2016 Baton Rouge Family Friendly Holiday Events Guide

Can you feel it in the air?! It’s almost holiday season in Baton Rouge, the best place in the world for family holiday fun. Red Stick Moms Blog has you covered with the most comprehensive and accurate guide to all the Baton Rouge holiday events in and around town! Some events are still in the works, so check back often for the most up-to-date info for celebrating the holidays in Baton Rouge. Happy Holidays! 

Note :: also see this comprehensive guide to holiday events in New Orleans.

Baton Rouge Family Friendly Holiday Events

volunteeradSPECIAL NOTE  :: Did you know BREC has volunteer opportunities this holiday season (and throughout the year) that are perfect for students needing service hours or for those just wanting to give back? Volunteer opportunities are available in the areas of golf, athletics, education, special events, conservation, park beautification and more. An added bonus for your Baton Rouge family is that BREC provides a state income tax deduction of $500 per year to individuals who volunteer 30 or more hours per year! For more information about volunteering with BREC, please contact Monica Dugas at [email protected] or (225) 272-9200, extension 446. You can also sign up to receive BREC volunteer news at www.brec.org/volunteer and follow them on Facebook. Where possible, we have also highlighted such volunteer opportunities in green. It’s never too early to get your children involved in civic service.

Baton Rouge Area Holiday Shopping & Art ::

Mistletoe Market {Saturday, November 12 (9:00am to 5:00pm) & Sunday, November 13 (10:00am to 5:00pm)} :: Grab a the family and shop ’til you drop with over 100 vendors at the Mistletoe Market’s 15th Annual Shopping Extravaganza. Admission is $6, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting children in need. This year’s chosen charity is Dreams Come True of Louisiana, a local organization that makes dreams come true for children with a terminal illness, from electronics to family trips. Kids Zone includes face painting, balloons and a princess appearances all throughout the day!

Christmas on the Boulevard {Friday, November 18 (6:00 to 8:00pm)} :: Kick off the holiday season with Mall of Louisiana as they light the giant Christmas tree and welcome Santa! Ring in the holiday season with The Salvation Army of Greater Baton Rouge for their official Baton Rouge Angel Tree and Kettle Kickoff. The event is free with a canned or non-perishable food items donation benefiting Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.

White Light Night Art Festival {Friday, November 18 (6:00 to 10:00 pm)} :: White 2016-holiday-guide-pintrestlights will sparkle during this 19th annual evening of art in Mid City. The public is invited to this free event where they can view and purchase art by local artists at participating Mid City businesses, experience shopping, entertainment, food, and spirits, as well as live music at most venues. Hop on a shuttle, carpool with friends, or stroll down Government Street from one great stop to another while enjoying the lights and the excitement. Also all original art is sales tax free in the Mid City Art and Design Cultural District! Admission is free. 

Holiday Market  at the Mill in New Roads  {The Preview Party is Thursday, November 17th from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Hours on Friday, November 18th,  and Saturday, November 19th, are from 10:00 am- 5:00 pm} :: The Preview Party Thursday night requires a $20 ticket which includes a style show, a drink ticket, first hand shopping and discounts. Saturday morning, Santa will arrive at 10 am for Christmas pics and ornament painting will be throughout the day for only $5.00.  Kids and adults can paint. Entry is $5.00 and that is for both days. Bring the guys to watch the LSU- Florida game while the women shop.

Christmas in the Parking Lot {Sunday, November 27 from 10:00am to 4:00pm} :: Alexander’s Highland Market is giving you a one-stop shop for all your Christmas preparations at this free, family event! Photos with Santa, local vendors, Harb’s Oasis Christmas trees for sale, cooking demonstrations, gift ideas, and more!

Christmas in the Country (St. Francisville) {December 2 – 4} :: Hit the hills for refreshments and entertainment all weekend at area shops. Drive through the Historic District at night and enjoy the entire town outlined in white lights. The event kicks off with the lighting of the Town Tree on Friday, Breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning, an old-fashioned Christmas Parade on Sunday at 2PM and lots of other activities in between. Admission is free, with some cost associated with special events. 

Christmas Marketplace Nights (White Castle) {Tuesday, December 6 | Friday, December 16 | Tuesday, December 20 (5:00pm-9:00pm)} :: The American Queen docks at Nottoway Plantation for this new holiday event featuring shopping, bonfires on the levee, and fireworks. Admission is free.

Baton Rouge Area Holiday Festivals & Outdoor Fun :: 

Gingerbread House Decorating with BREC {Friday, November 11 (5:00pm-9:30pm -Plank Road Park in Zachary) | Friday, November 18 5:00pm-9:30pm – Highland Road Park) :: Enjoy an evening of family fun that can be shared over and over again throughout the holiday. Help families create a gingerbread masterpiece with lots of graham crackers, icing and candy trim. Cost is $5 per person. SPECIAL NOTE :: volunteers needed for Gingerbread House Decorating! This is a designated BREC volunteer opportunity {see more info at the top of this post for how to give back to Baton Rouge this holiday season}

ZooLights {November 25 – December 30 (closed Christmas Eve & Christmas Day; 5:30pm to 9:00pm – families must arrive no later than 8:00pm)} :: Celebrate the holiday season at BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo and create a fun, family tradition admiring the sparkling lights and brilliant hues through the mile-long trail of lights at the zoo. With more than 50 illuminated display sculptures of animals and traditional holiday displays, some up to 30 feet tall, it’s sure to be a festive family activity! Check out the Zoolights’ calendar at the link above for special events. Admission ranges from $3 – $5.

Hohenshee Family Christmas Lights (Central) {Beginning Saturday November 26} :: Formally known as the House on Sullivan Road, this family pulls out all the stops for their Christmas light show! Synched to music that be accessed on your car radio, this holiday light show is a must-see — only a short distance from Baton Rouge and from the comfort of your vehicle. Just pull up, sit back and enjoy! Free to the public, donations accepted for charity. 

Celebration in the Oaks (New Orleans) {November 25 – January 1 (closed on certain days including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve} :: Although not technically in the Greater Baton Rouge area, it’s certainly worth the trip to our neighbors in New Orleans. Hosted annually in New Orleans City Park, this seasonal event is fun for the whole family. With food, hundreds of thousands of lights, caroling, hundreds of poinsettias and general merriment, this is a not-to-miss holiday event in New Orleans. You can purchase tickets online to avoid the lines.

Noël Acadien au Village (Lafayette) {December 1 – 23 from 5:30pm to 9:00pm nightly} :: If you’re more likely to head West this Holiday season, be sure to check out this uniquely-Louisiana celebration. LARC’s Acadian Village will host its 36th Annual Christmas festival fundraiser to benefit persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Noël Acadien au Village will feature a half-million lights, including a fully-lit Open Door Chapel, themed Acadian-home porches, lighted holiday displays, live entertainment, carnival rides, local cuisine, photos with Santa and holiday shopping. Admission ranges from $8 to $10, children 4 and under are free.

Christmas in Central Parade & Festival {December 1 – 3} :: The 30th annual event kicks off with the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and concert, a nativity scene, and light displays on Thursday at 6:30PM. It picks back up on Saturday morning with the parade which rolls at 10:00AM. 

Downtown Festival of Lights {Friday, December 2 from 5:00pm to 9:00pm} :: Baton Rouge’s oldest holiday tradition of transforming the winter sky into a wonderland, the Mayor will light North Boulevard with half a million sparkling lights. Experience the magic beneath the 35-foot Christmas tree in Town Square. Enjoy a holiday celebration featuring: local art vendors, a star canopy hanging from the oak trees, snow village at River Center Plaza, music, Bethlehem Village (a real life village set in Biblical times where children can craft ornaments and decorations), ride the magical train ride on the Mansion Express at the Old Governor’s Mansion, Movies and Santa at the the Old State Capitol, Holiday Music Magic at LASM, Art Sales at Brunner Gallery, Reindeer Run and much more!

Christmas in the Village (Zachary) {Friday, 14595764_10211493745406384_1767999900911668442_nDecember 2 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm} :: Bring your family out for an old-fashioned Christmas celebration in the Zachary Historical District. Come fill your ears with Christmas music from local choirs and entertainment at the gazebo, located on Virginia Street. The Mayor will officially light the Christmas tree and the whole village aglow with the new Christmas displays at dusk. The Food Truck Round-up is coming to town, along with Santa Claus and his 1940 Vintage Fire Truck! A mailbox in the village will be ready to receive Santa’s letters. Curious George’s “A Very Monkey Christmas” will be showing on the big screen.The Annual Christmas Parade will be held the following week on Saturday, December 10th at 10am. Admission is free. 

A Rural Life Christmas {Sunday, December 4 from 8:00am to 6:30pm} :: Ring in the Christmas season with a 19th century Louisiana celebration. Musical groups, demonstrating artisans, storytellers, magic and puppet shows, and costumed re-enactors will be present to set the holiday mood.  The event will conclude with a bonfire and a visit from Papa Noel. Regular admission prices will be charged, but children aged 10 and younger will be admitted for free.

Reflections of the Season (Port Allen) {December 8th-11th, 15th-23rd} :: Get into the holiday spirit and walk or drive through this spectacular Christmas light display. On Friday and Saturday nights come inside to visit Trevor the Singing Reindeer and walk through the holiday-decorated rooms. Enjoy some sweet treats from vendors or buy those last minute gifts from crafters. While you’re there, be sure to get your holiday pictures with Santa and his elves. Cuddle up in a blanket next to your friends and loved ones and take a ride through the lights in a mule or horse drawn wagon. On select days there will be special attractions like ice fishing and fun in the snow! Bring your family and friends and make this special event part of your Christmas tradition. Admission is $5 per car, with varied rates for special events.

LASM Festival of Lights and Far-Out First Friday {Friday, December 2 from 4:30pm to 9:00pm } :: This year TWO popular events intertwine for one exciting night! In addition to hands-on craft stations where you can create your own holiday ornaments or keepsakes, the whole family can experience special holiday shows projected full-dome in our planetarium. Enter a winter wonderland of dancing nutcrackers, sledding penguins, and your favorite holiday songs in Let it Snow (all ages) at 5, 7, and 8:00pm. At 9:00pm, go on a live-mixed journey through the music of the season coupled with digitally-rendered visuals in Holiday Synesthesia (appropriate for ages 3 and up). Admission is free with the donation of one new toy per person that benefits Toys for Tots; otherwise, regular admission prices apply. Toys may be purchased in The Museum Store.

14724479_10209392276382948_2777421211237596045_nIberville Parish Bonfire Christmas Festival (White Castle) {Friday, December 9 at 5:00pm} :: Come experience Christmas at Nottoway Plantation. You’ll experience a night filled with music, food, vendors, bonfires, fireworks, Santa and even more! Admission is $5 per car. 

Caroling in the Park {Friday, December 9 from 5:30pm – 8:30pm} :: Mark your calendars for BREC’s annual Caroling in City Park featuring a park lighting ceremony, candlelight caroling and a host of other family activities for all ages to enjoy. City-Brooks Community Park on Dalrymple Drive. Call 225.272.9200 ext. 362. Admission is free. SPECIAL NOTE :: volunteers needed for Caroling in the Park! This is a designated BREC volunteer opportunity {see more info at the top of this post for how to give back to Baton Rouge this holiday season}

Festival of Bonfires (Lutcher) {December 9th, 10th, 11th} :: It’s Christmas on the River … Cajun Style!  Enjoy great food, live entertainment, crafts, Santa’s Very Merry Forest and carnival rides throughout the weekend. Each night will be highlighted with a single bonfire lighting! Come out and experience a prelude to the famous Christmas Eve Bonfires: A tradition unique to St. James Parish and all the world!

Denham Springs Christmas Parade {Saturday, December 10 at 2:00pm} :: This year’s parade will be filled with numerous floats, marching bands, choirs, school, church and civic organization entries. The parade begins at Denham Springs High School and travels down Range Ave. through the Antique District turning right onto Florida Blvd. and ending at Veterans Blvd.

KIWANIS Downtown Christmas Parade {Date TBD} :: The 66th Annual Parade running through Downtown Baton Rouge attracts more than 70,000 people watching the parade live and thousands more enjoy it on television throughout the holiday season. The Parade is a celebration and a great way to connect with the community. Typically the parade includes about 80 entries, including a mix of marching bands, celebrities, dance troupes, non-profit organizations, and local businesses in seasonal themes. The parade begins at St. Phillips & Government St.

BREC’s Creole Christmas {Sunday, December 11 from 3:00pm-6:oopm} :: This annual event takes place at Magnolia Mound Plantation and features seasonal decorations in the historic house, traditional songs in French and Spanish sung by local school children, period demonstrations, folk crafts and the annual bonfire to welcome Papa Noel. For more information call 225-343-4955. Admission is free. SPECIAL NOTE :: volunteers needed for Creole Christmas! This is a designated BREC volunteer opportunity {see more info at the top of this post for how to give back to Baton Rouge this holiday season} 

JFA Christmas Parade (Gonzales) {Sunday, December 11 at 1:00pm} :: This year’s parade will take place along Burnside Avenue in Gonzales. The parade will showcase a wide variety of decorated floats featuring several Parish dignitaries, Christmas music, local elementary and high school bands, dance teams, and the 2016 Jambalaya Queens.

BREC’s Santa Roadshow {Saturday, December 17 from 10:00am – Noon} :: Experience the holidays as Santa makes his annual stop at North Street Park. Bring your cameras to take memorable family photos as you tell Santa what you want for Christmas. Enjoy holiday games, crafts, marshmallow roasting and other fun activities for all ages. Concessions will be available for purchase. For more information call 225-272-9200 ext. 362. Admission is free. SPECIAL NOTE :: volunteers needed for Santa Roadshow! This is a designated BREC volunteer opportunity {see more info at the top of this post for how to give back to Baton Rouge this holiday season}

Red Stick Revelry {Saturday, December 31} :: Bring the kids for a daytime celebration of New Year’s Eve with hands-on activities with local artists and the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, dance to Red Stick Revelry and get an early start on your New Year’s resolution to MOVE more! Sing Auld Lang Syne as the Red Stick rises 30 feet above the beacon in Town Square at 12 noon where it will stay until one minute before midnight when it begins its descent. See the Red Stick drop in Town Square at midnight to ring in 2017!

Baton Rouge Area Holiday Indoor Fun :: 

Let It Snow! with the EBR Library System {various branches and dates throughout December} :: The LASM’s Wonderful Discovery Dome is coming to the libraries for the holidays! Let It Snow features a variety of festive classics from Frank Sinatra and Chuck Berry to Burl Ives and Brenda Lee and includes a stunning multimedia finale by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. This family-friendly soundtrack is visually enhanced with full-dome animation, laser imagery and special effects in the audiovisual setting of LASM’s Pennington Planetarium Discovery Dome. All children under the age of 9 must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is required and limited to 30 children per show. Free to attend, all ages welcome. See the EBRPL calendar to view showtimes and dates for various branches, as well as more holiday fun with our library system.

Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro (Denham Springs) {November 12 – December 25} :: Gather the family and bring your smiles for a free photo with Santa, take a ride on the Wildlife Carousel, and play games games, crafts, and activities that celebrate the season. Don’t forget your wish list, as the store is filled with gifts for folks of all ages with plenty of awesome toys for girls and boys.

Pet Night with Santa {November 14 – December 12 (Mondays only; 6:00pm to 8:00pm} :: Bring your four-legged friend to see Santa and pose for a photo! Cats and dogs only, please. Photos available for purchase.  14717228_10106380543766175_4952813970334790718_n

LSU’s Holiday Spectacular {Tuesday, November 29 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm} :: Get in the holiday spirit for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and more at Holiday Spectacular by watching student, faculty, and staff music and dance performances, and counting down to the LSU Christmas tree lighting. This is a free and open-to-the-public event located in the Student Union.

Baton Rouge Symphony League Jingle Bell Tea {Sunday, December 4 at 1:00pm} :: Join the BRSL for a festive afternoon event of tea service at De La Ronde Hall with delicious food, a hot chocolate station, crafts, Ruffino’s famous cotton candy and a visit from Santa before heading over to the River Center for the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra’s Home for the Holidays concert. Tickets costs are $30 per child and $45 per adult. Advanced tickets are highly recommended. To purchase call 225-400-0335. 

LEGO Christmas Tree Story and Activity (Scotlandville Library Branch) {Tuesday, December 6 at 4:00pm} :: Join the Scotlandville Library Branch for a reading of Monster Needs a Christmas Tree by Paul Czajak. Later, children can make a Christmas tree, monster or sleigh craft using LEGO® pieces. Children ages 6-8, pre-registration required. Free to attend.  

Pretty Christmas Craft for Teens (Zachary Library Branch) {Thursdays, December 8 and 22, 4:00pm} :: Teens in grades 6th-12th are invited to the Zachary Library Branch. Come make a variety of pretty paper ornament crafts to include snowflakes, origami orbs and much! All supplies will be provided. Free to attend. 

Hugo Kringle is Coming to Town! {Thursday, December 8 at 6:30pm} :: Hugo Kringle (Santa’s younger brother, played by Mike Anderson the Dulcimer Guy) is coming to town! He’ll be at the Main Library at Goodwood to serenade the audience with popular holiday songs and stories of growing up with the boy would become Santa Claus. Ages 4 to 9, must be accompanied by an adult. Free admission. 

LSU Night Before Christmas storytime with Author Janet Wilson {Saturday, December 10 at 10:00am}:: Local author Janet Wilson will be at the Jones Creek Regional Branch to discuss her holiday book with an LSU twist! LSU Night Before Christmas will delight fans of all ages with its football terminology, boldly colored illustrations of Tiger Stadium and football players, plus the beloved mascot Mike the Tiger. Attendees will have the chance to see carefully crafted dioramas of the LSU football fields / scenes from her books. A book sale and signing will follow the presentation. Free to attend. 

Ice Skating on the River {December 21 – January 2 (closed Christmas Day) :: What better way to celebrate the holiday season than Skating on the River? Visit the Baton Rouge River Center for a skating session and create winter memories that will last a lifetime. A fun-filled holiday event for all ages, Ice Skating on the River will have 75-minute sessions nearly every day until January 2, 2016. Tickets are on sale now at $12 per person with special group packages available.

Baton Rouge Area Holiday Theatre Events :: 

Playmakers presents Harry Connick Jr.’s The Happy Elf {December 9 – 18} :: A new musical comedy by Grammy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated composer and lyricist, Harry Connick, Jr.; The Happy Elf tells the tale of Eubie the Elf, a lovable fellow who wants to spread Christmas joy throughout the town of Bluesville. Hoping to introduce a new generation of children to the joys of jazz, Connick has crafted a musical landscape against which Eubie’s story unfolds. Tickets are $21/Adults & $15.75/Children.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical {Wednesday, November 23 at 7:30pm} :: The beloved TV classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is soaring off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season! Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life. It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Coming to the River Center, don’t miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us. Click here for tickets. 

A Very Electric Christmas at the Manship Theatre {Sunday, December 4 at 4:00pm} :: Audiences of all ages will treasure this magical and captivating tale of family, friendship and hope set to timeless holiday hits including Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey and Tchaikovsky. In this wonderful story, Santa’s helpers are putting the final touches on presents as a young bird named Max and his family head south for the winter. Tickets are $15 per person, plus fees. 

Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas at the Manship Theatre {Tuesday, December 13 at 7:00pm} :: What could be fancier than Christmas? Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, Christmas cookies with sprinkles. This year, Nancy is especially excited. She bought a brand-new sparkly tree topper with her own money and can’t wait to decorate the Christmas tree. Tickets are $20

 Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre presents The Nutcracker: A Tale from the Bayou {Saturday, December 17 & Sunday, December 18 at 2:00pm & 6:00pm} :: This treasured ballet production has drawn sold out audiences since its inception in 1991 and continues to thrill children and adults alike. The Nutcracker: A Tale from the Bayou incorporates local landmarks and features world-class guest dancers, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and more than 300 area children. Click here to purchase tickets.

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Note :: If you’re looking for fun holiday events in the New Orleans area, refer to the New Orleans Holiday Guide from New Orleans Moms Blog.

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