Even though it’s December, don’t let the cold scare you! There are lots of great events for your family, either indoors or outdoors, including festivals, meet-and-greets with Santa, light shows and caroling – and they’re free!

December 1

Kringle Mingle
Moorestown Mall, Moorestown
Dress up as Kris Kringle and get ready to mingle in HomeSense Court. Come to the mall dressed as Santa, one of his elves, or wear an over-the-top holiday ugly sweater to receive a free drink ticket to one of the restaurants, a goodie bag filled with surprises and yummy treats.

Kucheza! African Dance & Music
North Brunswick Public Library, North Brunswick
That Beat! African Drums & More will be a treat for the ears and the eyes, as Audrey Davis-Dunning will play a variety of instruments used in West African music.

December 1 – 11

A Celebration of Old Trees Art Show
Terhune Orchards, Princeton
Thirty-four paintings and photographs by local artists will tell the story of the century-old apple trees at the original Terhune farm. The exhibit brings to light the effects of climate change and focuses on how trees act as a buffer against climate change.

December 1 – 18

Weihnachstmarkt European Holiday Market
Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, Asbury Park
Bundle up and head to the rooftop for this special European holiday market, which will include artisanal gifts, handcrafted toys, hot holiday drinks, Christmas carolers and pictures with Santa.

December 1 – 18

AWA Pawliday Market
Animal Welfare Association, Voorhees
Every Saturday and Sunday, shop from different vendors that cater to the special pet in your life.


December 1 – 24

Christmas Village 
LOVE Park and City Hall, Philadelphia, PA
Every day, Nov. 19 – Dec. 24
The city will transform into an authentic German Christmas market. Expect more than 110 local and international vendors selling unique ornaments, jewelry and high-quality arts and crafts. Come hungry and enjoy European foods, sweets and drinks. Take a ride on the historic carousel or Ferris Wheel or Christmas Kids Train, and watch the Schuhplattler dancer perform. Don’t miss the festive Käthe Wohlfahrt tent which features popular Christmas gifts from Germany.

December 1 – 31

Holiday Lights Spectacular
Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange
This special event throughout the zoo includes an evening stroll outdoors through light displays and photo ops with friends and family, featuring some fun seasonal activities such as a s’mores station, Grinch weekend and photos with Santa.

Deck the Hall – Festival of Trees
Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City
Walk through the lobby to see beautifully decorated trees that have been sponsored by residents, businesses and local organizations.


December 1 – January 31, 2023

Newark Winter Village
Mulberry Commons Park, Newark
This much-loved holiday tradition transforms downtown Newark into a winter wonderland. Come to the park for ice skating, Go-Karts, games and activities, an open-air holiday marketplace featuring local vendors, and cozy heated private igloos to enjoy hot cocoa and treats. There will be many Instagram-worthy photo-ops available throughout the village. Stop by Wednesdays – Sundays.


December 2

Holiday Jubilee
Downtown Somerville
Santa is on his way to the Downtown Somerville Holiday Jubilee! While you wait for The Big Guy’s arrival, go ice skating, listen to carolers, meet other costumed characters, take a free carriage ride and grab some hot cocoa and cookies.

Holiday Concert
Whitehouse United Methodist Church, Whitehouse
Whitehouse Wind Symphony will present “Carols, Candles and Cheer!,” a holiday concert that includes the band’s arrangements of classic Christmas carols as well as a medley of favorite holiday songs. This is one of three concerts being performed this month.


One Life to Love Art Exhibit
J. Nunez Art , Millburn
Courtney Lalotra founded the Home of Hope in India, creating a safe haven for the children of the streets. Ten years later, the organization grew to be known as One Life to Love. She will be visiting family in NJ for the holidays and will host an art gallery event in an effort to raise funds for One Life to Love. Through the support of Jesus Nunez, the owner of the gallery, the children have chosen to express their creative abilities and powerful stories through artwork that will be on display.

Holiday Craft Fair
Sayen Elementary School, Hamilton
There will be more than 20 vendors attending the school’s first-ever holiday craft fair. Enjoy homemade baked goods, pictures with Santa and hot cocoa. Proceeds benefit the PTA.

Fridays, December 2, 9 and 16

Holiday Markets
New Egypt Flea Market, New Egypt
Fridays, Dec. 2 – 16
Sip and Shop with Cream Ridge Winery. The tree lighting will be Dec. 2.

Fridays – Sundays, December 2 – 18

Christmas Festival
Morristown Green, Morristown
Visits and photos with Santa, holiday crafts, ice sculpture demonstrations, a vintage-style rocking horse and rides on a miniature train will delight families on weekends in December.

December 3

Holiday Lights Parade
Firefighters from throughout NJ will escort Santa in the annual parade. Prizes given out for the best decorated fire and emergency vehicles, personal floats vehicle, and best decorated houses and/or businesses in Somerville.

Portraiture and Community Landscape
The Arts Council of Princeton, Princeton
Using your photo as a guide, workshop will lead you to create a self-portrait considering the unique elements of your community – through color, texture and space. You’ll then collage your drawing onto a background — real or imagined — to reflect a special landscape.

Christmas Festival of the Light
Windsor Chapel, Princeton Junction
This festival will include a play, live Christmas music, food, chai and coffee, face painting and more.

Tinker Bell
United Methodist Church, Red Bank
Everyone thinks they know Peter Pan – but until you have heard Tinker Bell’s side of the story, you really have not heard it at all. This show is great for young kids.

Stuffed Animal Workshop
West Orange Public Library, West Orange
Make your own cute stuffed animal to take home!
Holiday Open House & Christmas Tree Lighting
Town Hall, West Orange
The tree lighting ceremony will start with a holiday open house, petting zoo and Santa’s arrival.
Holiday Movie Toy Fundraiser
Hillborough Cinemas, Hillsborough
If you bring an unwrapped toy donation, you’ll get free admission to “Elf” or “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Plus, meet Santa before the movie!

Cookie Sale
Basking Ridge
Homemade cookies, baked goods, boutique gifts and handcrafted Boxwood Christmas trees will be sold during this annual fundraiser for Atlantic Adult Day Center.

Holiday Bazaar
The Merchants and Drovers Tavern Museum, Rahway
Outside, have a chance to win gift baskets containing gift certificates, each valued at $50 or more, and then you can check out a collection of holiday décor and gifts available to purchase. Inside, the museum will be decorated and open for self-guided tours. And remember to bring the children (and children at heart) to visit with Santa Claus!

Home for the Holidays Parade
Downtown Westwood
The beloved parade will be hitting the streets again with all the lights, music and magic of the holiday season. This year’s theme is Music Through the Ages in honor of the 100th anniversary of Westwood’s Historic Bandstand. Home for the Holidays takes place all day long with shopping, events and dining. The parade begins at 6 pm with a visit from Santa Claus. The tree lighting takes place immediately following the parade.

Santa & Trolley Tours
Historic Downtown, West Orange
Take a guided trolley tour with Mayor Parisi and township officials through the historic downtown. Trolleys will depart every hour from the Washington Elementary School parking lot.

Consolation of Apollo
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton
The LOTUS Project brings Kile Smith’s “Consolation of Apollo” to the planetarium. Explore the wonder of the Apollo 8 mission and space discovery through choral music based on the actual transmissions of the astronauts. Immerse yourself in a visual night sky show as 20 singers lift your spirits to the stars.

Winter Market
Town Plaza, Metuchen
Stop by this outdoor winter market to start your holiday shopping.

Winter Wonderland Parade
Albany Avenue, Atlantic
Get ready to start winter with marching bands, floats, costumed characters, decorated cars and dance/drill team. The parade route will be along Atlantic Avenue, from Albany Avenue to South Carolina Avenue.

Seasonal Traditions
East Jersey Old Town Village, Piscataway
After a founders’ recognition ceremony, sing about winter during “A Garland of Seasonal Songs,” listen to Colonial holiday music and short stories, and watch “A Christmas Carol” presented by Traveling Literary Theatre.

December 3 – 4

Atlantic City Holiday Bazaar
Noyes Arts Garage at Stockton College, Atlantic City
The Arts Garage is the cornerstone of the Arts District in Atlantic City. Stroll through the galleries and shops, which are adjacent to Tanger Outlets, the Convention Center, Boardwalk Hall and Dante Hall Theater.

Holiday Party & Pictures With Santa
SAGE Eldercare, Summit
While waiting to sit on the Big Guy’s lap, enjoy refreshments, participate in fun craft activities and receive gift giveaways. There will also be an LOL Dollhouse raffle!

Winter Wonderland
Terhune Orchards, Princeton
Plan a visit to the barnyard of animals, choose the perfect Christmas tree and wreath, start your holiday shopping, take photos in the Winter Wonderland display, have fun in the North Pole, warm up by the bonfire with hot chocolate and roasting marshmallow kits. In the wine tasting room, warm up with hot mulled wine and try award-winning wines. There will also be live music.


Saturdays, Dec. 3, 10 and 17

Dickens Village
Ricalton Square, Maplewood
Dickens Village brings to life various scenes from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in miniature houses arranged in Ricalton Square. Peek inside and you will see fireplaces, stockings and antique toys. Each little house reveals something unique and different. The festivities include horse and wagon rides, a petting farm, tree lighting and menorah lighting.

December 4

Holiday Flea Market & Gift Fair
Bergenfield High School, Bergenfield
Make sure you visit both rooms so you can see all the handbags, sports collectibles, jewelry, clothing, gift items, video games, vintage jewelry, gloves and scarves, toys, perfumes, antiques and collectibles, and garage/tag sale items that will be for sale at bargain prices.

Hunterdon Holiday Parade
Main Street, Flemington
Enjoy this festive parade along Main Street.


Sinterklaas Day
Historic New Bridge Landing, River Edge
Inside the Demarest House you can visit with Sinterklaas and take a photo. In the Campbell-Christie House, BCHS volunteer Ariel Woll will demonstrate how the menorah is lit and will explain the history, traditions and customs of Hanukkah. Don’t miss the Jersey Dutch out-kitchen where interpreters will be cooking Dutch stroop wafers, Dutch puff pancakes, sugared almonds, candied fruit peels and other Dutch holiday goodies. Activities for families include pinecone bird feeder and ornament making throughout the afternoon.


Theatre of Light
Vail Mansion Plaza, Morristown
The universal symbol of light will illuminate the community when Mayo Performing Arts Center partners with Morris Arts to transform the plaza into the Theatre of Light for the third year. A curtain of stars and lights and specially lit magical winged dancers will perform while an enchanted winter creature roams about.

Holiday Concert
Flemington United Methodist Church, Flemington
Whitehouse Wind Symphony will present “Carols, Candles and Cheer!,” a holiday concert that includes the band’s arrangements of classic Christmas carols as well as a medley of favorite holiday songs. This is one of three concerts being performed this month.


Intro to Greek Dance Workshop
Kimisis tis Theotokou Greek Orthodox Church, Holmdel
Journey to Greece by learning four traditional folkdances that are beloved throughout the country. The cultural and historical significance of each dance will be shared. You will “join the circle of dance” and become part of the “village” during this family-friendly dance event.

Dec. 4 – Jan. 7. 2023

Festival of Trees
Museum of the American Hungarian Foundation, New Brunswick
The trees on display will represent several countries and cultures and traditions from around the world. There will be special holiday musical performances and refreshments during the opening ceremony on Dec. 4.

Mondays, December 5 – 19

Mathis House, Toms River
This tea room and bed-and-breakfast is magical during the Christmas season. During the open house evenings, stop by for complimentary scones and refreshments and listen to beautiful live music. Make sure you check out the 35 decorated Christmas trees and the year-round Christmas Shop upstairs.

Tuesdays, starting December 6

Storytime with Santa
Menlo Park Mall, Edison
Members from the Edison Public Library will come by the Santa Set for a Holiday Pajama Story Time every Tuesday until Christmas week.


December 7

Ancient Seas Late Night
Rutgers Geology Museum, New Brunswick
This event will focus on the prehistoric animals that lived in the oceans millions of years ago, so stop by to learn about mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, ancient sharks and more. There will be craft and activity tables set up around the museum.

MCCC Jazz Band Live
Quaker Bridge Mall, Lawrenceville
Directed by Scott Hornick, the Mercer County Community College Jazz Band — composed of thirteen MCCC students, faculty and special guests — will present an exciting holiday show at the mall.


December 8

Festival of Trees
Toms River Elks, Toms River
Local nonprofits display trees decorated in the spirit of their mission. Beautiful trees, crafts, refreshments and more make for a fun and family-friendly holiday event that supports the organizations serving the community.

December 8 – 9

Christmas Concert: Miraculous
Christ Church, Montclair
The annual Christmas concert is an expression of music, dance and creative arts that will entertain the whole family.

December 10

Kucheza! African Dance & Music
North Brunswick Public Library, North Brunswick
Dance Yourself Happy! Join Audrey Davis-Dunning for The African Dance Experience as you learn core movements of West African dance.

Hometown Holiday
Spiotta Park, South Orange
Come by for free photos with Santa, holiday games, crafts, winter treats, hot chocolate, music, a dance performance by Concepts Dance Academy and a holiday education station provided by the South Orange Public Library. Santa will lead the way to the annual tree lighting ceremony where there will be a special performance by the Columbia High School Choir.

Cookie Walk
Grace United Methodist Church, Wyckoff
Select your favorites from a huge assortment of homemade cookies and customize your box.

Holiday Paper Crafts Workshop
Museum of Early Trades & Crafts, Madison
Join METC and the Book Arts Roundtable for this holiday paper craft workshop. You and your kids (first graders and older) will craft an accordion book with pockets and tags for the pockets, card and tag making, a gift box made from playing cards and a simple paper ornament.

Holiday Concert
Readington Reformed Church, Readington
Whitehouse Wind Symphony will present “Carols, Candles and Cheer!,” a holiday concert that includes the band’s arrangements of classic Christmas carols as well as a medley of favorite holiday songs. This is one of three concerts being performed this month.

Downtown Caroling
Downtown Metuchen
Join the Rise Up Chorus as they sing carols for the season. Open to the public.

Lights & Carols for a Claus
Heather Drive, Manalapan
CentraState Healthcare Foundation’s board holds a family-favorite event each year with The Rock N Roll Chorus. Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy Dunkin’ coffee and hot cocoa and listen to live musical performances. Kids will receive candy canes and gifts.

Santa Reads “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”
Cedar Beans Coffee Joint, Cedar Grove
The Big Guy himself will read this classic Christmas story to kids young and old.


Small Explorers: Music/Drums
New Jersey State Museum, Trenton
After reading “When Max Found Two Sticks” by Brian Pinkney you’ll see the drums of the Lenape and dance to the beat. Make your own instruments and try out your music and dance skills.

Holiday Made in Monmouth
Collins Arena, Brookdale Community College, Lincroft
Made in Monmouth is free for both shoppers and vendors as a way to encourage the Shop Local movement. This special holiday event will feature hundreds of vendors selling gifts before the holidays.

Iacoviello Wonderland
Sandpiper Drive, Manalapan
Jingle, mingle & twinkle during this second annual holiday season winter wonderland. Experience the lights and music, plus bring your letters for Santa because he’ll be making a special visit!

Hungarian Christmas Market
Museum of the American Hungarian Foundation, New Brunswick
There will be beautiful handmade gifts, Hungarian food and outdoor activities. Plus, see the Christmas trees on display that represent various cultures and traditions from around the world.


Guitarfishes from Rocks of All Ages
Virtual, presented by the New Jersey State Museum
During this final lecture of the Jaw Dropping World of Sharks series, learn how a shark gets turned into a swimming pancake! See some exceptional fossils that demonstrate the changes that occurred to make a batoid (skates, rays, guitarfishes and others). Learn about their anatomy and what it means for how these amazing animals eat, hide, swim (and nearly fly!)

Kwanzaa Vendor Fair
Herbert Hoover Middle School, Edison
Join the NAACP Metuchen-Edison Local Branch (MEAB) for photos with The Black Panther, music by DJ Sequence, a performance by East Side Dance Project, and choreography directed by Freddie Moore.

December 10 – 11

Bayshore Holiday Bazaar
Shore Casino, Atlantic Highlands
Enjoy shopping from local vendors and shops, delicious food and libations, plus holiday photos at this event space that is family-owned and -operated for more than 70 years. This event is indoors for all ages, free and pet-friendly.


Celebrate the Holiday Season Weekend
Terhune Orchards, Princeton
Visit the barnyard animals, choose the perfect Christmas tree and wreath, start your holiday shopping, check out the selection of gift baskets, warm up by the bonfire with hot chocolate or roast some marshmallows, take photos in the Winter Wonderland display, visit with Santa (from 12 – 3 pm Saturday), taste some wine or hot mulled wine (if you are of age) and listen to live music.


December 11

Santa Fun Run
Proving Ground, Highlands
Costumes are mandatory for this family-friendly run. Santas, elves, reindeer, Grinches, ugly sweaters  – wear your craziest holiday attire for the costume contest after the run. Come by early for Breakfast with Santa starting at 10 am, or stay for the post-run celebration with food and drink specials.

South Jersey Tuba Christmas
Woodstown Presbyterian Church, Woodstown
Tuba Christmas was conceived in 1974 by Harvey Phillips as a tribute to his teacher and mentor William J. Bell. Now, around the world, tuba players convene to play Christmas carols and other songs altogether.

Holiday Flea Market & Gift Fair
Wayne PAL Building, Wayne
There will be more than 75 tables set up with gifts to shop for the holidays.


Tuba Christmas
Rockefeller Center, New York
Hundreds of tenor and bass tuba players, from age 8 – 80, will dress up themselves and their instruments to play holiday classics under the infamous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.

December 12

A Year in Nature
Virtual presentation by Hunterdon County Division of Parks & Recreation
Make 2023 the year you spend more time outside. Find out what is going on in nature month by month from January to December. Find out what animals and plants do as they prepare for different seasons. Then get out and explore nature and see if you can observe these changes in person.

Menorah Lighting
Veterans Memorial Park, Jamesburg
Join the community for a special menorah lighting ceremony.

December 13

History of Holiday Songs
Woodbridge Main Library, Woodbridge
From Pagan Christmas carols and Hebrew Zemirots to modern renditions of popular favorites, this program presented by the Museum of Early Trades & Crafts will explore the evolution of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa music that embody the holiday season.


December 14

MCCC Jazz Band Live
Mercer County Community College, West Windsor
Directed by Scott Hornick, the MCCC Jazz Band — composed of thirteen MCCC students, faculty and special guests — will present an exciting holiday show at the Kelsey Theatre. Livestreaming will be available.

Chestnuts and Sing-Along
Robert L. Annis Playhouse, Princeton
The free performance will feature holiday favorites including Hanukkah. The audience is invited to join the orchestra in Finnegan’s popular Christmas Sing-along.

December 15

Meet the Author: Lalit Nigam
Iselin Library, Iselin section of Woodbridge
Author Lalit Nigam will discuss his new book “Voices From A Golden Era” about Bollywood singers.

December 16

Holiday Community Performances
Moorestown Mall, Moorestown
Special holiday performances from Northern Burlington County Middle School, Northern Burlington County High School and Bowman School of Dance will be held in the HomeSense Court.

Holiday Jazz Concert
The Art Center of Northern New Jersey, New Milford
Nationally-acclaimed artist Philip Smallwood will host a concert with jazz classics and holiday favorites performed by Simply Music Jazz, Bill White on the drums, Bruce Hector on the guitar and Mark Sims on bass.

December 17

A Living Nativity
Colts Neck Community Church, Colts Neck
See the story of Jesus’s birth told by live actors. Afterwards, stay for hot cocoa, caroling, a Christmas train ride, a bonfire and a meet-and-greet with some of the animals.


Kwanzaa Family Festival
NJPAC, Newark
Free family activities including dance and drumming classes, face painting, storytelling and child-friendly arts and crafts workshops embody one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. A candle lighting ceremony and a Vibunzi — a tradition of honoring young people with an ear of corn (or in this case, a slice of cornbread) to represent the hope for the future they bring — will be a highlight of the day’s celebration. The annual Kwanzaa Artisan Marketplace will be open until 10 pm.

Santa Train
Jamesburg, Tennent, Manalapan
Santa has to head back to the North Pole in time for Christmas, so catch him along the railway in his big red caboose. He’ll be making four stops to meet with kids to check over his Nice List.


December 17 – 18

Cheer the Holiday Season Weekend
Terhune Orchards, Princeton
Visit the barnyard of animals, choose the perfect Christmas tree and wreath, start your holiday shopping, check out the selection of gift baskets, warm up by the bonfire with hot chocolate or roast some marshmallows, take photos in the Winter Wonderland display, visit with Santa, taste some wine or hot mulled wine (if you are of age) and listen to live music.

Holiday Fest
Lambertville Station Inn & Restaurant, Lambertville
Along the banks of the Delaware River, indulge in seasonal food and drinks, browse tables of local specialty vendors, be entertained by local school choirs, and visit with Santa.

December 18

Winter Wonderland Open House
Montclair History Center, Montclair
This will be the last Sunday to see the decorations at the Crane House and Historic YWCA by Garden Club of Montclair. Self-guided tours let you explore this 225-year-old home at your leisure.

KATHY CHANG / Grand Menorah Lighting in Monroe Twp.

Lighting of NJ’s Largest Menorah
State Park, Monroe Twp.
Join the Chabad Jewish Center of Monroe for a grand menorah lighting, chocolate gelt drop, donuts, latkes, hot cocoa and live music.

Menorah Lighting
Taylor Park, Millburn
“Light Up the Night” during a public lighting of a huge 15-foot-tall menorah. There will also be a fire juggling show, latkes, donuts and hot chocolate,  plus free Chanukah beanies.

December 20

Community Chanukah Lighting & Celebration
Bridgewater Township Municipal Complex, Bridgewater
Show off your vocal chops during a sing-along with Yosi. Enjoy donuts, gelt and a hot chocolate bar.

December 21

MCCC Symphonic Band Concert
Kelsey Theatre, Mercer County Community College, West Windsor
The MCCC Symphonic Band will perform a concert to round off the holiday series. The 45-member ensemble will present classics by Vivaldi, Sousa and Strauss, a variety of pops and seasonal favorites. A traditional holiday sing-along will also be orchestrated.


December 24

Christmas Eve Caroling Around the Square
Palmer Square, Princeton
Gather on the Palmer Square Green to sing holiday songs. The Christmas Eve Brass Band will lead the festivities, and attendees can expect a special visit from Santa after caroling.

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