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December Holiday Events in and Around New Jersey

Spend the holidays at these family-friendly events around NJ.


State Theatre

There’s plenty to do this holiday season. Sit in on holiday shows, ride holiday trains or visit light displays.

 denotes an event where Santa or Mrs. Claus makes an appearance.

1 [Sat]

Casino Pier Holiday Festival 

Pull on your ugly Christmas sweater (there’s a contest!) and head to Seaside Heights to get crafty making cards and pictures for service members and let the snowballs fly at an indoor snowball battle. Then, hit the arcade and stick around for a visit from Santa.

Celebrate the Holidays 

Stop by for a photo sesh with Santa Claus at Rutherfurd Hall in Allamuchy, then make holiday crafts and wander through the historical mansion, which will be decorated for the holiday season.

Frozen Fun Night

Do you want to build a snowman? This one will be extra cool because it’s made out of ice cream. After your treat, meet up with naturalists from the Cora Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary in Short Hills to learn what local animals do during the winter months.

16th Annual Colonial Christmas 

Get a glimpse of 18th-century Bedminster at the Jacobus Vanderveer House and Museum. Take in holiday tunes and decor, shop for gifts, visit Kris Kringle, saddle up for a pony ride, make magic at a gingerbread workshop and more.

1-2 [Sat-Sun]

Lake Mohawk Weihnachtsmarkt 

For the past 17 years, this lakeside holiday market in Sparta has been serving up grub and spirits, pony rides, a petting zoo and plenty of wares to stuff in stockings and slip under the Christmas tree. Plus, visit Saint Nick himself.

Civil War Christmas

Step back into the Civil War-era at the Historic Speedwell in Morristown, when soldiers built huts to keep warm, prepared food over fires and wrote letters. Visit the Vail House to read letters from Union soldiers, plus attend the Officer’s Ball, where there’ll be costumes, dancing and plenty of fiddling.

2 [Sun]

Gingerbread Sunday

What’s winter without gingerbread? Ages 3-9 can make an inedible gingerbread house at the Miller-Cory House Museum in Westfield, plus another craft to take home. Reservations required.

Christmas with the Celts

Come for foot-stomping step dancers, pips, whistles, fiddles and a variety of instruments, but stay for renditions of seasonal classics like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “White Christmas.” It all goes down at The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts.

Grain House Caroler Brunch

Chow down to the sound of the Bernards High School Choir. Taste your way through holiday sweets at the Grain House Restaurant in Basking Ridge.

Swingin' Rat Pack Holiday Lunch

Can't get enough of those Sinatra holiday tracks? Bring the fam for a buffet lunch while live crooners sing all your faves at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman.

6 [Thurs]

Conifers at Christmas

You buy a Christmas tree every year, but do you know the difference between conifers and evergreens, cones and pine cones or if pine needles are considered leaves? Find out at Hunterdon County Arboretum in Lebanon.

Donny & Marie Holiday Show

The Osmonds invite you to Morristown's MPAC to take part in the longtime tradition of an Osmond Family Christmas. This show's a real blast from the past for anyone who watched their TV specials.

7 [Fri]

98°: 98 Degrees at Christmas

Throw it back at Morristown's MPAC with your girls for a night of late ’90s bliss. Listen to hits like “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche),” “The Hardest Thing” and “I Do (Cherish You).”

The Great Russian Nutcracker

Add new flair to your fave Christmastime show at RVCC in Branchburg. The Moscow Ballet’s costumes, scenery and 40 dancers will bring new life to the classic you know and love.

7-9 [Fri-Sun]

Cirque Dreams Holidaze

Celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. There’ll be 20 incredible acts filled with singers, acrobats, theatrics and more than 300 costumes.

8 [Sat]

Ability Tree NJ Christmas Party 

Kids with special needs can spend time with service dogs, visit Father Christmas, play games and dig into good eats and gifts at Pond Road Middle School in Robbinsville. Registration required.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppets are bringing Dickens’ classic Christmas story to the big screen at Kean Stage in Union. There’ll also be arts and crafts, activities and seasonal surprises.

A Very Special (Holiday) Special

Ages 8 and up can catch this variety show at Summit's Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre filled with improv, holiday song spoofs, comedic sketches and other knee-slapping fun. Stories will be told in the form of classic television holiday specials.

8, 15 [Sat]

Gingerbread House Workshop

Head to Liberty Hall Museum in Union to construct a cookie crib with candy canes, icing, gumdrops and more.

8-9 [Sat-Sun]

Dutch Christmas 

Deck the halls at Wayne's Dey Mansion, where there’ll be 18th-century dancing and music, hearth cooking, crafters and demos. Stick around for a visit with New Jersey’s local militia and the man of the hour: Sinterklaas.

8-9, 15-16 [Sat-Sun]

Brunch with The Big Guy 

Dig into breakfast staples like ham, French toast, bacon, fruit and omelets at The Market at DelVal in Doylestown, PA, then the little ones can hop into Santa’s lap for a photo. Reservations required.

Charlie Brown Christmas

Montclair's Studio Playhouse is taking on this timeless story about the true meaning of Christmas. Take the kids to show them what the holidays are all about.

9 [Sun]

Breakfast with Santa 

While the fam dines on omelets, pancakes, yogurt and more, the man in red will walk around Freehold's iPlay America for a visit. Then, sing and dance to live music and snap a photo with the big guy (stick around for a present!). Reservations required.

Snowkus Pocus

Calling all adventurers! The kids will marvel at this winter wonderland—which young Brianna is thrust into—filled with magic, ballet, acrobats and other cirque characters. See it at Union's Kean Stage.

The Santa Experience 

Bundle up and head to the Glen Ridge to get a one-on-one with Mr. Claus. The station will have an epic wintry makeover for the event, plus chances to craft with Santa in his work shop, make their own ornaments, write Santa letters and sip hot cocoa.

12 [Wed]

Home Alone

We all know the story of Kevin McCallister’s disastrous holiday, which makes this the perfect wintertime screening at The Newton Theatre. The laughs never get old as the 8-year-old faces off against two con men, protecting his home while his family races to return.

14 [Fri]

New Jersey's Nutcracker with NJ Symphony Orchestra

Take in this timeless ballet at MPAC in Morristown. The orchestra, special effects and choreography will enchant the kids for sure.

14-16 [Fri-Sun]

New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

Join Dr. and Mrs. Stahlbaum for their annual Christmas party, which features a surprising guest: the Nutcracker! Indulge in this classic at Lackland Performing Arts Center in Hackettstown.

15 [Sat]

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Live

Missing Halloween? Throw it back to spookier times at this screening at Newark's NJPAC, which will be accompanied by an orchestra playing the live score.

15, 22 [Sat]

The Alien Who Stole Christmas

Catch a glimpse of the winter sky at RVCC's Planetarium in Branchburg with kiddos ages 6-10. Way up high, Santa will be riding his sleigh through the solar system before he’s kidnapped by a friendly alien who wants to bring the joy of Christmas to other planets.

16 [Sun]

Breakfast with Santa 

Can you think of a better combo than a hot breakfast and Saint Nick? The kids can hop in his sleigh for a photo of the heartwarming moment. at Liberty Hall Museum in Union Reservations required.

21 [Fri]

Pajama Storytime: The Night Before Christmas

Head to the Morven Museum in Princeton to see the Festival of Trees displays, an illustrated reading of the classic holiday story and get an signed book from award-winning illustrator, Gennady Spirin.

22 [Sat]

Magic & Mistletoe 

You’ve heard of holiday magic, but Joe Holiday will help you see it firsthand at the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan. Watch the kids marvel at his illusions and sleight of hand, then meet up with Santa and Mrs. Claus.


Festival of Trees

Witness Christmas from the 18th to 20th​ centuries at Morven Museum and Garden in Princeton, with this year’s theme boasting decorated trees and mantles throughout the museum’s galleries. Through January 6.

Gingerbread Wonderland & Craft Show

More than 150 delicious designs will be on display (old favorites include Hogwarts, enchanted gardens, pirate ships and Santa’s Workshop) at The Frelinghuysen​ Arboretum in Morris Twp. Vote for your favorites, then check out local crafters’ booths. Through December 9.

2nd Annual Marketspace at Westfield

On the first three weekends of December, this downtown storefront will be chock-full of vendor wares and vintage collectibles. Try your hand at a DIY craft class, snap photos and sing along to live entertainment.

41st Festival of Trees

Walk through a winter wonderland filled with decorated trees, wreaths and more created by local community groups. Daily through December 28 at the Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge.

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