There is something ever so magical that rings out throughout the month of December. Lights decorate houses and line town streets, holiday decorations adorn storefront windows and carols can be heard in the crisp night air. People’s spirits twinkle as bright as the lights they hang from their trees and as they celebrate the season with traditions passed down among generations, town communities fill calendars with events to keep the season merry and bright.
MAKE YOUR OWN WREATH
An Evergreen Holiday Wreath Workshop will be held Friday, Dec. 7 from 7 to 9 p.m., in the program room at Jakes Branch County Park in Beachwood. From 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, Wednesday, Dec. 12, and Friday, Dec. 14 in the program room at Cooper Environmental Center at Cattus Island County Park, Toms River.
During each workshop, make your own homemade wreath with evergreens cut from Ocean County parks, wire and wreath frame, which are all provided. Don’t forget to bring your own hand pruners and gloves.
For a $12 fee take home a beautiful custom-made wreath as the holiday season and the scent of evergreens certainly pair perfectly. For more information, visit oceancountyparks.org.
THE HISTORIC VILLAGE AT ALLAIRE
Kick off the holiday season at The Historic Village at Allaire State Park in Wall Township with a bright and merry Christmas Lantern Tour and learn more about what Christmas was all about in 1836.
From Dec. 7 through 21, tours leave every 15 minutes from 5 – 8 p.m. on select nights. Whether you take part in the tour each season or you’re deciding to start a new tradition, you’re sure to enjoy the 90-minute walking tour of the lantern-lit village filled with music, history, plus a little theater.
Also take part in the magic of the season during “Christmas at Allaire,” which will take place Dec. 9 and 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m..
Allaire invites guests to celebrate the joys of Christmas past and all things Early American Christmas such as hearth cooking, singing, dancing, wagon rides and good old St. Nicholas.
The day will be full of interactive programs for visitors to enjoy. For more information about both events and ticket purchases, visit allairevillage.org.
CHRISTMAS AT THE MUSEUM
The Brick Township Historical Society will sponsor a Christmas Celebration with the theme “Winter Wonderland” at the Havens Homestead Museum in Brick.
On Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, from 3 to 7 p.m., dive into the museum’s festive atmosphere while enjoying entertainment and refreshments.
There will also be specials in the Lizzie Herbert Gift Shop and all buildings on the property will be open. Tickets can be purchased upon arrival and are $5 each for adults while children under 12 and first responders are free. For more information, visit bricktwphistoricalsociety.com.
CHRISTMAS IN SEASIDE HEIGHTS
Brighten the night in Seaside Heights on Friday, Dec. 7, during the town’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Beginning at 5 p.m. in the courtyard in front of Borough Hall, festivities will include the tree lighting, light refreshments and, of course, a very special visit by Santa Claus. For more information, visit exit82.com.
BREAKFAST WITH SANTA AND SENSATIONAL SOUL CRUISERS HOLIDAY SHOW
iPlay America, in Freehold Township, will be hosting the fourth annual Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 9.
Beginning at 9:30 a.m., guests can enjoy a hot breakfast buffet, which includes an omelet station, assorted breakfast breads, pancakes, yogurt and granola, fresh fruit and more.
During breakfast, Santa will be walking around visiting with guests while Miss Sheri performs live. Don’t forget to get a professional quality photo of your family with Santa Claus.
iPlay America is also inviting guests to celebrate the season with the Sensational Soul Cruisers Holiday Show.
Doors open at 4 p.m. for the Holiday Dinner Show with a buffet dinner that includes coffee and dessert and the show will start at 5:30 p.m.
For tickets and more information on each event, visit iplayamerica.com.
VICTORIAN HOLIDAY FESTIVAL
The Ocean Grove Area Chamber of Commerce invites everyone to join them for a magical holiday season. The annual Victorian Holiday Festival House and Inn Tour will take place on Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday, Dec. 9.
From 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. the town’s inns, homes and tents will be open to tour and there will be a complimentary jitney service to shuttle patrons around town.
Head to the Great Auditorium at 5 p.m. and join the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association and the greater Ocean Grove community for a live Nativity. End the night in Auditorium Square Park at 6 p.m. for the Christmas Tree Lighting and Community Sing-a-Long.
Start Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Ladies Auxiliary Boutique in the OGCMA Community Room, which will be open until 2 p.m. From 12 – 3 p.m. the inn tours will continue, but homes will not be included.
Other activities include exhibits at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove and the Ladies Auxiliary Christmas Boutique. As always the beautiful downtown will be bustling and decorated for everyone’s holiday enjoyment.
Tours begin at the chamber office at 81 Main Ave. and are self-guided. For tickets and more information, visit oceangrovenj.com.
HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR AND CHRISTMAS TRAIN DISPLAY
Garden State Central Model Railroad Club and the InfoAge Science Center, in Wall, present the annual Holiday Train Show with operating layouts, displays and photos with Santa.
Take part in the fun from noon until 5 p.m. on Dec. 8, 9, 15, 16 and 22. Donations of $7 for adults and $3 for kids will be accepted as admission.
On Saturday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, adults who bring a new, unwrapped toy to benefit Toys for Tots will receive free admission.
For more information, visit gardenstatecentral.com.
HOLIDAY LIGHT SHOW
The Sisti Family Christmas Lights, 300 Pitney Ave., Spring Lake, is on display daily from 5 – 11 p.m. with 24,000 Christmas lights that are half synced to music. For the full experience tune to 103.9FM WBEN to listen to holiday music that’s paired with the light show. Check out The Sisti Family Christmas Lights Facebook page for any updates.
Johnny’s Hazlet Holiday Light Extravaganza, 3 Bauer Ave., Hazlet, will display lights at dusk each night during the month of December. Stay up to date on visits from Santa and more during the light show by following Johnny’s Hazlet Holiday Light Extravaganza on Facebook.
Free photos with Santa will take place on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 2 to 4:30 p.m., at Jenkinson’s South Arcade and those in attendance can enjoy half-price arcade play all day long with use of a playcard.
Take in Jenkinson’s “Sea of Lights,” an indoor holiday lights spectacular, that will be lighting up the Aquarium and Pavilion on Dec. 14, 15, 21, 22 and 26-28 from 6 – 9 p.m. Take part in Winter Wonderland, games, photos with Santa Claus and friends, treats, crafts, holiday gifts and more.
For more information, visit jenkinsons.com/events.
HOLIDAY IN THE PARK
Six Flags Holiday in the Park returns to the amusement park in Jackson on select days until Jan. 1. The park transforms into an enchanting winter wonderland full of interactive holiday activities and attractions only available during this time to help capture the holiday spirit.
Holiday Magic: A Celebration of the Season in which guests can enjoy the glittering holiday magic with shows beginning daily at 5 p.m. Every 30 minutes the massive, 52-foot tree comes alive through dancing lights and festive music.
Additional Holiday Attractions for 2018 include Holiday Craze Mirror Maze, Merry Marketplace, Wonder: A Cirque Spectacular, Merry Goats, Snow Queen, Santa’s House, The Elf Who Saved Christmas, Peppermint Path and more.
Special treats and unique food are on the menu for Holiday in the Park so make your own s’mores, try a traditional holiday meal or grab a Christmas-inspired funnel cake.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit sixflags.com.
CHRISTMAS AT THE HISTORIC LONGSTREET FARM
Celebrate the holiday spirit at the Historic Longstreet Farm in Holmdel with free and festive events.
Christmas Candy Making demonstration will take place on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 1 – 3 p.m. Brandy McCann will be demonstrating the art of candy making, creating tasty chocolate delicacies and other sweet treats from the 1890s Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
Continue the fun on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 1 – 3 p.m., with The Sounds of Christmas and celebrate the holidays visiting the beautiful Longstreet farmhouse. Enjoy the welcoming warmth of this historic home with the backdrop of wistful music as Larry Moser and Mary Nagin play Christmas carols on the hammered dulcimer and fiddle.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, from 1 – 3 p.m., enjoy a Christmas Sing-Along as Rick Garland plays the piano in the Longstreet farmhouse.
On Saturday, Dec. 22, and Sunday, Dec. 23, at noon, don’t miss a Visit with Santa. Guests can enjoy an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas where children can visit with Santa and then take a walk to the farmhouse and have a cup of hot cider. Don’t forget your camera!
For more information, visit monmouthcountyparks.com or the Historic Longstreet Farm Facebook page.