Cooler weather, colorful Christmas lights, warm cups of hot chocolate, and the big guy himself, Santa Claus. It must be the holiday season! Southwest Louisiana has one festive collection of Christmas fun. Here’s a Cajun Christmas list from A to Z.

A is for Amazing Decorations along Shell Beach Dr.
Shell Beach Dr. is a hotspot for Christmas light tours. Make sure you go all the way down to see the life-sized angel display. It’s one of my favorites. Click here for a list of the best Christmas light display in SWLA.

Christmas Angels along Shell Beach Drive

B is for Boudin Carols
There is no such thing as too much boudin. In fact, Santa, if you’re reading this, you can fill my stocking with all the links and boudin balls that will fit. Make sure you have boudin on your Christmas menu by ordering some from the Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail. And to spread a little Christmas cheer, share these unique carols with your loved ones.

Cajun Christmas in a Box

C is for Cajun Christmas in a Box!
What better way to celebrate the holiday than winning Boudin and having it shipped to you overnight in a quality rugged cooler with all sorts of Louisiana Christmas Swag! Check out the home page in early December for entry form.

D is for DeQuincy Christmas Activities
Activities will consist of a parade, craft and food vendors, hot chocolate, music, and singing.

DeQuincy Railroad Museum | Christmas in Southwest Louisiana

E is for Express
The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express is making two stops in the Lake Area this year! Westlake and the DeQuincy Railroad Museum will be among the stops for the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express on December 6 & 7 respectively.

F is for Festive Louisiana Style Décor
We’ll put a Cajun twist on whatever we can, including holiday décor. Add Southwest Louisiana accents to your home with Spanish moss, pepper garlands, or oyster shell ornaments. We’ve got more ideas, here.

G is for Gingerbread Houses
From Dec 6 – 26, the visitor center will be filled with the sweet aroma of ginger spices and sugary icing. Come by and vote for your favorite!

Gingerbread House

H is for Holiday Art Market
A great market for shopping local, the Arts Council of Southwest Louisiana invites you to shop local arts for Christmas gifts. Vendors and artists from throughout the area will have their best pieces available for purchase. Everything from children’s storybooks, paintings, pop culture art, and local photography. Dec. 7-9

I is for Instagram Christmas Photos
Make sure to include #VisitLakeCharles and #LouisianasPlayground and follow @VisitLakeCharles!

J is for Joyeux Noël
is how you say “Merry Christmas” in French! Learn more Cajun French words, here.

K is for Keepin’ it Local
The perfect gift doesn’t have to come from a department store or online registry. There are several opportunities to shop at event markets such as Mistletoe and Moss, the Holiday Art Market, or the Holiday House. If you can make it to any of those, we have downtown shops like The Corner Market or Iron Shop Provisions.

Nutcrackers | Christmas Shopping in Lake Charles

L is for Light Up the Lake
It’s the kick-off to Lake Charles Christmas FUN! On December 7 at 6:00 PM catch the lighted street parade through downtown Lake Charles. At 7:30 PM head to the Civic Center front lawn for the Lighting Ceremony and at 8:15 PM, the Lighted Boat Parade will launch at the Lake Charles Civic Center Seawall. Round out the evening with a spectacular fireworks display over the lake at 8:45 PM.

M is for Movies with the Mayor
On December 21, Santa's Workshop will take place from 12 to 3 p.m. in the Civic Center Coliseum. Thanks to the support of Entergy, kids are invited to join in the reindeer games with prizes and gifts as well as arts & crafts, food, activities, storytelling, music and much more. Concessions will be sold. Movies with the Mayor will follow in Rosa Hart Theater at 3:30 p.m. The event is free, but seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Lake Area Ballet Theater presents ‘The Nutcracker’

N is for Nutcracker 
This year we are in store for 2 versions of the Nutcracker! One for the Lake Area Ballet Theater on Nov. 21-23 and another from Sarah Quinn Jones Ballet on December 30.

O is for Old Tyme Christmas Brunch
The Old Tyme Christmas Brunch for Senior Citizens on December 3 is a great way for people to enjoy each other's company and celebrate the season.

P is for Pictures with Santa at Prien Lake Mall
A tradition for many families, an annual photo with Saint Nick. Santa Claus and few of his elves will be at the Prien Lake Mall through Christmas Eve. On Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, bring your four-legged kids for a special Pet Photo day. Make sure you go early, so you can give him your wish list! Now through Dec. 24

Q is for quality time with family.
Of course, “Q” is for quality time. There is nothing more valuable or precious than family time during the holidays and the good folks of Southwest Louisiana take this very seriously. While the family is in town, here are the Top 7 Christmas activities to enjoy together.   

R is for Rory
Enhance your Holiday Season with a Big Band Concert from Rory Partin. Enjoy an evening of Big Band hits and holiday classics from this talented group of performers sure to keep your feet tapping and your spirits bright on November 30.

S is for Spirits along the Brews and Spirits Trail
In Southwest Louisiana, we can’t count on a white Christmas or even a COLD one. The only guarantee of a chill is from one of Bayou Rum’s holiday cocktail recipes. They have some warm drinks as well, just in case the temps drop.

Bayou Rum Bottle with Barrels | Michael Hobson

T is Trees of Hope Decorating Contest 
A popular holiday tradition returns to Delta Downs Racetrack Casino & Hotel, as the Vinton, Louisiana property hosts the Annual “Trees of Hope” display. Each year, non-profit organizations from across southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas are invited to decorate 12-foot trees displayed in the Promenade at Delta Downs. Members of the public then have the opportunity to visit the display and vote for their favorite charity. Delta Downs will award a total of $10,000 in cash to all participants, including the first-place prize of $5,000.

U is for Under the Oaks – Christmas Festival in Sulphur
You’ll find holiday spirit aplenty at this annual festival. The kids will love the Kiwanis Balloon Parade, followed by a live nativity and bands at The Grove. Food booths, a carnival, dance groups and more will fill Heritage Square. Dec. 6-7

V is for Vintage Carriage Rides & Christmas Light Tours
Lake Charles has several companies that host tours throughout the season. Lake Charles Carriages and Vintage Carriage Company will run tours through January 4. For a water’s view,  Lake Area Adventures will give tours via pontoon boat! Call for pricing and to make reservations. Dec. 1 – 31

Carriage Rides in Lake Charles | Michael L. Hobby

W is for Winter Wonderland
There's a 100% chance of snow with live entertainment, the tree lighting at Christmas Under the Oaks in Sulphur, Louisiana on December 6. 

X is for x-tra food on our plates.
It really wouldn’t be a Cajun Christmas without plenty of good eats. And there is always more than enough to fill your plate: Christmas gumbo, turducken, rice dressing, boudin, and more. Find your favorite Cajun recipe and add it to your holiday menu. It might be the best gift your dinner guest receive!

Order your holiday turducken from Big Easy Foods in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Y is for Yuletide Celebration –  Louisiana Choral Foundation Concert
Every year the Louisiana Choral Foundation performs an awesome Christmas Concert. This year, you’ll have TWO chances to catch it: Dec. 7 and Dec. 9.

Z is for Zydeco
Nothing like a little Zydeco dancing to get you pumped up for Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick. Plus the rule is… the more you dance, the more you can eat! Learn more about zydeco. 

Merry Christmas, y’all!