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 Angel 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.

C is for 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 7. For a water’s view,  Lake Area Adventures will give tours via pontoon boat! Call for pricing and to make reservations. Now – Jan. 7

D is for Dashing through the Snow
It’s a “Southern-Fried” Christmas Comedy that will have you shaking with laughter like a “bowl full of jelly.” This show tells the tale of a spur-of-the-moment Christmas Eve wedding that takes a surprising and delightful turn, changing lives forever.  Dec. 8-13

E is for Elf, Jr. Musical
The Christian Youth Theater will tell the story of Buddy the Elf, who starts his journey to find his family in New York City. This modern-day holiday classic is sure to make encourage you to embrace your "inner elf.” Dec 1-3.

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
Calling all builders! The Convention and Visitors Bureau wants to see your gingerbread house creations. Register to submit your house. For building tips, click here. From Dec 1 – 27, the visitor center will be filled with the sweet aroma of ginger spices and sugary icing. Come by and vote for your favorite! Dec 1 – 27

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. 8-10

I is for Ice Cold Cocktails
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.

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. This season, shop local! One of the most popular local shopping events is Mistletoe & Moss Holiday Market hosted by the Junior League of Lake Charles. Booths will feature items for everyone, including apparel, jewelry and accessories, specialty foods and seasonal and year-round decorative items and home furnishings. 
Nov. 15-18

Nutcrackers | Christmas Shopping in Lake Charles

L – Light Up the Lake
It’s the kick off to Lake Charles Christmas FUN! The street parade, Santa’s Workshop, concert, and Lighting Ceremony turn our downtown area into Christmas Town! Make sure to stick around for the lighted boat parade and fireworks extravaganza. Dec. 2

M is for Mini-Christmas Tree Decorating Contest!
Love to “deck the halls?” Put your skills to the test with the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point’s new Mini-Christmas Tree Decorating contest. The decorated trees will be on display at the Brimstone Museum/Henning Cultural Center through December 26. Register to participate at www.visitlakecharles.org/christmastree.

N is for Nutcracker
Celebrate this Christmas with The Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, coming to the Lake Charles Civic Center. Larger than life puppets and nesting dolls, and gloriously hand-crafted costumes bring the Christmas spirit to life. Nov. 10

O is for Once Upon a Christmas
The Mines Theatre and Kress Dance Revolution groups team up for a 3rd year to perform “Once Upon a Christmas.” This show features over 60 dancers and tells the story of Christmas tales that magically come to life.  Dec. 9-10

P is for Parades!
All of our cities (Lake Charles, Sulphur, Westlake, DeQuincy, Moss Bluff and Vinton) host Christmas parades. For a full list of parade dates and time, visit www.visitlakecharles.org/cajunchristmas.

DeQuincy Railroad Museum | Christmas in Southwest Louisiana

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 the Reason for the Season: Handel’s Messiah
A beloved Lake Charles holiday tradition, the 77th annual performance of George Frederick Handel’s “Messiah” will take place on Sunday, December 3 at 3 p.m. in McNeese State University’s Bulber Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Dec. 3.

S is for Santa Pictures 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 Dec. 10, bring your four-legged kids for a special Pet Photo day. Make sure you go early, so you can give him your wish list!

Christmas in Southwest Louisiana

T is for 'Twas the Night Before Christmas  
Let Lake Charles Civic Ballet kick off your Christmas festivities with a stellar performance of Twas the Night Before Christmas and Other Holiday Treats. Christmas clowns, a battalion of Toy Soldiers, a Christmas card that comes to life, and a rowdy Holiday Hoedown are just a few of the treats in store. Dec. 6

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. 1-2

V is for Vaudeville Style Christmas – Big Band Concert
An evening of classic Big Band songs performed by an incredible cast of professional musicians and vocalist. Led by Rory Partin, the performance will include several original arrangements and selections. Some seasonal music will be incorporated into the playlist to give the event a holiday flare!

W is for White Christmas in Sulphur
It’s not typical for South Louisiana, but there’s always 100% chance of snow at Sulphur’s Christmas Under the Oaks Festival.  
Dec. 1-2

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!

Christmas in Southwest 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. 8 and Dec. 10.

Z is for Zydeco Brunch
Nothing like a little Zydeco dancing to get you pumped up for Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick. Sloppy’s Downtown’s Zydeco Brunch really knows how to celebrate the season. Plus the rule is… the more you dance, the more you can eat!  
Dec. 23 

Merry Christmas, y’all!