The holidays are here and it’s time to fill your family’s calendar with lots of fun and festive events here in the New Jersey area. Look through this list, plan a few outings and get into the holly jolly spirit with your little ones.
1.) Winnie the Pooh Christmas Carol at Monmouth University—Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 2 p.m. Monday, December 7, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. This affordable, family-friendly show is a great way to expose your children to live theatre in an intimate setting. The Pollak Theatre is not overwhelming in size which makes it the perfect place to bring very small children. We took our girls when they were two-years-old and they were mesmerized by Winnie the Pooh and all of his friends from the Hundred Acre Woods. The shows are scheduled to run the first weekend of December.
2.) Manasquan Chamber of Commerce— All of the holiday events will take place in the business district on Main Street. Walking through the streets of downtown Manasquan with all of the storefronts decorated for the holidays really gets you into the Christmas spirit. Of course, it’s not New York City, but it’s a lot closer and less congested, too. For those with very young children, spending the day in Manasquan during the month of December is a great way to enjoy the season without dealing with large crowds.
3.) Downtown Red Bank-–There are many holiday happenings to choose from in Reed Bank this year. If your family enjoys gingerbread houses, take the family for a stroll through the business district for the Red Bank Gingerbread Walk through December 22. There will be many professionally decorated gingerbread creations in the windows of participating businesses. The town will also have Classic Horse and Carriage Rides on Saturdays in December. The rides will be held from 1-5 PM. Guests can get a ride from the Bridge Avenue location (across from The Galleria) and 26 Broad Street which is outside Murphy Style Grill. This is a free event. My husband and daughters took this ride last year and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We cuddled up underneath a blanket and listened to the holiday tunes as we traveled throughout the streets of Red Bank. The kids also loved waving to all of the people as they passed by; they thought they were celebrities! This is one event not to be missed! Pictures with Santa are also available at The Galleria (2 Bridge Ave.) from 12-4 PM. For more information, visit www.thegalleriaredbank.com.
4.) Smithville—This charming shopping village is located in the southern part of the state, not far from Atlantic City. Every weekend in December will feature a Christmas train ride throughout the village, a magical talking tree to delight the children, and story time with Mrs. Claus in her Christmas cottage from 1:30-4:30 PM. Not to be missed is the “Light Show on the Lake” which will be from 5:30-8:30 PM every Thursday-Sunday through January 2. 100 Christmas trees will magically float on Lake Meone while guests listen to holiday music. My family usually makes an annual fall trip to Smithville, but this year we are going to take a ride down the parkway during the Christmas season. We are looking forward to seeing all of the lights floating on the lake. For more information, visit www.smithvillenj.com.
5.) Allaire Village—Allaire Village will present the classic tale “A Christmas Carol” on December 10 and 17. There will also be Holiday Lantern Tours held on December 11 and 18. The popular candlelight tours offer visitors a look at the historic village at night as authentically-clad museum interpreters lead groups through the lantern-lit streets of the village decorated for the Christmas season. Santa Claus will also be available for train rides on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the month of December. Kids and family members can ride the train for $5 which is a great bargain. The train runs every half hour. My family and I have taken this Santa train ride the last two years and it was definitely an enjoyable experience for everyone. What’s great is that Santa really takes the time to speak with each of the children and ask them what they would like for Christmas. For more information, visit www.allairevillage.org.
6.) Storybook Land—Located in Egg Harbor Township, this amusement park offers lots of rides and attractions. During the month of December, the park is turned into a winter wonderland with Santa and Mrs. Claus available to meet and greet your little ones. After the sun sets, the theme of the park is “Fantasy with Lights.” This beautiful outdoor display is Southern New Jersey’s Christmas tradition. For more information, visit www.storybookland.com.
7.) Ocean Grove—On December 11, check out the Ocean Grove Victorian Holiday Festival House and Inn Tour. This is a special two day holiday event of houses and inns around Ocean Grove. For more information, call 732-774-1391.
8.) Scrooge in Spring Lake—This classic Christmas tale tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. The show goes on at The Spring Lake Theatre on Madison Avenue in Spring Lake. Performances are scheduled for December 11 at 2:00 and 8:00 PM. For more information, please call 732-449-4530.
9.) First Night in Ocean County at Seaside Heights—Start the new year off right with a big celebration on Friday, December 31 from 12-5 PM. This is a great way for families to ring in 2011 together in a safe and family-friendly atmosphere. Local businesses will line the boardwalk with lots of fames, crafts, and activities. As an added bonus, there will be fireworks at dusk.
Before your holiday calendar fills up, take the time to plan one or two of these activities which may become annual traditions in your family.