local holiday happenings and events in NJ 2012It's the most wonderful time of the year, and local downtowns are adding their own magic to the holiday season. Here are some festive events taking place in communities all around the Garden State this weekend, December 7–9: 

Friday, December 7:

Deptford: The Annual Tree lighting celebration begins at 6 pm at the Deptford Recreation Center (52 Montague Lane) and includes a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus along with other special guests. Children can get a free photo with Santa as well as a raffle ticket for a surprise gift. There will be a toy drive for donations of new, unwrapped gifts for ages newborn–16. More info: 856-845-0804.

Fair Haven: The tree lighting celebration takes place from 5-9 pm and includes a visit from Santa Claus, holiday music, and many stores open late and offering refreshments. More info: 732-212-0800.

Fairfield: The Annual Christmas Tree lighting will be held at the Recreation Complex (221 Hollywood Avenue) with refreshments at 5:30 pm and the ceremony at 6:15 pm. More info: 973-882-2745.

More Friday events near you—>


Farmingdale: The Tree lighting is from 6:30 to 7:30 pm (Lutz Park, Main Street) followed by refreshments at the Community Center. More info: 732-938-4077.

Florham Park: The Annual Christmas Tree lighting takes place at 6:30 pm at the Gazebo on the Great Lawn at Borough Hall (Ridgedale Avenue), and is followed by free refreshments and photos with Santa Claus at the Florham Park Library at 7 pm. More info: 973-410-5300.

Hazlet: There is both a Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting from 6 to 7 pm at Veteran's Memorial Park (1776 Union Avenue) with music, refreshments, and Santa. More info: 732-739-0653.

Linden: The tree lighting takes place at 6 pm outside of City Hall (Wood Avenue at Blancke Street) with live entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, a gift raffle for children, and refreshments. At 7 pm there are photos with Santa in the Gregorio Center, 330 Helen St. (behind City Hall).

Sea Bright: Tree lighting, sing-along, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus will both be there to celebrate the holiday season from 7 to 8 pm at the Sea Bright Firehouse, Ocean Avenue. More info: 732-241-4055.

Wall: The Tree lighting takes place from 6 to 7 pm at the Wall Township Municipal Building Courtyard (2700 Allaire Road) with Christmas carols, refreshments, a dance performance, and Santa. And, there will even be a fireworks display! More info: 732-449-8444.

What's the lineup for Saturday?—>


Saturday, December 8:

Allenhurst: The tree lighting (Main Street) is from 6 to 7 pm, and Santa makes a special arrival via fire truck. Hot chocolate will be served. More info: 732-531-2757.

Bayonne: Dickens Era Carolers perform on Broadway from 12 to 3 pm. More info: 201-436-5057.

Chester: Live Sculpted Ice Works are created and on display from 12 to 4 pm at 85 Main Street (Boehs Cabinet Shoppe Parking Lot).

Fort Lee: Congregation Gesher Shalom hosts the annual community Menorah lighting at the "triangle" (Lemoine Avenue, Main Street and Schlosser Street) at 6 pm with a celebration following at Gesher Shalom (1449 Anderson Ave.), free and open to all.

Maplewood: The Dickens Village display of historical mini houses opens today for viewing from 1 to 4 pm (Ricalton Square at Maplewood Avenue). At 1 pm Santa arrives by fire truck and visits through 3 pm, followed by storytime from 3 to 4 pm and additional readings and entertainment from 4 to 5 pm. The lighting of the tree is at 5 pm.

Ridgewood: The Chamber or Commerce is hosting a Santa Breakfast at The Office Beer Bar & Grill from 8am to 12 (reservations required 201-652-1070) followed by free Trolley Rides from 12 to 4 pm. Also from 12 to 4 pm, kids can visit Santa at his house in Memorial Park, at Van Neste Square.

Don't forget about Sunday!—>


Sunday, December 9:

Chester: There are Horse and Carriage Rides from 1 to 4:30 pm, departing from outside 92 Main Street. Free with a print-out available here.

Hanover Township: The annual Hanukkah Hoopla celebration is from 5 to 7 pm at the Hanover Rec Center with lots of food, dancing and fun activities for kids. Bring your own menorah for a community lighting, as well as food and drink to share and a donation to the Interfaith Food Pantry. RSVP at hannukahhoopla@gmail.com or 973-428-2463.

Hoboken: In front of Hoboken City Hall (94 Washington Street) there will be an outdoor Menorah Lighting at 5:30 pm. More info: 201-386-5222.

Princeton: Holidays in the Village (Lawrenceville Main Street, Weeden Park) has a tree lighting from 2 to 4 pm, as well as visits with Santa, music, refreshments, and a crafts fair. More info: 609-219-9300. 

Westfield: There is a Menorah Lighting Ceremony at 5 pm at the Train Station parking lot with live music, refreshments, and Chanukah gelt for all attendees. More info: 908-789-5252.

For even more holiday fun check out:

Did we miss a holiday happening in your town? Please let us know about it in the comments below!