As soon as the turkey disappears and the last slice of pie is served, our attention quickly turns to Christmas. No matter how you celebrate the holidays, I feel certain that your to-do list would look vaguely familiar and include things like shopping, decorating the house and addressing and mailing holiday cards. December is usually a busy month for everyone, a month where you might hesitate before adding one more date to your calendar. But if you have young children or grandchildren, New Orleans offers several unique and special holiday events guaranteed to become cherished traditions and memories.

Christmas Teas

Several downtown hotels offer magnificent backdrops for wonderful holiday teas for children. The Roosevelt Hotel offers their famous Teddy Bear Tea on Saturdays and Sundays in December and mid-week in the days leading up to Christmas. While enjoying delicious food and treats, you’ll also be entertained by Santa and Mrs. Claus. The show features these beloved symbols of Christmas with a local touch. Packages range from VIP tables to general reserved seating and prices vary from $48 to $90 depending on the age of the participant and the package selected.

The Ritz-Carlton also entertains the younger set during the holidays in their Davenport Lounge with the Papa Noel Tea. Children will be excited to decorate cookies, take in the visual masterpiece that is the Ritz gingerbread village and dine on holiday treats. Papa Noel even makes an appearance. The teas take place every Saturday and Sunday in December as well as daily from December 17 until Christmas Eve and are $55 per person.

Dine with Santa

If you’re looking for more than tea and treats, you won’t want to miss Breakfast with Santa at Brennan’s on Royal Street. Feast on a delicious three-course breakfast for adults and children with options including turtle soup and eggs Sardou for the grown-up crew and fruit, biscuits, French toast and scrambled eggs for the smaller set, with Brennan’s famous bananas Foster for dessert for everyone. The children will happily discover that they can also decorate cookies, play reindeer games and have their picture taken with Santa. And if you’ve been dreaming of a white Christmas, this is the place to be because the forecast calls for snow in the Brennan’s courtyard. This event takes place Monday, December 21, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. This experience is $55 per adult and $35 per child.

If you’re looking for a more casual option, consider the Gingerbread Workshop at Red Fish Grill. This annual event takes place on the first two Saturdays of December, this year December 3 and 10. There are two seatings per day, so you can decide if the morning or afternoon works best for your younger ones. The $55 kit includes one gingerbread house with all the decorations, three seats, a child’s T-shirt and a chef’s hat. If you need to include an extra person or two, additional seats are just $10 each.

These are just a sampling of the holiday activities available through the fine hotels and restaurants in New Orleans. Even if your December calendar already feels full, I urge you to make room for one more event. The memories of your kids’ smiles and laughter might just be the best gift of the season!

Special Christmas Events

Teddy Bear Tea at The Roosevelt Hotel
For reservations, call 504-335-3129 or book through website

Papa Noel Tea at The Ritz-Carlton
For reservations, call 504-262-5048

Breakfast with Santa at Brennan’s
For reservations, call 504-934-3376

Gingerbread Workshop at the Red Fish Grill
For reservations, call 504-539-5508