Home for the Holidays

Illustrations by Tony Healey
Kimberley Singletary is the managing editor of Biz New Orleans magazine. A 20-year Southern California veteran, she has been surrounded by the film industry for most of her life.


My family typically travels for the holidays but this year we’re going to be at home the whole month, entertaining out-of-town family for some of it. Which made me wonder, what are we going to do?

So, for all of those like me who are sticking around this year, my gift to you is a (hopefully) helpful rundown of all the fun ways to celebrate the season this month with the ones you love.

Especially Great for Visiting Family and Friends

Dec. 9-30.
Free Tours by Foot Holiday Tour. Pay what you want for this two-hour walking tour around the highlights of the French Quarter where you learn about the Papa Noel story, traditional catholic creole Christmas observations, Christmas bonfires and what makes a Creole Christmas decoration. 

Nov. 23-Jan. 1 .
Celebration in the Oaks. City Park (closed Christmas Eve, open Christmas night). Photos with Santa every night through Dec. 23.

Take in a Live  Show

Nov. 30-Dec. 29. (select dates.)
Christmas Belles are Ringing. BB’s Stage Door Canteen. Vocal group the Victory Belles present holiday favorites.

Dec. 7-9, and 14-15.
White Christmas. Jefferson Performing Arts Center.

Dec. 7-23.
Meowy Catmas with the AcroCats. Allways Lounge. Real rescued house cats perform acrobatics (and play in a band) for the holidays.

Dec. 15.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis. Saenger Theatre.

Dec. 15.
Harry Connick Jr. Tricentennial Celebration Tour. (Will include holiday favorites.) UNO Lakefront Arena.  

Dec. 15-23.
New Orleans Ballet Theatre: The Nutcracker. Orpheum.

Dec. 18-23.
Broadway’s Elf the Musical. Saenger Theatre.

Dec. 19.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Smoothie King Center.

Dec. 26.
Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Saenger Theatre.

Watch the Saints in the Dome

Dec. 23.
New Orleans Saints Vs. Steelers.

Dec. 30.
New Orleans Saints Vs. Panthers.

Sail the Mighty Mississippi

Steamboat Natchez

Dec. 2, 9, 16.
Cruising with the Clauses. Brunch cruises.

Dec. 24.
Christmas Eve Celebration. Dinner buffet.

Creole Queen Paddlewheeler

Dec. 22 and 23.
Cajun Holiday Tea with Papa Noel. Treats, storytelling, face painting, magic tricks, children’s activities and merriment with Papa Noel, Mrs. Noel, Gaston the Gator and other jolly Cajun characters. Hold a real live alligator and each child gets a special present.

Dec. 24.
Christmas Eve Caroling Down the River. Creole dinner and live jazz band.

Teddy Bear Teas (Book now. Tickets go fast!)

Dec. 8, 15, 21, 22.
BB Stage Door Canteen.  

Nov. 25-Dec. 24.
The Roosevelt Hotel.

Dec. 15, 16 and 20-23.
Royal Sonesta.

Only in New Orleans

Audubon Zoo Lights. New this year. Lights, holiday storytelling, arts and crafts, caroling. Open most days in December except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Nov. 30-Dec. 26.
Miracle on Fulton Street. Hourly snowfall, gingerbread display. Live entertainment and photos with Santa on Friday and Saturday nights.

Dec. 6-9.
Luna Fete. Lafayette Square.

Dec. 8.
Running of the Santas.

Dec. 15.
Tricentennial Jingle on the Boulevard Parade. Starts at noon. New holiday parade rolls down Crowder Boulevard to Haynes Boulevard, making its way to Read Boulevard, before ending at Lake Forest Plaza.

Dec. 22-31.
Nola Christmas Fest. Morial Convention Center.

Dec. 24.
Bonfires on the Levee. St. James Parish.  (Greyhound Bus Tours available).

The holiday season in New Orleans is packed with entertainment options

FREE Holiday Music

Dec. 1, 8 and 15.
Holiday Concerts at St. Augustine Church.

Between Dec. 3 and 16.
St. Louis Cathedral Concert Series.

Dec. 16.
Caroling in Jackson Square. Candles and song sheets provided.

Home Tours

Dec. 8 and 9.
Homes of the Garden District. PRCNO.org.

Dec. 16.
Homes of the French Quarter. Patio Planters.net.

Shop Local Artisans

Dec. 9 and 16.
Piety Street Holiday Market.

Dec. 7.
Arts Market of New Orleans at Palmer Park.

Catch a Movie

Holiday Classics at The Prytania

Dec. 9 and 12.
Polar Express.  

Dec. 16 and 19.
It’s A Wonderful Life.  

Dec. 23 and 26.

Movies on the Mississippi:
Free outdoor movies at The Riverwalk’s Spanish Plaza

Dec. 7.
The Santa Clause.
Dec. 14.
Dec. 11.
Gremlins. Broad Street Cider.

Finally, Maybe Add a Little Horror to Your Holidays

Dec. 7 and 8.
Krampus: A Haunting Christmas. New Christmas-themed haunted House. Interactive. Photos with Krampus. 319 Butterworth Street in Jefferson near the Huey P. Long Bridge. Home of New Orleans Nightmare