While I have never actually spent December 25 in this city, it has been decades since Christmas was relinquished to one day anyway, so I revel in the first 20 days of December celebrations as a New Orleanian, but know deep down that, here, every day is Christmas.
In anywhere-else-America (beginning the day after Thanksgiving, if not before) it’s hard to dodge “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells” pouring out of your radio speakers (and believe me, I have tried).
In this special city you don’t need Spotify to hear the sounds of the season. All the regulars under the interstate have temporarily put down their “will work for food” signs and have picked up brass instruments to serenade you with Christmas music as you drive by. If you frequent Bourbon Street, where EVERYONE is a musician, they will play “Jingle Bells” for you in May, as long as you have a little jingle in your pocket.
So you put up a tree and make a big deal out of your decorations. Our trees are decorated year round; just take a drive down whimsical St. Charles Avenue and see the strands of colors dangling from the leaves. There’s hardly a one that’s bare. (My mother has adopted this practice in central PA, obviously the result of having two daughters smart enough to call New Orleans home.)
We have the fabulous Snake and Jake’s Christmas Tree Lounge Bar … you have regular bars with regular names that most positively do not stay open 24/7.
You have your awesome, but for a limited time only, McDonald’s eggnog milkshakes. Guess what? We have those, too, plus we also have eggnog daiquiris, which if you ever had the pleasure of trying one, you know it knocks Mickey D’s outta the water.
We as New Orleanians know that everything tastes better when it comes with a buzz.
You have snow, which typically accompanies below-freezing temperatures. We have “sneaux,” which is made in 80-degree weather and is quite refreshing on a humid December night. Unfortunately, it’s hard to pull a sleigh through melting fake snow (believe me, after being defeated by an eggnog daiquiri I have tried).
But not to fret: I saw Santa riding the streetcar. … in April.
Rachel Kostelec writes about New Orleans for NolaVie.