Christmas parades, bonfires and more: Find out where to catch the holiday fun in New Orleans

For 2021, the fun is back so let’s throw a parade (or two or more). This month, we’ll be celebrating in the oaks, sipping tea with teddy bears, oohing and aahing at lights and caroling our hearts out once again.

Here’s a sampling of some of the parades and special events throughout the greater metropolitan area. For more information and additional events, check out our holiday events list or visit the Holidays in New Orleans 2021 section of the calendar on at

Seasonal special events

Galatoire’s Christmas Table Auction: The Galatoire Foundation auction of tables for the coveted Friday before Christmas (Dec. 17) to benefit Covenant House and Patio Planters of the Vieux Carre. 5:30 p.m. Tuesday (Nov. 30). Tickets start at $25. Galatoire’s Restaurant, 209 Bourbon St., New Orleans.

Grinchmas Sensory Event: Children have the opportunity to explore a variety of Grinchy stations, including sensory activities, crafts and games. Plus, Grinchmas photos available for $10. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 4 at Terrytown Playground, 641 Heritage Ave., Terrytown. Dec. 11 at Ree Alario Special Needs Center, 6900 Saints Drive, Metairie.

Running of the Santas: Annual Warehouse District cavort to benefit That Others May Live Foundation, ending at Generations Hall, with stops throughout, and a costume contest. 3 p.m. Dec. 11. Tickets start at $30. Manning’s Sports Bar and Grill, 228 Poydras St., New Orleans.


West End Christmas Boat Parade will be part of the Lights on the Lake event Dec. 11 at the New Canal Lighthouse and along the New Basin Canal. Above, Seabird plies the waves in the 2018 parade and was a winning entry.

Lights on the Lake: Pontchartrain Conservancy event with food trucks, music, toddies, kids’ crafts and pictures with Santa; plus a great spot to watch the annual boat parade. 4 p.m. Dec. 11. Tickets $5. New Canal Lighthouse, 8001 Lakeshore Drive, New Orleans.

Toy Drive and Christmas Celebration: NOLA Families in Need event to organize donations, with food, drinks, holiday music, spacewalks, arts and crafts, Santa letters, a photo booth and sweater and costume contest. Bring an unwrapped new gift per person. 3 p.m. Dec. 12. Wally Pontiff Jr. Playground gym, 1521 Palm St., Metairie. 


Madelynn Nguyen, 2, meets Snow Princess Queta Cavalier during an opening party for NOLA Christmas Fest Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. The event, which runs Dec. 17 through Dec. 30, features an indoor ice skating rink, ice slides, a carousel, carnival rides, inflatables, Santa and friends, gingerbread houses, decorated trees and more. 

NOLA ChristmasFest: This indoor holiday wonderland is packed with rides, skating, trees, a market and more, including visits from Santa and other special guests of the season. Hours vary Dec. 17-30; closed Dec. 23-24. Tickets start at $20. New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 900 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans.

Christmas lights on the north shore: Holiday illumination, outdoor festivities

The Covington Deck the Rails celebration was held at the Covington Trailhead. (Photos by Tana R.H. Stevenson)

Deck the Rails:  Family-friendly holiday event with music, crafts and treats, caroling by the Northlake Performing Arts Society chorale, Christmas craft activities, a visit from Santa Claus and individually wrapped holiday treats. 4 p.m. Dec. 4. Covington Trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire St., Covington.

15 fun things to do in St. Tammany Parish this weekend (Dec. 7-9)

The spirt of the holiday season continues to build in St. Tammany Parish, with a number of seasonal events on tap through the parish this weekend, from a horse-drawn Christmas parade in Folsom to a nighttime boat parade in Mandeville to concerts, movies and more. 

Winter on the Water: Over land and on the waves, holiday fun comes to the lakefront with a visit from Santa, music, face painting and the lighting of the oaks. 4 p.m. Dec. 4. Mandeville Lakefront, 2623 Lakeshore Drive, Mandeville.

Ringing in the Arts: The City of Gretna Fine Art Evening Festival celebrating a Victorian Christmas, an evening of fine art, music and refreshments in the outdoor gallery, 5 p.m. Dec. 4. Gretna Market Pavilion, 300 Huey P. Long Ave., Gretna.

Algiers Bonfire and Concert: Annual lighting of New Orleans’ only official holiday bonfire, with music, specialty cocktails and a holiday market. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 4. Algiers Batture, 201 Morgan St., New Orleans.

‘Swampus Returns’ Halloween stationary parade

Krewe of Krampus member Cheri Pareti greets visitors during the ‘Swampus Returns’ drive- through Halloween stationary parade that brought COVID-19-safe horror to Gentilly on Oct. 30, 2021

Krampus NOLAuf — Alpine Dreams on Krampus Lane: Drive through a designated route to see performers while maintaining social distance in the outside space. 7 p.m. Dec. 4. Tickets start at $20. Horseshoe Drive at NORD Offices, 5420 Franklin Ave., New Orleans.

Merry Madisonville Christmas Parade Celebration: Market and holiday parade, with photos after the parade, kids activities, music and performances. 1 p.m. Dec. 5. Madisonville Park and Playground, 1007 Pine St., Madisonville.

Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade: The annual holiday parade is capped by Santa lighting the Christmas tree with activities and food. 6 p.m. Dec. 5. Huey P. Long Avenue, Gretna.


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