Christmas traditions are wonderful! Full of comfort and cheer, they transport us to more friendly times and bring a sweet smile of remembrance. New Orleans has some incredibly unique Christmas customs that anyone can enjoy.
One tradition that may be unfamiliar to those outside NOLA is the Reveillon Dinner – orginally this was a meal partaken of after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, consisting of local delicacies. The more modern take is local restaurants offering special prix fix meals during the holiday season, as well as “Reveillon on the Rocks”, special cocktails invented to complement the spectactular meals.
If you’re a lover of holiday lights, you will not want to miss the famous Celebration in the Oaks – an amazing light display put up in City Park (including the Botanical Garden, Storyland and the Carousel) every year. Entry is $10/person and well worth it! Hundreds of thousands of sparkling lights make up an array of seasonal panoramas. Ride the train, get a hot chocolate and roast a marshmallow while you’re there!
For a real New Orleans taste of Christmas, join thousands of voices “making a joyful noise” on December 16th – Caroling in Jackson Square. This is a free event, and song sheets and candles are offered to attendees. The beautiful and familiar tunes lifted high by many voices makes a very touching scene, sure to wake up the holiday spirit in even the most curmudgeonly Grinch! Here’s a peek:
On Christmas Eve after dark, watch the banks of the river for the first sparks of Bonfires on the Levee, in which towering wooden structures are set aflame to help guide and welcome Papa Noel and his reindeer to Southern Louisiana. If you want to be really fancy, you can get a seat on a greyline bus for a comfortable ride to the bonfires!
There are so many more things to do in New Orleans in December, including The Running of the Santas, concerts at the Cathedral, Christmas fest, Luna Fete, The Krewe of Jingle Parade – just too much to cover in one blog post! But rest assured, if you plan ahead and make your reservations early, 1896 O’Malley House will have a place for you to recoup and recover in comfort in between all the merriment!