Christmas may be over, but there’s still a reason to celebrate—New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. While the kids enjoy some much-needed time off from school, make your break more fun by heading to a festive light show and spending time admiring lights by the firepit, renting out a theater for your very own movie night, or catching a virtual NYE performance in your living room.
Keep the holiday spirit alive with a light show
Light shows are a festive, fun outdoor experience you can’t miss. And if you haven’t gone to one of the best light shows in NJ yet, you still can catch one or two this week (some even last through January). And with COVID safety in mind, there are a few drive-through Christmas lights not to be missed. Either way, your kids won’t stop talking about the colors, designs, and festive feelings you get from being immersed in a wonderland of lights. Travel by car through over two million lights at the Christmas Light Show & Village in Skylands Stadium, or gather by an open fire to watch the lake light up at Light Show on the Lake in Historic Smithville.
Take a spin on the ice skating rink
Whether you’re a beginner or expert skater, ice skating is a fun workout and bonding experience with the fam. Check out one of these NJ ice rinks that are limiting capacity and practicing social distancing. Some rinks even have fun extras, like the ice bumper cars at Ocean Ice Palace or the reservation-only Friday night Ice Jam parties at Skylands Ice World.
See a private movie with your quarantine crew
Here’s a way to get out of the house while still staying inside your social distance bubble–rent out a movie theater near you. Watch the family’s favorite holiday movies like Elf and The Polar Express while sharing some classic buttery popcorn, delicious ICEEs, and candy. You can also take comfort in knowing theaters like AMC Theaters and Cinemark Theaters are taking every guest’s safety seriously by deep cleaning and requiring masks.
Step out on a First Day Hike
Even though formal First Day Hikes, which are guided hikes in state parks and other historical sights, are put on hold, you and your family can still have an adventure of your own. Marvel at the nature around you, look at how the snow frames the trees, and see what kinds of animals you can spot, all while getting your heart rate up. Look at this guide for the trail nearest you—head to Liberty State Park for a glimpse of New York City landmarks, or tackle one of the nine trails at Hacklebarney State Park.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve with an all-night virtual party
Even if you can’t go to a New Year’s Eve party right now, you can still ring in the year in style at home. Crack open the laptop and gather ’round it with your whole crew—First Night Morris County celebrates arts and culture and has many family-friendly performances to watch throughout the night. Get ready for a lineup of comedians, singers, storytellers, musicians, and then toast with the virtual fireworks display at midnight.
December 31st at 5:40 PM
$15-35 per ticket, depending on package
First Night Morris County
See an old friend in a new version
This virtual production of Frosty the Snowman: An MMT Original Film is based on the classic childhood story that comes to life, but with an exciting twist. Frosty and all of his friends travel to the North Pole to make sure he doesn’t melt, but they come face to face with the infamous Jack Frost, who wants to foil their plans. The best part? You can watch it anytime and anywhere you like—have plenty of hot cocoa and get snuggly on the couch when you tune into this special performance.
December 31st and January 1st from 12 AM – 11:59 PM
$25 per ticket
Music Mountain Theatre
Browse an affordable art show
The Very Affordable Art Show was created to spotlight smaller artists at affordable prices. Gather inspiration for boosting your art cred, family craft ideas, freshening up your decor, or just spend a socially distanced day in Jersey City. Works include paintings, sculptures, handmade objects, and more that won’t exceed your budget.
January 2nd and 3rd, from 12 PM – 5 PM
Art House Productions
262 17th Street
Watch a classic come alive in a contemporary way
Recorded live at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is a modern dance number set to the original, timeless music of The Nutcracker. Follow the characters you know and love as they go into the land of sweets, but with modern additions to incorporate the sights and sounds of contemporary New York City. Grab some popcorn and hot chocolate, and get ready to watch this energizing and remixed version of a classic.
December 31st from 3 PM – 4:30 PM and 7 PM – 8:30 PM, January 1st from 2 PM – 3:30 PM and 7 PM – 8:30 PM, January 2nd from 2 PM – 3:30 PM and 8 PM – 9:30 PM, and January 3rd from 2 PM – 3:30 PM, 3 PM – 4:30 PM, and 7 PM – 8:30 PM
$25 per ticket
New Jersey Performing Arts Center