It’s officially December, and the first weekend of this holiday-themed month does not disappoint in New Orleans. We’ve got the Algiers Bonfire Festival, Krewe of Jingle Parade, gingerbread house decorating, Celebration in the Oaks Run, The Nutcracker Suite, Running of the Santas, and a whole lot more. The Preservation All Stars hold a special concert on Friday, and on Saturday, the New Orleans Jazz Museum comes alive with its annual Improvisations Gala. We’ve got everything you need to kick off your month of holiday celebrations.
A Christmas Carol – Le Petit Theatre’s production of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic returns for a second year this December. A Christmas Carol is the story of Ebenzer Scrooge, a bitter money lender who grows and evolves after being visited by a host of spirits from the past, present, and future on Christmas Eve. This production features 20 young artists from Le Petit’s Young Conservatory Program. Tickets start at $40 and the performance runs December 6-23.
Holidate – Holidate is an adult gingerbread decorating class that arrives just in time for the festive season. The price is $160 for four guests and includes a gingerbread house with all the decorating essentials, a bottle of sparkling, red, or white wine, and an artisan cheese plate. Head over to the Ritz-Carlton’s French Quarter Bar for this event from 6-8 p.m.
Marine Forces Reserve Band Holiday Concert – Free and open to the public, the Marine Forces Reserve Band is performing at the Mahalia Jackson Theater in their annual Toys for Tots holiday concert. Attendees are asked to donate a new, unwrapped toy to be distributed to children in the New Orleans area. While admission is free, all seating is reserved and requires an event ticket, which will be available at the Mahalia Jackson Theater box office (1419 Basin St.) beginning at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 through the show. The performance is at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Christmas Dances – Marigny Opera Ballet presents Christmas Dances, a one-night-only performance featuring the works of Diogo de Lima and Kellis McSparrin Oldenburg. Tickets start at $30 and the performance is at 8 p.m. at Marigny Opera House.
Preservation All Stars ft. NOCCA alumni – Kick off the 50th anniversary of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts with a special performance from the Preservation All Stars featuring NOCCA Jazz alumni and students. This concert is part of a months-long partnership between The NOCCA Institute and the Preservation Hall Foundation, during which NOCCA Jazz students will receive training from Preservation Hall musicians in Traditional New Orleans Jazz. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in NOCCA’s Lupin Hall. Tickets start at $15.
Celebrating 40 Years of Talk About Good: Exhibit Opening – A new type of exhibit is opening at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Celebrating 40 Years of Talk About Good celebrates the Cajun cookbook of the same name through equipment, photography, storytelling, videography, and the art of George Rodrigue. The exhibit opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7. This coincides with the Made in Louisiana Festival on the same day from 12:30-4:30 p.m. SoFAB’s culinary festival will showcase more than 40 Louisiana-based food purveyors selling their products throughout the afternoon. Tickets are $15 in advance.
Krewe of Jingle Parade – The holidays are the perfect excuse for a parade, and the Krewe of Jingle is the fist of the season. Kick off the season with holiday themed-floats, throws, dance groups, and marching bands. The parade starts at 1 p.m. at Lee Circle and travels down St. Charles Avenue to Canal Street and back up Baronne Street.
Celebration in the Oaks Run/ Walk – Thousands of runners and walkers dressed in holiday costumes and attire will take part in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Celebration in the Oaks Run/Walk and Costume Contest in City Park on Saturday, Dec. 7 with the festivities starting at 1 p.m. and the two-mile race starting at 2 p.m. Participants will be treated to gumbo from Blue Runner, hot chocolate and coffee from Community Coffee, and a special appearance from Santa Claus. The festivities open at 1 p.m. on Victory Avenue with a costume contest at 1:30 p.m. Following the race, all runners and walkers will receive early exclusive access to the park’s traditional “Celebration in the Oaks” holiday lighting event with more than a half million decorative bulbs and festive exhibits. Registration is $30 in advance.
Running of the Santas – This annual holiday tradition calls for runners dressed in costume to parade through the streets of downtown New Orleans. This year’s “run” features a new South Pole at Aprés Lounge on Fulton Street. Costumed Santas will then make the fun run to the North Pole at Generations Hall with live entertainment from Category 6 and an extravagant costume contest. Tickets start at $20 and the run begins at 3 p.m.
Algiers Bonfire & Concert – Head on over to Algiers Point for the annual Bonfire Festival on Saturday, Dec. 7. From 5:30-8:30 p.m., enjoy music from DJ Rik Ducci, All Saints Church Choir, and Landry-Walker Marching Band, along with food, drinks, and the lighting of the bonfire. Start the party early by checking out some of the shops and restaurants in Algiers Point.
Krewe of Krampus NOLAuf Parade – It’s that time of year again, when Krewe of Krampus parades through the Bywater to spread Christmas cheer. Full of unique characters and throws, this parade is sure to leave a lasting impression. Catch it this Saturday at 7 p.m. starting at the corner of Royal and Lesseps, at Parleaux Beer Lab. The parade travels down Royal Street to Independence Street, Burgundy Street, and Piety Street where it ends at Bratz Y’all.
New Orleans Jazz Museum Improvisations Gala – The holiday season begins with the second annual Improvisations Gala benefiting the New Orleans Jazz Museum. The night will feature a mix of music, dancing, art, and illuminations, including performances from The Soul Rebels, the Pinettes featuring Big Freedia, Lena Prima, Charmaine Neville, Meschiya Lake, Seth Finch Trio, Tremé-Lafitte Brass Band, and more. Cuisine will be provided from Galatoire’s, Mr. B’s, Katie’s, Dickie Brennan’s, Langenstein’s, and more. Tickets are available for the patron party + gala ($250), gala ($100), and late wave gala ($30).
49ers @ Saints – Fresh off a win, the Saints are back in the Dome this Sunday hosting the San Francisco 49ers. Kickoff is at noon. If you can’t make it to the Dome, catch the game at one of our favorite sports bars.
The Nutcracker Suite – The New Orleans Ballet Association presents The Nutcracker Suite, a special one-hour production of the holiday classic. The story will be brought to life in a multi-generational performance by a diverse cast of over 200 participants ages 6-70+. See the performance this Sunday at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Tulane University’s Dixon Hall. Tickets are $15 per person.
Music Box Village Twilight Serenade – Twilight Serenade is a supper club under the stars at Music Box Village. The final event of the season will feature performances from Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph (Tank and the Bangas, Galactic), free feral, Kirkland Middleton (Lost Bayou Ramblers, Michot’s Melody Makers), and others, led by Tif “Teddy” Lamson (GIVERS). Paul DiMaria of Paladar 511 and Eason Barksdale, Chef de Cusine at Bayona will be offering a Mediterranean/Morrocan inspired plate featuring a main course of lamb or roasted beets. The show begins at 7 p.m. and tickets start at $20.
All month long, experience the holidays in New Orleans. Start by seeing the lights at Celebration in the Oaks, Zoo Lights, and the Roosevelt Hotel. Visit Miracle on Fulton Street to see the snow. Between holiday concerts, tea, Réveillon, and holiday shopping, there’s plenty to see and do this month in New Orleans.