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10 Ways to Holiday in St. Tammany Parish

Whether you're craving an old-fashioned Christmas with Santa, the sweet sounds of a holiday concert or a dazzling display of twinkling lights The Northshore, St. Tammany Parish has plenty of ways to celebrate the season, just 40 minutes from New Orleans' French Quarter. You'll find lots more to do in our events calendar, so be sure to have a look!

Holiday of Lights Entrance
1. Light Up The Town

Nothing makes your inner holiday joy shine more than the shimmer of twinkling lights, and St. Tammany Parish's quaint streets, lush parks and historic homes will be aglow throughout December. "Let your heart be light" with Christmas Tree-lighting events, drive-through displays, walking tours and more.

Read our Holiday Light Displays blog to find the lights.

Slidell's Community Christmas Golf Cart Parade in Olde Towne
2. Holiday Parades

Give your Yuletide spirit a boisterous boost and join in the fun of a Northshore Christmas parade! There's Mandeville's Winter on the Water Santa and Boat Parade along the Mandeville lakefront, Merry Madisonville along the Tchefuncte Riverfront, the Olde Towne Slidell Community Christmas Golf Cart Parade through the town's historic district, the Lollipops Marching Group leading the way in the Christmas in Covington Parade & Tree Lighting, and in the heart of St. Tammany's horse country, the Folsom Horse & Wagon Christmas Parade. Or, parade yourself through Old Mandeville with the annual Sips of the Season Stroll. See a list of all the parades with all the details on our Holiday Parades page

Three Wise Men in Nativity scene by Pearl River United Methodist Church
3. Live Nativities

For many, no Christmas celebration is complete without spending some time thinking about "The Reason for the Season" and the birth of Jesus Christ. Several churches and some community events in St. Tammany Parish welcome congregants and visitors alike to view a Nativity scene, some featuring live animals and free refreshments. See where to find these events by clicking here.

Shopping, Mandeville, Christmas
4. 'Tis the Season to Shop

When it's the time of year to shop 'til you drop, our Northshore communities host cheerful events to make your excursions festive and memorable, like arts and crafts markets, pop-up shopping events, and expanded farmers markets. The Northshore's prolific arts scene gives ample opportunity to find one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts for that special someone. See our Holiday Markets section below and dig in to shopping the Northshore this holiday season with our 10 Ways to Shop.

Candlelight Caroling at Covington Trailhead, 2019
5. Sounds of the Season

The Northshore has the sweet sounds of holiday music all month long. You'll find large community events, including the USMC New Orleans Reserve Band Holiday Concert at Slidell's Harbor Center, Northlake Performing Arts Society singing with Covington Concert Band in A Northshore Christmas at the Castine Center, Northshore Community Orchestra performing its annual Holiday Concert at the Slidell Auditorium and Vince Vance's wacky antics at the Bayou Jam Christmas Spectacular. 

Those seeking a more intimate experience will want to visit the historic Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall as it closes the fall concert season with J. Monqué D. Blues Revue, Abita Town Hall for Abita Opry Christmas, and the Covington Trailhead for Covington by Candlelight. Naturally, churches are offering special programming, including St. Timothy's on the Northshore with their free, annual Christmas on the Northshore Concerts in Mandeville, in the afternoon and evening, and Christ Episcopal Church hosting Louisiana Christmas Brass for their annual Christmas concert. And, Covington's Fuhrmann Auditorium hosts the LPO for its performance of Handel's Messiah. See details on these and other holiday music events on our event calendar.

Thanksgiving Dinner by Cafe Lynn Restaurant & Catering
6. Tammany Taste Holiday Dining

Visitors to The Northshore know they'll find a great meal wherever they go, but what about on Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's? Fear not, because several restaurants, casual and upscale, large and small, are there for their customers' holiday celebrations. Some are open for dine-in guests on those holidays. Some offer special menus. Others offer boxed dinners for one or two or enough to serve the whole family, including a ham or turkey with all the trimmings, desserts and drinks. With a little planning, you'll have everything you need for a complete, delicious dinner to share with family and friends. Check out our Thanksgiving Dinner blog for a list of locations offering meals to-go, many of which offer the same for Christmas, as well as places open on Thanksgiving Day. 

Get pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Slidell's Bayou Christmas.
7. Jolly Ol' St. Nick and more...

Keep your eyes peeled for Santa Claus, you'll spot him all over the Northshore during the holiday season! The jolly old elf is spreading cheer throughout St. Tammany - in parades, community events, at restaurants, and many other places. For opportunities for a meet and greet, have brunch with Santa, or snap a selfie, check out our Santa Photo Ops & Sightings blog.

Dancers performing in Ballet Apetrei's The Nutcracker
8. Classic Christmas Performances

Settle in for a show; The Northshore has numerous theaters where talented local performers create a spectacular experience the whole family can enjoy, including Playmakers, Inc. Community Theater in Covington, 30 by Ninety Theatre in Mandeville, and Cutting Edge Theater and Slidell Little Theatre in Slidell. Get the scoop on holiday shows and other performances on our Theater page.

Photo courtesy Ballet Apetrei

Shop Local on Girod Street
9. Shop Holiday Markets

Area farmers and makers' markets take on a holiday theme at this time of year, wherein those that usually host crafts vendors offer more goods and handmade items, as with the Mandeville Trailhead Extended Holiday Market and the Olde Towne Slidell Holiday Art Market, held at Green Oaks Apothecary. There are also pop-ups like the Junior League of Greater Covington's Sugar Plum Market and Southern Hotel's Holiday MarketMeanwhile, local artists gather to sell fine crafts ideal for gifting, as with the Christmas at TerraBella Tree Lighting & Holiday Marketplacethe St. Tammany Art Association's Christmas under the Oaks market on the lawn of the old Covington Courthouse on Boston Street, and the annual Christmas Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Expo at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds. Some community events also feature arts & crafts vendors, as with Slidell's Bayou ChristmasFête de Noël Night Market & Tree Lighting in Abita Springs and Market Munchkins, an all-kids market, happening at Merry Madisonville and Twinkle on the Tchefuncte


Bogue Chitto Horse Rentals at Bogue Chitto State Park in Franklinton
10. Explore Horse Country on a Trail Ride

North of St. Tammany Parish, at Bogue Chitto State Park in Franklinton, you can explore horse country on horseback. The park has over 15 miles of dedicated horse trails among majestic hardwoods, pine forest and cypress swamps, all leading to the Bogue Chitto River. The park's Christmas Caroling Wagon Rides are sing-a-longs of favorite Christmas songs on 20-minute horse and wagon rides for the whole family. The park also offers one- and two-hour rides (private or public) and half day rides. Book online.