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49 Holiday Attractions in New Jersey in December

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


Published:

Courtesy of State Theatre New Jersey

 

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.

1-3 [Fri-Sun]

Annual Christkindlmarkt at Tuckerton Seaport

This three-day family-friendly event celebrates the traditions of the season with a holiday market and craft fair under a huge heated tent and throughout the Seaport buildings. Do some holiday shopping or hop on a horse-drawn wagon. Admission is $5.

2 [Sat]

***Run Santa Run

This 5K Fun Run and Mile Walk at Brookdale Park in Montclair benefits cancer victims and survivors. Even better? It’s led by Santa! There’ll be holiday music, hot cocoa, prizes and food trucks. Kids can snap a photo with the big man, too.

Joe Fischer Holiday Magic

Head to the Public Library in Nutley for a free, fun interactive magic show to welcome the holiday season.

Outdoor Live Nativity

Check out this free recreation of the birth of Jesus at King of Kings Lutheran Church in Mountain Lakes. There’ll be a stable, rustic manger, brilliant star and plenty of live animals and actors to complete the story.

Casino Pier Holiday Festival

The Casino Pier Arcade in Seaside Heights is the place to find free fun. Come in an ugly sweater to try winning the contest and a prize. Make arts and crafts like an Olaf sock snowman, bird feeder and Santa beard.

***Celebrate the Holidays at Rutherfurd Hall

Visit Rutherfurd Hall in Allamuchy and check out the historical mansion all decked out. Take some family photos with Santa, dance to music, make holiday crafts and more. Plus, the event is free.

Winter Wonderland Magic Show

Join magician and family entertainer Steve Woyce in this winter-themed family magic show. For a good laugh, visit the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft. $10-15/person.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

The MPAC in Morristown is throwing a concert full of seasonal spirit. Celebrate the holidays with 30 years of beloved Christmas music and dazzling multimedia effects. $59-99/person.

The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged)

Join the Reduced Shakespeare Company for the Annual Holiday Variety Show and Christmas Pageant at St. Everybody’s Non-Denominational Universalist Church to watch three men perform an entire variety show because the other acts never arrived! Laugh along at RVCC in Branchburg. $25-35/person.

A Very Special (Holiday) Special

If you’re looking for a unique show this holiday season, why not try improv at the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre in Summit? This Very Special Special includes spoofs of holiday songs, sketches and improv that’ll have you belly-laughing like Santa Claus himself. $15-20/person.

2-3 [Sat-Sun]

Lake Mohawk German Christmas Market

Come out for the 16th year of this magical market chock-full of artists, food and drinks inspired by Deutchland. Pick out some Christmas presents and enjoy the fun and fare Germans have to offer. $1 donation.

***Kick Off the Holiday Season Weekend

The whole family can hop on a free wagon ride at Terhune Orchards in Princeton and visit barnyard animals. Choose the perfect Christmas tree and wreath or start your holiday shopping. From Noon-4 pm, visit Santa in the barn with your little ones!

2, 9 [Sat]

Kids Nights

Drop the kids off at Garden Street Music in Hoboken so you can hit the town! While you enjoy a night out, your kiddos will enjoy pizza, cupcakes, arts, a movie and more. On December 2, they’ll watch The Polar Express and December 9, they’ll catch Frosty and Rudolph.

2-3, 8-10 [Sat-Sun]

It’s A Wonderful Life

Remind your family of the true meaning of Christmas with the story of George and his guardian angel, Clarence. Head to the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway on the weekend. $20/person.

3 [Sun]

The Laurie Berkner Holiday Show

Make the trip to iPlay America in Freehold and listen to the band, which celebrates the season with traditional songs like “Jingle Bells,” “Frosty the Snowman” and Laurie’s own original hits like “We Are the Dinosaurs,” “Pig on Her Head” and “Victor Vito.” $27.50/person.

Christmas With the Annie Moses Band

Celebrate the season with a combination of chamber strings, soaring vocals and infectious rhythms that bring an excitement to your favorite songs. For a special performance head to RVCC in Branchburg. $25-35/person.

Festive Christmas Foods

Kids age 8 and up can join parents at this cooking class. All foods will be either red, white or green in the spirit of Christmas. Think: stuffed Christmas chicken, mashed potato bites, mini pizzas and more deliciousness. For $70 a pair, Kings Cooking Studio in Short Hills will show you both how it’s done.

8 [Fri]

The Great Russian Nutcracker - Moscow Ballet

The Nutcracker is a traditional part of the holiday season, and with the addition of beloved fairy tale characters like Father Christmas and the Snow Maiden, imaginative storytelling sets this production apart. Check it out at RVCC in Branchburg. $40-50/person.

Chabbat Evening Service for Young Families

Your little ones can look forward to drums, puppets, prayers and stories at Congregation B’nai Israel in Emerson. The theme for this service will be “Enjoying Shabbat and Looking Forward to Chanukah!”

8-17 [Fri-Sun]

Elf Jr. The Musical

There’s no doubt your family will love watching Buddy’s adventures from the North Pole to the Big Apple. Watch as Buddy attempts to win the affections of his family and spread Christmas cheer to non-believers. Get tickets to this musical comedy at the Summit Playhouse. $15-18/person.

9 [Sat]

A Charlie Brown Christmas Live!

UCPAC in Rahway wants you to join the Peanuts gang for a stage version of everyone’s favorite holiday special. Watch Charlie Brown and his crew try to produce their own Christmas pageant and ultimately learn the true meaning of Christmas. $10/person.

***Cookies & Cocoa (and Photos) with Santa

If you want to visit the Big Guy, grab the kids and drive to Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit. Munch on cookies and sip on cocoa while your kiddos snap pictures with Saint Nick. Your family can even take holiday portraits with a professional photographer. $20/person.

Parade of Lights 2017

The 8th annual parade of lights at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia brings the holidays to the Delaware River. Every year you can see a free parade of boats decorated with lights and music to entertain the whole family. Don’t forget to check out Santa’s Workshop on the water.

9-17 [Sat-Sun]

***Brunch with the Big Guy

Santa Claus is coming to The Market at DelVal in Doylestown, PA...for breakfast! Enjoy a homemade brunch of ham, french toast, omelets, bacon and more with your family. Don’t forget to snap a picture with ol’ Saint Nick. Reservations are required. $15/adults, $10/kids.

10 [Sun]

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ adaptation is coming to the stage at RVCC in Branchburg. Invoke the spirit of the holidays with a trip to his classic tale, featuring live music and Broadway-style scenery and costumes. $40-50/person.

Annual Kids Holiday Concert

This family-friendly performance at the Hoboken Fire Department Museum features a musical duo who will lead your family in holiday sing-alongs and wintry music. Jingle bells and other instruments will be available for your family to shake to the rhythm. $5 donation.

The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t

The true spirit of the holidays is brought to life in this behind the scenes peek at the North Pole during the hustle and bustle of Christmas prep. Don’t miss William Paterson University’s dancing reindeer, medical mix-ups and spell-casting witch. $17/adults, $13/kids.

15-23 [Fri-Sat]

***Storytime with Mrs. Claus

Plan your weekend around a trip to Mrs. Claus’ storytime at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo. Meet one of her animal friends and sip on light refreshments as you watch your little ones meet one the North Pole’s head honchos. Registration is required. $10/person.

16 [Sat]

A Garfield Christmas

Your kids will find a kindred spirit in Garfield who’s eager to open his Christmas presents. Light up your holiday season at UCPAC in Rahway with this beloved orange cat full of witty jokes and holiday wisdom. $20-35/person.

17 [Sun]

***Magic & Mistletoe with Magician Joe Holiday

The holidays are all about believing in magic. For an hour, be amazed by illusions and tricks. Your kids will love the special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will read The Night Before Christmas. Feel the magic at the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan. $10-15/person.

***Miracle on Elm Street

This holiday, you don’t have to travel to the city to skate outdoors, just the Village Green in Summit. Spin your kids around and show off your skating skills before sitting around a bonfire with a cup of chili or soup from one of the nearby food trucks. Kids can also take pictures with Santa, make cookies or try arts and crafts. The best part? It’s all for free.

***Skate With Santa!

Bring the North Pole to your little ones at the Flemington Ice Arena. Skate with Santa and his elven helpers, warm up with hot cocoa and receive a special gift. $7/person.

Mister G Celebrates Hanukkah With Fun-Filled Concert

Mister G will be at the Jewish Museum in NYC to raise the roof and celebrate Hanukkah with local kids. He’ll play songs from his award-winning album The Mitzvah Bus and other Hanukkah themed songs. $16/person.

18 [Mon]

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Enjoy this beloved classic with all your kids’ favorite characters: Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster and of course, Rudolph. Celebrate this famous  underdog at the State Theatre in New Brunswick. $35-55/person.

19 [Tues]

Chanukah Give/Get Program

Light Chanukah candles, enjoy latkes with applesauce and participate in a craft to be donated to those in need at Congregation B’nai Israel in Emerson. Bring a book or pair of pajamas for donation, too.

31 [Sun]

First Night Ocean County…in Seaside Heights

It’s all fun and games this winter at the Boardwalk in Seaside Heights. Celebrate the coming New Year with local businesses and family-friendly games. Plus, it’s free!

First Night Warren

Enjoy a New Year's Eve with your family, complete with live entertainment, food and a spectacular fireworks show. Check it out at Rutherfurd Hall in Allamuchy. $10/person.

First Night Morris County

Come out for an alcohol-free, family-friendly celebration of arts and culture. There’ll be music, dance, theater, world cultures and children’s programming throughout Morristown. There’s something for every member of the family! $20/person.

ONGOING

Ice King's 12 Days of Christmas

Head to Tinton Falls anytime Thursday-Sunday in December (except for December 24, 25 and 31) and check out Ice King's amazing ice sculptures. The wintry wonderland's theme in 2016 was the Nutcracker, but this year, they will be tackling the 12 Days of Christmas. Over 10,000 people visit during the holiday season—why not be one of them? 

A Christmas Story: The Musical

Celebrate the season with this traditional Christmas-time musical at Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan. Bring your little ones for laughs and a heartwarming experience anytime December 1-10. $20-40/person.

***The Polar Express Train Ride

Throughout December you can climb aboard the Polar Express in Whippany with your family. Relive the film with a magical one-hour trip to the North Pole. $45-75/adults, $40-70/kids.

***DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express

Pop over to the DiDonato Family Fun Center in Hammonton anytime December 1-23 for a special holiday treat. Ride through the holiday village under millions of lights and meet Santa in his workshop. $15/person.

Holiday Lights Spectacular

Venture to the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo on the weekends December 1-10, or any night from December 11-January 2. Take a winter stroll under the sparkling lights of over 50 winter and animal characters. (And enjoy that free admission.)

Holiday Light Show

Make the trip to Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, PA to experience more than 3 million lights strung into whimsical displays and familiar characters over two miles. You can opt for an open air wagon ride, too. $30/carload, $12/person wagon ride.

A Christmas Carol at MMT

On weekends from December 1-17, you can hear the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge at the Music Mountain Theatre in Lambertville. Visit the past, present and future with your kiddos, who will learn about compassion, generosity and the true meaning of Christmas. $22/person.

40th Festival of Trees

December is the time to visit the Environmental Education Center in Basking Ridge. This indoor exhibit of decorated trees by various community groups. There’ll be live music and treats available at the Snowflake Cafe. Suggested donation of $5.

***Santa’s Trolley Rides

The Physick Estate in Cape May is the place to be on weekends December 1-17. Take the kids for a ride around Cape May with stories and songs led by Mrs. Claus. Santa will greet your kiddos with a sweet in the Carriage House, too. $10/adults, $8/kids. Reservations recommended.

***North Pole Express

On weekends from December 2-17, climb aboard this round-trip train at Black River and Western Railroad in Flemington for a journey with Saint Nick himself. Meet elves, Santa and Mrs. Claus while sipping refreshments. Enjoy a gift from the workshop and grab a family photo on Santa’s sleigh. $29.50/ages 3 and up.

***The Christmas Express with Santa Claus!

Choo-choo! Don’t miss the train! Hop on the Christmas Express and chat with the big man himself. Options for daytime and nighttime rides are available. Head to the New Jersey Museum of Transportation in Wall Twp. on weekends Dec 2-17. $6/person.

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