12 Jolly Holiday Celebrations in NJ

From day to night, north to south and east to west, New Jersey is your home for the holidays this December with a host of tree lightings, house tours, sweet treats, fun parades, and so much more. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy the uplifting sights and sounds of these New Jersey holiday events.

  1. Bask in the Glow
    If there was ever a city custom-made for the most wonderful time of the year, it's none other than charming Cape May. Plan a picture-perfect winter getaway illuminated by magical festivities—from the city's official tree lighting at the Emlen Physick Estate on November 18, 2023 to Candlelight Tours of Cape May's stunning Victorian homes, inns and churches on December 2, 9 and 16, plus so much more.
  2. A Ride to Remember
    All aboard the Polar Express Train Ride! Relive the magic of the classic story during a one-hour holiday train ride powered by Morristown & Erie Railway. Get your golden ticket punched, enjoy hot chocolate and Walkers Shortbread served by dancing chefs, read along with the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg, and, of course, meet Santa. For more details and ticket information, click here
  3. Jolly Shopping Bazaar
    It’s the most wonderful (shopping) time of the year! Join in the excitement during Asbury Park’s 2023 Holiday Bazaar, showcasing a flurry of one-of-a-kind goods and holiday gifts handcrafted by local and regional artisans. Festive music, entertainment, craft workshops, and fun activities for the kids make this event one you won’t want to miss. Click here for locations and details.
  4. Frolicking Floats
    Thirty-seven years ago, Clinton hosted its first Christmas Parade, which has now become a beloved annual tradition and one of the most anticipated New Jersey holiday events. So go grab dinner, then find a premium spot along the route to enjoy the festive procession with your family and friends on December 1.
  5. Dive into the Holidays
    November 24 – December 24 unwrap a world of undersea fun at Adventure Aquarium’s Christmas Underwater. Scuba Santa will be back in the Ocean Realm, spreading cheer to everyone he meets. Explore holiday magic among 15,000 incredible animals, discover the World’s Tallest Underwater Christmas Tree, enchanting snow-like flurries and fascinating light displays. 
  6. Festivities on the Farm
    Looking for an enchanting holiday light-filled hayride? You’ll find it at Norz Hill Farm & Market in Hillsborough. Experience the magic aboard a cozy tractor-drawn wagon that takes you on a magical journey through a dazzling winter wonderland. Afterward, toast marshmallows and drink hot cocoa by the warming fire and stock up on delights from the Home Farm Stand. Ticket info here.
  7. Storybook Season
    Visit Storybook Land during their Christmas Fantasy with Lights, and you’ll feel as if you’ve walked into a sparkling winter wonderland. This time-honored holiday tradition in Egg Harbor Township is over 30 years old and features Santa Claus, festive tunes, jolly characters and twinkling lights as far as the eye can see. For details and tickets click here.
  8. Luminous Lights
    Prance over to the Smithville Holiday Light Show on the Lake in Historic Smithville from Thanksgiving through January 6, 2024. View over 120 Christmas trees made from over 50,000 lights magically float on Lake Meone in the center of Historic Smithville. When night falls, enjoy an orchestrated show of lights and music played across the lake. Get all the details here.
  9. An Army of Nutcrackers
    You have your choice of dates and venues to watch Clara's wondrous holiday adventures this season. November 24 – December 17, the American Repertory Ballet presents The Nutcracker at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton. The New Jersey Ballet performs the seasonal classic with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, December 15 – 27. The Atlantic City Ballet offers many performances, including December 16 in Caesars Atlantic City. And the South Jersey Ballet School puts on The Nutcracker in the Voorhees Schools Theatre on December 15, 16 and 17. 
  10. Making Spirits Bright
    Have a holly, jolly good time on December 13 at the famous Christmas Light Show in Wall Township, made possible by POAC Autism Services and Allaire Community Farm. Treat your family to a tractor-drawn hayride to enjoy spectacular lights and dazzling displays while festive music plays. The event is free for individuals with autism and their families.
  11. The Sky’s The Limit
    Jingle all the way during a one-mile-long holiday drive-thru featuring over 2 million lights at Skylands Stadium Light Show and Christmas Village. Ride the ferris wheel and carousel, go ice skating, roast s’mores on the fire pit, browse local artisan shops and more, for details check here.
  12. Winter Wonderland
    Jingle all the way to the Festival of Trees at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit on December 10. This outdoor winter festival celebrates Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas and the Winter Solstice. Delight in arts and crafts, games, music, a story walk, photos with Santa and a joyful holiday market. Be amazed by a wonderland of festival trees located throughout the grounds. Tickets and more details found here.

Before you dash to your favorite New Jersey holiday event, be sure to check with your chosen destination for the latest updates, times and details. To unwrap even more holiday fun, download a free NJ travel guide or sign up for our e-newsletter.