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Giant nutcrackers line the streets at the Minden Christmas Parade.

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Natchitoches Christmas festival lights up the barges with decorations and light displays.

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Many Louisiana towns have a local holiday lighting display, but north and central Louisiana take it a step further with the Holiday Trail of Lights. The trail includes Shreveport-Bossier City, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe, Natchitoches and Alexandria-Pineville. Festivities generally run mid-November to early January, and visitors can drive from one trail city to the next in about an hour.

Natchitoches is home to one of the state’s oldest and largest Christmas decorations displays. Beginning Nov. 19, 2016, the city’s downtown will transform into a holiday wonderland with hundreds of thousands of colored lights and set pieces. The most notable day in December is the 90th Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival on Dec. 3, 2016. The festival has grown in recent years and spans multiple weekends. Now each December weekend offers downtown entertainment and fireworks. Other Natchitoches holiday events include the Christmas Tour of Homes, the Holiday Kids Festival and nightly visits with Santa Claus. Learn more about the Natchitoches Christmas events.

This year’s holiday in Alexandria-Pineville is a packed with festive activities for the 12 nights of Christmas. Enjoy the Holiday Light Safari, the Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration at the Kent House Planation, the Pineville and Alexandria Christmas Parades, the Garden District Tour of Homes and much more. Shop for gifts, tour the historic homes, decorate cookies and go caroling, all to get you in the holiday mood! View all the events.

Shreveport-Bossier City is aglow with the holiday ligts. Venture into Christmas in Roseland, a 26-acre park that lit with one million twinking lights. Don't miss the fireworks display at the Christmas on Caddo Fireworks festival on Dec. 3, 2016. The twin cities’ holiday celebration kicks off Nov. 12, with the Bass Pro Shops Christmas Parade at the Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets. Between the copious shopping opportunities and the dazzling festivities, you will find something for everyone.  Discover more events.

To the east, Minden’s holiday observance celebrates both Christmas and the community’s German roots. On Nov. 19, 2016, the Minden Fasching Celebration takes place—the German equivalent to Mardi Gras. Downtown will feature vendors serving German food and beer, live music and a children’s area. Other notable offerings include the Minden Christmas Parade that winds through the historic district while hundreds of lifesize Nutcrackers line the streets and don't miss the Old World Christmas Lights Spectacular. View the full event calendar.

Monroe-West Monroe’s holiday celebrations include the Holiday Kids' Fest on Nov. 19, 2016, followed by must-experience events like the Santa's Christmas Village and the Holiday Lights that set downtown aglow. Head to the Biedenharn Museum to wander through the beautiful decorations and at night explore the city with wagon rides. Learn more about the Christmas events.

For details on all Holiday Trail of Lights activities visit

Learn more about south Louisiana's tradition of building Christmas Eve bonfires on the Mississippi River levee.

Author: Jeff Richard
Posted: Fri, 10/28/2016