30 Free Events for New Jersey Kids in December

In a month where your wallet is bleeding dry, wouldn’t it be nice to fill your December calendar with free activities? You can!

Inaugurate the holidays at events that don’t cost a penny, such as the Hoboken Christmas Tree Lighting, Seaside Heights Christmas Tree Lighting, and Red Bank Menorah Lighting. Visit Santa for free at Bass Pro Shop’s Free Photos with Santa, Santa’s Family Workshop at Cape May Zoo, and Ridgewood’s Santa in the Park. And keep the kids busy over winter break at free activities like New Year’s Party for Families and Winter Wonderland Dance Camp.

Read on for this month's picks, and don't forget to check out our Event Calendar and December GoList for more free and low-cost fun.

20 Free Things to Do This Holiday Season with LI Kids

If your wallet is feeling the pinch from endless holiday spending (and, seriously, whose isn’t?) there are still plenty of things you can do with your family that won't cost you a thing.

From Christmas tree and menorah lightings to visits with Santa and holiday light displays, we’ve put together a list of our favorite FREE events that will keep your family entertained and you able to afford those last-minute gifts.

To find even more things to do, check out our guide to holiday fun on Long Island and our December GoList.

As always, happy holidays.

Rockets and Drones: Helping Your LA Kid Reach for the Stars

Even in sunny-and-seventy SoCal, motivating kids to put down devices and enjoy the great outdoors can be nigh on impossible. One thing that might lure them out is blasting rockets into space, or sending drones on a flight mission. Becoming a mini-pilot or mission control specialist is less complicated than you might think, once you've figured out where to fly without upsetting local law enforcement. We've collected all the info you need below to get on a flight path. Getting airborne is not as pricey as it once was, and best of all? Rockets and drones can inspire budding engineers to extend their STEM wings.

Silver Lights Festival Adds Sparkle to the Season

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, gorillas swung from trees, playful penguins surrounded an igloo, and a seal put on a rooftop show. Technically, the time is now, the land is the not-so-distant city of Meriden, and the adorable creatures are more than 300 characters featured during the Festival of Lights. This annual and very family-friendly holiday lights event in the New Haven area is not to be missed due to its charm, great photo opportunities, and affordable price tag (umm, it's free!). 

12 Hotels Around the World That Will Blow Your Kids' Minds

When planning a family getaway, where you stay can easily be as exciting as the vacation destination. Amazing hotel suites, bungalows, and villas abound, offering one-of-a-kind experiences for kids and families—they may even end up becoming the main attraction!

We've rounded up 11 splurge-worthy options from across the globe—and one more that's coming soon. These rooms are designed to spark imaginations and ignite adventure for kids of all ages, with plenty to offer for mom and dad, too. For more travel ideas, check out our Family Travel Guide.

Long Island Homes with Spectacular Holiday Light Displays for 2017

Entertaining the family during the holidays can be expensive, of course. Want an inexpensive option? Travel with the family to view some of Long Island's most-decorated holiday homes.

Chances are, wherever you are on Long Island -- from Port Washington to Port Jefferson -- you'll find neighbors going all out to show off their decorating skills. These nifty displays include lights, Nativity scenes, Santas, reindeer, misfit toys, and other beloved seasonal symbols.

We’ve traveled across Nassau and Suffolk to see what’s shining on local lawns, documenting for you our favorites for 2017. So get the family going, put the snacks in a sack, and be ready for some holiday music. Yes, some of these destinations offer seasonal tunes to get you and yours into the spirit. It's still early in the decorating season, so come back often to see what has been added to our gallery.

As we remind you every year, these are all private homes. While owners expect sightseers, don't touch any displays or enter private property. Also, try to not get too noisy: Almost all of these homes are located on residential streets. And perhaps bring items or money for donation, as some homes to collect for charity.

If holiday lights are your thing, check out these other spectacular LI displays. And for more seasonal fun, see our December GoList and Guide to Holiday Fun on Long Island, where you'll find information on brunches and pictures with Santa, holiday performances, and more.

The Most Spectacular Holiday Light Displays in NYC

Every year it seems holiday light installations in New York City get more elaborate, making a visit to the top displays a must-do seasonal activity. These days there are even tour buses that will take you to some of the neighborhoods decked out for the season.

We've rounded up some of the best holiday displays in NYC. Some of these attractions are in the more far-flung stretches of the city such as Pelham Gardens in the Bronx, Dyker Heights in Brooklyn and Jamaica Estates in Queens, and one spot on Staten Island. All are definitely worth the trip. We can vouch for it!

So start your own holiday tradition this year by checking out these spectacular sights when dusk hits. Find more seasonal fun, including more holiday lights, such as Midtown's holiday store windows, in our NYC Holiday Fun Guide.

December GoList: The Best Things To Do in Westchester with Kids

The holiday season is so hectic, it’s easy to get caught up in the tasks of the season at the expense of the enjoyment. Luckily, there are many festivities in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, so be sure to clear some time to savor the magic, the splendor and the thrill that families can enjoy together. 

So far, we've told you where to go for holiday tree-lighting celebrations, where to catch a live holiday performance and where to have breakfast with Santa. Our Event Calendar is positively bursting with activities for kids every day of the week.

Our top picks for the month include holiday highlights as well as a diverse assortment of other fun activities. For even more great options, be sure to peruse our Holiday Fun Guide, full of yet more ideas to help you get the most out of the holidays with kids. Also, sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on all kinds of fun—holiday and otherwise!

Quaint and Quirky Holiday Celebrations for New Jersey Families

We all have our favorite family holiday traditions, whether it’s viewing an annual light display, cutting down a fresh Christmas tree, or having breakfast with Santa. All good stuff, to be sure. But if you’re looking to shake things up this year, try an experience you won't find at your local mega-mall.

One option is to go small: New Jersey’s charming small towns play host to a variety of quaint holiday happenings, from Dickens carolers to Christmas Candlelight House Tours.

If you're after something truly unique, NJ has plenty of that, too. You can celebrate Christmas Underwater at Adventure Aquarium, get festive with the furry residents of Bluebird Farm Alpacas, or explore an animated wonderland at the Christmas Ice Caverns.

Who knows? One of these activities might become your family’s new holiday favorite. Check out our roundup below for some great small-town and off-the-beaten-path fun. For more ways to celebrate the festive holiday season, visit our Holiday Fun Guide.

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