12/07/2011 01:00 pm ET | Updated Feb 06, 2012

Festive us! Holidays at New Orleans French Quarter Hotels

New Orleans has long been a top holiday travel destination, and a key element of return visits are the only in New Orleans traditions in French Quarter hotels. From the little white owl that appears in the Hotel Monteleone lobby's grandfather clock to the naughty-and-nice holiday burlesque show at Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse in the Royal Sonesta, tis the season to celebrate.

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Festive us! Holidays in full swing at French Quarter hotels

The Monteloene is one of only three hotels in the country designated as a literary landmark, Truman Capote famously claimed to Johnny Carson that he was born in the Hotel Monteleone, and his A Christmas Memory is a southern lit classic. The hotel's mascot, Monte the Lion, is in good company with the children's book Monte the Lion, published for the hotel's 125th anniversary. The Monteleone's holiday tea will be held on December 10 and December 17. Kids can meet Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and take home their own miniature Monte the Lion.

There's plenty of naughty on Bourbon Street during the holidays (okay, every day), but there's also a touch of nice: on December 23, Irvin Mayfield's Jazz Playhouse inside the Royal Sonesta will host Tease the Season, an annual burlesque revue with Trixie Minx featuring holiday music and a different kind of joy to the world. Ms. Minx includes a tassel twirling, dreidel spinning number as a nod to her Jewish heritage. The show kicks off at midnight with a live band. For family-friendly fun, the Royal Sonesta is hosting Royal Teddy Bear Teas daily December 16 to 23. The hotel has also commissioned a Royal Teddy Bear Ornament, with net proceeds benefiting Children's Hospital and they're bringing teddy bears to the hospital for kids who can't make it to the party.

Those hoping to rub elbows with costumed Jackson Square carolers and living history characters have a great place to spot them in the lobby of the Bourbon Orleans, a favorite French Quarter hotel located behind St. Louis Cathedral. With a meal at Roux, you can park for free, no small feat in the French Quarter. The hotel will also host a Brunch with Santa and his Elves December 11th and 18th.

If your holiday goal is serenity now, the Ritz Carlton's Holiday Apothecary Bar has you covered. The Spa, recently named by Travel and Leisure as the World's Best Hotel Spa/U.S + Canada, offers a gingerbread scrub and other pampering seasonal treats. If you like your gingerbread in the shape of the French Quarter, check out the hotel's sprawling gingerbread village, a diorama of edible New Orleans landmarks like St. Louis Cathedral and the Superdome.

The Roosevelt is the granddaddy of New Orleans hotel holiday mingling, with its famed Waldorf Wonderland lobby and a gingerbread village of iconic New Orleans restaurants. This year, Mad Men television star, Big Easy Style author and New Orleans native Bryan Batt threw the switch lighting the Wonderland. "I grew up here, and this was the place to go," he said. "My grandmother would always have a family dinner at the Sazerac. I thought that was the coolest thing. My favorite memory was coming here because you weren't looking at anything behind glass. You were living it; you were enjoying it all together." He then led the crowd in an impromptu version of Jingle Bells.

In New Orleans, it's the height of the season to jingle all the way.