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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 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 adorning the quaint streets, Tammany Trace trailheads and parks of St. Tammany Parish. A favorite Christmas carol has a place of prominence in West St. Tammany with lighted displays depicting the 12 Days of Christmas in Covington and Mandeville. Find them all, snap a selfie or belt the beloved carol on video to share with all those you'd love to be caroling with this holiday season. In Mandeville, go to the Tammany Trace Trailhead on Koop Drive for the 22nd annual Holiday of Lights for drive-through lighted displays, December 3-25, 2021. On the east side of the parish, be sure to catch Slidell's Bayou Christmas, December 17-19 (including Family Movie Night on Dec. 18!) and Christmas on Front Street, with LED lighted displays illuminating your way from dusk 'til dawn, December 1-January 1, 2022, all along Olde Towne Slidell's Front Street from West Hall to Erlanger Avenue. Catch the annual lighting of the Christmas tree event and lighted displays in Griffith Park at Christmas Under the Stars, December 3-11, and join the fun at the Olde Towne Slidell Community Christmas Parade on December 5.

Royal Carriages tours, decked out for the holidays
2. Tour Old Covington by Carriage

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. Operating since 1941, Royal Carriages prides itself on the care it gives to its animals, with each mule receiving months of annual vacation, and hours between trips. Sightseeing, guided historical tours are 30 or 60-minute excursions through downtown and Old Covington during the cool months of the year. Rides depart just south of the Covington Trailhead Museum in front of Marsolan Feed and Seed Store, 314 N. Gibson St.

Shopping, Mandeville, Christmas
3. '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. 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, held each year during the first full week of December. You'll also want to shop and stroll the brightly decorated streets of Old Mandeville for Shop Local Saturday.

Shop local for unforgettable treasures on weekends during the season--the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas--with Get Wrapped Up in Mandeville and Covington's Christmas in the Country, when boutiques and shops are transformed with bright decorations throughout the walkable historic districts. Be sure to make a stop at cozy Das Schulerhaus Gift Gallery & Christmas Boutique in Mandeville for an old world shopping experience. Pop-ups and other shopping events will be added to our event calendar as they are announced, so be sure to keep checking back!

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

From streamed performances to caroling, the Northshore has the sweet sounds of holiday music. The City of Covington will host two fun events for all ages this season: a free concert and caroling with the Northlake Performing Arts Society (NPAS), Candlelight Caroling at Covington Trailhead, on Friday, Dec. 10, and Deck the Rails on Dec. 4, along with Santa, holiday crafts and cookies for the kids. You can also see the NPAS chorale at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mandeville on Dec. 3 and 5 for two performances of O, Wondrous Night, a collection of traditional Christmas carols and worship music.

In Mandeville, St. Timothy on the Northshore UMC presents its annual show-stopping holiday musical performances, Christmas on the Northshore, this year streamed to audiences on the church's website.

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

Lakehouse Tammany Taste of Summer
5. 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 restaurants offer a full dining experience for the whole family with special menus, while others offer boxed dinners for pre-order, ready to go on the big day. Or, for larger gatherings, turkey with all the trimmings and loads of side dishes, desserts and drinks by the pan, quart or gallon, like you'll find at Pyre Provisions, Acquistapace's Covington Supermarket, Copeland's of New Orleans in Covington and Slidell, the Jazz Fest favorite, Patton's Caterers, Honeybaked Ham, and others. With a little planning--most require advance registration or two days' notice on take-home orders--you'll have everything you need to bring a complete, delicious dinner to share with family and friends, whether it's their home, your hotel or a sunny park for a socially-distant good time.

You'll find special dining events, like the Sips of the Season Stroll in Old Mandeville on Dec. 3. The English Tea Room's Nutcracker Christmas Teas on Dec. 5, 12 and 19, and their annual Christmas High Teas daily through the first week of January. The Dakota in Covington offers a Réveillon dinner through the month of December, and other restaurants will announce special events throughout the season, so be sure to check our event calendar and follow us on Facebook and Instagram, because we'll be sharing their posts!

Donna Plaia from Das Schularhaus at Christmas Past, Mandeville LA
6. Shop Holiday Markets

Area farmers and makers markets take on a holiday theme at this time of year, including the Olde Towne Slidell Christmas Market, the Covington Holiday Art Market and Madisonville Market. Farmers markets that usually host crafts vendors add touches of the season, and sell goods and handmade items ideal for gifting, including the Mandeville Trailhead Holiday Market, Camellia City Market in Slidell, Folsom Farmers Market, Abita Springs Art & Farmers Market, Claiborne Place Makers Market in Covington and Lafitte Street Market in Mandeville.

The businesses of Old Mandeville on and around Girod Street host Shop Local Saturday (date TBA). Enjoy artist pop-ups outside of local businesses, live Christmas music, special holiday deals and more.

If a veritable festival of shopping is more your speed, don't miss Louisiana’s annual three-day arts and crafts shopping event, Christmas Extravaganza Arts and Crafts Expo, where you can browse some 500 booths bursting with unique creations by artists from a multi-state area (and get fueled up by mouth-watering food booths and live music).

Christmas at the Southern features a Sip-n-Shop event at the historic hotel, with vendors offering unique gifts, clothing for ladies and kids, fun stuff for your furry family members, as well as spa services and treats by local sweet shops.

Merry Madisonville 2019 at Madisonville Town Hall
7. Jolly Ol' St. Nick and more...

Santa Claus can be sighted at a select few places across Northshore during the holiday season, including pictures with the kiddos. On December 3rd there's the Olde Towne Crawl: Christmas in Olde Towne Slidell and Christmas at TerraBella in Covington. The Mandeville lakefront is the place to be on Dec. 4 for Winter on the Water, and on Dec. 5, along the Tchefuncte River for Merry Madisonville

Check out light displays with Santa pics at Slidell's Bayou Christmas, Dec.17-19 and photos with Santa at Southern Hotel (reserve your day and time in advance). Santa also pays a visit to the Jean Baptiste Lang House for pictures by the beloved old fireplace with Santa--bring your own camera and your family (pets welcome, too!).

Entertain the kiddos with Santa and holiday treats at Pelican Park's Breakfast with Santa, the sweet Princess Brunch at Restaurant Coté, or the English Tea Room's Brunch with Santa on Christmas Eve. Enjoy holiday goodies while supporting good causes with the Youth Service Bureau's Your Santa Breakfast or the Mande Milkshakers' fundraising Merry Mande Holiday Tea. And, plan ahead to join The English Tea Room for their special Nutcracker Christmas Teas, where Santa makes an appearance alongside dancing ballerinas.

Those looking for a live Nativity can visit St. Timothy's on the Northshore United Methodist Church, New Zion Baptist Church and Bogue Falaya Baptist Church.

If a "fun run" is more your speed, don't miss the Q50 Santa on Trails 5K Run/Walk in Fontainebleau State Park on Dec. 11, where you can witness a flurry of red caps and white beards bobbing by as runners cruise through the park in full Santa suits. The annual Pink Tutu Run/Walk, originally planned for September, moves to December, too, on the 5th.
Find more holiday fun in our event calendar.

 

Christmas Shopping
8. Gifts for the Crew...and You

Whether your ideal holiday shopping experience is at a bustling retail center with top national brands or small, owner-operated stores with one-of-a-kind finds, shopping in St. Tammany has you covered. In Covington, you'll find antique and fine gift shops, clothing and home décor boutiques, and art galleries like Marianne Angeli Rodriguez Gallery, whose brightly painted, Columbia Street storefront is a work of art in itself. Southwest of town, there's Nord du Lac and River Chase centers, and dozens of shopping plazas along Highway 21.

Further west, in Mandeville, you'll find more great retail shopping along Highways 190 and 22, from Premier Shopping Centers 1 and 2 and numerous stylish boutiques, spas, and service stores. In Old Mandeville, on Girod Street, you'll find cute shops with handmade goods and fine art, like The Wild Osprey, Mae Antiques, Cameo Boutique or The Book and The Bean.

On the east side of the parish, Slidell's Olde Towne area offers several shops with antiques, fine crafts, Louisiana-themed gifts and Saints and LSU merchandise like those found at Three Divas and a Sugardaddy and The Who Dat Shoppe.  Don't forget treats and toys for your furry family members at Café du Bone Dog Bakery & Boutique. St. Tammany's largest city also offers shopping of popular brands interspersed with familiar restaurants at the ever-expanding Fremaux Town Center.

Ballet Apetrei presents just three performances of The Nutcracker.
9. On the Stage

Settle in for a show; the Northshore has numerous theaters throughout the parish that create a spectacular experience for all. Talented local performers present a broad spectrum of well-loved Christmas classics and new debuts for the whole family to enjoy. Four community theaters present Christmas and holiday season productions on weekends through mid-December that the whole family can enjoy. At Playmakers, Inc. Community Theater in Covington, there's the youth theatre production of Babes in Toyland, onstage Dec. 3-12; at 30 by Ninety Theatre in Mandeville, the 3rd annual A Very Merry Christmas Spectacular, a celebration of dance and song for the holidays with complimentary milk and cookies at each performance, Dec. 3-12; at Cutting Edge Theater in Slidell, This Christmas, the culminating performance of the theater's fall training program for kids 8-18, Dec. 3-11; and at Slidell Little Theatre, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, a musical adaptation of the funny and touching holiday classic, Dec. 3-19.

In Covington, at the Fuhrmann Auditorium, catch the 55th annual, narrated dance performance of A Joyful Noise unto the Lord by Dancescape Studio. And, if it's just not Christmas until sugar plum fairies are dancing in your head, be sure to catch The Nutcracker by Ballet Apetrei, the Northshore’s own resident ballet company.

Photo courtesy Ballet Apetrei

Christmas at the Southern Hotel
10. Stay Awhile

St. Tammany offers a range of accommodations to fit your style and budget, from familiar and convenient hotels to boutique bed and breakfasts to rustic cabins and waterfront camping. During the holiday season, lodgings also offer some sweet deals on stays, from Thanksgiving through New Year's 2022.