by Angie Kay Dilmore
Want to get into the holiday spirit? There are plenty of holiday destinations within an easy day trip drive from Southwest Louisiana. Merry Christmas!
Grant Christmas Tree Farm offers hundreds of Christmas trees to choose from. At least six varieties of Christmas trees are grown on the farm – all hypoallergenic. They also sell pre-cut Fraser Firs from a small farm in Virginia. Making the decision can be daunting, but you’re sure to find the perfect tree for your home. Choose your favorite, take the tree number to the farm office, and they’ll cut it down and have it waiting for you after you’ve enjoyed the other fun activities – there’s a petting zoo, hayrides, holiday-themed photo-ops, gift shops, food, and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Open daily 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Mon. – Sat., 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Sundays.
716 Whitaker Rd, Grant, La., 800-987-6635
Acadian Village is open year-round as a historic landmark depicting the life of the early Acadian settlers. During the holidays, the site transforms into an enchanted Christmas wonderland; “Noel Acadien Au Village.” Boasting half a million lights, a stroll through the Village, with holiday music playing in the background, will immerse you in the Christmas spirit. Other attractions include carnival rides, a life-sized nativity scene, a souvenir shop, and a must-experience highlight at Victor’s fresh-roasted peanuts. He roasts the peanuts in a green, vintage roaster (over 100 years old!). Acadian Village serves as a fundraiser for LARC, a local 501c(3) non-profit organization benefiting persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Open Dec. 2 – 23, weather permitting.
200 Greenleaf Dr., Lafayette, La., 337-981-2364
Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center Christmas Strolls usher in the Christmas season with colorful displays throughout the garden during the evenings of December 6,7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14,15, 16, 17, 20, & 21, 2022, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. (last entry at 8:30 p.m.) Enjoy the lighted walkways and their beautiful Christmas trees created by community businesses and organizations. Shangri-La Gardens will collect non-perishable food items December 1 – 21 during normal garden hours and during Christmas Strolls for Orange Christian Services in support of those in greatest need throughout the community.
601 Green Avenue, Orange, Tx. 409-883-3513
Celebrate the Christmas season in Louisiana’s oldest city. The 96th annual Natchitoches Festival of Lights is on display nightly through Jan. 6, 2023. More than 100 lighted set pieces and 350,000 Christmas lights illuminate downtown Natchitoches and Cane River Lake. Also in Natchitoches, experience the charm of historic Natchitoches through their Christmas Tour of Homes. The event features docent-led commentaries on the history of each property as well as the unique holiday decorations. Proceeds from the Tour benefit restoration of properties in the Natchitoches Parish area. Visit www.natchitocheshf.com for more information about which homes will be featured on the 2022 tour. Tour dates are December 8 – 10, and 15 – 17.
Tickets are available each day of the tour. $25 per person. Children 12 and under are admitted free.
Moody Gardens in Galveston presents its annual Festival of Lights through Jan. 7, 2023. Visitors enjoy a festive stroll along this mile-long trail featuring more than two million lights and lighted scenes themed to holiday music that leads you through the Moody Gardens property with spectacular views of Galveston Bay. Along the way, you’ll see Star, the Dancing Tree of Light; concession areas; hot chocolate and festive foods; mistletoe; and plenty of photo opportunities! Other Moody Gardens attractions include an ice-skating rink; holiday 3D films; Rudolph 4D; Cirque Joyeux Holiday Show (matinee, evening & dinner shows Dec. 17-30), an arctic slide; train rides; pictures with Santa; New Year’s Palooza; holiday dinners; and nightly fireside s’mores. Hotel packages are available.
For more information, see www.moodygardens.com/holiday_season/things_to_do/