We’re wondering how the holidays have arrived so fast — but they are here and we’ve got you prepared for all of the holiday happenings in Essex County. This 25-day guide will give The Montclair Girl readers day-by-day opportunities to get into the holiday spirit in the Montclair and Essex County area, starting on December 1st and going through Christmas Day. Read on — with a cup of hot cocoa — for all the winter feels!
Kick off the month with a self-guided tour of holiday-themed cocktails in Montclair. The MC Hotel is serving up spiked apple cider with Misunderstood Whiskey whipped cream and cinnamon, and Blue Steel Pizza (aka Rabbit Hole speakeasy) is offering a cocktail called “It’s a Jersey Thing” made with Asbury Distilling barrel-aged gin, calvados, spiced pear jam, fresh lemon, honey, and sparkling cider.
Pick out the perfect Christmas tree at one of these locations across New Jersey and New York – including cut-your-own-farms. See our guide to real trees here.
Stop by the Dickens Village tree lighting in Maplewood. Santa will be available for visits and photos, and the houses will be open for viewing at Ricalton Square in Maplewood Village.
Take your little ones to the Macaroni Kid Holiday Extravaganza (or take yourself, we won’t judge). Kids will be entertained by craft and baking activities, while adults can show at The General Store at Cornerstone Montclair and other surrounding shops in the Upper Montclair Area.
(Photo credit: Jones Road)
Shop locally for holiday gifts. Not sure where to start? We’ve got your guide for shopping small in Essex County.
Head uptown for a tree lighting at St James’ Episcopal Church. Hot cocoa, local entertainment, and caroling are all on the evening’s roster.
The Livingston Public Library will host its virtual Bookish Vibes book club at 7PM. The club will discuss The Kitchen House by author Colleen McKeegan, who will join the book club discussion for the evening. Register here.
Join the Montclair History Center for its candlelight tour, beginning at the Crane House + Historic YWCA. The tour starts at 6:30PM and Executive Director Angelica Diggs will lead visitors through the history of our holidays past from the 1700s to the 20th century.
For an at-home holiday experience, join The Eclectic Chic Boutique for a virtual Gingerbread Cookie Decorating workshop at 3:15PM. Register here so supplies can be sent prior to the class.
Take a winter stroll through the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo this holiday season under the sparkling lights of over 50 winter and animal characters from 5PM-9PM.
Get a group together, map out a route, spread the holiday cheer, and go caroling in the Montclair area.
(Photo credit: @vestachocolate)
Stop by one of these hot chocolate spots for a soul-warming beverage.
Make memories with loved ones and have your picture taken with Santa.
Attend the Maplewood Concert Band Sounds of the Season performance at The Woodland. The show kicks off at 7:30PM.
Go on a holiday lights tour of North Jersey in your car to view all the holiday decorations around the area. Here’s our guide to holiday light displays.
Peep all the windows of Essex County holiday-themed decorations — as we know, our cities come to play when it comes to next-level decor.
Shop at this holiday indie-maker market, celebrating the arts, history, and culture of New Jersey from 10AM-4PM.
Volunteer at the Saint James Social Service Corporation which provides Christmas food baskets and toys for children of families in need. Sign-up to make a difference here.
Live your best influencer life at The Floral Escape interactive photo-op event located at Westfield Garden State Plaza (just outside of Essex County). There are 10 floral activations designed for you to capture all your memorable moments, including rainbow Christmas trees.
(Photo credit: @halcyonmontclair)
Dine at Halcyon and enjoy a live holiday concert by Vanessa Milanessi in the upstairs lounge at 7:30PM.
Learn more about the 7 principles of Kwanzaa, which starts on December 26th.
Warm-up and support your local business by ordering fresh chocolate chip cookies from any of these Montclair spots.
Reflect on a holiday season well-spent. And share your pics with us @themontclairgirl on Instagram!