It’s the week before Thanksgiving, mamas, and even though the official holiday season kicks off right after, there’s plenty of family fun to celebrate the holidays early this week. Start the Santa season and listen to festive performances from your car at the Big Santa Drive-in Lighting Event in Paramus, find gifts for everyone on your list at the 40th Annual Granny’s Attic Craft Show in Holmdel, or get in the festive spirit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at the November Vendor Fair in Middletown.
Featured photo via @gsplaza
South Orange Open-Air Holiday Market
Thursday, November 19, 4PM – 8PM
Bundle up the kids and head to this outdoor holiday market to pick up unique gifts. Featuring 25 local retailers and artisans, you can find something for everyone on your list while listening to festive holiday music and eyeing holiday treats to bring home. Masks are required.
Sloan Street Parking Lot
Big Santa Drive-in Lighting Event
November 20, 5PM – 7PM
Pile the whole family in the car and head over to the Westfield Garden State Plaza to celebrate the decades-old tradition of the larger-than-life, iconic Santa perched atop a chimney during the holiday season. Watch the lighting and performances from Broadway stars and BergenPAC artists who will be singing holiday classics along with special appearances by The Grinch and Mrs. Claus. They’ll be food trucks for refreshments and a swag bag filled with a mall gift card and other treats— all culminating in a jolly good night kicking off the holiday season.
Purchase tickets in advance, $20 per car includes a gift bag
Westfield Garden State Plaza
1 Garden State Plaza
40th Annual Granny’s Attic Craft Show
November 21, 8AM – 5PM
Looking for those special gifts you can’t find in a big box store? Head to this event, which has been a holiday tradition in Monmouth County for 40 years. The location has changed this year to outside to offer safe shopping (masks are required), and you can still find all the favorites of this popular market, from vendors featuring candles, children’s items, artwork, ornaments, and handcrafted goodies that make unique and special gifts.
Bell Works Parking Lot
101 Crawfords Corner Road
Springfield Avenue Open Air Market
November 21, 10AM – 2PM
It’s never too early to start holiday shopping—take the whole fam to Maplewood and spend the day perusing local makers, artists, and stores. Kids can “chalk the walk” and listen to live music while you pick up treats and gifts.
General Store Cooperative and Springfield Avenue Partnership
1866 Springfield Avenue
Astro Fest with Astronaut Mae Jemison
November 21, 10AM – 5PM
Got kids who love space? Learn about galaxies far away and talk to a real astronaut at this all-day virtual event from the Newark Museum. Events feature a space story, a virtual planetarium show, a meeting with astronaut Mae Jamison, a tour of the USS Intrepid, and a live performance by The Chromatics, a band with a mission to delight audiences with songs about technology, science, and astronomy.
Free registration for each session required
Our Day of Thanks: A 19th Century Thanksgiving
November 21, 11AM – 4PM
Celebrate Thanksgiving early and teach the kids history at the same time when you visit this 19th-century village. Head to the village green for a special day of Thanksgiving-themed events, including craft demonstrations from the Blacksmith, Tinsmith, and Carpentry artisans. After, watch and learn about cooking before electricity at the Mansion. There will be activities for kids and their parents and ways to “give thanks” throughout the day.
$5-$7 buy tickets in advance
The Historical Village at Allaire
4263 Atlantic Avenue
November Vendor Fair
November 22, 1PM – 4PM
Get in the festive spirit and pick up a few gifts in the meantime at this outdoor fair with a bunch of kid activities and photo ops for the family pet. There will be ornament making, a make your own mask station, and rumor has it that Mr. and Mrs. Claus are making an appearance too.
$5 per person, pets welcome
Middletown Sports Complex
214 Harmony Road