X-mas, Hanukah, Kwanza… I say Bah Humbug! While everyone's out shopping and spreading good cheer, wouldn't you rather stay at home, updating your latest Twitter.Facebook.Instagram feeds? I knew you would.
In the spirit of Scrooge, here are 12 things on 12 days to avoid at all costs, lest ye too become victim to the madness that is Holiday Fever.
1. Dec. 13 - Night of 1000 Santas: If you don't want to get caught up in a parade of fun-loving party people dressed in various Santa regalia, avoid the Quarter at all costs! There are at least two Claus-related marches planned, and who knows where else this red & white-suited virus will spread! First up, there's the infamous Running of the Santas, a pub crawl that starts at Barcadia at 3 p.m. and ends at Generations Hall, where Big Sam's Funky Nation and Category 6 perform. http://www.runningofthesantas.com/
Later, the Krewe of Kringle gets rolling at the Spitfire Bar on Decatur at 8 p.m., for yet another Bacchanal romp through the Quarter, ending at Patty O's and Boondock Saint. French Quarter. 3 p.m. http://kreweofkringle.com
2. Dec. 14 - Cuteness Overload: If there's one thing I can't stand more than Christmas, it's puppies. Their cute little eyes and dopey walks and playful natures. Disgusting. So, if you're like me, you'll definitely want to avoid Santa Paws, an event that combines the cheeriness of Xmas with the sweetness of pups. This unholy combination culminates in a way-too-cute-sounding Puppy Dog Second Line Parade. And it all takes place within a holiday themed large-scale light display celebrating New Orleans history, with over 70 trees and almost a mile of animated lighting effects and synchronized music. Educational, spectacular, and adorable family fun? Count me out. Lafayette Square 3:00 p.m. http://www.eventbrite.com/e/santa-paws-nola-2014-tickets-12634800027?aff=es2&rank=1
3. Dec. 15 - Let the Professionals Carol You: If strangers knocking on your door and serenading you with unasked-for Christmas carols aren't enough, then head to the St. Louis Cathedral for O Holy Night of Opera. An eclectic variety of local singers and musicians will convert both believers and nons with their mix of holiday and gospel favorites. Or, like me, you could just stay at home and blast your favorite Black Metal album. Up to you. St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square. 6 p.m. http://tinyurl.com/orqd88s
4. Dec. 16 - Chanukah/Shmanukah: Oh, did you remember there's another pretty big holiday besides Christmas? Yes, it's Hanukah, and while many Jewish families may be staying home on this first night, many (as well as those wishing to celebrate) will venture out to Riverwalk for the annual Lighting of the Menorah. The event features music from Israeli sensation Yoel Sharabi, a hot latke bar, and many children's activities. Yes, traditional family fun, if you're into that sort of thing. Riverwalk. 5:30 p.m. http://tinyurl.com/phehqkf
5. Dec. 17 - Xmas-Redux: Smoothie King Stadium is definitely not the place to be if you only want your holiday music served straight-up. Powerhouse supergroup the Trans-Siberian Orchestra produces revved-up, prog rock versions of familiar classics, as well as their original, holiday-themed tunes. Grown men have been known to air-guitar and weep at the same time. Not this grown man, however…never! Smoothie King Stadium. 7:30 p.m. http://www.ticketmaster.com
6. Dec. 18 - Enough with the Xmas Songs Already! : If you absolutely must hear more Xmas music, I guess it wouldn't kill you to sing along with a hundred-plus choir at the Baroque Christmas Celebration at the First Baptist Church New Orleans. They'll tackle Handel's Messiah, along with some other tunes by obscure composers like Bach and Mozart. Hallelujah, indeed. 5290 Canal Blvd. 7:30 p.m. http://www.fbno.org/
7. Dec. 19 - Give Back: Some call the holidays the "season of giving," although for me, that gift tends to be a headache. But if you'd like a chance to flex your generosity, there's no better place to do it then at the Pay-It-Forward Happy Hour at Eiffel Society benefitting the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic and Assistance Foundation. After all, who enriches your Crescent City lifestyle more than the many musicians who live, work, and play here every day? 2040 St. Charles. 5:30 p.m. http://tinyurl.com/qye3pbm
8. Dec. 20 - Tackling the Holidays: What could be more anti-Xmas than football? No season of giving here, no carols, no spreading holiday cheer… just a bunch of burly grown men pummeling each other while chasing after a ball at the New Orleans Bowl. And, as of this posting, returning to the Dome will be three-time Bowl champions, UL's Ragin' Cajuns, facing an as-yet-undetermined foe. So put down those candy canes, head to the dome and cheer for your favorite team… just try not to be too cheerful about it! Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 10:00 a.m. http://www.neworleansbowl.org/
9. Dec. 21 - Carol till You're Sore: If you haven't had enough of the Xmas music already, here's another chance to hear all your (least)favorite tunes, and belt them out as loudly as you care to. Children of all ages gather together in front of St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square to carol en-masse. Don't worry if you don't know the words; candles and sheet music are provided. Of course, you can always sing your own, naughty versions. No one will notice! Jackson Square. 7 p.m. http://www.patioplanters.org/article.php/event.caroling
10. Dec. 22 - Xmas Overload: I thought I'd exhausted all of NOLA's Holiday offerings by now, but then I stumble upon NOLA ChristmasFest celebrating 13 days of fun and holiday activities for all ages, including kids' crafts, inflatables, a petting zoo in Santa's Playland, and of course an appearance by the Big Man himself (there's even an opportunity to have a pajama party with him… I shudder at the thought). 900 Convention Center Drive. 12 - 9:00 p.m.http://christmasinthedistrict.com/
Also, in the spirit of the holidays, they'll be a Toy Give Away at the New Orleans Healing Center. Try as I might, I just can't think of anything cynical to say about giving away toys to needy children, darn it. http://www.neworleanshealingcenter.org/
11. Dec. 23 - Light One Up: No, not what you're thinking, though surely I'd prefer that to seeing the show "A Very Electric Christmas" by local group Lightwire Theater, who recently advanced to the semi-finals of "America's Got Talent." This internationally-known troupe of "electroluminescent puppeteers" will wow audiences of all ages with their unique display of characters pursuing a holiday journey of inspiration and light. Hm, come to think of it, lighting one up might not be a bad idea after all. Joy Theater. 7:30 p.m. http://www.thejoytheater.com/tickets/list
12. Dec. 24 - Xmas in Flames: I was really ready to ignore the fact that it's Christmas Eve, and then I found this awesome event that celebrates the time-honored Louisiana tradition of touring the community-built bonfires that light the way for Papa Noël, the Cajun Santa Claus. Try as I might to stay indoors, the allure of flames lighting the New Orleans sky is too much, not to mention the San Francisco Plantation tour and Cajun Country dinner. Alright, enough already…I give in! Gray Line Departs from Toulouse St. Deck. https://holiday.neworleansonline.com/events/christmas-eve-bonfire-adventure-2/
Bonus #13: Dec. 25 - Duh: Even if you're not Christian or religious, you can still use this day as an opportunity to get together with loved ones. After all, it's Christmas!!!