The 2020 Holiday Season promises to be like none we have ever experienced. Many of us are trying to figure out how we’re going to get through it safely, and maybe even find a bit of holiday spirit along the way. This guide includes information on upcoming (safe) events, open-air markets, staying connected, volunteer opportunities, and various other resources. I hope you find it useful, and please feel free to send any additional suggestions you might have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebration in the Oaks
Through January 3, 2021
Evenings (Times Vary)
2 Friedrichs Ave., New Orleans, LA 70124
Celebration in the Oaks, a spectacular lighting display in City Park, is celebrating its 35th year. For more information, visit https://neworleanscitypark.com/celebration-in-the-oaks.
Great Conjunction (“Christmas Star”)
Winter Solstice Night – December 21
The Night Sky
On the night of December 21, Jupiter will appear so close to Saturn that they will look like one bright “Christmas star” to the naked eye. This will be the closest such conjunction of the two planets since the fifteenth century and the most visible since 1226. For more information, visit https://www.space.com/jupiter-saturn-great-conjunction-2020.
Toy & Food Drive/Telethon for St. Anna’s Episcopal Church and Food for Friends
Saturday, December 19, 1:00-4:30PM
The Page Bar (542 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70112
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/403591620779223.
WGNO Coats for Kids
Through January 15
Donate used or gently used jackets and coats for children. For more information, visit https://wgno.com/tag/coats-for-kids.
Adopt a Family
Ongoing initiative that pairs homeless and needy families with donors/supporters. For information, visit http://la-adoptafamily.com.
Food Banks/Meal Assistance
City of New Orleans COVID-19 Meal Assistance Program
Through December 31, 2020
Provides two meals per day for the following eligible residents of Orleans Parish: Seniors (aged 65+), adults with high-risk health conditions/special medical needs, children under 18 who aren’t receiving meals from public schools, and individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are in isolation/quarantine. (Note: individuals who already receive federal food assistance, such as SNAP or Meals on Wheels, do not qualify for this program.) To apply, visit http://www.nola311.gov/mealassist.
Food for Friends
CrescentCare’s food support program for people living with HIV. For more information, visit https://crescentcarehealth.org/service/fff-intro.
St. Anna’s Food Pantry
Provides food to local needy families. For more information, visit https://stannanola.org/church-life/church-ministries/food-pantry.
Second Harvest Food Bank
Provides 32 million meals each year to needy Louisiana residents. For more information, visit https://no-hunger.org.
Shopping/Open Air Markets
City Park Arts Market
Saturday, December 19, 9:00AM – 3:30PM
City Park (Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn)
8 Victory Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119
Presented by the Arts Council of New Orleans in partnership with the Louisiana Crafts Guild. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/691864038103722.
St. Roch Holiday Market
Saturdays & Sundays, 12:00 – 4:00PM, through December 27
2381 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117
Featuring locally-made arts and crafts. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1120728251694092.
Holiday Movies & Specials (TV and Streaming)
TV: Den of Geek has a comprehensive guide to all upcoming holiday-related TV specials and films at https://www.denofgeek.com/tv/christmas-movies-tv-specials-schedule.
Amazon Prime: Best Christmas programs listed at https://www.denofgeek.com/tv/best-christmas-movies-amazon.
Disney+: Complete list of Christmas programs at https://noguiltdisney.com/disney-christmas-movies-on-disney-plus.
HBOMAX: Best Christmas programs listed at https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/the-best-christmas-movies-available-on-hbo-max.
Hulu: Best Christmas programs listed at https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/g29700611/best-christmas-movies-on-hulu.
Netflix: All Netflix Christmas movies ranked at https://www.polygon.com/22153942/best-netflix-christmas-movies-ranked.
YouTube: Watch vintage Christmas TV specials online at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxirkeDQe3hLkmdqyr3d3aJgXG4OfjwQJ.
The holidays are a great time to give back, and HandsOn New Orleans is the best resource to connect you with volunteer opportunities. Learn more at https://www.handsonneworleans.org.
Managing Anxiety and Depression
Guidelines from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/coping-holiday-stress.html
LGBTQ Crisis and Support Hotlines: https://afsp.org/lgbtq-crisis-and-support-resources
SAGE New Orleans (NOAGE) Events/Programs
Virtual Coffee Talk
On Zoom. For more information, email email@example.com.
Book Club – Toil & Trouble, by Augusten Burroughs
Tuesday, December 29, 6:00PM
On Zoom. To participate, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mondays at 6:00PM
326 N. Jefferson Davis Pkwy
The walking group meets in front of Bayou Beer Garden, and walks along the Lafitte Greenway, which is well-lit after dark. Please note that masks/face coverings are required for participation in this group.
You don’t actually have to do anything you don’t want to do or struggle to meet other people’s expectations during the holidays. Whatever gets you through them with your health, safety, and sanity intact is what you should do. And however you decide to celebrate – or avoid celebrating – may you have a stress-free and enjoyable holiday season.