Lights are shining brightly throughout the region as holiday celebrations unfold, from the spectacular floral and light displays at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania to the modest decorations of a nonprofit in Burlington County.
Those weary of battling traffic and fighting crowds have plenty to do in South Jersey, where community menorahs illuminate the darkness, holiday lights line main streets, and a wide range of organizations have opened their doors to celebrate the season. .
On Thursday morning, volunteers with the Mount Laurel Garden Club were preparing for a celebration that will be held Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Alice Paul Institute. The organization annually decorates the three-story house in Quaker tradition and will host tours.
“The Garden Club donates time and decorations,” said Colleen Tryner, who oversees programs and development. Tryner said the decorations are beautiful but consistent with the Quaker philosophy of a simple life. The institute occupies a National Historic Landmark, the home of the suffragist, who fought for gender equality and voting rights. .
From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Cherry Hill, the Katz JCC will welcome those of all faiths to enjoy a Hanukkah festival of lights. Although the indoor event has been held in previous years, Sunday’s will be the first to feature laser lights and invite children to dance to traditional music while beams of colorful lights take form.
In Medford, Johnson’s Corner Farm offers weekend hayrides featuring twinkling lights with the option to wear eyeglasses shaped like snowflakes for a three-dimensional experience. Children can visit with Santa and his reindeer, enjoy the warmth of a campfire, and roast marshmallows.
Haddonfield has candlelight shopping through Dec. 23 with free parking and live entertainment. On Friday,there are horse-and-carriage rides through downtown.
At the Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen’s Museum, children 11 and older can sign up for a beginner wood-carving class andcreate and paint an ornament of Santa in a chimney.
Another South Jersey favorite, with more than two decades of tradition, is Santa’s nightly appearance at Storybook Land in Egg Harbor Township, which presents a daily Christmas fantasy and holiday parade through Dec. 30. At 5 p.m. daily, Santa emerges from a chimney and children eagerly rush to get a glimpse as he waves a wand and one million lights magically appear.
Where there is Santa, Ebenezer Scrooge is often nearby. At the Ritz Theatre Company in Haddon Township, Scrooge: The Musical is performed nightly through Dec. 23.