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Local Christmas celebrations that are making spirits bright

Though most of us are still full from Thanksgiving, it’s time to put the turkey away. Christmas is officially here, meaning it’s finally socially acceptable to play that Christmas playlist you’ve been eyeing all year. However, aside from decorating the house and listening to Christmas music on loop, this year truly embrace the season with your loved ones and entire community with some local Christmas events.

Below are some old and new events perfect for the whole family and guaranteed to make your heart grow three times its size.

1. Family Night at the Holiday Lights

Photo courtesy Baton Rouge General.

Tonight, December 5, the Baton Rouge General will host Family Night as part of its Holiday Lights display. Along with the extravagant Christmas lights, the night will feature live music, five tons of real snow and, of course, pictures with Santa Claus. While enjoying the Christmas spirit, attendees can also enjoy a delicious dinner from one of several local food trucks. In case you miss tonight’s Family Night, there will also be a second Family Night on Thursday, December 19. The light display itself is on view each night until December 31. For more information, click here.

2. Christmas in the Garden

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This Saturday, December 7, LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens presents Christmas in the Garden from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The early morning Christmas celebration will include a pancake breakfast prepared by Baton Rouge Kiwanis and tons of festive-themed activities like pictures with Santa, reindeer food making and StoryTime in the Garden with the Junior League of Baton Rouge and Mrs. Claus. For more information, visit here.

3. Nottoway Plantation Annual Bonfire Festival 

Photo courtesy Nottoway Plantation.

Celebrate the holidays at Nottoway Plantation on Saturday, December 7, as it hosts its 10th annual Bonfire Festival from 5 to 9 p.m. Cozy up to the crackling fire of massive bonfires while fireworks light from the levee up the sky. There will also be an array of festive actives on the grounds including dancing under the oaks to the Bryan Romano Band with Mitch Landry, Santa’s Lighting of the Cypress Tree, a Christmas Market and more. For younger children, there will be a North Pole Kids’ Village featuring ornament making, cooking decorating, and more. For more information, click here.

4. Festival of Lights 

Photo courtesy North Boulevard Town Square.

On Friday, December 6, North Boulevard in Town Square will transform into a wintery Christmas celebration during the Downtown Development District‘s Festival of Lights from 4 to 6 p.m. The festive night of holiday cheer will feature family fun activities including the lighting of a 35-foot Christmas tree, free ice skating, fireworks and more. There will also be a Snow Village packed with six tons of real snow. For more information, visit here.

5. Santa in the Senate 

Photo courtesy Louisiana’s Old State Capitol.

Santa will visit the Louisiana Old State Capitol on Friday, December 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. During his visit, guests are encouraged to take pictures with Mr. Claus in the old Senate Chamber and enjoy a viewing of a Christmas movie in the old House Chamber. There will also be children’s crafts and activities, and guests will be given a surprise treat at the end of the night. For more information, click here.

6. A Rural Life Christmas 

Photo courtesy LSU Rural Life Museum.

On Sunday, December 8, the LSU Rural Life Museum will celebrate old-fashioned Louisiana Christmas traditions with its A Rural Life Christmas, starting at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 19th-century celebration will include live entertainment including musical groups, demonstrating artisans, costumed re-enactors and more. For more information, visit here.

7. Christmas in the Country 

Photo courtesy Christmas In The Country-St. Francisville, W.Feliciana Parish

From Friday, December 6, to Sunday, December 8, St. Francisville will host its holiday celebration Christmas in the Country. The Christmas festival will occur throughout the town’s downtown area, celebrating the season with live concerts, fireworks, unique gifts and a Christmas parade. Along like with the seasonal celebrations, the town will also transform into a wintery wonderland with the entire Historic District decked in white lights and a Polar Express Train traveling along Ferdinand Street from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Read more about the Christmas in the Country tour of homes in this article from inRegister’s December issue. For more information, click here.

8. Zachary Christmas Parade 

Photo courtesy Zachary Chamber of Commerce.

Zachary Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Christmas Parade in downtown Zachary this Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Enjoy the celebration while watching as floats pass by decked out in the holiday theme “It’s a Wonderful Life … In Zachary!” For more information, visit here.

9. A New Roads Christmas 

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This Saturday, December 7, downtown New Roads will host A New Roads Christmas, from 12 to 9 p.m. Take part in a day of merrymaking with holiday-themed activities including a Christmas parade, tree lighting and caroling. The event also features pictures with Santa, carnival rides and food booths. For more information, click here.

10. Christmas on the Creek Parade 

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The Jones Creek Area Business Association will present its annual Christmas parade, Sunday, December 8, starting at 2:30 to 4 p.m. Enjoy gazing upon the festive line of floats as they meander along the entire length of Jones Creek Road. For more information, visit here.

11. Santa Rocks the Rowe

Photo courtesy Perkins Rowe.

Next Saturday, December 15, Perkins Rowe will host Santa Rocks the Rowe, from 5 to 9 p.m. The musical celebration embraces the holidays with live music from the Baton Rouge Concert Band, selfies with Santa, holiday caroling and more. For more information, visit here.

12. Christmas in the Village 

Photo courtesy Zachary Christmas in the Village.

Zachary Historic District will host its Christmas in the Village and Light Show on Saturday, December 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. Watch as the village brings Christmas spirit to life with synchronized Christmas light displays, live entertainment and performances, over 25 art and craft vendors, gourmet food trucks and Santa Claus. The historic homes of the village will light up with thousands of blinking and twinkling lights. Towering over the whimsical village will be a lighted 28-foot musically animated Christmas tree, synchronized to holiday favorites. Even after the festive night, holiday enthusiasts are welcome to visit the light displays through January 3. For more information, click here.

13. ZooLights

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BREC‘s Baton Rouge Zoo presents ZooLights from 5:30 to 8 p.m., every night except on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day until December 30. The mile-long trail throughout the Zoo features 50 lighted displays of animals and traditional holiday scenes. For more information,visit here.

14. Broadmoor’s Christmas Parade 

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This Saturday, December 7, Broadmoor Residents’ Association will host its annual Christmas parade, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The holiday parade will feature all forms of floats from bicycles to full on parade floats, starting in the Broadmoor High School parking lot, all decorated to celebrate the season. Embracing the Christmas spirit, attendees and participants are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items for donation. For more information, click here.

15. Carols at the Rowe 

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Perkins Rowe will host Carols at the Rowe in its Town Square on Sunday, December 15, from 3 to 4 p.m. Get your singing voice ready to belt out holiday music favorites for this sing-along holiday celebration. This free event is open to all ages and will be led by music director Jude Wilson. Song sheets and background music will be provided, along with limited seating, but attendees are welcome to bring folding chairs. For more information, visit here.

What events are you planning to attend this season? Let us know in the comments below.