30 FREE NJ Events in December


This November shop til you drop at the Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar in Asbury Park, go on a Family Winter Hike at NJ Botanical Gardens in Ringwood, and make your way to one of the many Christmas tree lightings throughout the state this holiday season, all at no cost to you – because who doesn’t love saving a little this time of year.

Pssst! Don’t forget to hashtag #NJMOM and tag @njmom and your little cuties could be featured in our next photo round-up.

Here are 30 free events around New Jersey this December:

Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar
December 1, 2, 7, 8, 15, 22, 23, 11AM – 6PM
The Asbury Park Holiday will feature over 200 of the best local and regional artists, vendors, and shops selling the cutest and coolest vintage, handmade, art, jewelry, home goods, foodstuffs, and more. The Asbury Park Bazaar will take place in beautiful and historic Convention Hall, which will be transformed into a winter wonderland this holiday season. The Bazaar will feature live music and special performances, photos with Santa Sundays, a holiday photo booth, a 30 foot Christmas tree, fireplace lounge, kids art classes, and craft workshops. On Sundays, bring a toy or gently used coat for the AP Toy & Coat Drive or donate what you can and you will receive a 4×6 print of your Photo with Santa, along with copies of your photos emailed to you. Pets are invited to meet Santa as well! 
1300 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ

The 2nd Annual Marketspace at Westfield
December 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 10AM – 6PM
The Marketspace at Westfield will be open during the first three consecutive weekends in December. This downtown storefront will feature a revolving selection of local, handmade wares and vintage collectibles. Don’t miss live entertainment, DIY craft classes for kids, and complimentary photos with Santa at The Marketspace at Westfield 2018. 
177 East Broad Street, Westfield, NJ

Christmas in the Country Trail at Four Sisters Winery
Now through December 24, 10AM – 6PM
Visit three of Warren County’s most unique farms all within 4 minutes of each other: Wyckoff’s Christmas Tree Farm, Mackey’s Orchard & Bakery, and Four Sisters Winery. With a $5 minimum purchase at each farm, you will receive a stamp from each farm. At your final stop, you will receive a beautiful pair of Christmas in the Country Trail embossed wine glasses.
783 North Bridgeville Road (County Route 519), Belvidere, NJ

Turtle Back Zoo Holiday Lights
Now – December 31, 5PM – 9PM
About 50 animal and holiday-themed figures will light up the winter night in Turtle Back Zoo and the surrounding Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex. Over 100,000 lights will illuminate figures of bears, tigers and elephants, along with holiday lights designed to look like wooden soldiers, stars and winter scenes. Several animal exhibits will be open, including the Sea Lion Sound, Essex Farm, Tam-ring Gibbons Reserve, Tropical Currents Aquarium and the Reptile Building. Myrtle the Turtle, the mascot of Turtle Back Zoo, and several of his winter friends will be on hand to greet visitors at the Zoo. “Selfies” with Santa Claus and a mailbox where children can send letters to Santa Clause at the North Pole will be available each night until December 23rd.
Turtle Back Zoo, West Orange, NJ

Historic Smithville Holiday Light Show
Now – January 6, Dusk to 8:30PM
Enjoy popular songs of the holiday season synchronized with a dazzling Christmas tree light show sure to get you in the Holiday spirit. There are over 120 Christmas trees floating on peaceful Lake Meone, you can watch from either side of the lake. 
615 East Moss Mill Road, Smithville, NJ

Roxbury’s 4th Annual Home For The Holidays Street Festival
December 1, 11AM – 4PM
Kick off the holiday season on Main Street in Succasunna for Roxbury Township’s 4th Annual Home for the Holidays. You can shop, eat, meet Santa, listen to music and take a free carriage ride with jingle-belled horses! They’ll have food trucks, vendors selling unique gifts and strolling carolers singing holiday songs. Explore “Santa Land” inside the Library from 1-4PM where you can get a photo with Santa, listen to holiday book readings and do fun crafts. Enjoy hot drinks and homemade treats.
103 Main St, Succasunna, NJ

Burlington City’s Holiday Parade/Tree-Lighting
December 1, 5PM
This holiday parade is an annual favorite for years and among the best in the region, featuring almost an hour of decorated floats, musical groups, and other colorful marchers. The parade begins at sundown (approximately 5 pm) on High & Federal and travels through Burlington’s historic downtown to High & Pearl on the Riverfront Promenade, where the holiday tree-lighting takes place. The parade is followed by cookies and hot chocolate with Santa at the Hope Fire House.
High St., Burlington City, NJ

Atlantic City Winter Wonderland Tree Lighting
December 1, 5PM – 7PM
The Winter Wonderland event features a special appearance and photo opportunities with Santa Claus, a hot chocolate station, as well as a cookie decorating station. The Bass Pro Shop of Atlantic City will be providing additional family-friendly activities aligned with the holiday season. The evening will conclude with the Claridge Hotel’s annual tree lighting ceremony at 7PM, featuring a live choir. Guests are encouraged to bring an unwrapped gift for The Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.
The Claridge Hotel, 123 South Indiana Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ

Long Branch Holiday Celebration 2018                                                                         
December 1, 5PM – 7PM
Enjoy holiday goodies, cookies, and hot cocoa while listening to the LB Middle School Honors Choir and watching the tree and menorah lighting. Come one, come all, have a cookie, have a ball!
Between City Hall & The Library (328 Broadway), Long Branch, NJ

Dickens Festival + Tree Lighting
December 1, 6PM – 9:30PM
Main Street in Medford will be transformed into a quaint winter wonderland, featuring holiday festivities galore with an old-timey flair. At 6PM, enjoy a parade that transports Santa, Mrs. Claus and an elf or two to the gazebo in the center of downtown Village (18 N. Main Street). The event features a live Nativity, a Victorian best dressed contest, inflatables, pony rides, food vendors, strolling carolers, musicians, entertainers, ice-sculpting and crafters with gifts for everyone on your list. Be sure to pick up your annual illuminated glass Christmas ornament from the Medford Sunrise Rotary table. 
Medford Village, Main Street, Medford, NJ

Downtown Hammonton’s Holiday Tree Lighting
December 1, 6PM – 9PM (Rain Date Dec 2)
This event features horse and carriage rides, live entertainment, a living nativity, Historical Society Museum tours and a visit from Santa to magically light up the town’s Christmas tree. What more could you ask for? 
Bellevue Ave & Central Ave, Hammonton, NJ

Somerville’s Holiday Lights Parade
December 1, 6PM – 10PM
The annual Somerville parade features dozens of vehicles decked out with lights. Prizes are given out for the best-decorated fire and emergency vehicles, personal floats vehicle, and best-decorated houses and/or businesses along the parade route.
Main St, Somerville, NJ

Lake Mohawk German Christmas Market
December 1 & 2, Sat 10AM – 9PM, Sun 10AM – 5PM
The Lake Mohawk boardwalk turns into a winter wonderland during the German Christmas Market. A biergarten, food market, live wood-carvings, all-day entertainment and a special visit from St. Nicholas will spread some Christmas cheer. A portion of the funds raised benefit local charities and organizations.
Lake Mohawk Country Club & Sparta Train Station, Sparta, NJ

Pitman Winter Village
December 1 & 8, 5PM – 9PM
Visit uptown Pitman and be transported to the charm of a Victorian Holiday. Find unique and handmade gifts from 30 special vendors in the holiday shopping village. Your littles can visit Santa or ride the free trolley. Toast a marshmallow at one of the cheerful bonfires, try some wassail, and stroll along with Victorian costumed actors beneath the Holiday lights Uptown. 
Uptown Pitman, NJ

31st Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Chester
December 2, 5PM
The tree lighting marks the official start of the holiday season in Chester. Enjoy live music as Santa arrives via firetruck courtesy of the Chester Volunteer Fire Company at approximately 5:20PM. Children are invited for individual visits with Santa to share their holiday wish lists. 
Gazebo on Main Street in Chester, NJ

Downtown Freehold Christmas Tree Lighting
December 4, 5PM – 7PM
This event features a fun tree lighting, a visit from Santa, and chances to win prizes. Enjoy performances from The Rock and Roll Choir, hot cider from the Court Jester, and Santa and his elves.
Hall of Records Plaza, 1 East Main Street, Freehold, NJ

First Friday Late Night: Old Fashioned Holiday
December 7, 5PM – 9PM
Get your holiday shopping done while listening to Christmas carolers up and down Main Street in Boonton. Enter your gingerbread house in the Best Gingerbread House In Boonton contest at the BMS office. Businesses will be open late for an evening of sales, socializing, dining, art, and shopping!
Main St, Boonton, NJ

Christmas Tree Lighting at Seaside Heights
December 7, 5PM – 6PM
The annual tree lighting ceremony takes place Friday at 5PM in the courtyard in front of Borough Hall. Festivities include the lighting of the tree, light refreshments and a very special appearance by Santa. Bring your littles to make sure they see Santa before Christmas and get their wishes in.
Courtyard in front of Borough Hall, Seaside Heights, NJ

Mount Holly Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 7, 6PM – 9PM
The Mount Holly tree lighting celebration features live music, arts and crafts, hot chocolate, and cookies. Children will have an opportunity to visit and sit with Santa and Mrs. Claus for photos. 
Downtown Mount Holly, NJ

Holiday Movie Screening: Polar Express
December 7, 7PM – 9PM
Bring the whole family to a free screening of the Polar Express at the historic Paramount Theatre. Come early to shop and grab a great meal on the Asbury Park Boardwalk. Make sure you stop by the Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar for all your holiday shopping items. 
Paramount Theatre, 1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ

Washington Township Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 7, 7PM
If you haven’t been to a tree lighting ceremony yet, definitely get to this one. Your littles will love a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a surprise special guest, Christmas caroling, and all of the hot cocoa and cookies they can get their hands on. 
Washington Lake Park Amphitheater; 626 Hurffville Crosskeys Rd, Sewell NJ

Winter Solstice Celebration
December 8, 11AM – 3PM
Celebrate the winter solstice at beautiful Cattus Island County Park, nestled in Toms River. Your littles will love the live animal talks, carriage rides, campfire storytime, a visit from Santa, and the candy cane nature walk.
Cattus Island County Park, 1170 Cattus Island Blvd, Toms River, NJ

Common Sense Brewing’s 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Making Event
December 9, 1PM – 5PM
Common Sense Brewing is hosting their 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Making Event. Bring your own kit or purchase your own from the brewery. Sip your favorite brews while you make gingerbread houses as a family.
102 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown, NJ

Holiday Market at HCCC
December 9, 1PM – 4PM
Your littles will love this holiday market with plenty of fun activities for them to partake in while you shop for great holiday gifts. This event features a magician, face painting, balloon animals, crafts, selfies with Santa, and family ornament making.
HCCC Culinary Conference Center; 161 Newkirk Street, 1st Floor, Jersey City, NJ

Holiday Movie Screening: Elf
December 14, 7PM – 9PM
Bring the whole family to a free screening of Elf at the historic Paramount Theatre. Get to Asbury Park early to shop local businesses for fun finds and goodies. 
Paramount Theatre, 1300 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ

Winter Disney Day
December 15, 10AM – 2PM
Shop creative local vendors selling Disney related items, enjoy face painting, a moon bounce, and Disney vacation planning information. Your family can meet and greet special characters with plenty of opportunities for photos.
Total Turf Experience; 614 Lambs Rd, Pitman, NJ

Winter Wonderland Run
December 15, 12PM
Runners of all ages are invited to the Winter Wonderland Run in Highlands, NJ but costumes are mandatory. Dress up as your favorite holiday characters: Santa, elves, reindeer, the Grinch, ugly sweaters, whatever gets you in the holiday spirit. Following the run the costume contest will decide Best Family, Best Male, Best Female, and Best Child. The event will be collecting toy donations for the Highlands Fire Department Toys For Tots program, and canned goods and non-perishable items for the food pantry. 
Proving Ground, 56 Shrewsbury Avenue, Highlands, NJ

Family Movie Night at the Firehouse
December 15, 6:30PM – 8:30PM
Enjoy a family movie night at the Firehouse, this screening if Paddington 2. Be sure to bring your own chair or blanket, and probably a few snacks. 
Town of Clinton Fire Department – 1 New Street, Clinton, NJ

Family Winter Hike at the NJ Botanical Gardens
December 16, 1PM
Time for a winter hike? This one is an easy, child-friendly hike in the Garden’s woodlands, where you’ll learn a bit about the plants and animals around you in a hike designed to fit the group. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes.
2 Morris Road, Ringwood, NJ

Lights and Carols for a ‘Claus
December 16, 7PM – 8PM
The Lantosca Family invites the community to enjoy their incredible lights display to kick off the holiday season. In addition to the lights and decorations on the front lawn, there will be live music and most importantly Mr. & Mrs. Claus will be visiting all the way from the North Pole. This free event asks that you support Pediatric Services at CentraState Healthcare System by making a donation in person or online
43 Heather Drive, Manalapan, NJ

Pssst! Don’t forget to hashtag #NJMOM and tag @njmom and your little cuties could be featured in our next photo round-up.


About Author

Erika is a yogi, writer, coffee enthusiast, and world traveler. If she's not at the beach or chasing the sunset, she's looking for the best iced coffee she can find and planning her next adventure. Her favorite NJ spots include The Saint, Island Heights, and Lava Java House.