Call the sitter—these festive events are just for grown-ups. Celebrate the holidays at these spots around the state this December.
For the Holiday-Obsessed:
If seasonal cocktails are your favorite part of the holiday season (we’re looking at you, Mistletoe Martini), make your way to one of four Miracle locations in NJ (Nutley, Jersey City, New Brunswick and Morristown) or Sippin’ Santa in Harrison. These holiday-themed pop-up bars are decked out in over-the-top holiday decor and a stacked Christmas cocktail list boasting seriously festive mixology magic. Open through New Year’s Eve. Take a Historic Holiday House Tours at Kingsland Manor in Nutley on December 7. It’s a 1700s-era Dutch colonial with Victorian-style Christmas decorations. See the grounds, then hang by the picturesque pond and on-site waterfalls. If you’ve always wanted to take a glass blowing class, or just want to see the pros in action, head to WheatonArts in Millville on December 7, 14 or 21 for Holiday Glass In the Studio. See glass masters in action making holiday-themed pieces, plus a record-breaking giant glass ornament, a glass fruitcake, a giant glass menorah and the world’s largest glass turkey drumstick. On December 19, visit Liberty Science Center for the monthly 21-and-over event, LSC After Dark. This month’s theme is Candyland! Get in on sweet science experiments, festive seasonal cocktails, an ugly sweater contest, a sock ice skating rink and local bites.
For the Scrooges:
Tune in for Fab Four classics like “Twist and Shout” and “Revolution” at Laser Beatles on December 7 at RVCC’s planetarium in Branchburg. Take a break from all the holiday hubbub for some laughs at the Eagle Theatre in Hammonton on December 21. Stand-Up Comedy Night, hosted by Kevin Hurley, has funny on-stage talent plus an on-site wine lounge that opens an hour before showtime. On December 21 or 28, hit Fort Lee for a murder mystery meal by The Dinner Detective. You’ll be served hors d’oeuvres, salad, an entree and dessert while you figure out the scandalous whodunnit. If dancing is your idea of the perfect date night, hit Belleville every week for the rest of the year for Super Swing Tuesdays, where you’ll learn plenty of steps from West Coast Swing.
See The Nutcracker
There are so many chances to see this Tchaikovsky classic on stage. Roxey Ballet’s rendition is running through December 1, 7 and 8 at TCNJ’s Kendall Theater in Ewing. See more than 150 dancers and actors bring the story to life. Watch another take on the Sugar Plum Princess and the Land of Sweets in Princeton on December 7-8. On the 14th, head to the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts in Toms River for this much anticipated holiday tradition. See the National Ballet Theatre of Odessa from Ukraine take this staple on at NJPAC in Newark on December 14. There’ll be original choreography, ornate costumes and over-the-top sets. See the internationally acclaimed Donetsk ballet from Ukraine with the Adelphi Orchestra at Paramus Catholic for its 22nd consecutive season on December 14-15. From December 20-22, head to the Sitnik Theater at Centenary University in Hackettstown to see the New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet perform.
Head to a Holiday Concert or Show
The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts in Toms River on December 6 will showcase A Celtic Family Christmas. Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, an award-winning fiddle duo, will take on a whole Christmas setlist. If you’re all about laser shows, hit the Wilkins Theatre in Union for A Very Electric Holiday on December 13. The dazzling effects are set to timeless holiday tracks. Also on the 13th is The Barron Arts Center’s Annual Holiday Concert, which will be led by The Jazz Lobsters Big Band at Woodbridge High School. From December 20-22, visit New Brunswick’s State Theatre for Fiddler on the Roof, a story about life, love and family. Bundle up for Make Music Winter’s NYC Takeover on December 21. This free outdoor event celebrates the solstice and will bring musical parades all over the city. Head to Home for the Holidays in Rahway at UCPAC to celebrate the minds behind shows like Seussical, Anastasia, and Once on This Island. End 2019 with the Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert on December 31 at the State Theatre. Take in Viennese music while ballroom dancers, singers and ballerinas take the stage.
Shop at a Local Holiday Market
There are dozens of vendor markets around the state during the holidays, where you can shop handmade artisanal crafts, jewelry, clothing and everything in between. On December 7, head to Hillside High School’s Winter Bazaar for homemade goods and pop-ups by Thirty-One Bags and Paparazzi Jewelry. Shop vendors at the Gingerbread Wonderland and Craft Show in Morris Twp. On December 7-8 and 14-15, browse gorgeous handmade creations by local crafters and artists before seeing 150+ edible gingerbread masterpieces. The Marketspace at Westfield will be open weekends from December 7-22, offering local wares and a revolving market (that means no two days will have the same vendors).
Visit Galloway’s magical Historic Smithville while it’s all gussied up for the holidays on Girls Night Out on December 12. The 60+ shoppes will be running their own promotions to celebrate, from discounts to tasty food samples. On the 14th, shop everything from home decor to toys to books at the HCA Christmas Craft & Vendor Expo in Hawthorne. You can also win prizes. On the 22nd, Maplewood’s Handmade Holiday at The Woodland is putting artisans and vendors on display for some last-minute holiday shopping.
If you want to flex your own crafting skills, try DIY crafts at a Snowmen & Stars Workshop in Lebanon (Dec. 6), Pottery in the Woods in Lebanon (Dec. 10) or Paint Nite: Christmas at the Pier at Plank Pizza Co. Beer Parlor in Saddle Brook (Dec. 18).
How are you celebrating the holidays with your honey or your friends? Tell us in the comments.