Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this December 2022

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  With so many joyful and festive events happening this month, it’s definitely going to be hard to choose which ones to attend. Enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends – check out the many free or inexpensive activities happening this December in a town near you.

December 2:

The Manasquan Annual Candy Cane Hunt will take place from 6pm-8:30pm at Main Street Squan Plaza. Learn more here, or email You may also call 732-223-8303. This event is free to attend!

Downtown Toms River Tree Lighting takes place from 5pm-8:15pm in the courtyard of town hall. There will be live entertainment, hot chocolate and cookies, Santa will be arriving on a firetruck and then there will be photos with Santa as well. Learn more here.

December 3:

Allaire Christmas Lantern Tours (Wall) takes place from 5pm-8pm at the Historic Village at Allaire. Tickets cost $35-$45 and can be purchased here or you can call 732-919-3500 for more information.

Brielle Chamber of Commerce’s 1st Annual Holiday in the Park will take place from 2pm-6pm at Brielle Park. Come and enjoy a fun filled event for all ages with food, Santa, shopping, pony rides, caroling and more. This all leads up to the tree lighting! For more information click here or call 732-528-0377.

Ocean Grove Holiday Festival will take place from 10am-3pm on Main Avenue. Come and enjoy crafters, artisans and live music from Terry and the Hats from 11am-1pm, and Band of Strays from 1pm-3pm. For more information click here or call 732-774-1391.

Carriage Rides through Historic Allentown Village takes place from 11am- 2pm at Allentown Borough Hall. What a wonderful time of the year to enjoy Historic Allentown by horse drawn carriage! For more information click here or call 609-259-3151.

Bell Works Holiday Markets (Holmdel) takes place from 2pm-7pm. This event is also available on December 7th from 11am-4pm, and again on December 10th from 2pm-7pm. Take advantage of the opportunity to shop local this holiday season! For more information click here or call 732-226-8818.

Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar will take place from 12pm-5pm at Grand Arcade of Convention Hall. The Bazaar will feature a curated roster of the best local and regional artists, vendors and shops selling vintage goods, art, photography, live music, food, holiday photo stations, craft workshops, kids’ activities and more. For additional information, click here or call 732-897-6500.

December 4: Jackson Township’s Toyland will take place from 10am-3pm at the Senior Center on Don Connor Blvd. Walk through a winter wonderland, visit the train room, leave a letter for Santa, visit the gift shop, meet your favorite characters, enjoy face painting, balloon art, refreshments, and while supplies last – kids 10 and under will receive a free dressed teddy bear from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Learn more here or call 732-928-1200.

December 6: Downtown Freehold’s Tree Lighting takes place from 5pm-7pm at the Hall of Records. This free event is a great opportunity for the entire family. The Rock and Roll Choir will perform, The Court Jester will be providing hot cider, and the Freehold Fire Department may even stop by with a special guest! For more information click here or call 732-333-0094.

December 9:

Christmas Holiday Evening Stroll (Wall) takes place from 6pm-9:30pm at the Historic Village at Allaire. This is a rare self-guided tour through Allaire Village at night as candles and lights beautifully illuminate the village. The general store will also be open for gift shopping, the bakery will be open for sweet treats, and other various historical buildings will be accessible. Bring the entire family out, ticket costs range from $4-$8. This event is also scheduled for December 16th. For more information click here or call 732-919-3500.

New Egypt Holiday Flea Market from 5pm-8pm at 933 Monmouth Road in Cream Ridge. Eat, shop, drink (wine samples provided by Cream Ridge Winery for those ages 21+) and be merry! Get more info here.

December 10:

Breakfast with Santa (Freehold) takes place from 9am-12:30pm at Sweet Lew’s Café, 6 East Main St. For more information click here or call 732-308-1887.

Winter Wonderland (Pt. Pleasant) will be happening from 4pm-7pm at Pleasure Park on St. Louis Ave. Suggested admission is a $5-$10 unwrapped gift for Toys for Tots and $2 per person to go toward Pt. Pleasant Beach Recreation Committee Fundraising. You won’t want to miss photos with Santa, a pet friendly photo booth, an ice sculptor, hot cocoa and other refreshments, reindeer rides, a movie in the park, holiday crafts, cards for soldiers, carolers, a DJ, and lots of holiday cheer! Learn more here, or you can email

December 11:

Sunday Brunch with Santa (Freehold) begins at 10am and goes until 3pm at the American Hotel. For more information click here or call 732-333-0094. This event also takes place again on December 18th.

5th Annual Santa Fun Run (Highlands) goes from 11am- 2pm at Proving Ground Waterfront Dining. Also happening from 10am-1pm is breakfast and photos with Santa, so bring the kids for a fun experience. To learn more about registering for the Fun Run click here or call 732-291-4713.

Bayshore Holiday Bazaar (Atlantic Highlands) takes place from 12pm-5pm at Shore Casino. Celebrate the holidays with family & friends at this great event for all ages (it’s also pet friendly). Have fun while shopping, enjoy the beautiful decor, holiday photo stations, and food/drinks. For more information click here.

December 16: Jenkinson’s Sea of Lights (Pt. Pleasant) takes place from 4pm-8pm at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk on Ocean Ave. This winter wonderland includes treats, crafts, pictures with Santa, games, diving Santa and holiday entertainment. The Aquarium, Sweet Shop, Aquarium Gift Shop, Pavilion and Pavilion Arcade will also be open. This event will also be held on 12/17, 12/27 and 12/28. Learn more here, or call 732-892-0600.

December 17: Lighting Up Nature (Beachwood) from 6pm-8pm at Jakes Branch County Park on Double Trouble Road. If you’re heading out to drive around and check out holiday lights, don’t forget to swing by this free holiday light display! This event also takes place on 12/18 and 12/19. Learn more here, or call 732-506-9090.

December 21: Wondrous Winter Walk at Big Brook Park (Marlboro) begins at 10am in the lower pond parking lot (County Road 520). Toss on your winter gear and tag along with a Park System Naturalist as you explore the park in winter. Open to all ages, and free to attend. Sturdy footwear is recommended also. See more information here or call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312.

December 31:

Annual JSRC New Year’s Eve Twilight Fun Run and Party (Manasquan) takes place from 4pm-6:30pm at Leggett’s Sand Bar. This event is $20-$35 to attend, depending upon if you are attending the party, the run, or both. More information is available here, or call 732-223-3951.

First Night Ocean County (Seaside Heights) takes place from noon to 5pm at 410 Boardwalk. This is an annual NYE event among participating boardwalk arcades, and admission is $10. Find out more details here, or call 732-830-3700.

Happy Holidays from all of us at First Financial, and wishing you a prosperous 2023!

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