STATE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY

It’s the first weekend of December and holiday events are in full swing across the Garden State! Take the family to a show, learn how to make a gorgeous wreath or cross some gifts off your list when you hit up one of the local bazaars taking place that feature unique crafts. ‘Tis definitely the season for family fun!

ALL WEEKEND

Anastasia
State Theatre of New Jersey, New Brunswick
Friday – Sunday
Inspired by the beloved film, the romantic and adventure-filled new musical Anastasia is coming to NJ! From the Tony Award-winning creators of the Broadway classic Ragtime, this dazzling show transports you from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s, as a brave young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer determined to silence her, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love and family.

LIQUID CHURCH

Liquid Church’s Christmas Outreach
Liquid Church, Parsippany
Liquid Church is working together with the community to pack ONE MILLION meals to feed the hungry around the world at Christmas. This is the perfect opportunity to invite your neighbors, co-workers and friends to serve and help feed the hungry at Christmas. Christmas Outreach is family-friendly and volunteers of all ages and stages are welcome! To sign-up and learn more, visit ServeAtChristmas.com.

HUNTERDON COUNTY ARBORETUM

Evergreen Walk & Craft
Hunterdon County Arboretum, Lebanon
Friday – Saturday
Enjoy a winter nature walk around the Arboretum! Do you know the difference between pines, spruces, and hemlocks? Can you find five different shades of green? What’s the difference between a conifer and an evergreen? Find out the answers to these questions while exploring your local park. Then assemble a wreath (Friday) or swag (Saturday) to use in holiday decorating.

Bonfire and S’mores
Historic Smithville, Smithville
Friday – Sunday
Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5-8 pm in December you can make s’mores around the campfire on the Greene. For a small fee you can purchase your own s’mores packet and stick and make delicious, yummy treats or just gather with friends and enjoy the season.

Atlantic City Holiday Bazaar
The Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University, Atlantic City
Saturday – Sunday
A curated roster of the best local and regional artists, vendors, and shops selling the cutest and coolest vintage, handmade, art, jewelry, home goods, foodstuffs and more. The event will also feature live music, holiday photo stations, craft workshops and beautiful décor. Enjoy an indoor Biergarten all weekend long featuring beer provided by Cape May Brewing Co. and food from Atlantic City’s Rhythm & Spirits. The holiday market is inspired by the traditional Weihnachtsmarkts held in Germany. While you shop, enjoy delicious food and libations from local purveyors in the Arts Garage café.

Long Branch Holiday Bazaar
Whitechapel Projects, Long Branch
The Holiday Bazaar will be held at Whitechapel Projects and will feature shopping, holiday workshops, festive decor, music & entertainment, holiday-inspired food & drinks, immersive photo stations and more.

AXELROD PAC

The SpongeBob Musical
Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park
Saturday – Sunday
APAA presents its first musical, The SpongeBob Musical. APAC Artistic Director Andrew DePrisco, a major fan of this “quirky, fun musical,” shares (with a wink), “I really do think this is the perfect musical for the whole family. The adults and kids just don’t laugh at the same jokes, and under all the perverse silliness, there’s real heart and a genuine message to take home.”

FRIDAY

Ridgewood Chamber Annual Downtown for the Holidays
E. Ridgewood Ave., Ridgewood
The annual tree lighting celebration will take place from 6-8:30 pm. All invited to view the lit Holiday Trees while strolling East & West Ridgewood Ave. Check out the “Trucks on Holiday,” s’mores in the park and music and merriment on the street. Find the Grinch and dancers in windows along the Avenue. Don’t forget to wave to Santa in his cart.

Wreath Making Workshop
Lorrimer Sanctuary, Franklin Lakes
Looking for a fun way to “spruce” up your home for the season while at the same learning about the importance of evergreens in your backyard? Lorrimer Sanctuary’s Director Kirsten Holt will teach you the techniques necessary to create a wreath that rivals the high-end products you’ve been admiring all season long! In the process you’ll learn to identify common evergreen trees by their leaves and cones, and understand the local ecology of NJ coniferous trees. All participants will go home with a one-of-a-kind, handmade wreath.

2021 Holiday Jubilee
Downtown Somerville, Somerville
It’s a magical time of the year in Downtown Somerville! There’s festive music in the air, a warm glow from shop windows and the delicious aroma of the area’s best cuisine. Best of all, Santa is on his way to the Downtown Somerville Holiday Jubilee. Join for the tree lighting, horse drawn carriage rides a visit from Santa, photos, musical performances, hot cocoa, cookies and more.

Downtown Haddonfield’s Candlelight Shopping
Downtown Haddonfield, Haddonfield
Candlelight Shopping features Santa, carriage rides, carolers and twinkling luminarias lining the quaint streets. With over 200 shops and restaurants offering distinctive gifts and friendly customer service, businesses along Kings Highway and Downtown Haddonfield’s charming side streets welcome everyone to shop in their beautifully curated stores and find delightful holiday treasures. Discover an array of incredible gifts in distinctive shops, food/beverage establishments and boutiques while enjoying the festivities and town-wide twinkling décor.

Santa Cares Day
Bridgewater Commons, Bridgewater
Coinciding with International Day of Persons with Disabilities and in partnership with The Arc of New Jersey Family Institute and Parents with a Plan, Bridgewater Commons will open Santa at the Commons prior to regular center hours for his visitors requiring a quieter setting.  Reservations are recommended for this sensory-friendly event taking place Friday, Dec. 3 from 9-11 a.m. and may be made at the Bridgewater Commons’ website bridgewatercommons.com.

Children’s Holiday Tours
Crane House and Historic YWCA, Montclair
On this family tour, guests will learn how children celebrated the holidays in days gone by while enjoying the holiday decorations artfully designed by the Garden Club of Montclair. Go through the rooms on the first floor of the Crane House and Historic YWCA and hear stories about how Christmas has changed over the years. Tours will be every half-hour starting at 4pm; last tour at 7:30pm. Registration required in advance. Please email mail@montclairhistory.org to secure your spot.

HISTORIC SMITHVILLE

Magical Talking Christmas Tree and Christmas Train Ride
Historic Smithville, Smithville
If you are having trouble locating Mrs. Claus, you can always ask the Magic Tree. Next to the Smithville Train Station an over-sized Christmas tree is brought in from Santa’s private forest. This beautifully decorated Christmas tree awakens to talk with you and your children about the upcoming holidays and, well, anything you might want. Right next to the Magic Talking Tree the Smithville Train has decorated its tracks for the holidays. Take a short ride on the outskirts of Smithville on this fun, whimsical train.

SATURDAY

ASSISCONG MARSH

Bird Walk at the Marsh
Assiscong Marsh, Flemington
Although many birds migrate to South America in the fall, other birds consider New Jersey their warm winter home. We will look for winter residents, including ducks and geese. Bring binoculars if you have them (also available to borrow).

Holiday Open House
Downtown West Orange, West Orange
Festivities begin with Breakfast with Christmas Characters. Photo opportunities with Santa will be available in the Washington School Gym. Guests can also enjoy a guided trolley tour throughout the Historic Downtown & Eagle Rock Reservation. Trolleys will depart every hour from Washington School parking lot. At 6 pm, Santa arrives on a firetruck for photos opportunities and treats in Santa’s Workshop, as well as the lighting of the old-fashioned Christmas Tree.

Holiday Decorating Workshop with Pam Mount
Terhune Orchards, Princeton
Terhune Orchards owner Pam Mount is known for her decorative, colonial Williamsburg style wreaths. In this workshop, follow along as Pam guides you in decorating your own fresh holiday wreath. The workshop is $50 per person and includes a wreath and the decorative supplies.

Creative Play: Mini Zoo Edition
The Newark Museum of Art, Newark
From October to December, join for a fun time with friends from Turtle Back Zoo! There will be story time and a presentation of live animals. This is a program specifically designed for children ages 3-5 and their caregivers. The program will take place in the Auditorium and will also include free access to the Museum after the event.

CoCoMelon Live! JJ’s Journey
Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York
In the first-ever CoComelon LIVE! JJ’s Journey, JJ and his family are putting on a show where JJ is writing his own song and he needs a little help. In the end, JJ learns that by using his imagination, he can create, solve problems and can have wonderful adventures, proving that with a little help from your family and friends, you can make your dreams come true. With all the favorite characters and over 20 songs, including new original music, the show is a terrific journey through the world of CoComelon.

Saturday with Santa
United Methodist Church of Red Bank, Red Bank
A community holiday party featuring a DJ, photobooth, games, crafts, door prizes and a special visit from Santa!

A Magical Cirque Christmas
MPAC, Morristown
Experience the magic of Christmas with dazzling performers and breathtaking cirque artists, accompanied by your favorite holiday music performed live.

MR. RAY

Mr. Ray
Investors Bank Theater, Succasunna
Ray Andersen, better known as Mr. Ray, has been writing and performing, for kids from pre-K to 6th grade for 26 years. His interactive shows feature songs he has written, with messages of Kindness, Diversity, Being Creative and Staying Healthy & Active, as well as singing children’s classics like Five Little Monkeys, and family songs by the Beatles, Bob Marley, This Land Is My Land and many more.

Dickens Village
Ricalton Square, Maplewood
Dickens Village brings to life various scenes from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol in miniature houses. Peek inside and you will see fireplaces, stockings and antique toys. Each little house reveals something unique and different. This community tradition opens in December and runs each Saturday until Christmas. The festivities include horse and wagon rides, a petting farm, tree lighting and menorah lighting.

SUNDAY

SPECIAL OLYMPICS

Jingle All the Way 3K
Special Olympics New Jersey Sports Complex, Lawrence
This event brings people with and without disabilities together to kick off the holiday season! Hundreds of sprinters, joggers and strollers brave the cold in support of thousands of Special Olympics athletes across the state. All participants will receive a t-shirt, race bib and finisher medal.

Forest Bathing Walk
New Weis Center for Education, Arts & Recreation, Ringwood
From the Japanese ‘shinrin-yoku’, the practice of forest bathing means to immerse oneself in the forest and soak in the atmosphere through the senses. This walk at an easy pace will focus on connecting to nature through mindfulness, and exploring our senses and the present moment through short, guided meditations in the forest.

Family Drop-In: Chanukah Tales
The Newark Museum of Art, Newark
Learn about the menorah, dreidels, and latkes with storyteller Rivka Willick as she narrates traditional stories to explain what makes the Festival of Lights special for the Jewish community.

Car Menorah Parade
The Chabad Center, Cherry Hill
Parade through town with a car-top menorah and police escort bringing safe and fun Chanukah cheer to the streets of Cherry Hill! This is a fantastic COVID-safe holiday family activity.

ONGOING

Festival of Trees
Morven Museum, Princeton
Friday – Sunday
Visit Morven for the time-honored holiday exhibition, Festival of Trees. Enjoy the juried collection of ornamental trees and mantels displayed throughout the museum’s galleries, sure to put you in the spirit of the season.

Newport Skates
Newport Skates, Jersey City
Newport Skates, Jersey City’s only outdoor ice skating rink, is open for the 2021-2022 season. Skaters can once again enjoy beautiful views of the New York City skyline while zipping around the rink. Online ticketing is available through the Newport Skates website.

The Polar Express Whippany
1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany
Friday – Sunday
All aboard The Polar Express! Experience the magic of The Polar Express as you take a one-hour trip to the North Pole with the whole family. Experience the sights and sounds of the family-favorite movie while enjoying hot chocolate, Walker’s Shortbread, storytime and a silver sleigh bell surprise.

Christmas Light Spectacular
Allaire Community Farm, Wall Twp.
Friday – Sunday
Spend the evening with family and friends, under the wonder of the twinkling light display around the farm, as seen from our holiday hay wagon. Hayrides leave promptly according to ticket time. Please allow extra time in arriving.

Holiday in the Park 
Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson
Friday – Sunday
Take a ride on your favorite Six Flags rides surrounded by glittering lights. There will be shows, rides, food and even a Wine Fest for the adults. The Drive-Thru Experience starts November 15, so get ready for a ride full of holiday cheer and explore the magic of the season.

Holiday Light Spectacular
Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange
Friday – Sunday
Take a winter stroll through the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo this holiday season under the sparkling lights of over 50 winter and animal characters. Celebrate the season of giving by bringing donations of non-perishable food items, new toys, and gently used coats.

Holiday Light Show
Shady Brook Farm, Yardley, PA
Friday – Sunday
This spectacular Holiday Light Show features more than 3 million lights illuminating acres of farmland. Encounter whimsical displays and familiar characters as you drive through in the comfort of your own car or enjoy the show on an open-air wagon ride (weather permitting).

DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express
DiDonato Family Fun Center, Hammonton
Friday-Sunday
Take a train ride through millions of Christmas lights, meet and greet Santa and his elves in his workshop. Hear stories and take photos with Mrs. Claus. The event culminates with a present from Santa!

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