Please make sure to call ahead before heading out to any of these venues, many spots require advanced tickets and registrations and have COVID-19 safety restrictions in place.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 12
Drive Thru: Santa and Mrs. Claus
Where: De Novo European Pub, 275 Bellevue Ave., Upper Montclair, 11 am-2 pm
Visit Mr. and Mrs. Claus from the comfort of your car and snap a photo during your drive-thru. Each car will also get a bag of art-themed surprises and nut-free Santa cookies—plus some other gifts.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Advent Bazaar
Where: Hope Family Store, 120 Kearny Ave., Kearny, 10:30 am-3 pm and 6-7 pm
This outdoor bazaar is one of many great opportunities to find gifts for your loved ones (and maybe yourself!) while supporting local businesses. Plus, admission is free.
Frontiers – The Ultimate Journey Tribute Band: A Very Special Holiday Show
Where: MPAC, 100 South St., Morristown, 6 pm show and 8:30 pm stream
This Journey Tribute band won’t just play favorite songs like “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Open Arms,” they’ll also play holiday tunes. Both in-person and livestream options are available.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13
Festival of Trees
Where: Reeves-Reed Arboretum, Summit, 11 am-3:30 pm
The arboretum will hold its first annual Festival of the Trees, a multicultural celebration of the holidays including art and crafts celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the Solstice. There’ll also be musical entertainment, food trucks and holiday vendors. Only two time slots will be available, so registration is highly recommended.
Family Studio Workshop: Seasonal Printmaking
Where: Montclair Art Museum, 3 South Mountain Ave., Montclair, 1-2 pm
Up to four family members, wearing masks, can create their own wrapping paper, cards and gift bags with snowflake patterns you design and print yourself. Registration required.
A Very Broadway Christmas
Where: MPAC, 100 South St., Morristown, 3 pm
Whether you head to the theater or log onto the livestream, it’s time to sit back and listen to classic tunes like “Winter Wonderland” and “White Christmas” belted by professional singers from Broadway shows like Les Mis and Cats.
Where: Nickelodeon Universe, American Dream, 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford
Take the kids to Nick’s Elf Workshop, where they can write a letter to Santa, decorate ornaments and color pictures at physically-distant stations. On Fridays and Saturdays, spend the night at The Rink for music spun by Santa himself, plus wear your best ugly holiday sweater on Saturdays.
Where: Imagine That!!! Museum, 4 Vreeland Rd., Florham Park, 11 am-12:20 pm
The whole family can take a photo with Santa Claus (masks must be worn), then the kids can hit the open play area which features a new pet vet center, LEGO racing, train exhibit and more.
A Christmas Carol
Where: Sitnik Theatre, 715 Grand Ave., Hackettstown, 2-4 pm
Come see the classic Charles Dickens tale on stage during a socially distanced performance. The theatre will have limited capacity seating.
Santa Visits at Kale’s Garden Center
Where: 133 Carter Rd., Princeton, 1-5 pm
Santa will visit Kale’s Garden Center in the Greenhouse with a face covering. Seating for your loved ones will be positioned in front of Santa. Saint Nick may also be available in the tree yard for more distancing photos.
VIRTUAL FUN FOR THE WEEKEND
Wine & Sign: Virtual Wood Sign Painting Workshop
Missing wine and paint night GNOs? This virtual event will show you how to design, paint and embellish a handmade rustic wood sign. RSVP required, all materials and tools will be provided, so be sure to register in advance.
Virtual Hanukkah Lollapalooza
All ages are invited to celebrate the third night of Hanukkah with Beth Shalom v’ Emeth Reform Temple from the comfort of home.
Engelbert Humperdinck Christmas Special
For the first time, Engelbert will invite fans into his home during this livestream, which includes performances of holiday classics.
Virtual Holiday Bath Bomb Making Workshop
You and the kids can learn how to make holiday-scented and colored bath bombs using ingredients you’d find in your pantry. Sign up in advance to reserve materials for shipping or local curbside pickup (Montclair).
The Doo Wop Project: Live In Your Home for the Holidays
This live virtual theatrical concert includes classic holiday songs like “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Last Christmas.” The group will reimagine some of your favorite songs, plus offer early access tickets and meet-and-greet tickets.
Young Families Chanukah
Make sure you have Play-Doh, model magic or the like nearby to make a menorah, then teach the little ones Hanukkah songs, and watch a candle lighting. Registration required.
Holiday Sugar Cookie Decorating Virtual Workshop
The kiddos will learn how to ice, sprinkle and decorate holiday-themed sugar cookies like a professional. Class comes with a kit including all materials and ingredients, which must be shipped or picked up curbside (Montclair). Advance registration required.
PJ Library Virtual Puppet Show
Ages 7 and up can join this Hannukah-themed Zoom for an interactive puppet show with Mainstages, an educational theater company. The virtual event will include games, puppets, storybook theater, creative play and more. Free to attend, registration required.
Virtual Mommy & Me Holiday Sign Making Workshop
You and your lil’ one can use handprints, foot prints, chalk paint, upcycled wood and vintage ribbon to customize one of two designs: love or an angel. All materials and tools will be provided once you reserve your spot (shipping or curbside pickup in Montclair).
Milk & Cookies
When: All weekend
The State Theatre is offering two Milk & Cookie (ages 3-10) virtual events, which can be accessed at any point (even beyond the weekend) with a donation of at least $10. Storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston will tell tales from African, German and African American traditions, plus you’ll learn some fun snack ideas to pair with her stories. Joanie Leeds, a kindie rock singer, will perform her “Mother Earth” sing along, and kids will also learn how to make a fun cupcake snack.
Virtual Visits with Santa and His Helping Horse
Not to worry, the pandemic won’t stop Saint Nick from delivering presents this year—and he’ll remind the kids to be good. If you order a message from Santa before December 15, it can be customized; orders after December 15 will be general messages for a boy, girl or multiple children.
She Persisted, The Musical
In this virtual production of the Atlantic Theatre Company’s show for young audiences, based on Chelsea Clinton’s best-selling book, fourth-grader Naomi’s field trip to a Women’s History Museum turns into a time travel adventure where she encounters inspirational women overcoming barriers and making waves.
Virtual Visits with Santa
Paramus Park is ready for you to reserve your time to visit with Santa from the comfort of your home and you can even add on Storytime with the Clauses to your session.
ONGOING IN-PERSON ACTIVITIES
Festival of Trees at Morven
When: Wednesday-Sunday, now-1/10, 10 am-4 pm
Where: Morven Museum & Garden, 55 Stockton St., Princeton
Check out the museum’s collection of trees and mantles displayed throughout the museum’s galleries. Timed admission tickets will ensure reduced crowd sizes. You can also sign up for make-at-home holiday luminaria featuring Morven greenery through December 14, with pick ups scheduled for December 16.
Kringle Railway Adventure
When: Saturday-Sunday, 12/5-12/20, times vary
Where: 1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany
All aboard! If your kids have been itching for a Christmastime train ride this year, you still can. Running at 25 percent capacity, tickets are sold in pods of four or six and passengers can choose their seating pod in a themed car of their choice. Take a photo with Santa in front of his personal locomotive (socially distanced).
When: Friday-Sunday, now-12/23, 2, 3 and 4 pm
Where: Johnson’s Corner Farm, 133 Church Rd., Medford
Bring your camera to snap a photo of Santa on his red tractor, which pulls all his gifts! Since sitting on Santa’s lap isn’t a real possibility this year, grab a quick picture of your kids as Saint Nick rolls on by. Your family can also check out the Light Show on the Lake, then roast marshmallows at the fire pit, or hop on the Christmas Light Show Hayride. Reservations required.
Carriages & Carolers
When: 12/12, 12/19, 1-4 pm
Where: Lyric Park, 17 Beechwood Rd., Summit
On select Saturdays through December, step away from the shops and hop on a free horse and carriage ride and listen to festive music. You might also score a free hot chocolate! Until 12/19, kids can also participate in the Hill Top Elf Scavenger Hunt, hidden within 80 different downtown businesses. The more elves you find, the better your chance of winning VISA gift cards.
Where: Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City
LSC is hosting a bunch of holiday experiences, like the outdoor Snowflake Maze, where kids can learn scientific facts about flakes; the Sock Skating Rink, an ice rink made of synthetic ice, plus they can experiment with phosphorescence by leaving a show on the glow-in-the-dark Shadow Wall and more.
Winter Walking Tours
When: Saturday-Sunday, now-12/20, 11 am
Where: Historic Cold Spring Village, 720 US 9, Cape May
Talk a wintry walk through the Village buildings and learn the history of the people who worked and lived in them. Tour also includes a complimentary mini flight taste at Cold Spring Brewery.
When: Sundays, now-3/28, 10 am-1 pm
Where: Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown
Hit the market for fresh foods like cheese, pie, quiche, seafood, pickles, cobbler, soup and more. A number of full-time vendors will be there every week with other part-time vendors rotating their goods into the market, too.
Christmas Light Show & Outdoor Village
Where: Skylands Stadium, 94 Championship Pl., Augusta
This annual drive-thru light show and outdoor village features two million lights and themed displays. After your family makes their way through the lights, hop out of the car for socially distanced activities like carnival rides, photos with Santa and seasonal food and drinks.
The Grinch’s Grotto
Where: Westfield Garden State Plaza, 1 Garden State Plaza, Paramus
This free-standing location at the Grinch’s cave is perfect for both social distancing and the Grinch, who’s known for preferring his own company. This interactive photo meet and greet requires you to reserve a spot—plus, your kids won’t leave empty handed.
Horse & Carriage Rides
When: 12/12-13, 12/19-20, noon-3 pm
Where: 6th St. & Asbury Ave., Ocean City
Bundle up and treat your kids (or sweep your SO off their feet) with free horse and carriage rides this weekend.
South Jersey Holiday Light Show
When: Thursday-Sunday, now-12/30, times vary
Where: Bridgeport Speedway, 83 Flood Gate Rd., Swedesboro
This holiday light show, the only drive-through spectacular in Southern NJ, features large themed displays on its mile-long route. Turn on the radio and listen to music synched up to the light performance. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door.
Beyond Rubik’s Cube
Where: Liberty Science Center, 222 Jersey City Blvd., Jersey City
Discover the art, history and skill behind the iconic cubed puzzle. This show has been on a worldwide tour and now returns home to LSC.
Lights. Camera. Santa!
Where: Menlo Park Mall, 700 Paramus Park, Paramus
Get your photo with Ol’ Saint Nick in a safe, socially distanced environment. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
Skating on the Square
Where: Palmer Square, Hulfish St., Princeton
Palmer Square’s outdoor, eco-friendly synthetic skating rink is back for another holiday season. Bring your own skates or rent a pair.
Photos with Santa at South Court
When: Now-12/25, 11 am-7 pm, 9 am-5 pm on 12/24
Where: Paramus Park, 700 Paramus Park, Paramus
Celebrate the season with festive professional photos during a socially distanced visit with Kris Kringle.
Visit with Santa at Bridgewater Commons
Where: Bridgewater Commons, 400 Commons Way, Bridgewater
Take photos with Santa and enjoy a festive walk-thru experience. Reservations are required and masks must be worn throughout the entire visit, including the photo, so make sure your mask is festive.
Holiday in the Park
Where: Six Flags Great Adventure, 1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson Twp.
Visit Jolly Jamboree and Wild Lights National Park, two new holiday-themed areas at Six Flags this holiday season.
Magic of Lights
When: Now-1/2, times vary
Where: PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel
Check out this massive drive-through event at PNC. It’s a holiday light show that’s perfect for families and for social distancing.
Springfield Avenue Open-Air Market
When: Saturdays, now-12/19, 10 am-2 pm
Where: Springfield Ave., Maplewood
For the next few Saturdays in December, you can visit local makers, support community businesses, do your shopping and listen to live music.
DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Drive
When: Now-12/23, 5-10 pm
Where: DiDonato Family Fun Center, Hammonton
Hop in your car and take a ride through millions of Christmas lights along to holiday music via radio. Stop for an in-car photo op with Santa and Mrs. Claus, plus your kids will also receive a wrapped present from Santa’s elves and a cookie treat.
Where: Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Dr., Camden
See the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas tree and Scuba Santa diving in Ocean Realm along with sea turtles, stingrays and other fishy friends.
North Pole Express Train
When: Weekends until Christmas, times vary
Where: New Hope Railroad, New Hope, PA
Each weekend from now until Christmas, you can take a ride on the North Pole Express. Starting post-Thanksgiving, you’ll be able to ride on Santa’s Steam Train. All require advance tickets.
Long Branch Holiday Bazaar
When: Thursdays-Sundays, now-12/20, noon-5 pm
Where: Pier Village, 1 Chelsea Ave., Long Branch
This open-air market features shopping, holiday workshops, festive decor, music and entertainment, holiday-inspired food and hot drinks, photos and more. Plus, admission is free.
Holiday Light Spectacular
When: Now-1/3, 5-10 pm
Where: Orange County Fairgrounds, 239 Wisner Ave., Middletown, NY
Wind your way through the spectacularly lit fairgrounds, enjoy the multi-media light show in the covered arena or order delicious treats from vendors, all from the comfort of your car.
Shop the Block
When: Saturdays, Now-12/19, 1-7 pm
Where: The Eclectic Chic Boutique, 547 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair
Local shops on Bloomfield Ave., starting at the corner of Bloomfield and Maple Pl., will have tables, racks, vendors and wares outside for safe and social distanced shopping.
Where: Congress Hall, 200 Congress Pl., Cape May
With exciting events including Breakfast with Santa and the Congress Hall Express train ride, this town has seasonal fun for families that will make the holidays memorable.
Holidig Light Show
When: Now-1/3, most nights 5:30-9:30 pm
Where: Diggerland, 100 Pinedge Dr., West Berlin
Woven across the park’s 21 acres, this drive-thru holiday light show features Diggerland’s construction vehicles all dressed up with lights and garlands galore.
Winter Wonderlights Spectacular
Where: 655 Cranbury Rd., East Brunswick
See more than 1.5 million lights animated to some of your favorite holiday tunes at this drive-thru event.
Orchard of Lights
Where: Demarest Farms, 244 Wierimus Rd., Hillsdale
Take your vehicle on a guided tour through 32 acres of brilliant holiday light displays, warm up by the fire pit and enjoy hot cocoa and treats in the retail farm market.
Blue Cross RiverRink at Winterfest
Where: 101 South Columbus Blvd., Philadelphia, PA
General admission Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is free; ice skating, games and rides are pay-as-you-go.
Check our calendar for more events.
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