The warm glow of holiday lights is always a good way to get in the spirit.

Although New Jersey is the fourth-smallest state in the U.S. by land, it is one of the most densely populated with over nine million residents. With all of these people celebrating the holidays, you can bet that there are enough events in one season to last a lifetime. The only hard part is deciding which ones to fit into your schedule. Here are some of the best ways for active adults and their families to partake in some 2018 holiday joy.

See the Lights and Displays

Cook’s Christmas Lights: November 24 - January 1

The Cook Family in Jackson puts on a spectacular light display every year at their home, with 30,000 lights and music. All proceeds benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Last year, they raised more than $21,000. Traffic can be heavy and they recommend that visitors approach from County Line Road. The music is broadcast on 100.9 FM.

Lights on Evergreen: November 23 - January 1

This massive display in Demarest boasts 100,000 synchronized lights, driveway arches, and accompanying music on 98.1 FM. The event also benefits the American Heart Association.

Burlington Lights: November 23 - January 1

With 30,000 synced lights and music broadcast on 92.9 FM, Burlington Lights benefits the Burlington Township Food Pantry. Stop by on December 21 when Santa will be there from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Festivals, Tours, and More

Christmas at Smithville 

This historic village is one of the biggest holiday attractions in the state. Guests can take in the stunning light display, Victorian Christmas decorations, quaint gift shops, and delicious food. Children enjoy train rides, story time with Mrs. Claus, and a magical talking tree.

Festival of Trees at Morven Museum

Downtown Princeton gets into the holiday spirit with this unique event at the Morven Museum and Garden. Each of their 13 galleries is elegantly dressed up for the holidays with additional exhibits from local businesses.

Holiday Week at Crystal Springs Resort

For active adults who want to leave the cooking and cleaning to someone else, Crystal Springs Resort in Sussex County offers upscale Christmas events. Guests and their families can experience exclusive holiday menus and activities, shows, and even gingerbread house decorating. For New Year’s Eve, they pull out all the stops with an exciting party in their Biosphere Pool Complex.

Christmas Candlelight House Tours

Cape May’s 43rd-annual Christmas Candlelight House Tour travels along beautifully decorated Victorian homes, churches, hotels, and inns. Strolling carolers and musicians and complimentary goodies and beverages add to the holiday cheer. The highlights include the Carriage House Gallery and the Physick Estate.

Christmas Celebrations at Allaire

Allaire State Park turns into a Christmas wonderland with horse and wagon rides, music programs, holiday card crafts, shopping, and holiday treats. Admission costs $7 for adults and $5 for grandkids under 12. For an additional fee, visitors can embark on a Christmas Lantern Tour, which stops in a living history museum that dates back to 1836. 

Hanukkah Fun

In 2018, Hanukkah starts in the evening of December 2 and ends the evening of December 10.

Hanukkah on ICE

Synagogue Temple Emanu-El of Closter in Paramus sponsors ice skating, ice sculptures, candle lighting, and delicious food. The event takes place on December 5 from 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Chanukah Carnival

All ages will enjoy this celebration at Center for Jewish Life in Marlboro. It includes donut decorating, children's games and activities, pizza, a performance by the Hebrew School students, and a menorah lighting.

Collingswood Town-Wide Chanukah Celebration

Collingswood is holding it's first-ever Hanukkah event with a menorah lighting, latkes, and children’s events. Sponsored by The Chabad of Camden and Burlington Counties, the town also holds a nice variety of other holiday events worth exploring.

Most of these events require tickets but some are free. Call ahead for information, and if the weather looks iffy make sure to see if they are open. Happy holidays!