It may be hard to believe, but Christmas is right around the corner, which means holiday shows, visiting Santa, snowy sleigh rides, and of course, checking out the amazing light displays throughout the state. These sparkling spectacles—some of which feature more than a million lights—are sure to impress even the grinchiest member of your family. So bundle up the kids and head out to one of these illuminating shows soon! And of course, you can find even more ways to be merry in the Mommy Poppins Holiday Fun Guide.
Storybook Land transforms into a twinkling wonderland for the holidays. Photo courtesy of Storybook Land
Storybook Land's Christmas Fantasy with Lights – Egg Harbor Township
November 11 – December 30
Storybook Land hosts a fabulous holiday celebration, with Santa himself illuminating the park with more than one millions lights. Children can visit Mr. & Mrs. Claus until December 23, when it’s time for them to return to the North Pole. All rides, attractions, and snack bars are also open during this time. On December 1, 8, and 15, bring a toy for Toys for Tots and receive one free popcorn and hot chocolate per toy donation.
Drive through the lights at Skylands. Photo courtesy of Skylands Stadium.
Skylands Stadium Christmas Light Show – Augusta
November 17 – December 30 (daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve)
The one-mile long, drive-through show features breathtaking displays set to joyful holiday music. There are more than two million lights on display, including nativity scenes, twinkling snowflakes, skating penguins, and jolly snowmen. New for 2017 is a Walk-Thru Lightfest to Benefit the American Heart Association New Jersey, the Pompton Sport Center Outdoor Skating Rink, and a life-size Polar Bear Statue to take cool photos. Don't miss the Thorlabs S’mores Station for roasting marshmallows, and stop by the indoor Christmas Village afterward to enjoy holiday snacks, activities, caroling, and photos with Santa. Admission to Christmas Village is free, though the drive-through portion is priced by the carload. Discounted tickets can be purchased at various Walgreens stores in the tri-state area or on discount nights (Mondays–Thursdays).
Holiday Lights Spectacular at Turtle Back Zoo – West Orange
November 17 – December 10 (Friday through Sunday)
December 11 – January 2 (daily except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day)
Stroll through the zoo after dark to see the animals frolicking under the incredible light displays. Animal- and holiday-themed figures, including wooden soldiers and stars, will illuminate the zoo and delight your little ones. Donations of canned goods, unwrapped toys, and winter coats are appreciated. FREE
Historic Smithville Holiday Light Show – Galloway Township
November 23 – January 7 (Thursday–Sunday)
This beautiful holiday show, featuring an orchestrated show of lights and music, makes Historic Smithville feel magical. More than 120 Christmas trees made with more than 100,000 lights will float along Lake Meone, lit up in time with music. Watch from either end of the village or on the bridge. In addition to the light show, you can enjoy the myriad shops and restaurants in the decorated village. FREE
Lights on Evergreen – 38 Evergreen Place, Demarest
November 20 – January 1
2017 will be the last year that the Lights on Evergreen will shine, as the family will be moving after the holidays. Don't miss this incredible spectacle of more than 100,000 lights that move in sync with music airing on 98.1 FM. The show is designed by a teen and his family in honor of his late mother, who loved Christmas. Donations are collected in support of the American Heart Association. Help the family reach its goal of raising $10,000 this year. FREE
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Cranbury Christmas Lights collects donations to support local food banks. Photo courtesy of the home owners.
Cranbury Christmas Lights – 128 North Main Street, Cranbury
November 25 – December 27
If you're looking for something incredibly cool, the Shaw home in Cranbury is aglow with 120,000 lights, all dancing to holiday tunes. It's free to view the lights, but donations to the local food bank are appreciated. Check the online schedule for the dates of choreographed lights, but the lights are on and viewable every night from 6–9. VIP spots can be earned with donations of $100 or more. FREE
The Cook's Christmas Lights – 1 Carlson Court, Jackson
November 25 – January 1 (Sunday–Thursday, 6–10 p.m.; Friday–Saturday, 6–11 p.m.)
This home has 20,000 dancing lights synchronized to music, along with a pixel matrix, and, new for 2017, four singing faces. The homeowners collect donations for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. FREE
T&A Sprinklers Light Show – 18 Central Avenue, Old Bridge
Starting November 26
With more than 200,000 lights, the T&A Sprinklers Light Show is a fun show set to music that the whole neighborhood loves.
Photo courtesy of Johnny's Hazlet Holiday Light Extravaganza via Facebook
Johnny's Hazlet Holiday Lights – 3 Bauer Avenue, Hazlet
Starting December 1
This show draws tons of fans every year to see two dozen inflatable decorations and more than 75,000 lights. Viewers can walk through the walkway back to the street. The owners just ask that you do not cross the ropes onto the lawn. You'd better be good... Santa's been known to make an appearance here some nights.
Hagerty Family Christmas Lights – 133 North Avenue, Pitman
Starts first week of December (Weekdays 5:30–8:30 p.m., weekends 5:30–9:30 p.m.)
Pitman resident Frank Hagerty has been transforming his property into a Christmas wonderland every holiday season for more than 30 years. Visitors are welcome to walk through the displays of animatronic dolls, cartoon characters, Santa and his reindeer, and more. FREE
Historic Cape May – Various locations in town
First week of December through New Year's Day
The Victorian homes, inns, churches, and hotels in picturesque Cape May get decked out for the holidays in gorgeous lights, wreaths, and garlands. Check out Columbia Avenue, Washington Street, and Columbia Avenue for some of the best displays. FREE
RELATED: 25 Free Things To Do in NJ This Holiday Season
The Kloos Family uses their lights display to collect donations for a good cause. Photo by pikey_von_pignose via Instagram.
Kloos Family Lights – 13 Sterling Court, East Brunswick
First week of December through approximately New Year's Day
It takes about $800 in electricity to fuel the annual Kloos Family Lights display, but that doesn't stop the Kloos family from putting on a spectacular light display accompanied by a musical score. Sometimes Santa even makes a guest appearance to watch the show with the neighborhood children. And every year, the Kloos family uses the display to help collect donations for a good cause. FREE
Jenkinson's Sea of Lights – Point Pleasant
December 15–28 (Fridays and Saturdays, plus December 26, 27, and 28)
The aquarium gets bedazzled with festive lights and decorations for the season. Walk through at your own pace to see different themed sections, then enjoy arts and crafts, face painting, and photos with Santa.
Crouch's Light Display – 119 Wild Oaks Drive, Salem
The Crouch family uses more than 22,000 lights and 11,000 feet of electrical cord to cover their 5-acre property in holiday cheer. Tune in to 105.5 to watch the lights move to the music. FREE
Bayville Christmas Light Show – 279 Woodhaven Blvd. SW, Bayville
Homeowner Tom Makowski, the winner of last year's Jersey Central Power & Lights holiday lights photo contest, promises to double the number of lights outside his home to 140,000 this year. The lights will dance to Christmas songs in this free display. Food donations are welcome, to benefit St. Barnabas Church.
Photo courtesy of Christmas on Vanore/Facebook
Christmas on Vanore – Vanore Drive, Fair Long
Bundle up and enjoy 27,000 lights sequenced to 20 songs. Three thousand of those lights illuminate a tree that will amaze young and old alike.
Recently, the Township of Manchester revived its home-decorating competition, and the locals went all-out to win categories like Most Original and Spirit of the Holidays. Tour the town to take in all of the displays, and don't forget to hit Anjou Court, Southampton Boulevard, Lilac Lane, and Second Street, where the 2015 winners were located. FREE
Edison Light Show – 225 Plainfield Avenue, Edison
Right across the street from Charlie Brown's restaurant, this home has been delighting Edison Metuchen locals for years. This lovely display dances to music and is definitely worth a stop!
First published in 2015. Updated in 2017.
Top image: Kloos Family Lights. Photo by Jamesburg Family Eyecare via Instagram.