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As Christmas approaches, it’s time for a tradition as rich as Louisiana culture itself: the Festival of the Bonfires in the River Parishes!

“Wild Bill” Wood went to Lutcher where the fires are ready to be lit.

They serve, they protect, and they even hand out gifts! The New Orleans Police Department helped Santa deliver gifts to kids at Kingsley House today.

The NOPD has partnered with Walgreens to donate hundreds of toys to Kingsley House over the years.

Saints running back Pierre Thomas is at Children’s Hospital scoring a big hit with this year’s iCAN Foundation Prom of Champions holiday toy-drive giveaway.

“I just want to show that we as players, we want them to get better also,” says Thomas. “ And this is my way of giving back to these kids.”

Across town at the New Orleans Mission, Pelicans head coach Monty Williams wants people coming in from the cold to better know the reason for the season.

Williams hopes helping people hear  the calling of a higher power will provide guidance, self-improvement and a graciousness from those  more fortunate,  “There’s so many people in this city and in this region who need help and my family and I have been honored to serve with the mission to try to be a part of the solution here in this town.”

Coach Williams helped serve more than 250 people a holiday meal.

Meantime this was the third year in a row for Pierre Thomas’s toy drive.

Ronnie and Natasha Lamarque brought gifts to patients at Children’s Hospital Thursday afternoon.

The Lamarques donated over 400 gifts; enough to make sure that every patient got a brand new toy this Christmas.

Students at Dominican High School are sharing the real spirit of Christmas. The students and their dads loaded up nearly 1,000 gifts for kids who otherwise wouldn’t get anything.

Bags filled with toys will bring smiles to the faces of many kids including several in Gert Town being raised by their grandmother and kids of homeless families.

If you’re decking the halls and trimming the tree for Christmas, why not put a personal spin on your sparkly decor?

WGNO’s Erin Nicole shows you where you can create a one-of-a-kind Christmas ornament.

For more information about the classes at New Orleans GlassWorks, click here.


Pet Christmas Photos

As you get ready for the holidays why not let your four legged friends get in on the action? Jefferson Feed, Pet and Garden Center is taking pictures of your pets with Santa!

Jefferson Feed will be hosting another Santa photo-op for your pets next weekend on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 3pm. It costs $25, and that money goes to the Gulf Coast Doberman Rescue and the Louisiana SPCA.

Students at St. Catherine of Siena School in Metairie brought coats from home to donate to WGNO’s Coats for Kids program.

For a list of locations accepting donated coats, click here.

Several parish fire departments joined forces to show how easy it is for a dry Christmas tree to burn. WGNO’s Alyson Titekmeyer takes us as close as we can get to the inferno.