12 Days of Christmas in Louisiana

Louisiana knows how to throw a party, and the holiday festivities are no exception. From parades to fireworks and visits with Santa, there is no shortage of holiday merriment.

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The official Explore Louisiana blogging team.
Christmas Celebrations in Natchitoches

Natchitoches Christmas Festival features hundres of dazzling light displays, delicious hot cocoa and holiday shopping specials.

Bonfire on the Levee

Experience a Louisiana tradition: A Christmas bonfire.

Natchitoches Christmas

Festive Christmas lights line downtown streets across the state.

With an extensive list of holiday festivities around Louisiana, figuring out how to celebrate can be overwhelming. We’re here to help you navigate with a guide that highlights some of the best events in every corner of the state.

  1. Begin with Kickoff to Christmas in Ruston, featuring festive activities, holiday tunes, a tree lighting ceremony, carriage rides and a special visit from Santa. Nearby in Monroe, make a visit to the Christmas Open House at the Biedenharn where you'll be delighted by the holiday decor. Be sure to stop by the Coca-Cola exhibit.
  2. In Oil City, near Shreveport, is the Christmas on Caddo Fireworks Festival, with local entertainment, a bounce house, clowns, food booths, arts & crafts, pictures with Santa and fair food.
  3. Celebrate one of Louisiana’s longest-running Christmas traditions – the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. Each year, downtown Natchitoches transforms into a holiday wonderland with hundreds of thousands of colored lights and set pieces. The festival was previously ranked as the 3rd “Best Holiday Light Show” behind Rockefeller Center and Disneyland by Yahoo! Travel – it’s a must-see event!
  4. St. Francisville hosts Christmas in the Country, where visitors can listen to music, watch the lighting of the Christmas tree, view a live nativity, have breakfast with Santa, enjoy a Christmas Parade and more.
  5. Over in Lake Charles, experience the Light up the Lake Christmas Celebration featuring a hot chocolate fun run, Santa’s Workshop on the lakefront, a tree lighting ceremony and fireworks over the lake. This event is full of fun for all ages - with children's activities, food trucks and live entertainment.
  6. Listen to music by Grammy Award-winning Don Henry at the Logansport Christmas Festival. Plus, peruse dozens of vendors, a Classic Car Show, parade, Christmas lights and fireworks.
  7. Looking to get your retail therapy fix? Check out the Merry Market in Gonzales, one of the largest Christmas markets in the state, and browse through vendors from across the country. In the Kids Zone, make reindeer food for Santa’s trusty steeds. Over in New Roads, visit the Holiday Market at the Mill for shopping, dining and holiday music.
  8. Celebrate the tradition of holiday bonfires in South Louisiana at the Algiers Bonfire & Concert. Listen to musical performances, eat delicious food from local vendors and shop at the holiday craft market as you watch a 30-foot sculptural bonfire set ablaze. The tradition is also kept alive at the Festival of the Bonfires in Lutcher, so head over for carnival rides, Santa’s Very Merry Forest, and of course a massive bonfire.
  9. On the Louisiana Northshore, you’ll find plenty of holiday options. See the town lit up and glimmering in holiday lights, celebrate with a Christmas Parade on the Mandeville lakefront, hear the Sounds of the Season, shop the Annual Christmas Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Expo, taste holiday dining specials and more.
  10. There’s plenty of holiday cheer in Alexandria, including an annual holiday concert by the Rapides Symphony Orchestra and the Holiday Light Safari at the Alexandria Zoo.
  11. In Baton Rouge, stop by the Rural Life Museum for A Rural Life Christmas — a 19th-century Louisiana Christmas celebration with decorations representative of special times of long ago displayed throughout the museum’s grounds. See artisan demonstrations like syrup making, open hearth cooking, textiles, soap making and blacksmithing.
  12. In New Orleans, NOLA ChristmasFest lasts for over a week — offering lots of time to experience all there is to offer, such as a real indoor ice skating rink, ice slides, carnival rides, Santa and friends, holiday stage, giant decorations and more. Looking for the perfect holiday selfie for the ‘gram? Stop by the famous Roosevelt Hotel in the Big Easy for a look at their wildly popular, ornate decorations – the perfect backdrop for a photo-op. While you’re there, have a drink at the Sazerac Bar or grab a sweet treat at Teddy’s Café.

Want to celebrate all season long across North Louisiana? Take a trip down the Holiday Trail of Lights. Experience holiday lights, parades, fireworks, shopping and many exciting events in eight of Louisiana’s festive cities.