The holiday season has arrived! Here at Best of NJ, we aim to provide the most comprehensive list of holiday features and events in New Jersey. That’s why our Holiday NJ guide continuously updates all season long as new holiday content is published. Whether you’re looking for the hottest holiday gift ideas, the best spots for photos with Santa or in search of creative alternatives to traditional greeting cards this year, we’ve got all that and more.

Of course, New Year’s Eve is also right around the corner, so don’t forget to search through our events for upcoming New Year’s celebrations as well. But above all else, from all of us at Best of NJ, we’d like to wish you and yours a very Happy Holidays!

Holiday Features

The Best Limited-Time-Only Holiday Markets in New Jersey

As the holiday season takes hold, it’s time to think about buying the perfect presents for everyone on your list. But instead of heading to the usual big box stores, why not get into the holiday spirit and head to some of the most festive holiday markets in New Jersey? These limited-time-only markets won’t be around for long…

Simply Hanukkah: A Stress-Free Way to Embrace the Festival of Lights

The eight days of Hanukkah changes every year since it follows the Jewish calendar. (This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Tuesday, December 12th and ends the evening of Wednesday, December 20th.) Because of this, Hanukkah seems to “creep up” on many parents who find themselves unprepared for the holiday…

The Best Holiday Tree Lighting Events in New Jersey

New Jersey kicks off the holiday season with brilliant tree lighting events throughout the state. These celebrations bring on the holiday cheer with fun and free festivities, such as Santa visits, live music, ice skating and carriage rides. From the cities of Northern New Jersey to the towns along the shore, there’s no brighter start to the holidays…

Christmas Celebrations at the Jersey Shore

Everyone knows that the Jersey shore is the best place to spend the summer. But did you know that the Garden State’s seaside towns are also the perfect place to celebrate the holiday season? Come December, these great towns come alive with unique holiday festivities, including house tours, holiday bazaars, Christmas parades…

10 Great Hanukkah Events for NJ Families

Break out the menorahs, dreidels and chocolate coins–it’s time to celebrate Hanukkah! December 24th marks the first night of the holiday and New Jersey is gearing up with menorah lightings, parties and festive celebrations throughout the month of December. The best part of these festivities? They’re all free to attend…

Holiday Gift Ideas Perfect for Preschoolers

Christmas and Hanukkah are less than one month away and NJ parents are busy searching for the perfect gifts for their toddlers and preschoolers. Think your kid already has everything under the sun? We’re here to help with some great ideas that will spark the imagination and bring a smile to their faces…

NJ Restaurants Open on Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and you know what that means; we’ve officially entered “the most wonderful time of the year.” But it’s also the busiest time of the year. Between gift shopping, attending parties and trying to keep up with daily activities, it can be difficult to save any energy for the big day itself…

nutcrackerThe Best Nutcracker Performances in NJ

Every holiday season, The Nutcracker comes to life on stages across the Garden State. The classic ballet tells the story of a young girl whose beloved toy nutcracker comes to life, taking her on a magical journey. This year’s productions include traditional full-length ballets, kid-friendly abridged versions and an unexpected hip-hop rendition…

Making dough for a Christmas cookiesThe Best Holiday Cooking Classes in NJ

It’s that magical time of year for season’s greetings — and season’s eatings. But you say you don’t know the difference between bake and broil — and the most adventurous dish you’ve ever made is cereal? No worries, there are dozens of holiday cooking classes taught by the finest culinary wizards in New Jersey available all month long…

holidaylightshows8 Amazing NJ Holiday Light Displays

There are so many ways to get into the holiday spirit this month. But if you’re looking for a winter activity that really dazzles, why not visit some of NJ’s biggest and best light displays? We promise they’ll delight even the family’s biggest Scrooge. Bundle up, grab some hot cocoa and check out these amazing light shows around the state…

struffoliBakeries with the Best Holiday Treats

There are a ton of wonderfully exclusive things to enjoy during the holidays. From pop-up shops and sales to nostalgic movies and jolly music on the radio, there’s no shortage of reasons to smile in December. But one of the greatest seasonal treats is the food. Here are a few of the best bakeries offering sweet holiday-only treats this season…

The Best Christmas Tree Farms in NJ

Sure, you can buy a Christmas tree at the closest store. But maybe you’d rather go directly to the source and cut down your own tree this year. It’s a great holiday outing the whole family can enjoy. New Jersey boasts many great farms where you can choose the perfect tree to showcase in your house this season…

The Best Holiday Shows for NJ Families

The holiday season is just not complete without a trip to the theater. New Jersey is home to some outstanding playhouses, many of which offer festive, seasonal shows sure to delight the entire family. From classics like A Christmas Carol and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas to a new production of Frosty the Snowman…

Up Close with Radio City Rockette Katie Hamrah

Christmas is a time of traditions, family, joy and more. Speaking of traditions, a world famous one is gearing up to perform on 50th Street to kick off the holiday season. The Rockettes are an internationally known dance troupe, famous for their high kicks and the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes

The Best Holiday Train Rides in New Jersey

With Christmas just around the corner, New Jersey families with young children are on the lookout for magical ways to celebrate the season. There’s no better way to get in the holiday spirit than by climbing aboard a holiday-themed train. New Jersey is home to several great train rides that feature beautiful holiday music and decorations…

Holiday Wedding Cakes: Q&A with Cake Boss Buddy Valastro

When you hear the words ‘holiday’ and ‘wedding cakes’ in one sentence, you might picture Santa’s sleigh flying down three tiers of white frosted snow. Or perhaps you imagine tons of red and green icing, looping around the edges of your cake. Maybe you’re thinking the cake has to be — shudder! — a fruitcake…

Gingerbread House

Craft Show: Walking Through a Gingerbread Wonderland

If you’re looking for a sweet way to celebrate the wonder of the season, be sure to visit Frelinghuysen Arboretum’s 24th Annual Gingerbread Wonderland and Craft Show. From traditional houses and cabins to lavish castles and even high-tech gadgets, the show is a family-friendly treat for all ages. You have to see this…

Santa PhotoThe Definitive Guide to the Best Santas in NJ

The cold is finally coming to New Jersey, the holidays are around the corner, and for all you parents and guardians with young kids, it’s time to get your game face on. There are presents to be bought, milk and cookies to be devoured, and, perhaps the trickiest part of it all, Santa photos to be taken. Smile while you continue reading…

Holiday EtiquetteHoliday Etiquette: How to Mind Your Ps and Qs

In the midst of seasonal nuttiness, it can be all too easy to forget the importance of good manners. So who better to ask about minding our manners and holiday etiquette than noted author and spokesperson Daniel Post Senning from The Emily Post Institute? Would you please read more…

Holiday Experience

The Ultimate NJ Holiday Experience: Gifting Without the Gifts

Everyone you know and love has too much stuff. They’re editing down; they’re decluttering. They want to use their garage for, you know, their cars. So how can you possibly give them presents for the holidays? Simple: Don’t give them things – give them experiences. Experience it for yourself now…

Holiday GreetingsCreative Ideas for Holiday Greeting Cards

Sending out holiday greetings is a tradition for many. But the number of holiday cards we find in the mailbox has seriously dwindled. People no longer want to waste paper and postage on cards. With that in mind, here are some fun, creative, and interactive greeting ideas for the holidays to replace your typical greeting cards…

MorvenMuseumMorven Museum Hosts Holiday Festival of Trees

If you’re looking for a festive way to spend your weekends in Central New Jersey this holiday season, take a trip over to Princeton’s Morven Museum & Garden. Until January 3rd, the museum is hosting a Festival of Trees every Wednesday through Sunday during regular museum hours…

Holiday Gift Guides

Handcrafted GiftsBest of NJ Gift Guides

The holiday season is all about spreading good cheer… and GIFTS! Sweet, sweet gifts. No matter if you’re shopping for friends, family, or a significant other, our Best of NJ Gift Guide series has everything you need and more. From handcrafted one-of-a-kind presents to goodies for foodies, you don’t want to miss this…

Holiday Gifts for Homebodies

Do you know someone who prefers takeout over dining out? A person who would prefer to  watch movies at home instead of at the theater? Perhaps they drink most of their coffee in the kitchen, instead of at the local shop? If these questions describe someone you know, they’re a homebody through and through…

Presents for the Chef in your Life

If you’re a tried and true chef, you already have kitchen basics like aprons, dish towels and spatulas. But what about the items that make cooking and hosting easier? Or ones that enhance the presentation of a meal? For holiday shoppers looking to find a gift the chef in their life will love, picking something can be tough…

TV ShoppingHoliday Tech Gift Guides

Geek is chic, and now that your home is filled with gamers and techies (whether they realize it or not), it’s time to start learning about pixels and ports. But don’t fret! The Best of NJ Holiday Tech Gift Guide series is here to help! If it’s a new video game console, camera, or TV you’re after, we’ve got all that and more…

Jersey PrideJersey Pride Gift Guide

Whether you were raised here or recently moved to New Jersey, there’s plenty to love about the Garden State. Right now, there’s no better time than the holiday season to show your Jersey pride with gifts that highlight the state’s best features, from city to shore. Check this out…

Geek GiftsBest of NJ Gift Guide: Geek Edition

Being a geek is finally cool, and taking pride in your geekiness is even cooler. If you’re shopping for a geek in the family or friend circle this holiday season, we recommend some of these great gifts. After all, there’s nothing worse than buying a sonic screwdriver for someone who wanted a vibranium dagger…

Featured Events

Coming soon!

Holiday Event Listings

Here’s a full list of all the Holiday and New Year’s events we’ve curated from throughout NJ! We hope you find some fun activities to make your holidays even more enjoyable.

Find Events


Holiday Craft Show at The Hermitage

The Hermitage: Friday, November 3, 2017 - Sunday, December 3, 2017
Every year, hundreds of artisans and crafters from around the country offer unique holiday decorations and unusual gifts items for …

Toys for Tots logo

Make a Child Smile by Supporting ‘Toys for Tots’

Somerset County Administration Building: Thursday, November 16, 2017 - Monday, December 11, 2017
The public is invited to share the joy of the holidays with area kids by donating new, unwrapped toys to …


Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show

Skylands Stadium: Friday, November 17, 2017 - Saturday, December 30, 2017
The warm glow of shimmering lights remind us every year that the holiday season is upon us. What better way …


Santa's Trolley Rides

Emlen Physick Estate: Saturday, November 18, 2017 - Sunday, December 17, 2017
Saturdays & Sundays. Bring the kids to the Physick Estate on weekends for a ride around Cape May with stories …

holiday lights trolley

Holiday Lights Trolley Rides

Washington Street Mall: Saturday, November 18, 2017 - Sunday, December 31, 2017
Ride through Cape May’s Historic District to see festively decorated inns and homes as guides talk about Victorian Christmas traditions, …

Christmas House

Ghost of Christmas Past Trolley Rides

Washington Street Mall: Saturday, November 18, 2017 - Sunday, December 31, 2017
A member of the East Lynne Theater Company regales you with a Victorian holiday ghost tale as you ride through Cape …

handmade jewelry

Legends Artisan Boutique 2017

Woodbridge Center Mall: Monday, November 20, 2017 - Sunday, December 31, 2017
Join in for unique gifting by local crafters and support Toys for Tots! Shop home-grown NJ and NY artisans for …


2017 Holiday Tastings

Birravino: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - Thursday, December 21, 2017
Holiday Wine Tastings!!! Nov 21, Dec 7, 19 & 21. They scoured Italy to bring home the best wine deals for 2017. All …

holiday light show

Holiday Light Show at Historic Smithville

Historic Smithville: Thursday, November 23, 2017 - Sunday, January 7, 2018
From dark to 8:30pm Thursday through Sunday. Enjoy popular songs of the Holiday Season synchronized with a dazzling Christmas tree …

holiday star

Holiday Music Madness Hunt

Downtown Red Bank: Friday, November 24, 2017 - Friday, December 22, 2017
Join in at Red Bank for the Holiday Music Madness Hunt! Stroll the charming downtown to view more than 40 …

Workshop with Mrs Santa Claus

Santa’s Workshop at Congress Hall

Congress Hall: Friday, November 24, 2017 - Sunday, December 31, 2017
Santa’s elves work hard all year making toys in his magical workshop at the North Pole. Stop by and make …


Christmas in the Country Trail

Four Sisters Winery: Friday, November 24, 2017 - Sunday, December 24, 2017
Visit three of Warren County's most unique farms all within 5 minutes of each other: Wyckoff's Christmas Tree Farm, Mackey's …

NJ Events: Train Rides to the Mine

The Christmas Express with Santa Claus!

The New Jersey Museum of Transportation: Friday, November 24, 2017 - Sunday, December 17, 2017
A Holiday Tradition for over 35 years and a sell-out every year! So popular that they've added more trains to …

bergen winter wonderland

Bergen County Winter Wonderland

Van Saun County Park: Friday, November 24, 2017 - Monday, January 1, 2018
Northern New Jersey's premier winter event featuring open air ice skating, a kids zone ice rink, hospitality tent, children's games …

light show hayride

Christmas Light Show Hayrides

Johnson's Corner Farm: Friday, November 24, 2017 - Saturday, December 30, 2017
Thousands of twinkle lights to create a Holiday Wonderland in the Discovery Barnyard and Animal farm. The lights go on …

holiday light show

Holiday Light Walk

Grand Cascades Lodge: Friday, November 24, 2017 - Monday, January 1, 2018
Join in for the spectacular Winter Light Walk dotting the 18 holes of the Grand Cascades Natural-Grass Putting Course! Duck …

santa with boy

Breakfast with Santa at Congress Hall

Congress Hall: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Sunday, December 17, 2017
Saturdays and Sundays, Nov 25 - Dec 17. Santa is coming to Congress Hall’s Grand Ball Room! Every Saturday and …

Christmas on the farm

Christmas on the Farm

Oasis Family Farm: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Monday, December 18, 2017
Starting on November 25 through December 18, visit Oasis Family Farm with your family and walkthrough their free holiday light …

Christmas in New Jersey

Donations for Christmas Food Baskets

Breakpoint Community Church: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Friday, December 22, 2017
Breakpoint Community Church is now collecting non-perishable food items, including canned hams. Delivery dates will be Dec 23rd and 24th. …

baby with Santa

Breakfast with Santa at Emlen Physick Estate

Emlen Physick Estate: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Sunday, December 10, 2017
Enjoy a family-friendly breakfast buffet at the Inn of Cape May as children visit with Santa and hear a Christmas …


Santa at Kale’s

Kale's Nursery & Landscape Service: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Sunday, December 17, 2017
Kale’s is pleased to announce the arrival of Kristopher Kringle. Mr. Kringle has been visiting area homes for over 20 …


Santa Visits Kale’s Christmas Shop

Kale's Nursery & Landscape Service: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Sunday, December 17, 2017
Kale’s Nursery and Landscape is honored to have Santa Claus visit at their Garden Center in Princeton. Pictures with Santa! …

big bird and friends

One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure

New Jersey State Museum: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Sunday, January 7, 2018
Saturday/Sunday. One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure begins on Sesame Street when Elmo's friend, Hu Hu Zhu, visits from …

Holiday Model Train Show

The Barron Arts Center Holiday Model Train Show 2017

Barron Arts Center: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Saturday, December 30, 2017
The Barron Arts Center Presents The 27th Annual Holiday Model Train Exhibit On View Nov 25 – Dec 30, 2016 …


Holiday Harmonies

Downtown Red Bank: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Saturday, December 23, 2017
Immerse your ears in the various harmonies of the season including traditional carolers, choirs, brass bands, handbells, rock, folk, and …


Pictures With Santa at The Galleria

The Galleria Red Bank: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Saturday, December 23, 2017
Santa is coming to Red Bank - every weekend! Take a trip to The Galleria at 2 Bridge Avenue to …

Horse & Wagon Rides

Holiday Horse & Wagon Rides

Downtown Red Bank: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Saturday, December 23, 2017
Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season throughout Red Bank's Business District with a Free classic horse and …

light show

Laser Holiday Magic!

New Jersey State Museum: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Sunday, January 7, 2018
Saturday/Sunday. The NJSM Planetarium invites you to celebrate this magical holiday season with its most spectacular show ever! Their new …

holiday light show

Light Show on the Lake

Historic Smithville: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Saturday, January 6, 2018
Over 120 Christmas Trees made from over 50,000 Christmas lights, magically float on Lake Meone. The moment darkness falls, an …

radio christmas carol

A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show

Cape May Stage: Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Saturday, December 30, 2017
Evening Performances - 7:30PM | Sunday Matinees - 3PM. Thursday-Sunday. This rollicking, creative adaptation of Dickens’ classic work is sure …

Gingerbread decorating

Gingerbread Decorating with Mrs. Claus

Congress Hall: Sunday, November 26, 2017 - Sunday, December 17, 2017
Turn ordinary gingerbread houses into culinary works of art. Make your very own sweet creations in Congress Hall’s Grand Ballroom …


Keyport Holiday Treasure Hunt

Keyport Mini Park: Monday, November 27, 2017 - Friday, December 15, 2017
Keyport is having a Holiday Treasure Hunt from November 27 – December 13th. Bring the family downtown and join the …

Santa fondue

North Pole Pajama Party at The Pot!

The Melting Pot: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - Saturday, December 30, 2017
Looking for a new holiday tradition? Kids dressed in pajamas will receive a portion of chocolate fondue free with the purchase of adult …


Sing-A-Long with Sculpture

Grounds For Sculpture: Thursday, November 30, 2017 - Thursday, December 14, 2017
Seward Johnson loves to lead his favorite songs when he’s here. Gather around the piano at Rat’s Restaurant for a …

silver jubilee holiday celebration

New Brunswick Silver Jubilee Holiday Celebration

New Brunswick City Center: Friday, December 1, 2017 - Sunday, December 31, 2017
In honor of New Brunswick's 25th Tree Lighting, they invite you to the City Center for plenty of free community …

winter market

Open Air Winter Farmers Market

Rutgers Gardens: Friday, December 1, 2017 - Friday, December 22, 2017
The market continues through the winter on the following days. Please note the closing times. December 1, 8, 15, 22  …

Cheddar Pretzel fondue

Live Socially and Fondue On!

The Melting Pot: Friday, December 1, 2017 - Friday, December 8, 2017
Live Socially and Fondue on! The Deal is on. $29.95 per person. Info

Woodstown By Candlelight

Woodstown By Candlelight

Downtown Woodstown: Friday, December 1, 2017
Plan a visit to historic Woodstown, NJ for the 41st Woodstown Candlelight Tour. Craft Fair: 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm. …

Tree lighting

Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration at the Zoo

Cape May County Park/Zoo: Friday, December 1, 2017
Don’t miss this new holiday tradition for the entire family! Info

christmas fireplace

“A Christmas Carol” at The Historic Village at Allaire

The Historic Village at Allaire: Friday, December 1, 2017
Join in for a wonderful retelling of “A Christmas Carol” to get into the holiday spirit.  The program takes place …

Christmas tree in snow

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse: Friday, December 1, 2017
Holiday decorations, music, hot chocolate, cookies, and hot dog sale. A visit from Santa and the lighting of the official …

merry christmas with santa and reindeer

Downtown Toms River Christmas Tree Lighting

Downtown Toms River: Friday, December 1, 2017
Toms River's Christmas Tree Lighting! New this year, Food & Dessert Trucks! Info

Holiday Fur Ball

Silver Paws Holiday Fur Ball

The Flanders Hotel: Friday, December 1, 2017
Join in for a night of dinner, dancing and donating. There will be live entertainment provided by Animal House Band. …

Santa's waiting

Santa’s Arrival at Ocean County Mall

Ocean County Mall: Friday, December 1, 2017
Join Ocean County Mall for Santa’s arrival on Dec 1st from 6 pm until 8 pm. Santa will arrive on …

santa with tree

Borough of Lavallette Tree Lighting

Downtown Lavallette: Friday, December 1, 2017
Tree lighting beginning at 7pm. Refreshments after at the Lavallette School compliments of the Lavallette Business Association. Bring your camera …

clinton christmas parade

Clinton Annual Christmas Parade

Downtown Clinton: Friday, December 1, 2017
The parade takes place in the center of Clinton. Floats will line up on New Street and Center Street; viewing …

christmas ornaments

Magnolia Christmas Tree Lighting

Magnolia Borough Hall: Friday, December 1, 2017
Celebrate the season with the annual Magnolia Christmas Tree Lighting at Borough Hall Lawn on December 1st. Info

merry christmas with santa and reindeer

Silent Film: 2nd Annual Christmas Spectacular!

Boardwalk Hall: Friday, December 1, 2017
Annual Christmas Spectacular! Showing off the versatility of the W.W.Kimball Opus 7073 they will have silent film shorts, a Christmas …

orchestra by the sea

Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea

Pollak Theatre: Friday, December 1, 2017
There’s no better way to celebrate the holiday season than to spend a special evening with the Orchestra of Saint …


Historic Bridgeton Holiday House Tour & Festival of Lights

Downtown Bridgeton: Saturday, December 2, 2017
Two overlapping tours running 1-5 and 3-7pm. Over 15 holiday decorated homes, churches, shops and public buildings! Info

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