27 Kid-Friendly Things To Do This Thanksgiving Weekend


It’s that time of year when the world falls in love with everything holiday, and this weekend, you and your family can start the season off right. Enter a gingerbread wonderland and immerse yourself in all the cookie goodness at Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen in Paramus, get dazzled by the gorgeous lights at the Winter Wonderland Illuminated Walking Trail in Medford, or step into the sand to visit with Santa and Winter Wonderland characters at the Family Holiday Beach Bonfire in North Wildwood. For more family fun, hit up one of this month’s festivals before November ends. (Featured Photo Credit: @indianacrestreefarm)

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


Holiday Activities

Photo Credit: Bridgewater Commons

Santa at Bridgewater Commons
November 11-December 24
He’s back! Santa will begin welcoming children of all ages for visits and photos filled with holiday magic. Located in Center Court on the shopping center’s Lower Level, visits to Santa Celebration are happening now through Sunday, December 24. Capture the holiday magic with Santa amongst 25 garland-topped light curtains (each adorned with thousands of white, glistening lights) and candy-cane-inspired twists cascading above. The Santa Celebration will feature an authentic Kris Kringle perched in his grand velvet chair on an elevated platform behind his adoring guests. A bright and cheery red photo frame will sit in front of the famed wish-fulfiller proclaiming, “Holiday Joy.” Click HERE to make your reservation and for additional photo information and customer service. Reservations will be optional and limited to Monday – Thursday only. Presented by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset.
Bridgewater Commons, Lower Level, and Center Court, 400 Commons Way, Bridgewater, NJ 08807

Fanwood’s Famous “Christmas House”
November 24-January 8 at dusk
In the mood to see some holiday lights? This famous house is lit with over 30,000 lights and is a sight to see. All donations go to the NJ Institute for Disabilities. 
Cost: Free
83 Patterson Road, Fanwood, NJ 07023

Winter Wonderland Illuminated Walking Trail
November 24-December 30 at 5 PM
Grab your coats and scarves and stroll through the woods with the fam this holiday season. There will be illuminated boxes with miniature scenes, snowmen and trees, a Fairy Garden, a secret gnome village, and fire pits where you can stop and get warm or make s’mores along the way.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Indian Acres Tree Farm, 111 Tuckerton Road, Medford, NJ 08055

Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen
November 24-December 24
Looking for something sweet to do with the fam to get ready for the holiday season? Step into Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, a giant gingerbread house where you will find a whimsical cookie haven filled with yummy aromas, tasty secrets from the kitchen, a picturesque garden, bakery treats, and a meet and greet with Mrs.Claus.
Cost: $39
Garden State Parkway, Paramus, NJ 07652

The Nutcracker
November 24-26 
The McCarter Theatre hosts the classic holiday ballet in the heart of Princeton’s Arts District. Bring the whole family to watch the timeless story of The Nutcracker and get an early start on the holiday spirit.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
91 University Place, Princeton, NJ 08540

Black Friday Food & Wine Festival
November 24 at 4 PM
Take a break from your Black Friday shopping and enjoy some downtime with the fam. Fire pits, live music, food trucks, and more will be there.
Cost: $20 per person over 21 years old; kids welcome free of charge. 
Blue Cork Winery and Vineyard, 1093 Blue Bell Road, Williamstown, NJ 08094

Family Holiday Beach Bonfire
November 24 at 5 PM
Hanging out at the beach isn’t just for summer—spend an evening on the shore with music, photo ops with Santa, food, and appearances from Winter Wonderland characters. The rain date is November 25.
Cost: Free
2nd & Surf Ave., North Wildwood, NJ 08260

Palmer Square Annual Tree Lighting
November 24 at 5 PM
There’s nothing like getting the family together and watching the gorgeous tree in Palmer Square be lit for the holiday season. There will also be sing-a-long songs, an 11-man vocal harmony group, and an appearance from the Big Guy in Red. 
Cost: Free
Palmer Square, 40 Nassau Street, Princeton, NJ 08542

Holiday Festival with Fireworks
November 24 at 5 PM
Bundle up and gather your crew for this festive evening, where you will find strolling carolers, giveaways, entertainment, and a gorgeous fireworks display that will light up the night. If you’re lucky, you might even see Santa arrive.
Cost: Free
Downtown New Providence, 360 Elkwood Ave, New Providence, NJ 07974

Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar
November 24-December 17
You don’t have to travel to Europe for this fun and festive holiday bazaar. There will be shopping, food, decor, and entertainment like face painters, music, and a selfie booth for the whole family to enjoy. 
Cost: Free
1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Holiday Hayrides
November 25-December 23
Take a fun holiday hayride to Rudolph’s house and visit with Santa and Frosty. Each child gets a prize and some magical reindeer food before stopping to see Santa and grab some handmade goodies.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Zimmerman’s Country Market, 425 Salina Road, Sewell, NJ 08080

Elf-tastic Holiday Hoopla
November 25 at 11 AM
Bring the entire family for a fun time with story time, character meet and greets, train rides, and crafts for the little ones. There will even be fire pits where you can enjoy ‘smores and hot chocolate.
Cost: Free
Creamy Acres Night of Lights, 448 Lincoln Mill Road, Mullica Hill, NJ 08062

Santa’s Tree Lighting Celebration
November 25 at 5 PM
This night at the zoo is one your family will cherish. The beautiful tree will be lit with a celebration, including live holiday music, an ice sculpture demonstration, a bounce house, character appearances, and more.
Cost: Free
Cape May County Park/Zoo, 707 Route 9 N, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210

Tractor Parade
November 25 at 10 AM
Come and watch the Winter Tractor Parade, and be on the lookout for an appearance by Santa. Stay at the farm after the parade and enjoy snacks and crafts for everyone in the family.
Cost: $10 per carload
Coombs Barnyard, 20 Route 77, Elmer, NJ 08318

Christmas Village at The Shoppes
November 25 at 10 AM
This whimsical wonderland is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season. There will be photo ops with Santa, festive activities, tree lighting, nostalgic carolers, and more to enjoy.
Cost: Free
The Shoppes at Lafayette, 75 State Route 15, Lafayette, NJ 07848

Newton Holiday Parade
November 25 at 10 AM
Get into the holiday spirit at this parade that everyone in your family will love. There will be floats, vehicles, and marchers to watch and admire as they go by. This year’s theme is “Christmas Dreams.”
Cost: Free
Spring Street, Newton, NJ 07860

Christmas at the Hangar
November 25 at 10 AM
The perfect way to celebrate the start of the holiday season is at the hangar. Enjoy cookies, hot chocolate, pictures with Santa, live music, face painting, and more.
Cost: Free
500 Forrestal Road, Cape May, NJ 08204

Collingswood Holiday Parade
November 25 at 10 AM
This holiday parade will put a smile on everyone’s face. Bundle up and watch as the marching bands, dancers, holiday characters, stilt walkers, floats, and more travel down the road. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the arrival of Santa.
Cost: Free
678 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, NJ 08107

29th Annual Boonton Fire Department Christmas Parade
November 25 at 1 PM
This annual parade is one the whole community looks forward to every holiday season. Stand along Main Street and take in the floats and other seasonal surprises with the fam.
Cost: Free
Main Street, Boonton, NJ 07005

November 25 at 10 AM
Head to the Twin Lights Historic Site as they countdown to the lighting of the holiday lights. Enjoy crafts, snacks, and the chance to chat with historians about the history of the Twin Lights.
Cost: Free
Twin Lights Historic Site, Lighthouse Road, Highlands, NJ 07732

Holiday Craft Fair
November 25 at 10 AM
With over 50 vendors, this is a great place to get some holiday shopping done. There will be handmade craft items, jewelry, clothing, and a 50/50 raffle.
Cost: Free
Beach Haven Volunteer Fire Company, 300 Amber Street, Beach Haven, NJ 08008

Holiday Dickens Fest
November 25-26 at 1 PM
The spirit of Christmas will be found in Smithville at this fun and festive holiday event. You will find an original, musical adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” along with holiday-themed art, artistry, and collectibles.
Cost: Free
Historic Smithville, Route 9 & Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ 08205

Snowman Canvas Painting Workshop
November 26 at 5 PM
Paint an adorable winter scene on canvas that you can hang in your home this holiday season. After finishing your masterpiece, head outside for food, drinks, hot chocolate, s’mores by the bonfires, and a visit with the cutest goats.
Cost: $39
The Little Lamb, 3267 Williamstown Road, Franklinville, NJ 08322

Gingerbread House Decorating & Contest
November 26 at 2:30 PM
Get those creative juices flowing and enjoy quality time with the fam at this fun event. See a gingerbread house competition, holiday shops, caroling, a Santa meet and greet, train rides, and the best part of all – the Long Branch tree lighting.
Cost: $10 registration fee to be in the contest
Wave Resort, 110 Ocean Avenue #7, Long Branch, NJ 07740

Atlantic City Ballet: It’s A Shore Holiday
November 26 at 3 PM
Bring out the holiday spirit in everyone at this beautiful show. There will be contemporary and classical dance set to some of the most beloved holiday tunes, complete with singers, a live band, and all things holiday season.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
Stafford Township Arts Center, 100 McKinley Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ 08050

Wayne PAL Holiday Flea Market & Gift Fair
November 26 at 9 AM
With over 75 exhibitors selling gift items, crafts, stocking stuffers, and more, you can start and maybe even finish your holiday shopping.
Cost: Free
Wayne PAL Building, 1 PAL Drive, Wayne, NJ 07470

A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live On Stage
November 26 at 2 PM & 5 PM
Bring the whole family to watch the animated TV special come to life on the stage with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and more.
Cost: $29-$69 per ticket
100 South St., Morristown, NJ 07960

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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.