1.) Instead of Santa Claus we have Papa Noel. Papa Noel lives down in the hot, humid, swampy bayou of Louisiana. He's a Cajun legend and you'll find often momma and daddy's reading books called, The Legend of Papa Noel or Cajun Night before Christmas, on Christmas Eve. We own both books and I've made it our tradition that hubby read them aloud every Christmas Eve.
2.) Santa is pulled in his sleigh by 8 reindeer. But Papa Noel is pulled in a Cajun boat called a, "Pirot" (Pier-O) by 8 alligators. There's Gaston, Tiboy, Pierre, Alcee, Ninette, Suzette, Celeste and Renee. Every Christmas season I make sugar cookies in shapes of alligators. I also make peppermint Fluer De Lis, and Lil Cajuns (they are actually Gingerbread men but we call them Lil Cajuns).
3.) On Christmas evening after a day of festivities we have a big holiday meal. Then we go into the living room to see what Papa Noel left us in our stockings. It makes the holiday cheer last through out the day. Papa Noel usually leaves us a hilarious letter written in Cajun for my husband to read. He has been traveling a long way from the Bayou to Austin the past couple of years so this year he'll be happy to only have to travel to Houston. In our stockings he leaves pralines, Cajun crunch, chocolate alligators, alligator jerky, and hot sauces. My husband collects hot sauces and Papa Noel always seems to find a new one he doesn't own.
4.) When we go back to New Orleans for Christmas we meet our friends on Christmas Eve night and set bond fires on the bayous. This is a fun event in Louisiana because we always run into friends. The purpose of the bond fire is to light up the swamp for Papa Noel so his alligators can see while delivering all those gifts to the boys and girls in Bayou Country.
5.) I love spending the holidays in the French Quarter. Everything is so magical with the Christmas decorations and the gas lanterns. I love all the Christmas Zydeco and Jazz the Quarter is filled with. And we always make it a habit to eat beignets at Cafe du Monde.
Heaux, Heaux, Heaux...
Merry Christmas, Y'all!