December GoList: The 25 Best Things to Do in New Jersey for the Holidays

The turkey has been eaten, Santa has arrived at the mall, and people are driving around with trees strapped to their cars. There’s no denying it: the holidays have arrived. If you and your kids are eager to celebrate the season, you're in luck—there are so many wonderful events and activities happening throughout the state this month. You'll find plenty of free things to do, as well as activities just for little ones; you can have breakfast with Santa, catch a show, or hop aboard a holiday train. We know you’re busy with things like shopping, baking, and figuring out what the heck to do with your Elf on the Shelf, so we’ve sorted through all of this month's happenings and picked 25 of the best.

For even more ideas, check out our Holiday Guide and Event Calendar. Happy Holidays!

Breakfast, Brunch & More with Santa for Houston Kids

Ready or not, the holidays are here, and there are tons of events around the city for the whole family, including breakfasts, brunches, and cookies with Santa.

For more Christmas fun (and if Black Friday took a Santa-sized chunk out of your wallet), there are plenty of FREE fun events throughout December. Also, don't forget to check out our guide to all things Christmas, Hannukah, and holiday fun in Houston this year.

Breakfast with Santa Claus: Where LA Kids Can Share a Bagel with Father Christmas

Doing lunch might work for some LA types, but Santa Claus does breakfast. So before you take a train with Santa, light a tree with Santa, see The Nutcracker with Santa, do some holiday shopping with Santa, wave to Santa on a boat, call Santa on the phone, or take funky LA photos with Santa, first you, your kids, AND Santa all need a good breakfast. The holidays are a busy time of year after all.

Most (though not all) of the events below require reservations, and some fill up surprisingly early. It's worth making the effort, though, if for no other reason than to see how good some people's table manners can be when the man at the head of the table is wearing a red suit and wielding a list.

Best Things to Do with NYC Kids: December GoList

Santa isn't the only one making a list and checking it twice. Our carefully curated December GoList is packed with the absolute best things to do with kids in NYC throughout the month. Our top picks include FREE holiday gatherings such as the 20th annual Central Park Holiday Lighting by the Harlem Meer and the quirky Unsilent Night musical procession in Greenwich Village; seasonal concerts by Laurie Berkner and Grammy-winning kindie rocker Dan Zanes; and cool cultural offerings such as the Whitney Museum's Dreamlands Family Day and the exuberant Mother Africa circus at the New Victory Theater.

It's also worth rereading our November GoList since many of those festive picks continue through December, including the Dyker Lights holiday displays, Macy's Santaland, and the New York Botanical Garden Holiday Train Show—and various Nutcracker performances around the city.

As always, keep checking our Event Calendar and Holiday Guide for the most up-to-date celebrations, including tree lightingsSanta sightings, and totally FREE holiday events for NYC kids.

Christmas Tree Lightings on Long Island

The holiday season inspires many of us to take in a holiday show, shop for gifts and drink hot cocoa, and, of course, attend a tree lighting ceremony to kick off the season the right way. Rockefeller Center may only be a train ride away, but there are plenty of festive and spectacular tree lighting ceremonies right on Long Island. Here are 11 tree lighting events that are taking place across Nassau and Suffolk counties this season.

Find more seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide for Long Island families.

Dinosaurs Come Alive in Jurassic World at The Franklin Institute

It's finally here. After months of teasers, press releases, and photos, the long awaited Jurassic World exhibit is open at the Franklin Institute. Whether you grew up watching the Jurassic Park movies, or you've got kids who have just recently gotten into the franchise, or maybe you have a dinosaur-loving toddler like I do, this exhibit is sure to spark some excitement. If you're attending this exhibit with kids of any age, we've got plenty of tips and advice to share before you go.

Where to See Your Favorite Family Holiday Movies on the Big Screen in Boston

One of my family’s favorite traditions is watching all of the classic holiday movies. We start right after Thanksgiving to get us in the holiday spirit as we get our tree, bake cookies, and wrap gifts. Usually we watch these movies at home on our couch with popcorn and pajamas, but there’s something really special about seeing a film on the big screen. With that in mind, here's where you and your family can catch all of your favorite holiday flicks at movie theaters and libraries in or near Boston this season:

The Nutcracker on Long Island

One of the most beloved stories ever told would have to be The Nutcracker, which is typically your child's first introduction to classical ballet. This fairy-tale about the beauty and magic of Christmas and the ways that love and joy can transform dreams into reality is always satisfying. This Tchaikovsky work of art is a lovely way to familiarize children to the delights of great theater and there’s no need to travel far to experience this wonderful and much-loved Christmas story. Here is a list of upcoming The Nutcracker performances on Long Island in 2015.

And be sure to take a look at our Long Island Holiday Fun Guide, including non-Nutcracker holiday shows.

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