12 Days of a Jane Austen Christmas: Crescent City Giveaway by Jack Caldwell — 43 Comments

  1. The most unusual tradition here in New York City has to be Santacon. That’s where people dress up in Santa costumes and go from bar to bar, celebrating the season.

  2. Here in northern New Mexico, Christmas Eve is celebrated with rows and rows of farolitos, little lanterns, that light up streets, driveways, parks, churches, and rooftops. Made of small paper bags weighted with sand and a lit votive candle, they cast a lovely glow. Entire neighborhoods set out farolitos and drivers dim their light to appreciate the subtle beauty. Visible across the Rio Grande valley in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the bonfires, or luminarias, light the way to the distant villages for the Santa Nino, the Christ Child, to bring gifts. Families all over New Mexico enjoy posole (a hominy stew with pork and Chile) and tamales, and the New Mexico state cookie, the biscochito, for dessert on La Noche Buena, or Christmas Eve. Our church teens perform a living Crèche on Christmas Eve, and passersby in cars wave and call out “Merry Christmas.” Early the next morning, Native Americans in neighboring Pueblos perform special dances for Christmas. Christmas brings out the best in our tri-cultural state. I love a New Mexican Christmas!

  3. Thank you for sharing your traditions. I’ll just say the best food on the planet is… French!! You’ve guessed I’m a French girl 😉

  4. It is not really a Christmas tradition, but since Thanksgiving is traditionally the beginning of the holiday shopping season I will share my towns “claim to fame.” For more than 30 years, on the night before Thanksgiving, one of the bars in town has a Turkey Testicle Festival to raise money for local charities.

  5. What wonderful traditions you have in LA. The bonfires must be quite a sight. It’s all too commercial in most places in our country. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Im suburban NJ, we are in the midst of PC country. The only “Christmas” tradition that has stayed is the town still has a Christmas Tree but only because the town park is on land loaned to the town with the stipulation that the high school band does a concert once a year in the gazebo AND that the town has a Christmas tree. If they dont the family foundation can take the land back…..just sad.

  7. Fascinating post although I will say that Crown Point, Indiana is really traditional. The HS kids carol on the square, the soup kitchens are open and things go on as usual. Now if you go back to Halloween, they open up the old jail which housed Dillinger and make it into a haunted house. Happy Holidays. Jen Red

  8. Fascinating post, Jack. Wish I could see all that you describe.
    My town has absolutely nothing unique. The closest thing is down in DC where there is always the ‘lighting of the national Christmas tree’. Mostly, we just keep our eyes peeled for excessive light displays whenever we’re out driving at night.

  9. Lovely post. I keep telling my DH that he needs to take me to NO but he only has memories from Sugar Bowl trips (working them, not attending) and they are not very pleasant memories. LOL As for traditions around here, I’m in Norman, OK so everything revolves around OU and that’s not very Christmasy. LOL The only traditions I can think of are the Norman Christmas parade which happens no matter how cold or wet it is and the Downs Family Christmas light show (which actually made it onto a national Christmas light show competition a couple years ago) which gathers donations of food stuffs for food pantries. After that, we just wait for whatever bowl OU is in (and I want to watch every single bowl no matter who is in it)…LOL

    Great post Jack and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

  10. Thank you for such a lovely description of the holiday season in New Orleans. I love that city!

    Here in Portland, Oregon we do quite a nice and traditional Christmas celebration. A huge Oregon grown tree is lighted the in our Pioneer Courthouse Square to music and the singing of carols. We have a Christmas Parade, a la Macy’s in NYC. Our Zoo Lights features tens of thousands of lights, and we have one entire neighborhood that does “extreme” outdoor lights and displays and serves visitors hot cocoa as you walk along the streets (no cars). Our Grotto — a combination shrine and botanical garden — also does a Festival of Christmas Lights. And we have a Jingle Bell Run for the athletes. It’s a special time here.🎄

  11. Being a typical mid-sized mid-western town, my town had nothing unique to it per se, but there was a huge display of lighted objects, many with motion, that one very wealthy family provided the community and surrounding areas. Lights covered the mansion, filled the very large yard. Eventually, it became so large and traffic, so heavy in the neighborhood that it was moved to a larger public area. At least until recent years, and, perhaps, still, it was still a special part of Christmas, with much volunteer effort expended in setting it up over several days each year.

    I now I’ve possibly talked myself into going over to see it.

  12. I live near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania…CHRISTMAS CITY USA! A local newspaper prints about 7 different Christmas Light tours for people to follow and view local homes and bldg. which decorate elaborately. Moravian Church has old hand carved figures which it uses to tell the Christmas story by spotlighting the appropriate figures during the telling of the birth of Jesus and the arrival of the Magi. (Story times are scheduled.) High above the city on a mountain sits the huge star which can be seen from all directions and guides visitors to Bethlehem. Tour buses bring in people for walking tours of the city guided by locals in traditional costumes from the past. The city was named on Christmas Eve in 1741, by David Nitschmann and Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf, after the Biblical town Bethlehem of Judea, the birthplace of Jesus. One of our traditions is the placing of candles in windows and also replicas hanging on porches, in arches and doorways of the more intricate Moravian Star.

    So I can appreciate all the traditions of your hometown as well. I so appreciate history and people who treasure it.

  13. This Christmas season marks the 18th year we have lived in central Texas, and our son was 18 and just starting at RICE in Houston that year. We moved from up north, and I can still remember how enchanted I felt when that first Christmas found us looking at all the tree trunks wrapped in lights all over town, and not a few entire oak trees!!! I was such a little kid about it, and still am. I mean, we only decorated evergreens up north. Ha. I know, such a rube.

    Your article was the perfect addition to the Crescent City Trilogy, which I absolutely loved. I credit you with getting me to enjoy a contemporary JAFF. I have thought about the trilogy countless times since I read it in October. I highly recommend it. I borrowed the books through Kindle Unlimited and they are now in my wish list, to purchase. I just love your books, Mr. C.

    Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you and yours. Here’s to a productive writing year in 2016.

  14. Loved this post, Jack. Some day I will get myself to the Crescent City and see all the sights. Right now I’m limited to glimpses on NCIS NOLA. 😉

    Here in sunny San Diego, one of our treasured Christmas traditions is the Parade of Lights on San Diego Bay. Hundreds of sailboats and other boats, most privately-owned, are decorated with lights and all kinds of Christmas and Hanukkah fol-de-rol and then they motor quietly from one end of the bay to the other, with the various walkways along Harbor Drive filled to the brim with those watching the spectacle. Yes, there are some huge hulking boats that obviously come from people with $$$, but they are interspersed with little Coronado 25’s and other modest boats all decked out. It’s a great deal of fun.

    We also have Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park. Although the organizers renamed it “December Nights” to be more politically correct, all self-respecting San Diegans (and my family has been here since 1901 and helped to build Balboa Park!) still call it Christmas on the Prado. As soon as darkness falls, all the lights switch on throughout the park, swooping in long swags over our heads. The huge pipe organ in the Organ Pavilion is cranking out carols, at times accompanied by various church choirs from around town. All of the museums throw open their doors, and people can browse the exhibits for free and shop for gifts in the gift shops. The International Houses also throw open their doors, and we go from house to house, sampling the Christmas fare: Irish stew with soda bread, Swedish meatballs, Russian borscht, Japanese beef teriyaki on a stick over rice, hot Indian curry, English tea, scones, and kidney pie, and, if you’re really brave, a slice of Scottish haggis. Hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts are sold on corners, and the carols from the pipe organ reverberate in our (very full) stomach. It’s a lovely time, no matter what you call the event. 😉

    Thanks, Jack, for your lovely description of a Lousiana Christmas and for your give away. Crossing my fingers and wishing hard….

    Advent blessings,
    Susanne 🙂

  15. In Mexico we have the Posadas, they run from December 16th till Christmas Eve on the night of the 24th. First there the asking and receiving of shelter. There’s a song for it, some people, usually representing or carrying an image of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, sing asking for shelter from outside a house and some people answer from inside for several verses, all ending up in shelter being granted and all the people getting together to celebrate. Then a star shaped piñata with 7 points is broken, the points representing the 7 capital sins.and our willingness to banish them from our lives. Then everybody eats, usually tamales and champurrado (a beverage usually made in winter) or Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.

  16. It almost feels like Christmas time in the South here in Cheesehead country. No snow yet ans no snow forecasted, only rain. Might even cut the grass this weekend, which would be a first for me-cutting lawn in December in Wisconsin! These traditions you speak of sound like wonderful celebrations, such fun to look forward to. Merry Christmas to you from Packer Nation!.

  17. In Spain, we have a big lottery prize on the 22nd December and it is like the beginning of Christmas. It is called “El Gordo” (the fat one) and almost everybody buys a ticket at least!

  18. I’m from Hawaii. Christmas means going to the beach. When I was growing up, TV programs were on tape and had to be shipped from the Mainland (a week-long trip by cargo vessels), so we watched Christmas programs on New Year’s. When I finally traveled to the Mainland, I wanted to experience this “traditional white Christmas” that I had seen on TV, so my friends put on Christmas music and we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over a real fire in the fireplace…. in August.

  19. There is no unusual Christmas tradition in my hometown. As I come from a country with a majority of Muslim population, most treat holiday season as commercial activities where shopping malls outdo each other and create themes that attract people to visit and spend money. I prefer the traditional way of attending mass and celebrating the birth of Christ with friends and family.

    Blessed Christmas to you, Jack.

  20. So much culture, tradition and variety packed into a relatively small part of the world!
    I am a bit jealous because I don’t feel like we have that where I live (which is Australia), not really. In trying to think of traditions, let alone unusual ones, all I can come up with is that there are probably more family traditions than those those related to the country.
    Festive meals vary depending on your family background and what traditions have developed (usually a hot roast dinner (ham or turkey or both) or cold seafood dinner). We also have huge Christmas carol concerts and people head for the beach (although it is easier to stay inside in air conditioning!). Then on Boxing Day there is the test cricket match and the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
    Merry Christmas!

  21. I live in a small town in SC (near Clemson – go Tigers! Had to throw that in there!) and we don’t have many traditions that I’m aware of. We have a small Christmas parade and a town tree-lighting which, over the years, has gotten less fun and festive. There’s also a Christmas Market on the town square each Saturday in December, where local businesses, farmers and artisans come and sell their wares, trying to encourage folks to buy small and local. Some of the old historical homes and plantations in the area give special Christmas tours – they’re nothing to Pemberley but I haven’t been in years, so maybe I’ll go this year.

    New Orleans seems very festive at any time but I bet Christmas is especially wonderful. 🙂

  22. Thank you for talking about New Orleans and Christmas! The city knows how to celebrate. Two unusual traditions stand out where I currently live – walking tours of the downtown historical churches 2 days after Christmas and the lighting of a Christmas tree in the middle of a lake in the City Park with the Art Museum in the background. It is truly beautiful. Thank you for the giveaways.

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