Celebrate the holidays without blowing your budget.
Have you purchased any presents yet? Life is more fully lived with family and friends, but buying them gifts for the holidays can put a dent in your wallet. If your December budget is anything like mine, that paycheck is spoken for by Legos, gift cards, fancy pears and plane tickets. You don’t have to miss out on the merriment though. Here are a few free holiday events around town this month.
This Saturday, Dec. 2, Downtown New Orleans will show that we don’t need any inflated character balloons to have a fun parade. This holiday parade features New Orleans-style floats, marching bands, dance krewes and throws akin to Mardi Gras – with the added bonus of candy canes. The Downtown Development District and The Roosevelt New Orleans join forces to sponsor this annual parade. It rolls at 1:00 p.m. from Lee Circle, heads down St. Charles Avenue, turns onto Canal Street and then moves back uptown on Baronne Street. The kids can catch it twice if you plan your location and timing right.
Hop on the ferry to the Westbank of the Mississippi River and enjoy a Southeastern Louisiana Christmas spectacle this Saturday, Dec. 2. The Christmas Eve bonfires are a tradition particular to our region and historic Algiers Point throws this annual party in homage to those bonfires that will be lit a few weeks later. The festivities start at 5:00 p.m. with DJ Ric Ducci and then a performance by the Hot 8 Brass Band. The specially-designed bonfire structure will be lit sometime between sundown and 8:00 p.m. or so, with the party wrapping up by 8:30 p.m.
Be inspired by this outdoor public art installation that features light, animation, digital sculptures and video-mapping projections in Lafayette Square and along Lafayette Street to Fulton Street. Running Dec. 6 – 9, this free, temporary installation is an official New Orleans Tricentennial signature event. It is best viewed in the evening. More than 50,000 people attended in 2016 and this year promises to be another successful celebration of contemporary, interactive art.
Bring your folding chairs, cozy blankets and travel mugs of hot chocolate to view two free outdoor holiday movies this month. Located at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Plaza, on Friday, Dec. 8 you can catch a ride with “The Polar Express” and Friday, Dec. 15 you can laugh your way through holiday stress with “Elf.” Both screenings start at 6:30 p.m.
Jewish Community Center (JCC) Chanukah Celebration
Light the lights on the sixth night of Chanukah with this free community celebration of the miracle of oil. The Uptown JCC, located at 5342 St. Charles Avenue, will host the public on Sunday, Dec. 17 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. with a Menorah lighting, fried chicken and latkes, and music by the folk duo Erik & Happie.
On Saturday, Dec. 17, Jackson Square will become illuminated with hundreds of candles and voices will echo off the Cabildo as Christmas carols are sung by a maximum capacity crowd. This free event is an annual tradition for many and participants are advised to arrive early. The gates will open at 6:30 p.m. and the caroling begins at 7:00 p.m. Candles and song sheets will be provided.
Even if money is tight this year, spending time with those you love is priceless.