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!

Table of Contents – Click to Go Directly to What You’re Looking For!

  1. Holiday Articles
  2. Holiday Gift Guides
  3. Featured Holiday Events
  4. Statewide Holiday Events Calendar

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…


The 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 cookies

The 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…


8 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…


Bakeries 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 Photo

The 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 Etiquette

Holiday 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 Greetings

Creative 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…


Morven 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 Gifts

Best 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 Shopping

Holiday 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 Pride

Jersey 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 Gifts

Best 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!

Statewide 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.

Mannheim Steamroller

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis

State Theatre New Jersey: Thursday, December 6, 2018
Experience the magic, Steamroller-style! Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis has been America’s favorite holiday celebration for over 25 years. …

Jolley Trolley

Jolly Trolley at Downtown Freehold

Downtown Freehold: Friday, December 7, 2018 - Saturday, December 8, 2018
Jolly Trolley at Downtown Freehold. December 7th, 2018: 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM, December 8th, 2018: 3:00 PM – 8:00 …

Woodstown By Candlelight

Downtown Woodstown: Friday, December 7, 2018
Get in the holiday spirit by spending the evening touring seasonally decorated homes, businesses and churches in a town that …

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Seaside Heights

Borough of Seaside Heights: Friday, December 7, 2018
The Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place Friday at 5:00pm in the courtyard in front of Borough Hall.  Festivities include …

LogHouse Winter

Candlelight Tours at The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms

The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms: Friday, December 7, 2018 - Saturday, December 8, 2018
On two nights only, explore early 20th century holiday traditions and Gustav Stickley's own ideas about the season. Join in for …

Lighthouse Christmas Tree Lighting

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse Christmas Tree Lighting

Hereford Inlet Lighthouse: Friday, December 7, 2018
Festive ceremony will take place at the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse Courtyard, 1st & Central Avenues, in North Wildwood. Christmas tree …

Christmas Tree Lighting at River Vale

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at River Vale

Township of River Vale: Friday, December 7, 2018
To be held 6:30 pm in front of Town Hall with a party to follow in Holdrum School Old Gym. …

holiday a cappella

Holiday Jam 2018

Palmer Square: Friday, December 7, 2018
Enjoy the awesome sounds of student a cappella and performing arts groups! Bring a new unwrapped toy to be donated …

Santa with boy

Breakfast with Santa at the Berkeley Heights YMCA

Berkeley Heights YMCA: Saturday, December 8, 2018
Santa is coming to the Berkeley Heights YMCA! Come for a light breakfast, craft and a visit with Santa. Two time …

Breakfast with Santa

Historic Smithville Breakfast with Santa

Historic Smithville And Village Greene: Saturday, December 8, 2018 - Saturday, December 15, 2018
Historic Smithville Breakfast with Santa! Venue: Fred & Ethel's Lanternlight Tavern. One seating beginning at 9am. Please call 609-652-0544. Info

Santa with baby

Cookies & Cocoa with Santa

Reeves-Reed Arboretum: Saturday, December 8, 2018
Drop by Reeves-Reed Arboretum for Cookies & Cocoa and have your picture taken with Santa in the Arboretum's beautifully decorated, …

Shoppe & Soup Festival

Cranford Holiday Shoppe & Soup Festival

Cranford United Methodist Church: Saturday, December 8, 2018
Christmas/Holiday Shoppe with lots of vendors and... The soup Festival. Hot and Ready or To Go. Info

Gingerbread House Workshops at Liberty Hall Museum

Liberty Hall Museum: Saturday, December 8, 2018
Two sessions: 10am to 11:30am & 1pm to 2:30pm. Children get to decorate a unique gingerbread house, a perfect treat for …

Gloucester Santa Brunch

Gloucester Breakfast with Santa

Gloucester Township Recreation Center: Saturday, December 8, 2018
Visit Santa and enjoy bagels, donuts, fun & games. Bring your camera and get your picture taken with Santa. This …

Snowy Lantern

Dutch Christmas

Dey Mansion: Saturday, December 8, 2018 - Sunday, December 9, 2018
Visit the fully decorated Mansion and enjoy a day filled with 18th Century holiday activities. Dutch cookies and hot chocolate …

Santa's Family Workshop

Santa's Family Workshop

Cape May County Park: Saturday, December 8, 2018
Santa & Mrs. Claus will be at the Zoo for photo opportunities along with a Santa mailbox drop, crafts, candy, …


Meet Santa at yuleTIDE!

yuleTIDE: Saturday, December 8, 2018
Meet Santa during Cookie Wars! Join the shops at Schooner's Wharf and Bay Village for an afternoon of Holiday Shopping, …

Free Photos with Santa

Free Photos with Santa

Jenkinson's: Saturday, December 8, 2018
Join in for Free photos with Santa on December 8th from 2:30-5:30pm at Jenkinson’s South Arcade! Plus! 1/2 Price Arcade …

A Very Merry Christmas Bash

A Very Merry Christmas Bash

Renault Winery: Saturday, December 8, 2018
Live Music with the Jersey Surecats Band. Cash Bar and Hand Passed Hors D' oeurves (1 Hour). Complimented by a 3 …


Brunch with Santa at McLoone's Pier House

McLoone's Pier House: Sunday, December 9, 2018
Bring your family, your camera and your appetite. Santa Claus is coming to brunch at McLoone's Pier House! Call 732-923-1006 …

Santa Claus and little girl

Sunday Brunch with Santa at American Hotel

American Hotel: Sunday, December 9, 2018 - Sunday, December 16, 2018
December 9th & 16th. Bring your “wish” list and your appetite to The American Hotel’s famous Sunday Brunch with Santa! …

Brunch with Santa at Rum Runner

The Rum Runner: Sunday, December 9, 2018
Bring the whole family to brunch with Santa. Don't forget your cameras. Santa will be nestled by the fireplace and …

The Santa Experience

The Santa Experience

Glen Ridge Train Station: Sunday, December 9, 2018
The Santa Experience, the annual charitable celebration, gives children the opportunity to meet-and-greet Santa, up close and personal, as he …

ice skating

Winter on Broad Street

32-34 Broad Street: Sunday, December 9, 2018
Get ready for lots of outdoor fun on the streets of Red Bank. Ice skating, a life-size Snow Globe, Scavenger …

Christmas in Greenwich

49th Annual Christmas in Greenwich

Cumberland County Historical Society: Sunday, December 9, 2018
Come celebrate the 49th celebration of Christmas in Greenwich on December 9th, 2018 from 12pm to 5pm. Houses and museums …

Gloucester Township tree lighting

Gloucester Township Tree Lighting

Veterans Park - Clementon: Sunday, December 9, 2018
Please join Gloucester Township Mayor David Mayer and Council for the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Veterans Park. There …

Holiday cookies

Kids Can Cook! Holiday Treats!

Reeves-Reed Arboretum: Tuesday, December 11, 2018
The holidays are the perfect time to create special treats both to eat and to share. In the Historic Wisner …


Merry Mixer

Congress Hall: Thursday, December 13, 2018
It’s the holiday season, and small businesses and groups are planning their annual end-of-the-year parties. Gather your employees and come celebrate …

Married Masquerade Winter Ball

Embassy Suites: Friday, December 14, 2018
Please join us for a great night of fun, food and dancing as the Garden State Church hosts its Marrieds …


NJ Ballet’s Nutcracker with NJSO

Mayo Performing Arts Center: Friday, December 14, 2018
Our annual seasonal favorite enchants youngsters and grown-ups alike with splendid dancing, live orchestra, eye-popping special effects and a touch …

Breakfast with Santa & Rudolph

Breakfast with Santa & Rudolph

Crab's Claw Inn: Saturday, December 15, 2018
Breakfast with Santa & Rudolph at Crab's Claw Inn. Pre-paid reservations only! Call 732-793-4447. Info

Santa Claus and little girl

Breakfast with Santa at GSJS Program Activity Center

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore Program Activity Center: Saturday, December 15, 2018
Join in for a delicious breakfast before heading outside for a horse drawn carriage ride through the forested camp.  Visit …


Ugly Christmas Sweater Spectacular

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore Program Activity Center: Saturday, December 15, 2018
Celebrate the holidays with your Girl Scout sisters! Bring your "ugliest" Christmas attire for this fun filled event. Girls will …

Holiday Gala Affair at The Westwood

The Westwood: Saturday, December 15, 2018
Join us for our annual Holiday Gala Affair! The evening features: A Cocktail Hour, Sit Down Dinner, Open Bar, DJ Info

Happy Holidays

A Prelude to Christmas

St. Ann Church: Sunday, December 16, 2018
A Christmas concert & holy nativity featuring The Notre Dame de la Mer Parish's Adult, Contemporary, and Children’s Choirs accompanied by brass, strings, woodwinds, …

Santa’s Mailbox

Santa's Mailbox at Cranford Post Office

Cranford Post Office: Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Santa's Mailbox will be at the inside entrance to the Post Office from November 24 to December 18. All letters …

NJ Events Have A Merry Little Christmas

Christmas at Et Al

et al Fine Food & Events: Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Please place your orders by Wed, 12/19 All pick ups will be Monday 12/24 till 2PM  Info


Nutcracker - American Repertory Ballet

State Theatre New Jersey: Friday, December 21, 2018 - Sunday, December 23, 2018
American Repertory Ballet's Nutcracker will be at State Theatre New Jersey December 21-23, 2018!   The only American Repertory Ballet …

Mrs. Claus is at Paws!

Paws Farm Nature Center: Saturday, December 22, 2018 - Sunday, December 23, 2018
Mrs. Claus visits the Farm for story time, cookie decorating and crafts. Saturday and Sunday story time at 10:30am, 11:30am, …


Holly Jolly Weekend

Valenzano Winery: Saturday, December 22, 2018 - Sunday, December 23, 2018
“Cookies, Crafts, & Holiday Cheer – to Help Santa Along this Year!” Join in for one last stop on your …

Santa with boy

Breakfast with Santa at The Landing

The Landing: Saturday, December 22, 2018
Breakfast with Santa December 22, 2018. Info

breakfast with santa

Breakfast with Santa at Blend

Blend On Main: Sunday, December 23, 2018
Santa will be at Blend on Sunday, December 23rd. Two seatings at 9:15 & 10:45. Santa will visit every table …

merry christmas

Christmas at Buca di Beppo

Buca di Beppo: Monday, December 24, 2018
Buca di Beppo is Open on Christmas Day for Lunch and Dinner serving authentic Italian dishes served family style. Info

Christmas at Ruth's

Ruth's Chris Steak House: Monday, December 24, 2018
Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Info

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Dinner at Acacia

Acacia: Monday, December 24, 2018
Come join Acacia on Christmas Eve! Call now!  609-895-9885. Info

NJ Events Have A Merry Little Christmas

Christmas Eve Dinner at Caffe Aldo Lamberti

Caffe Aldo Lamberti: Monday, December 24, 2018
Celebrate Christmas Eve with Caffe Aldo Lamberti and enjoy their Chef's special Christmas Eve Menu! Call 856-663-1747 today to make …

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eve Dinner at Due Mari

Due Mari: Monday, December 24, 2018
Merry Christmas! Join Due Mari for a festive, 3-course menu on Christmas Eve. 3 Courses | $75 per person with …

Christmas decoration and wine

Christmas Holiday at Cucina Calandra!

Cucina Calandra: Monday, December 24, 2018 - Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Christmas Holiday at Cucina Calandra!   Chef Constantino has prepared delicious, traditional holiday specials featuring a variety of options such …

NJ Events Silver Pine Branch Christmas in New Jersey

Christmas at Crystal Springs

Crystal Springs Resort: Monday, December 24, 2018 - Tuesday, December 25, 2018
Spend time away during this magical time of year and enjoy amazing Christmas Eve & Christmas Day menus. Also special …

Christmas at Legal Sea Foods

Legal Sea Foods: Monday, December 24, 2018
Open both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Info

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