No-Cost Activities to enjoy with the Family

The holidays are already expensive enough, especially in this financially challenging year. We have to save for gifts and decorations, the tree and the food, but money is no reason to forgo fun. Below are many, local activities you won’t want to miss which will help you get into the holiday spirit and will not cost you a penny. 

Northern New Jersey

Dickens Village Holiday Celebration
Ricalton Square and Maplewood Ave, Maplewood NJ
Walk through the beautifully decorated Dickens Village at Ricalton Square. Admire the Christmas lights, write a letter to Santa and drop it in the special mailbox, even visit with him if he’s there. Masks and social distancing rules will be enforced and monitored. TheTree Lighting will be Dec 5th at 4:30pm observable from your car.
Sat. Dec 5th, 12th & 19th from 1pm-3pm
Tues. Dec 15th - Menorah Lighting at 6:15pm

Hope Center Tabernacle Choir
110 Cambridge Ave. Jersey City, NJ
If you like to sing and want to join in caroling through the streets of Jersey City with the Hope Center Tabernacle Choir, then come dressed warmly and join in the melodious fun. Everyone can join - kids must be accompanied by an adult. Sun. Dec 20th from 1pm to 3pm.

Central New Jersey

Barron’s Art Center Model Train Show
582 Rahway Avenue, Woodbridge, NJ
Celebrating this event’s 30th year with even larger village displays and trains running through them, the Barron Arts Center is open for viewing with reservations only. For everyone’s safety, only 10 people at a time will be allowed in, and social distancing and mask wearing will be enforced. Through December 30th (except Christmas Day & Dec.26th). Mon-Fri 11am-4pm Sat/Sun 2pm-4pm.

Christmas Around the World
Montgomery Evangelical Free Church - 246 Belle Mead Griggstown Rd, Montgomery, NJ
Enjoy this special, drive-through event featuring costumes, decorations, and customs from all over the world, all from the comfort of your warm car. Fri. Dec 11th from 5pm to 8pm.

Free Concert at the 43rd Annual Festival of Trees - The Green Planet Band
Environmental Education Center - 190 Lord Stirling Road, Basking Ridge, NJ
Free rock and roll concert celebrating our planet and the trees.Tues. Dec 29th from 2pm to 4pm.

Holiday Harmonies
Red Bank Business District. Monmouth County
Carolers, choirs, brass band, handbell orchestras and other musicians will be stationed at various locations throughout the Red Bank business district. Every Saturday through December 19th from noon - 3pm.

Holiday Time at Palmer Square
40 Nassau Street, Princeton NJ
Soak in the spirit of the holidays, every weekend Dec 1st-20th, from noon to 2pm, carolers and Santa will be strolling through Palmer Square.
Sat./Sun. from Dec 1st-20th, noon to 2pm.

Light Show on the Lake
Historic Smithville, 615 E. Moss Mill Rd
Enjoy the splendor of over 120 Christmas Trees with over 50,000 lights around Lake Meone. This light show is orchestrated to music for your viewing pleasure every Thursday-Sunday in December from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.
Also be amazed by a talking tree show Saturdays Dec. 5th, 12th, 19th from 12pm – 7pm
Sundays December 6th, 13th, 20th from 12pm – 6pm.
Thurs-Sun in December.

Outdoor Christmas Festival
Oasis Christian Centre - 2052 Saint Georges Avenue, Rahway, NJ
Free outdoor festival and tree lighting with games, music, hot cocoa and prizes. Masks and social distancing will be required. The event is by registration only with three time-slots to choose from. Sat. Dec 12th - 4pm-5pm / 6pm-7pm / 8pm-9pm.

Southern New Jersey

Bass Pro Shops - Santa’s Wonderland
30 N Christopher Columbus Blvd. Atlantic City, NJ
Reserve a time to meet with Santa at the Bass Pro Shops. This year kiddos will have a contactless experience but will be able to chat and take a picture with Santa through a plexiglass window. Social distancing and mask wearing is required, and sanitation protocols are enhanced. Arts & Crafts and other activities will also be available. Schedule your visit with this link through December 24th.

Car Menorah Parade
The Chabad Center, 1925 Kresson Rd, Cherry Hill NJ
Outdoor, driving parade to celebrate Chanukah. If you want to participate, you must register in advance. Prep time is at 3:30pm and the parade will start at 4pm with music, fun & cheer. The decorated procession culminates at the giant Menorah lighting at 5pm. Sun. Dec 13th from 3:30pm to 5:30pm.

Christmas Candlelight Celebration
Joy Community Fellowship - 1701 Sycamore Street, Haddon Heights, NJ
Celebrate the birth of Jesus with carols, music, readings, inspiring messages and candle lightings. Registration is required. Tues/Wed Dec. 22nd & 23rd at 7pm.

Drive-Through Live Nativity in Tom’s River
2200 Church Rd, Tom’s River NJ
This Greek Orthodox Church will be performing an outdoor, drive-through live nativity scene for your entertainment and education. Sat/Sun Dec 12th&13th from 5pm to 8pm.

Fleetwood Lights
32 Fleetwood Drive in Rockaway Township, NJ
Private home displaying thousands of colorful holiday lights synchronized to music. This house has been putting on this free show for the last 4 years. Stop by anytime after dusk. Every evening 5pm to 9pm until New Year’s Eve.

Hamilton Christmas Live at GraceWay Bible Church
1934 Klocker Rd, Hamilton NJ
The story of Christmas comes to life as you drive through the designated path. The story takes about 25 minutes, visiting various scenes with wonderful actors and volunteers. Dec. 10,11,12,13,17,18,19,20,26&27 from 5pm to 8:30pm.

Horse and Carriage Rides in Ocean City
6th Street & Asbury Avenue, Ocean City, NJ
Enjoy a relaxing horse-carriage ride, downtown Ocean City. See all the shops and their beautiful decorations to get you in the holiday spirit.
Sat/Sun Dec,12th&13th, Dec 19th&20th from noon to 3pm.

Journey to Bethlehem
Joy Community Fellowship- 1701 Sycamore Street, Haddon Heights, NJ
Experience Jesus’ story from the angels bringing the Good News to the shepherds to discovering the gifts the Wisemen bring to the newborn King. The birth of Christ is brought to life with live animals, fun socially-distanced activities and hot chocolate along the way. Tickets are required and tour groups no more than 10 will leave every 15 minutes. Sat. Dec 12th from 1pm to 3:15pm.

Light Up Nature
1100 Double Trouble Road, Beachwood NJ
Jakes Branch County Park is ready for Christmas. Drive through the Light Up Nature Trail to admire all the twinkling colors. Dec. 19th & 20th, from 6pm to 8pm.

Virtual Santa Claus

Holiday Bingo with Santa via Zoom (virtual event)
Children ages 3-8 are invited to play Bingo with Santa, remotely, from the comfort of their homes. Register ahead of time to receive your Bingo board and the zoom link to the event. Mon. Dec. 14th from 6pm-7pm.

Storytime with Santa
Join Santa through Zoom as he reads some of his favorite stories. Sat. Dec 12th from 11am to 12:30pm.

Remember also to check out your town’s webpage for your annual Tree Lighting and/or Menorah Lighting Celebrations. As with all events, they are subject to last minute changes. Please always double check with the organization before attending.


More holiday activities:
Read Santa Sightings in NJ 
Read Best Drive-Thru Christmas Light Shows NJ
Read Best NJ Holiday Lights 2020
Read Guide to NYC Holiday Lights and Christmas Events 2020
Read Things to Do in PA and Philadelphia for Christmas and the Holidays 2020