26 Kid-Friendly Things To Do This Christmas Weekend December 22-24

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It’s the final stretch, and before the big guy comes to town, take advantage of all the holiday happenings with the family before they end this year. Ride the train one last time to see millions of lights and catch Santa and his elves at DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express in Hammonton, sing carols and sip hot cocoa at the Holiday Hay Ride in Lawrenceville, or celebrate Kwanzaa a little early with dance classes, face painting, storytelling, and more at Kwanzaa Family Festival and Marketplace in Newark. And for more family fun, make sure you hit up all the local holiday activities before January 1. (Featured photo taken at DiDonato’s Family Fun Center)

(Note: It’s always best to check ahead for in-person events.)

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Lucky Leo’s Freebie Friday
December 22 at 5 PM
Need a break from the cold? Bring out the family to a weekly event at Lucky Leo’s Amusements: Freebie Friday. A Jersey Shore staple, Lucky Leo’s has delighted families for over 70 years. Freebie Fridays showcase 1/2 off games, face painting, balloons, complimentary pizza, and a giveaway for a stay at the Showboat in Atlantic City, along with waterpark admission, every week.
Cost: Free
Lucky Leo’s, 311 Boardwalk, Seaside Heights, NJ 08751

Holiday Cookie Decorating
December 23 at 10 AM
Join NJMOM and Miss Jamie for a holiday cookie decorating and live music event to celebrate the holiday season at this fun event for all ages. 
Cost: $35
The Well Belmar, 801 B Main Street, Belmar, NJ 07719

Holidays in Collingswood
December 22
Celebrate the last festivities in Collingswood with a sing-along with the Luminance Flute Quartet and the last chance to visit Santa before he heads back to the North Pole.
Cost: Free
808 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, NJ 08108

DiDonato’s Magical Holiday Express
December 22- 23
Have your crew ride aboard a train through millions of Christmas lights and then do a meet and greet with Santa and his elves in his workshop. Don’t miss the Holiday Movie tent, taking a photo with your favorite snowman, and the Toy Market and Walkthrough Holiday Village.
1151 South White Horse Pike, Hammonton, NJ 08037

Laurita’s North Pole Experience
December 22-24 at 12 PM
This second annual North Pole Experience is a memorable journey to the North Pole, where you’ll receive a piece of magical North Pole ice to activate Rudolph’s nose and visit Santa. There’s also a holiday photo trail, special treats, bonfires and caroling. 
Cost: $12-$18 per person
Laurita Winery, 85 Archertown Road, New Egypt, NJ 08533

Santa Brunch Cruise in NYC Harbor
December 23 at 10:30 AM
Travel through the New York Harbor with the family and take in the gorgeous city skyline. Santa and Mr. Claus will be on board after brunch, and there will also be games, activities, and balloon art.
Cost: $89 per adult and $59 per child
Seastreak Ferry, 326 Shore Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732

Old Fashioned Christmas at Allaire Community Farm
December 23 at 4 PM
This is the last night of this fun holiday event. There will be a Christmas village display, a Yuletide wagon ride, hot chocolate, visits with the animals at the petting zoo, and so much more. Don’t miss your last chance to enjoy this event.
Cost: $10 per adult, $6 per child
Allaire Community Farm, 1923 Baileys Corner Road, Wall Township, NJ 07719

Kwanzaa Family Festival and Marketplace 
December 23 at 9 AM
Celebrate Kwanzaa at this lively festival for the whole family. There will be dance classes, storytelling, face painting, a Kwanzaa candle-lighting ceremony, live performances, traditional foods, and a marketplace to shop for one-of-a-kind items. 
Cost: Free
NJPAC, 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102

Forces of Nature Dance Theatre: Kwanzaa Celebration
December 23 at 3 PM
Join this acclaimed New York-based troupe for a beautiful and festive Kwanzaa celebration that combines traditional West African and new African dance, hip-hop, ballet, and modern dance.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102

Winter Solstice Lantern Walk
December 23 at 4 PM
Bring a lantern to celebrate the winter solstice, and at dusk, walk around the beautiful lake. All children must be accompanied by an adult. 
Cost: Free
Nomahegan Park, 1024 Springfield Avenue, Cranford, NJ 07016

Holiday Drive Thru
December 23 at 5 PM
There’s nothing better than driving through beautiful lights and then saying hi to Santa and his friends with the fam at this free event. 
Cost: Free
Delran Fire Department #2, 1020 S. Chester Avenue, Delran, NJ 08075

Cookie Decorating at Mohican Outdoor Center
December 23 at 2 PM
This afternoon is filled with fun and memories made with the entire family. Decorate holiday cookies for last-minute treats or as a treat to leave out for Santa.
Cost: Free, but registration is requested
AMC Mohican Outdoor Center, 50 Camp Mohican Road, Blairstown, NJ 07825

Snack, Snap, n’ Paint
December 23 at 2 PM
Get into the holiday spirit and explore your creativity at American Dream’s TiLT Museum. There will be a painting activity, snacks, soft drinks, and an ornament to take home.
Cost: $40 per person
TiLT Museum, 1 American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073

Holiday Hay Ride
December 23 at 11 AM
Bring the whole family and enjoy a memorable hay ride for the holidays. You will have the chance to see cows, sing songs, have hot cocoa, and shop for gifts afterward.
Cost: $10
Cherry Grove Farm, 3200 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

Polar Express in IMAX
December 23-24
Couldn’t make it on a Polar Express train this season? Watch this beloved movie come alive in IMAX.
Cost: $14 per ticket
IMAX Theatre at Tropicana, 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

The Nutcracker
December 23-24
This beautiful story is an annual tradition that enchants all the little ones and grown-ups alike with outstanding dancing, special effects, and some holiday magic. Bring the entire family and enjoy this show.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Mayo Performing Arts Center, 100 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960

Holiday Craft Fair
December 23-24
Need to finish your holiday shopping? Visit the craft fair, full of handmade, unique items, including jewelry, accessories, home decor, pet products and treats. 
Cost: Free
Rockaway Townsquare, 301 Mount Hope Avenue, Rockaway, NJ 07866

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas
December 23-24
One of the most famous poems ever written, this show updates the classic with a twist. In this show, a family is not behaving the way Santa likes, and they need to try and get off the naughty list before it’s too late.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Broadway Theatre of Pitman, 43 South Broadway, Pitman, NJ 08071

Holiday Community Sing
December 24 at 6:55 PM
Before the big day, bring the family together for this festive and joyous holiday sing-along. The whole community will come together for this wonderful event.
Cost: Free
Downtown Basking Ridge, Bernards, NJ 07920

100th Basking Ridge Community Caroling
December 24 at 7 PM
For 100 years, the community of Basking Ridge has come together to sing Christmas carols, wish good tidings, and then go with their families and enjoy the night. Church bells will ring at 7 PM, and there will be ten songs before the bells ring again at 7:35 PM. 
Cost: Free
Basking Ridge Village, 1 East Oak Street, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Night Before Christmas Storytime with Santa
December 24 at 1 PM
It’s the day before Christmas, and a great way to celebrate and spread the joy is by listening to The Night Before Christmas, read by Santa himself.
Cost: Free
The Curious Reader, 229 Rock Road, Glen Rock, NJ 07452

ONGOING EVENTS

Jenkinson’s Aquarium Sea of Lights Holiday Festival
December 22, 23, 27 & 28 at 4 PM
Are you ready for a spectacular holiday lights display that will dazzle your little ones? This winter wonderland is full of treats, crafts, photos with Santa, holiday entertainment, and so much more.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Jenkinson’s Aquarium, 300 Ocean Avenue, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

The Winter WonderLights
Now-December 31
New Jersey’s largest animated holiday light show will dazzle your whole family with over 1.5 million lights dancing to your favorite holiday music. The trees, the tunnels, and a tribute to first responders and US armed forces are just a sample of what you will see on the half-mile drive.
Cost: $30 per car or $125 VIP season pass per car; guests are encouraged to buy their tickets online.
655 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Holidig Drive-Thru Light Show at Diggerland
Now-January 1
At America’s only construction theme and water park, you can see trucks, equipment, and scenery lit up for the season. As you drive on the course, you’ll discover tunnels, festive treats, and lots of lights along the way. Don’t forget to tune into Diggerland USA’s radio station to get into the holiday spirit.
Cost: $34.95
Diggerland USA, 
100 Pinedge Drive, West Berlin, NJ 08091

Winter Lantern Festival
Now-January 2
Head to American Dream and check out all of the gorgeous Chinese lanterns at this exhibit. This unique world of light is full of family-fun activities, including making your own paper lantern, taking photos with life-size dinosaurs, and exploring the traditional display.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
American Dream, American Dream Way, East Rutherford, NJ 07073

Festival of Trees 2023
Now-January 7
This must-see holiday tradition is one that the whole family will enjoy. Peruse the museum’s galleries, mantels, and porches beautifully decorated by local businesses, garden clubs, and non-profit organizations.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Morven Museum and Garden, 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ 08540

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About Author

Karen lives in Central Jersey with her two dogs, one cat, husband and daughter Olivia. Graduating from Seton Hall University with a B.A. in Journalism and Public Relations, she has been writing and working in the social media field for a few years. One of her proudest moments as a writer so far has been interviewing Tim Gunn from 'Project Runway' and subsequently winning Honorable Mention in NJ for Feature Writing. When she is not busy as a mom, she enjoys reading, going to the beach and watching the Real Housewives. She is very excited for the opportunity to be a part of the NJ Mom team!

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