2 Local Traditions That Won’t Be Around This Year
•The drive through at Celebration in the Oaks. (At least you can still do the walk.)
• Ice Tunnel decoration in the Fairmont lobby. (We’ve got the Blue Room blues.)

5 Dishes to Prepare Other that the Traditional Turkey
• Chisesi’s ham. (Local company took a beating from Katrina but has rallied. Support the local team.)
• Fried Oysters. (Despite the pounding of the coast line, the bi valves are especially good this year.)
• Chicken and sausage gumbo. (Provides a good reason to serve fresh baked Louisiana sweet potatoes on the side.)
• Boiled crawfish. (Why wait until Jazz Fest? The first of the annual crop usually start appearing in December.)
• MRE buffet. (Just in case you’re already nostalgic for those days as an evacuee, meals come in a variety of flavors, but don’t expect oyster dressing.)

5 REASONS TO VISIT THE QUARTERS DURING THE HOLIDAYS
• It won’t be crowded with tourists
• Neighborhood always looks pretty at Christmas
• Businesses need you
• If ever there was a year to get in touch with the city’s history, this is it
• Cafe au lait and beignets taste especially good on a cold day

3 THINGS TO DO THAT MAYBE YOU HAVEN’T DONE IN YEARS
• Go the Celebration in the Oaks. (There’s no drive-through but the garden area is beautiful and the train is running again.)
• Drive up river road to see the bon fire preparations. (Just be careful not to light a match.)
• Buy a boucle de noel. (Icing laden log-shaped creamy cake is an old French tradition, and this is an old French town . . . Plus it goes well with coffee with chicory.)

AND NOW, SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GOOD, A BONUS LIST OF 5 INDIGENOUS ELEMENTS OF THE NEW ORLEANS CHRISTMAS- AND, THEY’RE ALL STILL HERE.

•Bon fires along the levee. (German influence with a Cajun passion.)
• Mr. Bingle. (Strictly a New Orleanian, but has contacts at the North Pole.)
• Reveillions. (Old Creole custom of staging a feast after midnight mass reinvented as yuletide restaurant specialty dinners.)
• “All I want for Christmas is You.” (Locally- originated Vince Vance and the Valiant’s passionate belly rubber is one of R & B genre’s best.
• Twelfth Night. (Most everywhere else in the world the last day of the Christmas season is just another day, on New Orleans it is the beginning of the carnival season. Instead of post-Christmas depression we get pre-Mardi Gras anxiety. More than ever- let the partying continue.)

Do you have any comments or additions to this list? If so, let us know. elaborde@renaissancepublishingllc.com. For your subject line use CHRISTMAS LISTS. All responses are subject to being published in our Letters section and may be edited for clarity or brevity.