Join our community as we celebrate the spirit of the season and experience the magic of Christmas. Enjoy live holiday music from local talent, hot chocolate, Christmas crafts, write letters to Santa, and ride the TerraBella Express. Special appearance from Santa Clause to greet and consult with children about their wish lists. Festive holiday event all children are sure to love.  Pictures with Santa are $10.00. COAT DRIVE – please donate a new or gently worn coat, scarf, gloves, blanket or hat to benefit the homeless.

Holidays on Harrison (December 11 | 5pm) :: Holiday choirs, snow, caroling, cookie decorating, and so much more will be happening in the schoolyard of St. Paul’s Episcopal as Lakeview comes together to celebrate the season.

He is Born: A Christmas Concert With the Daughters of St. Paul (December 10) :: Come see the talented Daughters of St. Paul celebrate the season in song at JPAC.

Pancakes With Santa (November 9) :: Come out to the Junior Auxiliary of Hammond’s 5th Annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa at the Jolly Jingles Market!! $10 per person includes pancake breakfast, entry to Jolly Jingles Market, and picture time with Santa and his elves!

A Very Merry Christmas Spectacular (December 6-15) :: The 30 by Ninety Theater in Mandeville presents this fun Christmas production.

A Visit to Santa’s Land (December 7) :: A Visit to Santa’s Land has become a tradition for children in Thibodaux and the surrounding areas. Join us for a family holiday event featuring kid’s crafts and activities, games, snacks and pictures with Santa.

Santa Meet & Greets

Santa loves the Crescent City! More Santa sightings and photo opportunities will be added as they are announced.

Santa’s Arrival at Lakeside Shopping Center (November 23 at 8am) :: ‘Tis the season of Magic & Memories! Join Lakeside and jolly old St. Nick for a season of comfort and joy. Special activities at the arrival celebration include crafts for kids, letters to Santa, Mrs. Claus meet & greet, and of course, photos with Santa himself. Santa and the North Pole Express Train will be at Lakeside November 23rd-Christmas Eve.

Santa Pictures at the Southern Hotel (November 24, December 1, 8, & 15) :: Santa will visit the beautiful Southern Hotel in Covington on four dates in November & December. Photos will be taken by Heidi Bower; reservations required.

Christmas on the Farm at Zoo 2 U (December 14 & 15 | 11am) :: Come and join us at the Farm with Santa and his reindeer for a day filled with fun and excitement. Take your family photos with Santa in his sleigh, play reindeer games and make reindeer food. Take pictures with HumpD our Christmas Camel.  Meet Santa’s other friends, the tortoise and the hare, his pot belly pigs, Pygmy goats, bunnies, chickens, and CoatiMundi.  Also see up close the had raise bobcats, wolves and foxes.  There will also be pony rides for the kids, face painting and reindeer games.

Selfies With Santa at The Shops at Canal Place (December 14 | 10am-1pm:: On December 14th from 10 AM to 1 PM, you can settle in for Santa’s favorite snack (cookies, of course!), bask in the holiday glow of the 45-foot Christmas tree, enjoy a puppet show and meet the jolly man himself!

Santa at Oakwood Mall (November 16- December 24) :: Stop by Oakwood Mall in Gretna and visit with Jolly Old St. Nick while you get your photo taken. Special pet photos with Santa are also available on select dates.

Santa Pics at the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter (December 9 | 9am-1pm) :: Bring the kids, bring the pets, or bring both for photos with Santa to support medical services for animals housed at the shelter.

Holiday Lights

Pack the kids up in the car, turn up the holiday music, get a go-cup of hot cocoa, and check out the amazing light displays NOLA has to offer. Some neighborhoods have some larger than life lights displays that are worth a detour and a later-than-normal bedtime.

Celebration in the Oaks (November 29 – January 1, closed Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve) :: An annual favorite in New Orleans City Park 33 years running, this seasonal event is fun for the whole family. Featuring hundreds of thousands of lights, caroling, a giant poinsettia tree, food and general merriment, this is a do-not-miss holiday event in New Orleans. Be sure to take your photo with the giant Mr. Bingle! There are also private preview parties held before the opening each year. Insider tip :: buy tickets online ahead of time to avoid long lines at the gates.

French Market’s Annual Tree Lighting & Shop Away In the Vieux Carre (November 22| 5:30pm – 6:30pm) :: The French Market features holiday activities daily. Enjoy shopping, holiday decorations, costumed characters and even strolling carolers. Live music and family entertainment begins at 5:30pm, followed by FMC’s annual tree lighting at 6:30pm. The night culminates in a special fireworks show sponsored by New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation.

Canal Street Lighting (November 26| 5:00pm – 7:00pm) :: Canal Street will light up with millions of twinkling lights for the holiday season. The lighting will take place in front of the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel at 5:30PM. After the lights turn on, stop by the hotel’s Grand Ballroom for special activities including entertainment and Santa! Kids who bring an unwrapped toy for donation can join Santa to decorate holiday cookies.

Ponchatoula Downtown Lighting Ceremony (December 6 | 6pm) :: Stroll the streets and enjoy the official lighting at 6:00pm. The Mayor will be flipping the switch to light up the town. Get into the holiday spirit with lots of food, fun, and hot chocolate. Santa will be on the steps of Collinswood Museum with candy canes for the kids. The train will run every Friday (2nd, 9th, 16th) from 6pm – 9pm and every Saturday and Sunday from 5pm – 9pm. The last day for the train is December 18th.

Roosevelt Hotel Lobby Lighting (December 3 | 5:00pm) :: Join locals and international guests as the 80+ year tradition continues at the annual lighting ceremony. This year’s lobby display features 135,572 lights, 1,004 feet of garland, 698 hand tied bows and 2,200 glass ornaments decorating 44 Christmas trees and 3,328 feet of Winter White Branches. The holiday display will be up through January 4th, 2020.

Light Display at Lafreniere Park (November 30- December 30) :: The park sparkles for the holidays with thousands of twinkling lights and displays.  $5.00 per vehicle – you must use the entrance on West Napoleon Avenue access gate of the park.  The Children’s Carousel will be open nightly  – $1.00 per child.  You can also park and walk to see the lights for no extra charge. Sunday-Thursday Dusk til 9:45 pm and Friday-Saturday Dusk til 11:45 pm.

Kenner Christmas Village (Fridays & Saturdays, December 6-28 | 6:00pm – 9:00pm) :: The Kenner Christmas Village will light up the Rivertown historic district. Fridays & Saturdays feature various festivities, including caroling, costumed holiday characters, and appearances by Santa, along with craft and food vendors and entertainment by local school and dance troops. Christmas Village admission is free.

Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation Lights at the Lake (December 14 | 2:00pm -8:00pm) :: Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation will host the 6th annual Lights at the Lake Holiday Bash on Saturday, December 14, 2018 from 2:00pm to 8:00pm at the New Canal Lighthouse. Join us for a beautiful night on the lake and enjoy the best spot to view the holiday boat parade. In addition to the fantastic music line-up, delicious food from local food trucks and tantalizing hot toddies and refreshments, there will be kids craft & educational activities, and pictures with Santa. The Lights at the Lake Holiday Bash supports the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation in its mission to restore and preserve the entire Pontchartrain Basin for the benefit of this and future generations. 

The Ritz-Carlton’s Holiday Ribbon Cutting Reception (November 26 |11am) :: Hotel guests and locals are invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by none other than Papa Noel himself. Join us as we unveil the hotel’s ornate holiday decorations, including the centerpiece: a life-sized gingerbread house replica of the famed New Orleans ‘Wedding Cake House.’ Join us as we light up the season.

Sips & Shops

Need to get some holiday shopping done? New Orleans has plenty of art markets and holiday sip & shop events to offer. Check back for more additions as the holidays get closer!

Black Friday Brunch & Bubbles at Lakeside Shopping Center (November 29 at 8am) :: Find something for everyone on your list this Black Friday! Shop and dine Black Friday from 7am to 9pm. Find the Lakeside table at Center Court and show a $50 Black Friday shopping receipt from any store in the mall and you will receive a VIP Brunch from Lakeside & Bravo! (Must be 21 years old to enjoy the bubbles!) Offer good while supplies last. Groups of 3+ shoppers wearing matching t-shirts will be entered into the Black Friday raffle drawing.

Sips of the Season Stroll (December 6 | 5pm-9pm) :: Start a festive holiday weekend in Old Mandeville on Friday, December 6 with one of the most anticipated culinary events of the holidays, “Sips of the Season.” Grab your friends and join in the merriment of Christmas as you stroll Girod Street at dusk, stopping in to the brightly decorated shops and restaurants. Strollers receive an official mug (your admission, and you souvenir to keep) to be filled at each stop, along with a card listing businesses dispensing the holiday-themed libations available at each stop. With 40+ stops in all–restaurants, bars and shops, all within walking distance of the Mandeville lakefront–this event is not to be missed. There is no designated order to the visits, and participating strollers are invited to enjoy them at their leisure from 5:00pm to 9:00pm.

Freret Street Holiday Markets (December 7 | 11am – 4:00pm) :: The Freret Street Market hosts an extra special in December so you can get all of your Holiday shopping done. Live music, food, and dozens of local vendors will be on hand.

Palmer Park Holiday Market (December 21 & 22 | 10:00am – 4:00pm) :: The Arts Council of New Orleans presents the Palmer Park Art Market at the corner of Palmer & Claiborne. Food, fun, and plenty of great handmade gifts  by local artisans will be for sale.

Ringing In the Arts at the Gretna Farmer’s Market (December 7 | 5pm-8pm) :: The City of Gretna invites you to our Fine Art Evening Festival celebrating a Victorian Christmas. Join us for an evening of fine art, music, a parade of prizes, People’s Choice Award, and refreshments in our outdoor gallery against the dramatic backdrop of our quaint city.

St. Matthew the Apostle Holiday Market (November 23rd | 10am-4pm) :: Crafts, Shopping, and door prizes will be available at this festive and fabulous event!

St. Ann School Christmas Boutique (November 18 | 7pm-10pm) :: Come to St. Ann to get an early start on your holiday shopping with local vendors.

Waldorf School Winter Faire and Tree Sale (December 7 | 10am-4pm) Crafts, a book fair, magical forest, puppet show, gifts and entertainment await you at the Waldorf School!

St. Tammy Christmas Celebration Expo (December 6, 7 & 8 | 10am-4pm):: Featuring more than 500 artists and craftspersons from a multi-state area, plus 20 food booths, at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds in Covington.

Nutcracker Performances

The classic Nutcracker ballet is a Christmas favorite for young and old. Sugar Plum Fairies, dancing snowflakes, and a growing Christmas tree will make for magical memories to last a lifetime.

Delta Festival Ballet (December 21 & December 22) :: DFB’s 37th Anniversary Season of The Nutcracker directed by Joseph and Maria Giacobbe. This year’s ballet will be performed by DFB’s outstanding local professionals and a Youth Corps of over 100 young dancers from the Greater New Orleans Area. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra will accompany the performances at Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts.

New Orleans Ballet Theater (December 14th, 15th, 21st & 22nd) :: New Orleans Ballet Theatre performs Tchaikovsky’s timeless favorite, The Nutcracker, at the newly renovated Orpheum Theater. The performance will include over 60 young local dancers. Lead roles will be performed by the internationally acclaimed dancers of New Orleans Ballet Theatre.

Saenger Theatre (December 27 | 3:00pm and 7:00pm) :: Moscow Ballet’s spectacular Great Russian Nutcracker is the must-see event this holiday season! Celebrate the beloved Christmas tradition with the whole family as world-class Russian artists bring this charming classic to life. Experience Tchaikovsky’s master score this Christmas with the magic of larger than-life-puppets, growing Christmas tree and life-sized Matrushka Dolls!

Ballet Louisiane (December 13th and 14th) :: Lelia Haller Ballet Classique presents Ballet Louisiane’s 12th annual production of the holiday dance classic, The Nutcracker.

Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts (December 13 & 14 | 7pm) :: Enter a winter wonderland of sugar plum fairies, dancing flowers, and toy soldiers as the classic ballet returns to Columbia this holiday season. Staged by the Hammond Ballet Company, The Nutcracker features professional guest artists and excellent all-star local dancers. This very special production is a family favorite and sure to fill everyone with the spirt of the holidays.

Ballet Apetrei (December 13th & 14th):: Join Ballet Apertei and creative director Kelly Fortier in Mandeville for their annual performance of the classic Nutcracker Ballet.

Jefferson Performing Arts Society (December 21 & 22):: An ALL NEW PRODUCTION of the classic ballet which has become a holiday favorite. THE NUTCRACKER is the story of a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and his fierce battle against a Mouse King. Under the direction of Kenneth Beck.

Fun Runs & Races

December weather is beautiful in south Louisiana; less humidity makes everyone want to get outside. Load up the family for a holiday fun run, race, or people-watching along a race route!

Celebration in the Oaks 2 Mile Run/Walk (December 7) :: NOLA’s favorite family fun run, participants will make their way  through City Park as they enjoy all of the light displays and festive decorations. The costume contest is always a big hit. Special appearance by Jolly Old St. Nick! Race entry gets you refreshments and admission to the Botanical Gardens, Story Land, and the Amusement Park.

Hammond Reindeer Run 5K (December 7) :: This family-friendly and pet-friendly run is an annual event. Participants will enjoy the holiday decorations as they weave their way through charming downtown Hammond. 

Houma Reindeer Run 5k (December 8) :: Girls on the Run presents their annual Bayou Region Reindeer Run. The holiday-themed race will weave through the beautiful Southdown Plantation and adjacent neighborhoods.

Canal Place New Orleans Reindeer Run & Romp (December 14) :: Calling all kids! The Downtown Development District presents the annual holiday fun run for kids! Participants receive antlers, race t-shirts, and a bag of holiday goodies. After the race, enjoy healthy activities, games, music, crafts, and more! For route details, visit www.downtownnola.com/Holidays

Lutcher Bonfire Festival 5k & Kids Run (December 15) :: Part of the St. James Parish tradition of lighting the way for Santa Claus, join runners from the River Region for a 5k and 1/2 mile kids fun run. Lutcher Park • 2601 Lutcher Avenue Lutcher.

Jingle Bell 5k Run – New Orleans (December 7) :: The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run is a fun way to get out, get moving and raise funds and awareness to cure America’s #1 cause of disability. Kick off your holidays by helping conquer arthritis once and for all! Wear a holiday-themed costume, tie jingle bells to your shoelaces, show off your ugly Christmas sweater, and complete a 5-kilometer run or walk with your team members, spreading smiles, good cheer, and a winning spirit … and be a Champion of Yes! Audubon Park jogging path, 7:30am.

Running of the Santas (December 7) :: Find out why Santa’s cheeks are so rosy and come watch hundreds of Santas make their way through the streets in a way only New Orleanians would appreciate. The costume contest is sure to amuse. Must be 21 to run in the race.

Dashing Through the Dome (December 20) :: Join us for a “Ramp Run Through the Dome”, followed by post-race party. This unique 2-mile race runs participants through the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, up and around the Dome’s Ground, Plaza and Terrace Levels, then down the ramps finishing on the field! This event is fun for competitive runners looking for a new challenge, kids & football fans alike!

Lindsay
Lindsay is a native New Orleanian, displaced only by her years at Mississippi State, where she earned a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries and a minor in English. She came home shortly after Katrina, to work as a zookeeper and be a part of the rebuilding of her beloved city. She dragged her husband Drake, a Tennessee native, along with her. Their son Bennett joined the family in 2010, and in 2014 they welcomed identical twin girls, Genevieve and Kellen Clair. She now works full time as an Environmental Scientist and part-time as NOM’s resident Jill of All Trades. Powered by espresso, cake, and craft beer, her happy place is on a beach or in the woods. Need to identify a plant, tree, or animal? Lindsay’s a wealth of random knowledge. She loves to cook and sprinkle a little glitter on everything.

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