Gather the family because it’s time to get in the holiday spirit: This December, shop one-of-a-kind finds at the Holiday Handmade Market at the Herbary in Howell, enjoy s’mores and campfire songs at the 10th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration in Morristown and meet with Santa himself when he visits Olde Stone House Historic Village in Sewell. The best part about these fun, family-friendly events? They are totally free!
Here are 14 free events around New Jersey this December:
Asbury Park Bazaar
Dec 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22, 11AM- 6 PM
Cross gifts off your list when you shop this bazaar featuring handcrafted and vintage wares from local artisans. Feeling creative? Pop in on kid arts classes and holiday craft workshops for adults. Or take a break and enjoy the fireplace lounge while you sip on hot mulled wine and treats from local restaurants. And don’t miss out on Santa Sundays—if you make a donation to the Asbury Park Toy and Coat Drive while you’re there, you will receive a complimentary 4×6 photo with Santa.
Convention Hall; 1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, New Jersey, 07712
Boro in Lights: Glassboro’s Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 6, 6PM-9PM
Ring in the holidays at this annual tree lighting in Downtown Glassboro’s Town Square that features an evening of live music and shows. Be sure to take a ride through town in a horse-drawn carriage or pose for photos with the Grinch and Buddy the Elf. Need to wind down from all the excitement? Order up merry cocktail at the Winter Ice Bar while kids sip on free hot cocoa as you watch the holidays come to life.
Glassboro Town Square; 1 West High Street, Glassboro, New Jersey, 08028
Christkindlmarkt: Old Time Holiday Craft Market
December 6, 7 & 8, Friday 4pm-8pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 10am-4pm
For a traditional celebration, stop by the Christkindlmarkt, a festive three day event celebrating the traditions of the season. Explore over 50 vendors (don’t worry, the tent is heated) and munch on treats from local food trucks, while listening to live music throughout the day. Littles will be thrilled to take a horse-drawn carriage ride or a “trackless” train ride that chugs around the decorated buildings. Bonus: Bring an unwrapped toy for donation, and ride the train for free.
The Tuckerton Seaport; 120 Main Street, Tuckerton, New Jersey 08087
December 7, 11AM-3PM
The Village paths come alive with the sounds and smells of wintertime at this lively family event. Wander through the historic buildings where you and the fam can enjoy hands-on crafts, live music, storytelling and yummy sweets served by volunteers in period costume. After, gather up the kids and embark on a horse-drawn carriage ride throughout the festively decorated Village grounds.
Historic Cold Spring Village; 720 Rt. 9, Cape May, NJ 08204
Pitman Winter Village
December 7 & 14, 5PM – 9PM
Treat yourself to the charm of a Victorian Holiday at this village, where you can shop for unique, handmade gifts from 30+ special vendors. Your little ones can visit Santa or ride the free trolley uptown. After, make delicous s’mores at one of the cheerful bonfires, try some wassail, and stroll along with Victorian costumed actors beneath the holiday lights.
Uptown Pitman, NJ
Lake Mohawk German Christmas Market
December 8 & 9, Sat 10AM – 9PM, Sun 10AM – 5PM
Who said you have to fly to Germany to experience an authentic Weihnachtsmärkte? The Lake Mohawk boardwalk is home to the largest annual Christmas market in the state, complete with a biergarten, food market, folk dancers and live music. Your littles will have a ball in the petting zoo and enjoy a special visit from St. Nicholas. 100% of all proceeds are donated to the local Sussex County charities.
Lake Mohawk Country Club, Sparta, NJ
Free Holiday Movie Fridays in Asbury Park
December 13 and 20, 7 PM
Take the family to see a Christmas classic (or both) at the historic Paramount Theater. Bring the popcorn and get comfy as you watch the hilarious and family-favorite, A Christmas Story on December 13th and the beloved It’s a Wonderful Life on December 20th. Seating is first come, first served, so best to plan an early arrival.
Paramount Theaters, 1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, New Jersey, 07712
Holiday Market at HCCC
December 14, 12PM – 3PM
Shopping is sure to be merry and bright at this community market that overlooks striking views of Hudson. The atrium will be transformed into a winter wonderland, featuring lot of festivities for kids, including a magic show, face painting, craft stations, and selfies with Santa.
HCCC Gabert Library; 71 Sip Avenue, 6th Floor, Jersey City, NJ 07306
Family Woodland Hike at NJ Botanical Gardens
December 15, 1PM
It’s the most wonderful time of the year to be outdoors, especially when you walk through the winter woodlands at the NJ Botanical Gardens. This child-friendly hike will help you learn a bit about the plants and animals that inhabit the area and how they’re prepping for the winter season. Be sure to wear sturdy walking shoes.
2 Morris Road, Ringwood, NJ
The Magic of Christmas at Olde Stone House Historic Village
December 14, 5:30PM-8:30 PM
Got kids that love the Polar Express? Head to this historic village to enjoy readings of the beloved book in the Blackwood Train Station and then listen to live Christmas music in the Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church. Kids can write a letter to Santa and mail it at the Turnersville Post Office. Before you leave, grab a yummy snack at the bake sale in the Charles Quay Farmhouse and stop by and meet the big guy himself at the Olde Stone House.
208 Egg Harbor Road, Sewell, New Jersey 08080
Holiday Handmade Market at The Herbary
December 14, 10AM-5PM
This Insta-worthy garden center and farm is hosting an exclusive group of handmade artists and makers in their greenhouse. Shop their handmade wares for your friends and family and be sure to say hi to the bunnies and goats who live on the property.
494 Lakewood Farmingdale Rd, Howell, New Jersey
Kwanzaa Festival and Marketplace
December 20 & 21, Friday 6PM-10PM, Saturday 9AM-5PM
Celebrate culture and community at NJPAC’s 20th annual Kwanzaa Festival and Marketplace. This annual festival features a night of fun for everyone: Watch West African dances, a Kwanzaa ceremony with storytelling, take part in arts and crafts presentations and dance along to drums. The marketplace offers one-stop shopping for all your holiday gift-giving needs, including custom and cultural clothing, handcrafted jewelry, original designer hats, candles, bath & body products and much more.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center; 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102
10th Annual Winter Solstice Celebration
December 21, 6PM-7:30 PM
The winter solstice represents a time of renewal and rejuvenation, and can offer a calm time-out during a hectic season. Take the whole family to learn more about the solstice, let go of the past year’s challenges and set positive intentions for 2020. Join in by making s’mores, listening to songs by the fire and practice relaxing yoga poses to renew your spirit.
Early Street Garden, 17 Early Street, Morristown, NJ
Grand Menorah Lighting at Veteran’s Memorial Park
December 22, 5 PM
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or just want to rejoice in holiday fun, gather the littles and head to the annual Grand Public Menorah Lighting, to commemorate the first night of the Festival of Lights. Kids will have a blast listening to festive music, tasting latkes (potato pancakes), eating jelly donuts and playing games.
Veteran’s Memorial Park, Springfield, NJ 07081