From festivals and fundraisers to concerts and craft nights, there’s something for everyone this month in Bergen County.
DEC 1–JAN 5 Get into the holiday spirit in the best way possible with a visit (or several visits) to BERGEN COUNTY’S WINTER WONDERLAND AT VAN SAUN PARK. The annual wintery spectacle is an event the entire family can enjoy, with activities such as ice skating, train and carousel rides, zoo entry, food trucks, balloon art, face painting, visits from Santa… and an indoor/outdoor beer garden for the parents who need a drink after all of that. Every activity is included in ticket purchase—food and drinks are a separate charge. Visit bergencountywinterwonderland.com for times, which vary by day, as well as pricing for various age groups.
DEC 5 Lyndhurst mama and popular Instagrammer Danielle Kappmeier, better known by her Instagram handle @thestylishdetail, is hosting a SIP & PAINT: HOLIDAY GIFTING EVENT at Bloomingdale’s in Hackensack. Join Kappmeier and other local ladies for a night of sips and light bites while you paint a pretty winter landscape and hear about her must-haves for the holiday season. The event is 6–8:30 p.m., with a $10 registration fee. Visit paint_berg_dec5.eventbrite.com to get tickets before they sell out.
DEC 6–8 Pottery enthusiasts join together for the biggest ceramic exhibit in the area for the 45th annual OLD CHURCH POTTERY SHOW AND SALE at The Art School at Old Church in Demarest. This is a nationally-renowned event among the clay community, where participants can check out (and purchase) the handmade clay creations of more than 30 skilled potters. A donation of $10 to $20 is suggested. Go to oldchurch potteryshow.org to get tickets and see the times, which vary by day.
DEC 7 Get into the holiday spirit with your neighbors at River Edge’s annual HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY at 4 p.m. at Borough Hall. In addition to the tree lighting, there will be plenty of photo ops with guests from the North Pole, festive snacks, a craft project, a sing-along with the River Edge Girl Scouts and more. Admission is FREE. For more info, go to riveredgenj.org/recreation.
DEC 8 Paramus Catholic High School is paying homage to two women in sports with a special DEDICATION CEREMONY. During this get-together, the school will dedicate its gymnasium to Dr. Rose Marie Battaglia, a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and former PCHS coach. The school will also dedicate its basketball court to the memory of the late Anne Donovan, an alumni player who went on to win Olympic gold medals as both a player and a coach. The event begins at 3 p.m. with the dedication ceremony, followed by refreshments and a Lady Paladins Alumnae game. If you’d like to attend, reach out to Scott Langan, vice principal of student life and athletic director, at 201.445.4466, ext. 199 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEC 11 If the holiday season is turning out to be more stressful than joyful, take a night to relax at Glen Rock Library’s ADULT COLORING GROUP. Color your stress away and enjoy hot tea and cookies while socializing with your neighbors at this drop-in event from 7–8:30 p.m. You only have to bring yourself; all materials will be provided. Glenrocklibrary.org has more information.
DEC 11 Tommy Fox’s Public House in Bergenfield celebrates the Festivus for the rest of us during its SEINFELD TRIVIA EXTRAVAGANZA. Put your knowledge of Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer’s shenanigans to the test, and play either by yourself or with a team from 8–9:30 p.m. Go to festivus121119.event-brite.com to learn more.
DEC 12 Your son or daughter, niece or nephew or maybe even yourself will love competing with other gamers at the SUPER SMASH BROS. ULTIMATE TOURNAMENT at Gamers Paradise in River Vale beginning at 6 p.m. Using the Nintendo Switch platform, players will scrimmage against each other in a series of rounds and games to see who reigns supreme. Winners will go home with cash prizes or store credit. Entry fee is $15 per player or $10 for early registration. Learn more at gpvideogames.com.
DEC 13–15 THE NUTCRACKER never gets old, which is why Nunbetter Dance Theatre has been presenting the show for the past 21 years. Enjoy this year’s milestone anniversary performance at the Bergen County Academies Auditorium in Hackensack—Sugar Plum Fairy included! Tickets range from $15 to $30, plus service fees. Check out brownpapertickets.com/event/4403142 for showtimes, which vary by day, and to buy your tickets.
DEC 14 The holiday season can be difficult for those suffering from celiac disease, with temptation at every turn, but it doesn’t have to be. Build a GLUTEN-FREE GINGERBREAD HOUSE and hear from Anne Lee, nutritionist at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, at this hands-on event at Hackensack Meridian Health’s Pascack Valley campus in Westwood. Dr. Lee will answer questions about the disease from 2–4 p.m. Participants must register at GenerationGF. NorthernNJ@gluten.org (and bring a cube-shaped tissue box for the house), but the event itself is FREE.
DEC 14 Get in your exercise before all that holiday indulgence at the UGLY SWEATER SHUFFLE 5K at Saddle River County Park in Saddle Brook. This inaugural event, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon, features live entertainment and music. Awards will be given out to the top runners in various categories. Registration is $25, and half of all proceeds will go to charity. Festive dress encouraged! Check out facebook. com/uglysweatershuffle for more info.
DEC 14 If you’d rather spend your weekend eating (no judgment!), then stop by the CHRISTMAS COOKIE WALK at Grace United Methodist Church in Wyckoff. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., you’ll see (and sample) tons of different homemade baked goods. You can then customize your own box of cookies with your selections, and give it as a hostess gift (or keep it for yourself). Cookies are $10 per pound. Contact Carol Moore at email@example.com for info.
DEC 15 The critically-acclaimed The Very Hungry Caterpillar show, based off the book by Eric Carle, gets a Christmas update in CARLE’S DREAM SNOW. During the show at Englewood’s BergenPAC, 75 puppets based on characters from Carle’s books will tell the holiday tale that little ones will adore. Shows are at 1 and 4 p.m., and tickets start at $15. Get tickets and more info at bergenpac.org/events.
DEC 15 Kids aged 1-14 will have a (matzah) ball at the CHANUKAH CONCERT AND FAMILY SING-A-LONG at Congregation B’nai Israel in Emerson. Gear up for the festival of lights with festive songs, good company and yummy refreshments from 10–11:30 a.m. Admission is FREE. For the full scoop, go to jfnnj.org.
DEC 20 The Meadowlands Racetrack, known around these parts as The Big M, is thanking customers for a great year with a major discount. Enjoy $1 NIGHT at the East Rutherford racetrack, where concession items such as soda, hot dogs and popcorn are available for just $1 while you watch the races. They’ll also be selling Bud Lights for $2, so come hungry and thirsty! Promotion is from 7–10 p.m. Thebigm. com has more details.
DEC 21 Join in on a paint night with a Christmas theme when you paint a canvas of PERSONALIZED CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS at Miller’s Ale House in Paramus hosted by Yay-maker. From 1–3 p.m., follow along as a professional artist guides you in making your very own masterpiece. All supplies will be provided. Admission: $35 per person for
ages 13 and up. Check out yaymaker.com for more.
DEC 28 Fall festivities like hayrides and pumpkin patches get an upgrade for the most wonderful time of the year at the 2019 ORCHARD OF LIGHTS at Hillsdale’s Demarest Farms. Take a haywagon through gorgeous light displays in the orchards, stop by the market, take photos with Santa and make your own s’mores by the firepit. The event runs from 5–11 p.m.—kids aged 2-12 get in for $12 each; adult entry Is $15 each. Buy tickets at demarest farms.com/orchard-of-lights/.
DEC 29 Maggiano’s Little Italy at The Shops at Riverside is hosting a fun evening of food, fun and holiday entertainment during its NIGHT OF COMEDY MAGIC event. From 6–7 p.m. enjoy appetizers, followed by a family-style dinner of Italian favorites like chicken parm, baked ziti and cheesecake. Then, at 8 p.m., there will be a comedy magic show performed by Marco, a popular local magician. Admission is $65 per person; kids 11 and under are $45. Get your tickets and learn more at eventbrite.com.