Ever want to dive right into the gentle snowfall and shimmering twilight of a holiday card, to soak in the magical winter scene yourself? This holiday season, the Princeton Merchants Association has collaborated with a number of community partners to make that snow globe dream a reality in Princeton. Hop on the Polar Express (otherwise known as the Dinky, to the uninitiated) and journey into your hometown winter wonderland.
The atmosphere is just right — wreaths festooning our historic doorways and Princeton’s charming lampposts all wrapped in festive twinkle lights. Perfect for a winter evening stroll.
Grab your skates and twizzle to your heart’s content at the first ever open-air skating rink in Palmer Square, open weekend afternoons and Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings until February 29 — followed by a warming hot chocolate or perhaps something stronger for the grown-ups.
Surround yourself with the joyful sounds of the season — on weekends from Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, enjoy caroling by local schools and musical groups at several locations throughout town. Stop by Palmer Square on Friday, December 6, to hear Princeton University a cappella groups perform and donate a new, unwrapped toy to the toy drive.
Mark your calendar for Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8, and Princeton’s first-ever Holiday Market Days. Kick off your holiday shopping by exploring the offerings of Princeton’s own one-of-a-kind merchants. Shop a fantastic array of gift options at our clothing and jewelry stores, home furnishings, gourmet shops, stationery, art, and specialty boutiques. Eighteen participating Holiday Market shops will offer festive decorations, music, and holiday cheer. Pick up a Holiday Market Card and throughout the weekend get it stamped at participating shops; then give your completed card to a participating retailer to be entered for a prize drawing!
Keep your eyes peeled for several Santa appearances during the Holiday Market Days on December 7 and 8. On Saturday, December 7, Santa will be serving up cookies at the Princeton Shopping Center from noon to 2 p.m., while on Sunday, December 8, Santa will be available for selfies in Hinds Plaza from noon to 4 p.m. Santa will be also be strolling through Palmer Square to the tunes of live holiday music throughout the weekend.
Stockings not stuffed to brimming yet? The Arts Council of Princeton hosts its annual Sauce for the Goose Holiday Art Market at the Princeton Shopping Center from Friday to Sunday, December 13 to 15. This annual sale of artwork by local and regional artists is a sought-after source of fabulous ceramics, glassware, ornaments, fine art, and crafts — the perfect gift won’t be hard to find!
Prefer to view the holiday sights from the comfort of a warm trolley? The Princeton Tour Company’s wintertime trolley tours are at it again, offering fascinating tales on a journey through several picture-perfect neighborhoods — sure to delight everyone, from old Scrooge to Tiny Tim. This festive adventure into Princeton’s past and present sells out, so get your tickets early!
Speaking of Scrooge and Tiny Tim, don’t forget about McCarter Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol,” a veritable holiday tradition that is a treat for the whole family. Members of Princeton’s own community form part of the talented cast that will bring the spirit of the season to life on stage from December 10 through 29.
Hands-on activities will abound throughout the season. Check out wreath-making with McCarter Theatre, Morven Museum and Garden, and Palmer Square at 11 Hulfish Street on Saturday, December 7, or gingerbread decorating in Palmer Square on Saturday, December 14. Create a seasonal masterpiece on canvas at the Cranbury Station Gallery’s paint party on Thursday, December 12.
And don’t miss out on the Palmer Square Hanukkah celebration on Thursday, December 19. Music, food, and fun will usher in the Festival of Lights.
To make all of these festivities as easy as possible to access, enjoy free street parking Monday through Friday after 6 p.m. and Sundays all day until the New Year.
So put on some mittens, tie up your favorite scarf, and spend the season in Princeton. It will be more than just shopping or dining — it will be Pure Holiday Magic.
Visit the Princeton Merchants Association webpage for more details about events and promotions! www.princetonmerchants.org/holidays