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

The 2022 Ultimate Guide to Family Holiday Events In and Around New Orleans

The 2022 Ultimate Guide to Family Holiday Events In and Around New Orleans

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in the Crescent City. New Orleans is kid friendly year round, and the holidays are no exception! 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 and around New Orleans. Check back frequently; we will be adding more New Orleans holiday events for kids as they are announced. Click on the category of holiday fun you’re seeking and you’ll be brought to the listing of those holiday events in New Orleans. If you are seeking the opportunity to serve a charity, adopt a family or involve children in community service in New Orleans, we have community service opportunities in New Orleans covered, too. Because it’s always better to give than receive. Can you cut down your own Christmas tree in Louisiana? Yes, you can – there are a handful of Christmas tree farms within driving distance of New Orleans. Here’s a guide to everywhere you can cut down a Christmas tree in Louisiana and Mississippi. Specifically, here is everything you need to know before you head to Steele’s Christmas Tree Farm just a short drive from the city. Finally, if you are looking for the best family photographers in New Orleans to capture your holiday card pictures, we have recommendations for that as well.

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

Special Thanks to Our Title Sponsor: Krewe of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentist New Orleans

We believe that individuality makes the world a better place! At our pediatric dental office, the experience is tailored to each child’s personality and needs. Our name, Krewe of Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, really does tell you so very much about us! We want families and children to feel like they are a part of something special… part of our KREWE!

Dr. Christen Massey is our board-certified pediatric dentist who is also a mom. We have a wonderful staff with a combined 150+ years of dental experience. We also offer sedations for children with dental fear.

Our pediatric dental office has proudly served the families of Metairie and New Orleans, LA for over 29 years!

You will see from our Facebook and Instagram accounts that we are all about FUN. We work hard to deliver a phenomenal experience for our families.

The Krewe of Smiles office is located in Old Metairie on Metairie Road, with plenty of convenient parking. We serve infants, children, teens, and special needs patients at our practice in the New Orleans area. Schedule an appointment today!

The 2022 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 | Charity & Service |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.

 

Events in & Around New Orleans

Jingle Bells & Beer (November 19 | 7:00 – 10:00 pm) :: ‘Tis the season to bust out those ugly sweaters! Join us in Carousel Gardens for food, rides, entertainment, and, of course, BEER! Must be 21+ to attend. Tickets are $40 general admission, $65 VIP.

Holiday Tea at the Windsor Court (Select Dates November 25 – December 31 | seatings between 10:00 am – 3:00 pm) :: 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. Reservations are required.

Teddy Bear Tea at The Roosevelt (Select Dates and Times starting November 27) :: 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!

Plaquemines Parish Orange Festival ( December 2 – December 4) :: Rides, music and more at historic Fort Jackson in Buras, Louisiana.

Papa Noel Tea, Ritz Carlton Hotel (Every Saturday & Sunday from December 3 – December 21 | Starting time: 11 am & 2:30 pm. ) :: Join us in the French Quarter Balcony for a special holiday celebration featuring an appearance by Papa Noel.

Build Your Own Gingerbread House, Main Lobby, Ritz Carlton Hotel (December 10 – December 11 | December 17 – December 22 | Starting time: 12 pm & 3 pm.) :: Children of all ages are invited to build a festive gingerbread house. Price includes one gingerbread house with all the decorating essentials. Adult supervision and reservations are required.

Santa’s Pajama Party at the Royal Sonesta  (Every Saturday & Sunday from December 3 – December 18 | offering two seating at 9:30 am and 12:30 pm) :: Prepare for the holidays in your pajamas at Restaurant R’evolution within Royal Snownesta! Children can wear their favorite holiday pajamas, deliver their wish list and visit with Santa and the Sugarplum Fairy Princess. Sip only the best house-made hot chocolate, warm apple cider and enjoy delicious food while decorating your own cookies!

PRCNO Holiday Home Tour (December 3 | 7:00 pm) :: Kick off the Holidays at the party of the season – the PRC’s 47th Holiday Home Tour Patron Party presented by Gallo Mechanical! This lavish cocktail reception will be held at the stunning home of Amy and Garrison Neill on Coliseum Square. New this year is our special VIP hour which includes a champagne welcome, as well as exclusive entertainment and nibbles. Every Patron Party ticket includes 2 tickets to the Holiday Home Tour on December 10-11.

Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra Holiday Spectacular (December 3rd) :: The festive Holiday Spectacular returns to the Orpheum with all your holiday favorites! The LPO and special guests will bring an exciting holiday program to you with a few musical surprises. Perfect for the entire family – make this concert a part of your holiday traditions!

A Visit to Santa’s Land & Reindeer Rowe (December 3 | 9:00 am – 4:00 pm) :: Reindeer Rowe is a Christmas market by Thibodaux Service League. The market features unique holiday shopping with local merchants, including fashions and foods–all to benefit our local community. Tickets are $20 VIP, $10 General Admission. 

NOLA Holiday Parade (December 3 | 11:00 am) :: A first-of-its-kind, family-centered Holiday Parade starting from The French Market through Downtown, and ending with a holiday experience and concert in Lafayette Square from 5-7 pm!

Ringing in the Arts (December 3 | 5:00 – 9:00 pm) :: An Outdoor Evening of Fine Art & Entertainment in Downtown Historic Gretna. Join us for a magical evening under a covered outdoor gallery in the heart of historic Old Gretna at the Gretna Market Pavilion on Huey P. Long Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets. Gretna’s annual fine arts festival includes live music, local artists, and refreshments. Bottomless wine and champagne glasses will be offered for purchase. With the sale of each bottomless glass, patrons will get to cast their vote for favorite artist of the night. Free to the public. For more information, please contact [email protected].

Teddy Bear Tea at BB’s Stage Door Canteen (December 3, 10, 17 | 10:00 am – 12:00 pm):: Teddy Bear Tea is the perfect holiday experience to share with children and grandchildren—delicious food and sweet treats, lively music from the Victory Belles, and a special visit with Santa!

Brunch with Santa at English Turn (December 3 – December 4 | Seating Times at 11:00 am, 11:30 am, 12:00 pm, and 12:30 pm) :: It is never too early to plan for Santa. We are offering two days for Santa Brunch this year. We do expect a sell-out on both days, Please make your reservation early.
Reservations must be emailed to [email protected]

Holiday Gingerbread Workshop at Red Fish Grill (December 4, December 18 & December 21 | two seatings each Sunday at 10:00 am & 12:30 pm) :: 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.

Teddy Bear Brunch in Gretna (December 3 – December 4| 10:00 am – 12:00 pm on Saturday; 9:30 am – 11:30 am on Sunday) :: Treat your children to a most memorable breakfast with Santa, where every child will receive a teddy bear. Free reservations required, price per person is according to their breakfast order. To make a reservation, call (504) 513-2606 or visit Open Table.

Gretna Christmas Parade & Christmas Tree Lighting (December 4 | 5:30 – 7:30 pm) :: Catch Santa parading on Huey P. Long Avenue (route to be announced). Watch Santa light the Christmas tree and enjoy the family friendly festivities. Refreshments will be available. The German- American Cultural Center will have pretzels, brats, and beer for purchase.

Light of the Stable: A Divine Mercy Christmas Spectacular (December 9 | 6:30 pm) :: The event will begin with an elegant and festive concert in the church sanctuary at 6:30pm featuring the grandeur of a full orchestra. Festivities continue outdoors in Mercy Square with candlelit caroling. Sip and savor complimentary food and beverages to stay toasty and warm while the kids delight in decorating cookies and making homemade keepsake crafts. Doors open at 6:00 pm; admission is free and open to all.

Vintage Caroling (December 9 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm) :: Join our quartet of singers and Emcee Cammie West at Memorial Square for a holiday singalong! Bring the little ones to this family event. Song sheets will be provided. Bring your own chairs.

Annual Festival of the Bonfires (December 9 – December 11) :: 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!! 

Santa’s Soiree at the East Jefferson YMCA (December 10) :: Join the “Nice List” just in time for the holidays by supporting East Jefferson YMCA’s 2nd Annual Santa’s Soiree. The soiree will feature local cuisine, live music, silent auction, pictures with Santa and other holiday themed activities. Cocktail attire. Tickets are $30 and include food and 2 drink tickets.

Nutcracker Tea (December 10, 12:30 pm seating | December 11, 11:00 am & 3:00 pm seating) :: A New Orleans annual holiday tradition, The Nutcracker Tea will delight and engage your family this holiday season. Her Royal Highness, the Sugar Plum Fairy, has made sure that your afternoon is nothing but whimsical and has invited her dear friends from The Nutcracker to celebrate the defeat of the Mouse King with a fanciful afternoon tea party.

Jewish Children’s Regional Service Latkes With A Twist (December 11 | 6:00 pm) :: JCRS will host its annual community-wide Hanukkah party, “Latkes with a Twist.” 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. 

Harahan Christmas Parade (December 17 | 12:00 pm) :: Happy Happy Holidays, our favorite Christmas parade is BACK for 2022! Gather your family & friends and head to the parade route for a hometown holiday tradition, the Harahan Christmas Parade! NOLA Pixie Dust is excited to participate in our 6th parade appearance bringing character entertainment to our home town! Filled with entertainment from all over the city, the Harahan Christmas Parade is always a family event everyone enjoys.

Caroling in Jackson Square (December 18) :: 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. Details coming soon!

French Quarter Holiday Home Tour (December 18 | 12:00pm) :: Savor the holiday spirit as Patio Planters of the Vieux Carré presents French Quarter residences 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.

Chanukah at the Riverwalk (December 18) :: Riverwalk Outlets is partnering with Chabad-Lubavitch of Louisiana for Chanukah at the Riverwalk. The event presented at Spanish Plaza by Chabad-Lubavitch includes the lighting of a giant Menorah in honor of the beginning of Chanukah. The event will feature live traditional Jewish music, kosher cuisine, along with complimentary delicious latkes, Jewish gelt (chocolate candy), dreidels (toys), crafts and more for the whole family.

Court of Two Sisters Jazz Brunch With Santa (December 19 – December 22) :: Santa will be visiting the Court of Two Sisters on December 19-22 for our special Brunch With Santa events. Santa is NOT included with regular brunch reservations on those dates. You must pre-purchase tickets for Brunch with Santa that are only available at 10am and 1pm. Purchase your tickets online or by calling 504-522-7261 ext. 24. 

R + L Carriers New Orleans Bowl (December 21 | 8:00 pm) :: Take in college football big easy style at the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Get your tickets here. 

STEM Fest (December 21 | 4:00 – 7:00 pm) :: In Partnership with STEM NOLA, Chevron, the Lupin Foundation and Football for Kids; the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl is excited to offer the first STEM Fest at the bowl game. Students from 1st grade through High School will be able to engage with STEM themed activities prior to the game. STEM Fest will take place from 4:00 – 7:00pm in the Claiborne Room inside the Superdome. A game ticket is required for entry but there are no additional charges to attend STEM Fest.

NOLA Christmasfest (December 21 – December 30) :: NOLA ChristmasFest, presented by Coca-Cola, is a dazzling, family-friendly seasonal event, offering your group the perfect opportunity to get into the holiday spirit, make a little joy, and spread a little cheer. Experience a real indoor ice skating rink, ice slides, carnival rides, Santa and friends, Gingerbread houses, decorated trees and more! Convenient parking nearby.

Christmas Eve Dinner Jazz Cruise (December 24 | 5:00 pm) :: Spend an enchanting Christmas Eve in New Orleans on the Creole Queen! Enjoy unparalleled views of the city from our elegant, garland-adorned dining rooms or from the open air of our upper deck. Have a true Christmas, New Orleans style experience with a delicious Creole dinner and a live jazz band playing New Orleans and holiday favorites. After dinner, enjoy your favorite cocktails and sweet Mississippi River breezes on the promenade deck as the city skyline slips by under a canopy of stars. This is one-holiday tradition your family will never forget.

Events on the Northshore

Steele’s Christmas Tree Farm (Early Bird Special November 20 | 10:00 am – 5:00 pm) :: Make family memories at this Christmas tree farm in Angie, Louisiana. Here’s everything you need to know about heading to Steele’s to cut down your own Christmas tree before you go. A short drive from New Orleans, you can give your children the experience of cutting down their very own Christmas tree in Louisiana. Steele’s has been in business for over 30 years and has hundreds of trees to select from, up to 12 feet tall!

Movie Night Under Stars at Cate Square Park (November 26 | 4:00 pm) :: Hammond Rotary Club’s 9th annual Movie Night Under the Stars is a free event at Cate Square Park in Hammond. Children’s activities will be from 4:00 – 6:00 pm, and The Polar Express Movie will begin at 6:00 pm. Concession stands and photos with Santa will be available. Bring food donations for Our Daily Bread on the evening of the event.

13th Annual Christmas at TerraBella (December 2 | 6pm ) :: Kick off the holidays at TerraBella Village with our Lighting of the Village Tree and Holiday Marketplace! Enjoy musical performances by local musicians and schools, take a photo with Santa, ride the train, make reindeer food, try food and beverage from delicious local vendors and more!

Christmas Under the Stars (December 2 – December 3, December 9 – December 10 | 6:00 pm) :: The City of Slidell celebrates the 34th annual Christmas Under the Stars in Griffith Park, a celebration of twinkling lights, festive decorations, life-size Christmas Cottages and other family fun. The 2021 holiday celebration is four nights, December 2, 3, 9 and 10, 2022, 6-9 p.m. each evening. Admission to all displays and activities is free.

A Very Merry Christmas Spectacular (December 2 – December 11) :: Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la…. Bring the whole family to this spirited celebration of the holidays featuring local performers of all ages. A glittering spectacle of singing and dancing that will certainly get you ready for the holidays! Complimentary MILK & COOKIES at every performance!

38th Annual Christmas Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Expo (December 2 – December 4 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm) :: Held each year on the first full weekend of December, the Christmas Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Expo is fun and easy to shop under covered pavilions, making this an ideal Christmas Village shopping experience. Some 400 vendors from a multi-state area have anything you will want to fill your Christmas list with unique products made by artists and craftspersons. Mediums include woodwork, original art, jewelry, leather crafts, ladies’ and children’s clothing, metal art, candles, stained glass, floral, hair bows, furniture, home decor, gifts & boutiques and more. Admission at the gate is $5 for persons age 13 and up, free for kids 12 and under. Parking is free but limited inside the grounds.

Storytime with Santa (December 3 | 8:30 – 11:00 am) :: Come out to the Junior Auxiliary of Hammond’s Storytime with Santa!! Enjoy donuts, a hot chocolate bar, sweet treats and holiday crafts. Take your own photos with Santa! Tickets are available online or at the door for $10 per person (ages 1 & up).

Winter on the Water Santa Street & Boat Parade- Mandeville (December 3 | 4pm ) :: Wrap up the holidays with a celebration of winter and Christmas on the Mandeville lakefront, beginning with the Santa Street Parade at 4:00 p.m. The parade starts at Pontchartrain Yacht Club, 140 Jackson Ave. (Lakeshore Drive & Jackson St.), and rolls to the Gazebo at 2623 Lakeshore Drive with a program on the lakefront (between Carroll and Carroll Streets). A boat parade follows at 5:30 p.m.

Candlelight Caroling at Covington Trailhead (December 3 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm) :: All are invited to join the fun for live music and a sing-along at Candelight Caroling at the Trailhead. The free family event features the Northlake Performing Arts Society chorale, caroling on the open-air stage. Admission is free.

The Columbia Theatre’s Holiday Extravaganza (December 3 – December 11) :: Put on your most festive pajamas and join us for a holiday celebration! Explore our decorated lobby, meet Santa Claus, take selfies, listen to live holiday music, and enjoy a special screening of The Polar Express. Free popcorn, hot cocoa and holiday “swag bag” included with your purchase while supplies last. *The film begins one hour after the festivities begin.

Olde Towne Slidell Community Christmas Parade (December 4 | 5:00 – 7:00 pm) :: The old-fashioned parade of decorated golf carts, holiday costumes, and Santa & Mrs. Claus starts in front of Slidell City Hall, 2055 Second Street, and travels to Griffith Park, 333 Erlanger Street, for the annual lighting o the Christmas trees and Christmas under the Stars.

Merry Madisonville Parade and Celebration (December 4 | 2:00 pm) :: Starting at Maritime Museum, from Main St, turn left on St Louis, right on Pine, cross Hwy 22 and continue on Pine, right on St John, right on Main, left on St Tammany, right on Water then cross Hwy 22 and continue on Water to the end, then right on St Louis, cross Main and continue on St Louis, left on Pine, left on Jahncke then go back to the lineup or parking location. After the parade, there will be Santa pictures, kids’ activities, and entertainment.

Covington Heritage Foundation History & Holly Home Tour (December 5 | 2:00 – 5:00 pm) :: This is a perfect outing to enjoy with friends and family as you walk the pedestrian-friendly route, touring the festively adorned homes, sipping wine (provided), and enjoying the sounds of the season from the strolling carolers. Tickets can be purchased online for $20.

Folsom Horse & Wagon Christmas Parade (December 10 | 1:00 pm) :: The parade begins at 1 p.m., parade-goers will enjoy the Antique Tractor Exhibit and contests for Most Original Wagon, Best Dressed Horse & Rider, caroling and, of course, Santa Claus!

Krewe of Dionysus Christmas Party & Toy Drive (December 10 | 7:30 pm – 12:30 am) :: The Krewe of Dionysus invites you to their Christmas Party & Toy Drive Toy drive, Saturday, December 10 at the Slidell Auditorium. The event includes food and an open bar with live music by No Idea. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $65 for members of the Krewe of Dionysus (limit two tickets), $75 for the public. Each person must also bring an unwrapped toy valued at $10 for donation. Dress is casual or Dirty Santa/Tacky Sweater.

Christmas Past Festival in Mandeville (December 10 | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm) :: In addition to some of the Northshore’s best shopping from local merchants, attendees can enjoy food and drink from several local food vendors, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, arts & crafts and train rides in the Children’s Village, plus onsite pet adoptions and Santa pet pics! Live musical performances will take place throughout the day including a very special performance by the National WWII Museum’s Victory Belles!

Enchanted Brunch (December 11 | 10:00 am & 11:30 am) :: Join us at Fat Boy’s Pizza Mandeville for a magical brunch with the princesses of Arendelle & their carrot-nosed friend! There will be two separate seating times for this event, please make sure you are purchasing tickets for the time frame you wish to attend. Children will receive a drink and a half slice of cheese or pepperoni, an interactive meet & greet with Elsa, Ana, & Olaf, and a photo opportunity with the characters.

Santa Brunch at Vintage Court (December 11 & December 18 | 11:00 am – 1:00 pm) :: Jolly old St. Nick, himself, will be at Vintage Court! Tickets for ages 12+, $35, ages 11 and under, $15.

Hammond Rotary Club’s 63rd Christmas Parade (December 16 | 5:30 – 8:00pm) :: This year Floyd’s Family Pharmacy is the title sponsor of the 64th Hammond Christmas Parade. The theme will be “It’s a Lion Up Christmas”. Line up will be att Southeastern’s University Center parking area.

Holiday Concert with Northshore Community Orchestra (December 17 | 6:00 – 8:30 pm) :: The City of Slidell invites you to attend a Holiday Concert with the Northshore Community Orchestra. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 6 p.m. Seating is available on a first-come, first-seated basis. Admission is free, but donations to support the Northshore Community Orchestra are appreciated.

Santa Meet & Greets

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

Santa In & Around New Orleans

Rouse’s Coca-Cola Santa Truck (various dates, times, and locations) :: Rouses #27 (Airline in Metairie) November 16 at 6:00 pm; Rouses #26 (Tchoupitoulas in New Orleans) November 17 at 6:00 pm; Rouses #33 (Power Blvd in Metairie) November 18 at 6:00 pm; Rouses #25 (Veterans in Metairie) November 20 at 6:00 pm

Santa’s Arrival Celebration at Lakeside Shopping Center (November 19 | 9:00  – 11:00 am) :: Join Lakeside Shopping Center as we welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus with their friends Rudolph, Frosty and other Christmas favorites! Tickets are $20 per family of 5 to attend. Children 1 year old and under are complimentary and do not need to be counted in your party of 5. The $20 Family Pass includes one food voucher and train tickets for the children. Guests are able to choose one (1) food voucher from Chick-Fil-A or Cafe du Monde.

Santa at Oakwood Mall (December 1 – December 24) :: Embark on an enchanted adventure to take pictures with Santa. Join him to create magical memories you and your family will always remember! Click HERE to make your reservations!

Breakfast with Santa at Archbishop Chapelle High School (December 3 | 8:30 – 10:30 am) :: Pictures with Santa, games, crafts, and more! The $60 registration fee includes 2 adults and children. Additional adults $10.

Letters to Santa (December 3 | 8:00 am – 12:00 pm) :: Let your little ones write their letters to Santa at the Gretna Farmers’ Market. Get your passport stamped while you’re there!

Santa Cares Day at Oakwood Mall (December 4 | 9:00 – 10:00 am) :: Join us before the mall opens for Santa Cares Day. Children within all spectrums of special needs and their families are welcome to a sensory-friendly visit for fun family photos with Santa! Click HERE to make your reservation.

Pet Nights with Santa (December 5 | 4:00 – 7:00 pm) :: Get your furry friends together to strike a pose with St. Nick, capturing paw-fect holiday moments to share with family and friends! Click HERE to reserve now.

Selfies with Santa (December 10 | 11:00 am – 3:00 pm) :: Bring the whole family for holiday fun at Canal Place’s annual SELFIES WITH SANTA event! 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!

Brunch with Santa & Friends | Christmas at The Cannery (December 11 | 11:00 am – 2:00 pm) :: Join us for a Christmas Brunch with special guests Santa Claus, Rudolph, and Holiday Princess! Activity stations include a hot chocolate bar, holiday cookie decorating, and more. We’ll have a professional photographer on site offering photo packages with Santa. Ages 2 and under are free. Purchase tickets here.

Cookies with Santa’s Elves (December 11 & December 18 | 9:30 – 11:30 am) :: Santa and his elves are stopping by @lardergourmetmarket to decorate cookies with us! Tickets are $50 for kids and $75 for adults, and they include brunch, cookie kits and an apron set for the kids, and bottomless brunch for the adults! Call 504-766-6157 to book your reservation today.

Santa at the Market (December 17 | 10:30 am) :: Bring the little ones to visit with Santa Claus. Santa will draw the winner of the Passport to Christmas promotion.

Santa on the Northshore

Breakfast with Santa (December 10 | 9:00 – 11:00 am) :: Pelican Park invites you to make this holiday season special for your child (ages 2-10 years old) by participating in their Breakfast with Santa event. Each child will be served breakfast by Liz’s Where Y’at Diner’s fun elves. In addition to a delicious breakfast, children can visit multiple craft and game stations, write and decorate a letter to Santa, take a picture with Santa and tell him their wishes! Children must be registered to attend; chairs fill up fast so make sure to register early. Registration opens on October 10. Register for this event at http://www.pelicanpark.com.

Santapaws Pics (December 10 | 1:00 pm) :: Santa will visit with your furry family member on December 10 and take a picture with your whole family too, starting at 1:00 at the Pelican Park’s Landing Pavilion, 63350 Pelican Drive, Mandeville. No registration needed. Get more info at http://www.pelicanpark.com.

Grinch Lunch (December 18 | seatings at 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 2:00 pm) :: Olde Towne Pizza Company is bringing back their Grinch Lunch again this Christmas for an awfully good time! $25 per person, includes a table visit from the Grinch, 2 slices of cheese or pepperoni pizza, a drink and a little prize from the Grinch. Register and Prepay only by calling 985-4451273.

Rouse’s Coca-Cola Santa Truck (December 20 | 5:00 pm) :: Located at Rouses #75 (Highway 1085 in Covington)

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.

In & Around New Orleans

Celebration in the Oaks Preview Party (November 18 | 8:00 – 11:00 pm) :: One of the premier parties of the holiday season, this dazzling soiree kicks off the annual lights display. Guests get the first glimpse of the Celebration in the Oaks experience and are given exclusive access to the Botanical Garden.

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (November 22 | 4:30 – 6:30 pm) :: Join Riverwalk Outlets for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. During this ceremony, a beautifully decorated 45-foot tree will be illuminated to mark the beginning of the holiday season. Guests will enjoy the sounds of the Riverwalk Jazz Band, beignet and beverage vouchers provided by Café Du Monde, special appearances from Santa and his friends and an exclusive complimentary keepsake photo.

Canal Street Holiday Lighting Ceremony (November 22 | 4:30 pm) :: The Downtown Development District along with Santa, city officials and downtown business leaders invite everyone to join us at Canal Place as we officially kick off the holiday season with the lighting of Canal Street!

Celebration in the Oaks (November 24 – January 1, closed Monday and Tuesdays until December 19, closed December 24 & December 31) :: The Park’s premier holiday fundraiser, Celebration in the Oaks garners over 135,000 visitors, celebrating what has become the New Orleans family tradition. This incredible light festival has enchanted park visitors since the 1980s and is vital to the park’s maintenance, care, and beautification year-round. All tickets must be purchased online in advance.

Light up the Huey Christmas Lights (Starting November 25) :: All of December along Huey P. Long Avenue.

Picnic Under the Lights (December 1 – December 18 | 6:00 – 10:00 pm) :: Experience the Holiday Lights from a different perspective, inside a personal bubble tent! Available for rental from Thursday through Sunday for only $75-100 per night. Bring a picnic meal or drinks. Two sizes of tents fit 6 or 8 people per tent. For more information or to book your night, call (504) 363-1580.

Christmas in the Park (December 2 – December 30) :: Lafreniere Park sparkles for the holidays with millions of twinkling lights and displays! Attendees can enjoy Santa’s Express Mail Center, including an interactive walking tour and a place for children to write a letter to Santa. The admission is $10 per vehicle. Credit and debit cards only. No cash will be taken at the gate. Tickets can be purchased online.

Supernova on the Greenway (December 8 – December 10 | 5:00 – 9:00 pm) :: Supernova is a free, outdoor light-based art exhibit at the Greenway Station and Plaza, highlighting New Orleans artists, musicians, and food in celebration of the Lafitte Greenway Community.

On the Northshore

Gulfport Harbor Lights Winter Festival (November 25 – December 31 | 5:30 pm) :: The most magical show in Mississippi! Includes lights, light shows, rides, a Santa train, and more all right on the water. General admission is $15, ages 5-12 $5, ages 4 and younger free.

Holiday of Lights at Koop Drive (December 2 – December 3, December 9 – December 10 | 6:00 – 8:30 pm) :: The Holiday of Lights is an annual tradition on Koop Drive, and we are proud to bring it back to its full glory this year! Fun for children and families, Holiday of LIghts is free and open to the public. Sing along with carolers, visit with Santa, ride the kiddie rides, and enjoy fare from our local food truck vendors. Those interested can also visit the Children’s Museum for more holiday fun!

Covington’s 12 Days of Christmas Lighted Displays (December 9 – January 6 | Dusk ’til Dawn) :: From a partridge in a pear tree to twelve drummers drumming, downtown Covington will be aglow with holiday images this December with “Covington’s Twelve Days of Christmas” lighted displays. Admission is free.

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!

Shopping In & Around New Orleans

St. Matthew the Apostle Holiday Market (November 19 | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm) :: Music, 50+ vendors, door prizes, and performances. Admission $10 and includes 1 complimentary drink ticket and 1 door prize ticket.

Canal Place Sip, Sparkle, and Shine (November 25 | 9:00 am) :: Start your Black Friday sparkling…Beginning at 9 AM enjoy complimentary coffee, pastries, mimosas, and poinsettias while you shop Canal Place’s exclusive Black Friday deals! All while listening to live holiday music. Then from 1-4 PM, enjoy complimentary champagne and beer.

Waldorf School Annual Winter Faire & Tree Sale (December 3 | 10:00 am – 3:00 pm) :: The Winter Faire is an opportunity to promote community, showcase the school for potential students & families, as well as fundraise to support school programs.

Mache d’Hiver, Winter Market and Fair (December 3) :: A fundraiser for La Liaison, the PTO for the Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans. The Marché d’Hiver planning committee is very excited to announce that we will be back in person after several years of pandemic-style virtual fundraising! Join us for raffles, children’s crafts and games, a community craft market, music, food and drinks as we celebrate the LFNO community and come together to raise funds to support our school!

Ringing in the Arts – Fine Arts Festival in Gretna (December 3 | 5:00 – 9:00 pm) :: Held in beautiful downtown Gretna on Huey P. Long Avenue under the marketplace. Patrons from across the area will enjoy an evening to meet, interact, and conduct business with artists, creating an outdoor gallery against the backdrop of our quaint city.

Old Metairie Christmas Market (December 3 | 9:00 am – 2:00 pm) :: Parade of prizes, pictures with Santa Kids’ Crafts, Face painting & more!

Christmas Sip & Shop Hosted by Lanyard Lovebirds (December 4 | 3:00 pm) :: 2nd Annual New Orleans Christmas Sip & Shop at the Cannery hosted by the Lanyard Lovebirds! Over 30 local vendors! Free admission; Santa pictures.

Shop the Huey Holiday Market (December 10 | 9:00 am – 3:00 pm) :: Take advantage of a day of boutique holiday shopping inside and outside of the Gretna Cultural Center for the Arts while you sip on bottomless mimosas! Get all of your gifts in one place!

Shopping on the Northshore

Jingle & Mingle Sip & Shop at Redoux Home Market (November 26 | 10:00 am – 6:00 pm) :: Giveaways, doorprizes, drinks, and vendors!

Christmas Extravaganza Expo (December 2 – December 4 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm) :: Featuring more than 500 artists and craftspersons from a multi-state area, plus 20 food booths, at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds in Covington. Tickets are $5, parking is free.

Sips of the Season Stroll (December 2 | 5:00 – 9:00 pm) :: 10th Annual Sips of the Season Stroll. There are 35+ stroll stops offering alcoholic & non-alcoholic drinks & a light snack. in Historic Old Mandeville. Mugs go on sale October 8 at various locations, $30 per person.

Christmas Past Festival (December 10 | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm) :: Get ready for one of the Northshore’s premier holiday events– the Old Mandeville Business Association’s 18th annual Christmas Past Festival. The event will feature some 75 artists, craftsmen, and merchants from across the Greater New Orleans area, as well as a children’s arts & crafts area, local food vendors, and singing/roaming holiday characters. Admission is free, and attendees are encouraged to get in the holiday spirit – costumes and holiday attire add to the festive atmosphere!

Sugar Plum Holiday Market (December 10 | 9:00 am – 4:00 pm) :: The Junior League of Greater Covington invites you to attend the 2nd Annual Sugar Plum Market at the Castine Center in Mandeville. A VIP experience ($10) includes exclusive shopping, 9:00-10:00 am, while you enjoy complimentary mimosas. General Admission ($5) is 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Over 300 shoppers are expected to attend and peruse 20 Northshore small business vendors with unique gifts and treasures. Even more, the popular “Storytime and Cookies with Mrs. Claus” will be brought back to entertain children as families shop.

Mandeville Trailhead Holiday Market (December 17 | 9:00 am – 5:00 pm) :: The Mandeville Trailhead Community Market, the weekly market offering produce, prepared goods and artisan crafts, plus live music, expands for the holidays to give shoppers extra time to find that perfect handmade gift. Will include face painting, pictures with Santa Claus, and live music. The event is free and open to the public.

Nutcracker & Holiday 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.

Ballet Louisiane and Ballet Hysell Present The Nutcracker (November 19 | 2:00 pm) :: Ballet Louisiane and Hysell Ballet Arts will be coming together this holiday season to bring performers, both young and old, back to the stage for two performances of the holiday dance classic The Nutcracker, based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s story “The Nutcracker and The Mouse King” with soaring musical score by Tchaikovsky.

Southeastern’s Big Band Christmas Concert (December 1 | 6:00 pm) :: Join us for our second annual holiday celebration! Explore our decorated lobby, meet Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, take selfies, listen to live carolers…and that’s just in the lobby. After all of that, stroll into the beautiful Hainkel Hall for some phenomenal, live, big band holiday music. The lobby festivities begin at 6:00 pm and the band performance will start at 7:00 pm.

Cutting Edge Theater Presents Elf the Musical (December 1 – December 11) :: This modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. After all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

Movies at The Chloe Hotel (December 1, 8, 15, & 22 | 6:00 – 8:30 pm) :: Poolside Cinema. Our favorite way to ring in the holiday season is with movies–a big dose of nostalgia, accompanied by a warm drink and a soft blanket. This December, join us on the Back Lawn, where we’ll be screening our holiday favorites every Thursday leading up to Christmas. We’ll have drinking chocolate (and goodies at the Pool Bar to spike yours), plus our sweet + savory snack mix.

Columbia Theater Presents Elf (December 2 | 6:00 pm) :: Join us for our second annual holiday celebration! Explore our decorated lobby, meet Santa Claus, take selfies, listen to live carolers…and that’s just in the lobby. After all of that, stroll into the beautiful Hainkel Hall to see Elf on the big screen.  The lobby festivities begin at 6 pm and the movie will start at 7 pm.

Playmakers Theaters Presents Miracle on 34th Street (December 3 – December 18 | 7:00 pm) :: By chance, Kris Kringle, an old man in a retirement home, gets a job working as Santa for Macy’s. Kris unleashes waves of good will with Macy’s customers and the commercial world of New York City by referring parents to other stores to find exactly the toy their child has asked for.

Riverwalk Holiday Choir (December 8 & December 22 | 4:30 – 6:30 pm) :: On Thursdays in December make sure to stop by the Riverwalk’s food court from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. to take in the sounds of the holidays with talented choirs.

Riverwalk Holiday DJ (December 9, 16 & 23 | 2:00 – 6:00 pm) :: On Fridays in December DJ Polo 504 will be spinning holiday favorites from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the mall. Catch DJ Polo at the Riverwalk on Dec. 9, 16 and 23.

Hammond Ballet Company Presents The Nutcracker (December 9 – December 10 at 7:00 pm, December 11 at 2:00 pm) :: Featuring the combined talents of professionals and all-star locals, the Hammond Ballet Company brings their timeless classic home to the Columba just in time for the holidays.

Slidell Little Theater Presents Nutcracker Twist (December 9 – December 18) :: Nutcracker Twist is a theatrical dance work and modern adaptation of the timeless classical ballet, The Nutcracker. Written, directed and choreographed by Tianna Pourciau Sykes, this old tale is brought to life with a modern twist, taking us into the holiday season with Clara as she embarks on a magical, musical journey to other lands.

Movies Under the Stars on Spanish Plaza (December 10 & December 17 | 5:00 – 7:30 pm) :: On Saturday, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. bring the entire family out for a special holiday movie on Spanish Plaza. Complimentary holiday treats will be available along with Santa for photos under the Riverwalk’s Christmas Tree.

Ballet Apetrei (December 10 at 2:00 pm & 7:00 pm | December 11 at 2:00 pm):: Join Ballet Apertei and creative director Kelly Fortier in Mandeville for their annual performance of the classic Nutcracker Ballet.

New Orleans Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker (December 10 & December 17 at 2:00 pm & 7:00 pm | December 11, 18, 21, 22 at 2:00 pm) :: Come see this classic Christmas tale and experience the incredible talent that is New Orleans Ballet Theatre’s company of dancers, stunning sets and costumes, and the iconic score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The holiday season isn’t complete without The Nutcracker, and NOBT’s production is not one to be missed!

Delta Festival Ballet (December 17 & December 18) :: 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.

Jefferson Performing Arts Society (December 17 – December 18 | 2:00 pm):: Toy soldiers, the Mouse King, and the Sugar Plum Fairy–experience these classic characters again this holiday season as part of the fantastical journey with The Nutcracker. Travel to the Land of Sweets with Clara as she befriends a nutcracker who comes to life on Christmas Eve to wage a battle against the evil Mouse King. This dancing and dreaming fantasy reminds us of the importance of imagination, love and childhood.

50th Anniversary Edition of Cajun Night Before Christmas (December 17 | 11:00 am) :: The Garden District Book Shop will be hosting a festive storytime for the 50th anniversary of Cajun Night Before Christmas beginning at 11 AM. Take the classic story of jolly old St. Nicholas, place it in a Louisiana bayou setting, dress Santa Claus in muskrat “from his head to his foot,” pile his skiff high with toys, and hitch it to eight friendly alligators. The result is this modern classic.

Living Nativity by St. Joseph Church (December 18 | 6:00 pm) :: In front of the Christmas tree on Huey P. Long Avenue and 6th Street.

Saenger Theatre (December 27 | 4:00 pm & 8:00 pm) :: This Christmas, bring the whole family back to a simpler time with NUTCRACKER! Magical Christmas Ballet! The acclaimed holiday tradition is LIVE in theaters for the 30th Anniversary tour. Gather friends and family to re-live your fondest childhood dreams, overflowing with larger-than-life puppets, breath-taking acrobatics and dazzling costumes. Experience the exquisite artistry of the international cast, featuring stars of Ukraine ballet, performing at the highest level of classical technique. Share in the message of Peace and Harmony at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans!

Charity & Service

If you are seeking the opportunity to serve a charity, adopt a family or involve children in community service in New Orleans, we we have community service opportunities in New Orleans covered, too.

NOLA Families in Need Toy Drive :: NOLA Families in Need along with JPRD is hosting a Christmas party for all ages! This year our goal is to provide gifts for over 2,000 under privileged children and families throughout the greater New Orleans area for Christmas! Head to their website to get all the details.

Ways to Give Back in New Orleans ::  We are often asked for ways to get kids involved in community service in New Orleans or how to adopt a family at the holidays in New Orleans. We agree that it is important to give back to others, especially at the holidays, and that it is critical for our children to see the impact of their service. This holiday season, we challenge each of you to find at least one meaningful way to get your New Orleans children involved in community service. To make it even easier, we’ve compiled some ideas for you!

Broussard’s Toy Drive :: Broussard’s will also host a toy drive throughout the holiday season to benefit children in need. Unwrapped gifts may be dropped off at the restaurant and will be donated to families within our community through a partnership with the New Orleans Mission.

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!

Santa on Trails 5K Run/Walk (December 4 | 7:00 am) :: Come and run/walk this 5K (3 miles) in a Santa suit and bring a toy for the children of the New Orleans Mission shelter. This Q50 trail race takes place in Mandeville’s beautiful Fontainebleau State Park on a fast, flat track by Lake Pontchartrain on Sunday, December 4, 2022, starting at 9 a.m. Registration/packet pick-up opens at 7:30 a.m. Last day to register is November 30th!

2022 Running of the Santas (December 10 | 2:00 – 11:00 pm) :: Running of the Santas returns to the Warehouse District for an unbelievable day of events! A portion of the proceeds benefits “That Others May Live” Foundation. Must be 21+ to participate.

Christmas in Lafreniere Park Run/Walk (December 10 | 4:00 pm) :: HOORAY FOR THE HOLIDAYS! The Crescent City Classic will hold their holiday run/walk in beautiful Lafreniere Park on Saturday, December 10, 2022 (start time is 4:00pm). The 2-mile course takes you through Lafreniere Park during their annual Christmas in the Park Lights Display.  The park is decorated with over 10 million LED lights. The park’s festive displays include traditional Christmas lighted figures, the 60-foot Sea Serpent in the lagoon, and many NOLA favorites! The event is filled with hot cocoa, a visit with Santa, a holiday costume contest, and much more.

Dashing through the Dome (December 17 | 8:00 am) :: This unique 2-mile race runs participants through the Caesars Superdome, up and around the Dome’s Ground, Plaza and Terrace Levels, and then down to the field to cross the finish line! This event is fun for competitive runners looking for a new challenge and those interested in a festive activity during the holidays, kids and football fans alike.

Yoga in the Dome (December 17 | 10:00 am) :: Get your morning zen in before the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl with the only yoga session in Caesars Superdome. This session will take place ON THE FIELD! Participants will be treated to a fun and energetic session that is good for people of all skill levels. For more information visit our Facebook page or Click Here to Register. 

Originally from Florida, Jaime has lived in Southern Louisiana for most of her life (so, that makes her a local, right?). She currently resides on the Northshore with her husband and son and teaches high school English. An enneagram 5, you'll most likely find her doing hot yoga solo, on her phone researching a random topic or sitting in the comfort of her home with coffee and a book within an arm's reach.

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