Seriously, no “Bah, Humbugs” this year, okay? Get ready to bring on the jolly.
The holidays are back after a year of Covid-caused cancellations. Local events this season span from drive-through light shows to festive markets, visits from Santa, holiday concerts, and art shows. Take a peek at our very own “nice list” of holiday events happening at a chimney near you.
● Christmas Light Show and Village, Skylands Stadium, 94 Championship Place, Augusta, N.J.
Daily in December (closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day), 5 p.m.
Sussex County’s own North Pole is a must-visit destination for families. Take a dazzling mile-long drive through and an enchanting Christmas village full of fun-filled activities including photos with Santa, carnival rides, memory-making photo ops, and much more.
● Orchard of Lights at Demarest Farms, 244 Wierimus Road, Hillsdale, N.J.
Now through Jan. 9
Take a ride amid the shimmering lights at Demarest Farms. The drive-through transects their 32-acre plot. Reserve tickets now; some dates are already sold out.
● “A Christmas Carol,” Cornerstone Playhouse, 74 Main St., Sussex, N.J.
Dec. 3-4, 10-11 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 5 and 12 at 2 p.m.
A delightfully refreshing version of Charles Dickens classic Christmas tale told from a new perspective a young boy’s grandfather. Thomas enjoys spending time at his grandfather’s prominent London business but has trouble understanding why his grandfather would give his hard-earned money to the poor. This gives Grandfather the perfect opportunity to tell the story of Ebenezer Scrooge as he recalls it, and a traditional retelling of A Christmas Carol comes to life onstage as a play-within-a-play. Tickets are $20 and are all reserved seating. Order your tickets at mycptix.com or from Cornerstone Playhouse’s Facebook page. Call 973 702-0687 for more information or visit Cornerstone on Facebook.
● Christmas in the Village, Village of Milton, N.J.
Saturday, Dec. 4, and Sunday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
All free and sponsored by the Jefferson Arts Committee in the historically designated Village of Milton (vicinity of Milton and Dover-Milton Roads), located in the Milton/Oak Ridge section of Jefferson Township. SATURDAY: Stop at the holiday decorated Jefferson Township Museum, 315 Dover-Milton Road, where costumed docents will lead a tour through the c. 1870 Chamberlain home. Walk to St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, 153 Milton Road, for live entertainment and throughout the day, food from the church kitchen, merchandise and craft vendors. The annual Gingerbread House Contest in will be held at Headley Hall, Milton United Methodist Church, 316 Dover-Milton Road. The Jefferson Township Fire Company No. 1’s firehouse, 162 Milton Road, will be transformed into The Village Marketplace, including a carol sing and martial arts and woodcarving demonstrations, plus chili, hot dogs, chicken fingers, donuts, and refreshments from their kitchen. At Jefferson Township High School auditorium, 1010 Weldon Road, is a unified district band concert featuring the White Rock School Band, the Arthur Stanlick School Band, Jefferson Township High School’s Symphonic Band, the Jefferson Township Middle School Band, and the Jefferson Township Community Band under the direction of Peter Tummillo, Jr. will perform their annual holiday concert and would appreciate a free will offering. At Camp Jefferson, 81 Weldon Road, is the Jefferson Township Recreation Department’s Visit with Santa, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The American Legion Post #423 will be selling live Christmas trees in the parking lot of their post home located at 28 Legion Road, just a short walk or drive down the street the entire weekend. SUNDAY: Tours continue at Jefferson Township Museum and Miss Elizabeth’s Shoppe. Jefferson CONNECT will host its annual “Light a Luminary for Remembrance” for those affected by suicide and loved ones lost at the Jefferson Township Gazebo, 1033 Weldon Road at 4:30 p.m. Watch for performance schedules, updates and announcements on jeffersonarts.org and mylakenews.com.
● EHR’s Winter Wonderland Holiday Bazaar & Shopping Event, Sussex County Fairgrounds, 37 Plains Road Augusta, N.J.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.‑4 p.m.
A great winter marketplace to find unique holiday gifts with more than 60 vendors for shopping, two food trucks, photos with Santa, and dog and cat adoptions. Admission is $5 per person, $10 per family, with payment at the door.
● Craft Show at the Sussex County Farmers Market, 37 Plains Road Augusta, N.J.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.‑3 p.m.
Holiday shop for that special someone, or just for yourself. Some of the goodies you’ll find: Santa Gnomes, recycled mittens, needlework, candles, soaps, aroma therapy, and garden art. For more information check the Sussex County Farmers Market Facebook page.
● Live music by The Harrisons at Angry Erik Brewing, 2 Camre Drive, Hampton Township, N.J.
Saturday, Dec. 11
Spend a fine December night with some live music and beer at Angry Erik’s. Don’t miss out on the holiday cheer and drinks!
● Hopatcong Marketplace Holiday Market, DPW Lot at Hopatcong Marketplace, 47 Hopatchung Road, Hopatcong, N.J.
Sunday, Dec. 12, 11 a.m.‑3 p.m.
Take some time out of your day for some last-minute holiday shopping at Hopatcong Marketplace’ final market of the year.
● Las Posadas & Living Nativity, Our Lady of Fatima Parish, 184 Breakneck Rd, Highland Lakes, N.J.
Sunday, Dec. 12, all day
Snow/rain date is Sunday, Dec. 19. Visit manger and live animals beginning at 9 a.m., then join Joseph and Mary as they search for shelter in Bethlehem at 4 p.m. in the parking lot. Family friendly outdoor presentation, live animals, Christmas tree lighting, music and carols, holiday snacks and treats, A special visit from Santa with goodie bags for kids.
● A Festival of Lessons and Carols, St Francis de Sales Church, 614 County Rd 517, Vernon, N.J.
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 7 p.m.
The evening will feature short readings from Genesis, the prophets and the Gospels. Scripture is combined with singing Christmas songs and carols. Light refreshments will be served following the service in the Social Hall.
● The Music of Christmas, Sparta United Methodist Church, 71 Sparta Avenue, Sparta, N.J.
Saturday, Dec. 18, at 4 p.m.
A special evening of holiday memories featuring the ensembles, musicians, and friends of Sparta UMC. From “Peanuts” to a carol sing-along, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Free. Web: spartaumc.org.
● Breakfast with Santa, Harmony Banquet Facilities, 519 U.S. 206, Newton, N.J.
Sunday, Dec. 19, 9 a.m.‑12 p.m.
Calling all folks, naughty or nice, to meet the big guy in red. Enjoy a delicious breakfast, and then capture a picture of the kids with Santa. $10 per person, kids two years and younger are free. Payment at the door via cash or credit card. Bring a canned food item for donation to the Waterloo Village United Methodist Church Food Pantry.
● Calling Back the Sun, A Winter Solstice Celebration, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Sussex County, 1 West Nelson St., Newton, N.J.
Thursday, Dec. 23, 4:30‑5:30 p.m.
An hour-long program of stories, reading, candle-lighting and music, followed by light refreshments. All are welcome. Led by Rev. Mary Tiebout. Proof of vaccination and a mask are required.
● Free “Pick-Up” Christmas Day Dinner, Wantage United Methodist Church, 199 Libertyville Road, Wantage, N.J.
Saturday, Dec. 25, 3‑4:30 p.m.
Free Christmas Day dinner hosted by Wantage United Methodist Church. Dinner will consist of a full turkey dinner or lasagna. Dessert is included. State which dinner you would like when you make your reservation, which can be made by calling Melissa at 973-997-1822. Leave your name, phone number, and how many dinners (limit: 6 per caller/family) you are requesting. Reservations must be made by Dec. 13.
● Winter Fest at Angry Erik Brewing, 2 Camre Drive, Hampton Township, N.J.
Sunday, Dec. 26
Celebrate the Winter Solstice with Angry Erik. For more details leading up to the event, check angryerikbrewing.com.
● Peace, Love & Lights at Bethel Woods, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, 200 Hurd Road, Bethel, N.Y.
Every night until Jan. 2
The nearly two-mile long drive-through light show is a must see. Also includes a Holiday Hub to enjoy some warm refreshments. Reserve your ticket today on their website: BethelWoodsCenter.org/Lights.
● Holiday Cheer with Take3 Piano Trio, livestream
Saturday, Dec. 11, at 5:30 p.m.
A super-charged, genre-defying ensemble brings the refinement of a rigorous classical music background and infuses it with rock-star charisma. Hear an uplifting selection of Christmas carols, holiday favorites and other songs performed their own unique way, along with some intriguing inside stories from the violinist, Lindsey Deutsch. Free livestream at kindredspiritsarts.org or the Kindred Spirts Arts Facebook page or YouTube channel.
● Breakfast with Santa, Mrs. Claus & their Elves, Milford American Legion Post 139, Milford Road & Chistian Hill Road, Milford, PA
Sunday, Dec. 12, 8 a.m.‑12 p.m.
Milford American Legion Post 139 presents breakfast with all of the famous Christmas characters. For one breakfast only, eat and craft with the big man himself!
● Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Milford United Methodist Church, 206 East Ann St., Milford, PA
Sunday, Dec. 12, 3‑5 p.m.
Celebrate with the Delaware Valley Choral Society for its first live performance since the Covid lockdown. Guest artists and groups will join the Delaware Valley Choral Society including renowned organist Craig Williams and the Dingman-Delaware Children’s Choir directed by Brian Krauss. Admission to the festival is free and open to the public. Any donations are welcome to support guest artists.
● Bartenders/Legion Christmas Party, Milford American Legion Post 139, Milford Road & Chistian Hill Road, Milford, PA
Saturday, Dec. 18, 3 p.m.
Food, fun, friends and more. Open mic and karaoke at 8 p.m.
● Watt Christmas Wonderland, 310 Scotchtown Road, Goshen, N.Y.
Daily through Dec. 27
A local Christmas staple, this drive-through light show began over 30 years ago. $5 per car.
● Holiday Lights in Bloom, Orange County Arboretum, Thomas Bull Memorial Park, Route 416, Montgomery N.Y.
Daily through Dec. 26 (closed Dec. 24 and 25)
Walk through a gorgeously decorated garden themed light display. Free.
● Warwick Home for the Holidays, Main Street and Railroad Avenue, Warwick, N.Y.
Every weekend in December from 11 a.m.‑4 p.m.
Free horse and buggy rides (weather permitting). Santa will make an appearance on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 12-2 p.m. Last day of the event is Sunday, Dec. 19. For more information visit the Facebook page: Warwick Home for the Holidays.
● Gingerbread House Party at Pennings Farm, Pennings Farm, 161 NY-94, Warwick, N.Y.
Two Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 11-12, 18-19
Get creative with this classic holiday event. There are three workshops each day. Purchase tickets at penningsfarmmarket.com. Santa may be making an appearance.
● The Lake Street Marketplace, 13 Lake St. Monroe, N.Y.
Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in December
Check out the newest kid on the block. Shop locally at this hub of more than 20 businesses. A cookie-decorating event with Santa will be held on Saturday, Dec. 11.
● Sugar Loaf’s Holiday Festival, Kings Highway, Sugar Loaf, N.Y.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m.
Festivities include meeting Santa, a tree lighting, horse and carriage rides, Christmas caroling, holiday shopping, a scavenger hunt, and much more.
● Merry Monroe Holiday Window Painting Contest, Downtown Monroe, Monroe, N.Y.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
To be assigned a window, go to signupgenius.com and search firstname.lastname@example.org. Paint and supplies will be provided. Judging will take place at 3 p.m. Prizes donated by local businesses will be awarded to the top three window designs.
● Village of Monroe Winter Festival, Lake Street between ponds, Monroe, N.Y.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 2‑5 p.m.
Visit from Santa, hayride, hot chocolate, and cookies.
● M’Lanie Hunter Dance Presents the Nutcracker, Sugarloaf Performing Arts Center, 1351 Kings Highway, Sugar Loaf, N.Y.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Watch the beloved Christmas ballet just in time for the holidays. Tickets are $25.
● Operation Toy Train Returns to Warwick and Sugar Loaf, N.Y.
Sunday, Dec. 12, 9:30‑11 a.m.
Santa is coming to town‑by train! Every year since 2009 (except for 2020), special trains have operated on the first two weekends of December in northern New Jersey and southern New York to collect donated toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation.The train stops at 25 locations where members of the public can drop off toys, meet Santa Claus, view a variety of working railroad equipment, and meet members of the Marine Corps and the Operation Toy Train program. Warwick: arrives 9:30 a.m. departs 10 a.m. Kuiken Brothers parking lot 33, South Street. Sugar Loaf: arrives 10:15 a.m., departs 10:55 a.m.
● Drowned Lands Crafts Holiday Market, 51 State School Road, Warwick, N.Y.
Sunday, Dec. 12, 12‑6 p.m.
Local artisans, live music, and winter cocktails.
● Drive-Thru Cocoa & Cookies with Santa, Golden Hill Elementary School, 78 Round Hill Road, Florida, N.Y.
Saturday, Dec. 18. 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
To RSVP and select a time slot, use this link: tinyurl.com/95pcac9x.
● Santa at the Pine Island Tap House, 682 CR-1, Pine Island, N.Y.
Saturday, Dec. 18, 2-5 p.m.
Santa’s stopping by for one day only at the Pine Island Tap House. Tell him what you want this Christmas before it’s too late!
● Evening reception for the Holiday Open House at Skylands Manor, New Jersey Botanical Gardens, 2 Morris Road, Ringwood, N.J.
Saturday, Dec. 4, 6-8 p.m.
The Manor will be yours for a leisurely stroll with wine, light refreshments and valet parking. Reservations required. $45/members; $50/guests and non-members. Individual, senior, and student members may buy 1 ticket for any evening at the special member price. Family and other member categories may buy 2 tickets at the special member price. Tickets available at 973-962-9534 and online at njbg.org.
● Story Time with Santa, Camp Hope, 1792 Union Valley Road, West Milford, N.J.
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 1-3 p.m.
Join Santa for sweet treats and hot chocolate while he reads a Christmas story. Photo ops with Santa by a roaring fire. Stay to watch a favorte children’s holiday movie. RSVP by calling 728-8166 or 551-204-7162.