Christmas in New Jersey: Santa Sightings and More

Come Dasher, come faster, come quick moving lines, high resolution photos, and a Santa experience that won't leave all of you crying. Who's worthy of a special frame this year? We've rounded up our Christmas lists and checked 'em twice - here is where you'll want to queue (whether you're naughty or nice.)

The iconic Rockefeller Center tree lighting will be taking place on Wednesday, November 30th this year, with the festivities kicking off at 7pm. The event is free and open to the public, set to the tune of festive live music. Avoid the traffic and parking hassle by taking advantage of NY Waterway's Kids Ride Free over the holidays promotion which takes you from Edgewater to West 39th and includes shuttle service to the tree lighting event.

Fewer NJ towns feel more holiday than Ridgewood NJ, which starts it’s annual “Downtown for the Holidays” four-week event with a tree lighting on Friday, December 2nd, accompanied by holiday music and visits with Santa in his house in the park. The celebration continues into Saturday morning when he makes his official arrival on a big red fire truck in the center of town. Santa breakfast, retail discounts and free movies add to fun. (Downtown for the Holidays' schedule)

Westwood’s Home for the Holidays Parade kicks off on Saturday, December 3rd this year, when the town comes together and cheers on costumed characters, marching bands and Santa on the fire truck, while sipping hot chocolate. (Parade starts at Westwood Ave and Kinderkamack Rd at 6pm)


Sip hot chocolate, watch the tree lighting and see Santa arrive on a fire truck at Woodcliff Lake’s Tices Corner. A barbershop quartet will also be on hand to ring in the festivities. (Thursday, December 1st at 6pm)

Westfield Garden State Plaza gets our vote for the most.real.looking.Santa ever, and we happen to know they fly him in (from the North Pole obviously) annually. He is available during mall hours now through December 24th for photos with your littles and this year with your favorite pets too. For $10 you can reserve your space and avoid waiting in line. (Visit Santa on Level 2, Macy’s Court)

Meet Mr. Claus (and the Mrs!) on select days at Abma's Farm, where you can bring your own camera and snag the perfect shot. And bonus: if you visit on December 17th you can sign up for their adorable gingerbread house making class to make it a full morning of holiday fun. (Santa at Abma's Farm is available on these dates)


The Shops at Riverside will have their Santa waiting for you to capture the perfect shot of your tots (or your pooch) on his lap. Don’t forget to make an appointment to avoid the lines!  Or consider dining for breakfast with Santa at Maggiano's Little Italy when you visit, call 201-221-2030 to reserve. (Visit Santa on Level 1 near Smashburger and Villeroy & Boch)

Visit Santa at Bergen Town Center all season long to the tune of local choirs and orchestras, then snag deals at your favorite outlet shops. A fast pass is available and pets are welcome. Reserve your spot in line here. (Visit Santa in Center Court)

Paramus Park’s Santa comes with an added bonus- $30 off on your Tiny Prints order, so you can score a great shot and save on holiday cards while you’re there. A fast pass is available and pet photos are offered at certain times. (Visit Santa in the South Court)

The Shops at Nanuet will be hosting its 4th annual tree lighting with a host from WPLJ, local orchestras and dance troupes on Friday, December 2nd.  Other events include a special Santa experience for kids with special needs, Zinburger’s Santa breakfast and visits to the Santa set for photos and fun.

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