The only thing better than beach season on the shore is the holiday season. Read on to discover the area’s don’t-want-to-miss December events.
The holiday spirit is brought to the theater in One Christmas Carol, taking place at the Cape May Stage. One man, 35 distinct characters, and an evening of fun and cheer that the whole family will enjoy. Recommended for children 6 years and older. Saturday, November 25 to Saturday, December; Thursday-Saturday 7:30pm, Saturday & Sunday 3pm; www.capemaystage.org or 609-770-8311.
Welcome in the season at the Christmas Tree Lighting taking place at the Rotary Bandstand on Lyle Lane in Cape May. This annual event is sure to light up the smiles and imagination of those of all ages. Friday, December 1, 7pm; www.discovercapemaynj.com or 609-884-9565.
Bring the entire family to the Tree Lighting Celebration at the Cape May County Zoo. In addition to the lighting ceremony, there will be live music, story readings and treats, and even a visit from Santa. Friday, December 1, 5-6pm; www.cmczoo.com or 609-465-5271.
It wouldn’t be the holidays without the West Cape May Christmas Parade, now in its 52nd year. The grand event starts at the WCM Volunteer Firehouse and, as longtime residents know, is the perfect way to begin another beautiful holiday season on the shore. Saturday, December 2 (rain date: Sunday, December 3), 5pm; www.westcapemay.us.
Go back in time for Christmas past at the free Wassail Day at Historic Cold Spring Village, 720 U.S. 9 in Cape May. Do some crafting, listen to live music, enjoy hot beverages and holiday refreshments, and shop The Country Store for unique gifts. Saturday, December 2, 10am-4:30pm; www.hcsv.org or 609-898-2300.
Locomotive enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Train Show at Moorlyn Terrace & Boardwalk in Ocean City, which will feature train displays and train-related items for purchase. Admission is just $3 for adults and $1 for children, and parking is free. Saturday, December 2, 10am-4pm & Sunday, December 3, 11am-4pm; www.ocnj.us or 609-399-6111.
All aboard for Free Horse & Carriage Rides in front of City Hall in Ocean City. While you’re there, don’t forget to get a picture with Santa! Saturdays & Sundays, December 2-17, noon-3pm; www.ocnj.us or 800-BEACH-NJ.
See the best of Christmas in Cape May on the Holiday Lights Trolley Ride in the town’s Historic District. Thirty-minute guided rides offer a close-up look of the area’s most festive homes and inns with sing-alongs and stories to boot. Visit www.capemaymac.org for information on dates, times, and tickets.
Take a self-guided walk through the Christmas Candlelight Tour in Cape May. You’ll see homes, hotels, inns, and churches decorated for the season, and enjoy strolling carolers, warm beverages, and holiday treats. Saturday, December 2, Saturday, December 9, & Saturday, December 16, 5:30-8:30pm; www.capemaymac.org or 800-275-4278 for ticket information.
Celebrate the season of Dickens at A Dickens Christmas Extravaganza in Cape May. Enjoy the stories of Dickens with lectures and performances and enjoy a holiday feast and wine tasting, plus a holiday tour of Cape May. Sunday, December 3 – Tuesday, December 5, times vary; www.capemaymac.org or 609-884-5404 for ticket information.
It’s a holiday party for all ages at the Wildwoods Family Holiday Celebration at the Wildwoods Convention Center. Enjoy free admission to holiday movies, crafters, and entertainment. And of course, you won’t want to miss a photo with Santa. Saturday, December 9, 9am-4pm; www.wildwoodholiday.com or 609-729-9000.
Speaking of family-friendly fun, head out to the free Santa Family Workshop at Cape May County Park & Zoo for a fun day of music, crafts, and treats. Take a picture with Santa and Mrs. Clause, join the holiday scavenger hunt, and mail your letter to the North Pole at the Santa Mailbox Drop. Saturday, December 9, 11am-2pm; www.cmczoo.com or 609-465-5271.
Teams from all over the country will be coming to the Wildwoods Convention Center for the Boardwalk Basketball Classic “Battle at the Boards.” This co-ed event is the largest holiday basketball tournament in the country. Saturday, December 23 to Saturday, December 30, times vary; www.bbclassic.net or 609-522-3355.
For a New Year’s Eve event, the whole family can enjoy head to Sea Isle City’s New Year’s Eve Celebration at 4501 Park Road. There will be food, dancing, activities, and entertainment, plus an early countdown to midnight at 7 pm so kids can get home to bed. Sunday, December 31, 5:30-7:30pm; www.visitsicnj.com or 609-263-0050.