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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 Louisiana Northshore, St. Tammany Parish has plenty of ways to celebrate the season, just 40 minutes from New Orleans' French Quarter.

While some activities have been postponed this year, many producers have adapted their events to bring the festivities to the public. You'll find lots more to do in our events calendar, so be sure to have a look!

Olde Towne Slidell brightly decorated for Christmas.
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.

Santa Parade on the Mandeville Lakefront for Winter on the Water
2. Holiday Parades

Give your Yuletide spirit a boisterous boost and join in the fun of a Northshore Christmas parade! On Saturday, December 4, in Mandeville, there's Winter on the Water's Santa and Boat Parades along the Mandeville lakefront; on Sunday, Dec. 5, the Olde Towne Slidell Community Christmas Parade and Merry Madisonville along the Tchefuncte Riverfront; and on Saturday, Dec. 11, in the heart of St. Tammany's horse country, the Folsom Horse & Wagon Christmas Parade. Or, parade yourself through Old Mandeville on December 3 with the annual Sips of the Season Stroll.

Live Nativity at 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 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 the 38th annual Christmas Extravaganza Arts & Crafts Expo, December 3-5 at the Covington Fairgrounds. The Northshore's prolific arts scene gives ample opportunity to find one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts for that special someone, especially during Shop Local Artists Week, December 5-11, and on weekends from Thanksgiving through Christmas with Get Wrapped Up in Mandeville and Covington's Christmas in the Country. 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. The USMC Reserve Band returns to Slidell's Harbor Center, and the historic Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall returns to hosting live music in its hallowed hall with Guitars in the Round. The popular St. Timothy on the Northshore Choir presents a live and live-streamed performance, and Christ Episcopal Church welcomes the LPO Christmas Brass. The Northlake Performing Arts Society Chorale goes caroling and performs. See details on these and many more live music events on our blog.

Photo: Covington Office of Cultural Arts & Events (2019)

Tomato-basil soup at The English Tea Room
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, like The Dakota's Réveillon dinners served throughout the month of December. 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, like you'll find at Pyre Provisions, Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket, Honeybaked Ham, Copeland's of New Orleans in Covington and Slidell, or the Jazz Fest favorite, Patton's Caterers. With a little planning, you'll have everything you need for a complete, delicious dinner to share with family and friends.

Merry Madisonville 2019 at Madisonville Town Hall
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 - walking in Olde Towne Slidell's Community Christmas Parade,  mingling at Deck the Rails in Covington, walking in the Winter on the Water Santa Parade in Mandeville, or hanging in Santa's Workshop at Merry Madisonville. For more opportunities for a meet and greet, check out our Santa Sightings blog, or go to our event calendar.

Ballet Apetrei presents just three performances of 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. Covington's Fuhrmann Auditorium also hosts two dance-focused events this season. Get the scoop on these and more 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 Madisonville Market and Mandeville Trailhead Holiday Market, which also extends its shopping hours. Meanwhile, local artists gather to sell fine crafts ideal for gifting, as with the Olde Towne Christmas Market, November 27-28, Abita Springs' Fête de Noël Night Market on December 3, and Covington's Holiday Festival of Arts on Dec. 4. Round out your whirlwind of art market shopping on Dec. 11 with two events: Old Mandeville Shop Local Saturday, where the businesses along Girod Street host artist pop-ups, and the Olde Towne Slidell Holiday Art Market, held at Green Oaks Apothecary.

Christmas in downtown Covington, Christmas Carriage Rides with Royal Carriages
10. Take a Tour of Old Covington

Discovering charming Covington's historic areas just got a little easier with sightseeing company Royal Carriages, who brings their generations-long New Orleans carriage tours to the Northshore for Covington Christmas Carriage Rides this holiday season. Sightseeing, guided historical tours are 30 or 60-minute excursions through downtown and Old Covington. Book online early: just nine days will be offered this season!
Architecture and interior design aficionados will have a holiday treat once again in 2021 with the History and Holly Tour of Homes on December 5. Sip wine (provided) as you explore five historic homes on this walking tour, all adorned with Christmas decor.