Holiday happenings

Andy Williams didn’t call the holiday season “The most wonderful time of the year” for nothing.

Kids aren’t jingle-belling – yet – but everyone should be of good cheer, especially with all of the fun activities planned for Monroe Township and Gloucester County this holiday season.

On Dec. 2 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., Shades of Harmony, Williamstown’s all female a cappella group, will perform its holiday concert at the Monroe Township Public Library. No registration is required for this event, however donations of non-perishable food for the food pantry will be graciously accepted. For more information, visit shadesofharmony.org.

Later that week, things get cranked up to 11 for the annual Christmas tree lighting on Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Pfeiffer Community Center. Santa will arrive on a classic firetruck, arm-in-arm with his wife, Mrs. Claus. After the tree is lit, everybody is invited back to the Pfeiffer Center, where hot chocolate, coffee, tea, desserts and other snacks will be served. Craft activities and ample photo opportunities are available to make this a night to remember. Derieux said Mrs. Claus will read stories to the kids, too.
New this year at the tree lighting is a competition between the township’s elementary schools to find out who can decorate the prettiest tree. Parks and recreation clerk Tiffany Carney said all elementary schools are welcome to decorate a tree at the Pfeiffer Center the night of the big tree lighting and townsfolk will vote on which one they think is the best. A winner will be announced at the end of the night.

Fast forward to Dec. 18 and you can see the annual winter concert at Williamstown High School at 7 p.m. An art exhibit it scheduled for the same night, too.

On Dec. 20, a senior party is scheduled at the Pfeiffer Community Center from 1 to 3 p.m.. Seniors will be served light refreshments and a hot lunch, and there will be photo opportunities with the Grinch.

The very next day, the Grinch will return to the Pfeiffer Center at 9:30 a.m. for continental breakfast. “Continental Breakfast with the Grinch” is an inaugural event that will run until 11:30 a.m. Same location later that day, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. to be precise, the Grinch will return to take pictures with puppies. Derieux said dogs can use an antler prop to dress as “Max” from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“It’s a way to give back for all they do for us,” Derieux said of providing ample events for the families of Monroe Township. “They deserve these things – the kids, the families, they deserve to have something.

“This is their town for crying out loud. It’s time to give back a little bit of what they give to us, especially this time of year. It’s Christmas, you know, it’s more about giving than receiving.”

Throughout the month of December, starting on the second, the Williamstown Fire Department will host its annual Christmas tree sale. Trees will be available for purchase Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Trees are behind the fire department located at 555 S. Main St.

In other towns:

  • The Gloucester County Children’s Choir will have its annual winter concert on Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. at the Pitman United Methodist Church on North Broadway. Admission to the concert is free and refreshments will be provided after the show. The venue is wheelchair accessible. Please contact the choir at (856) 589-0353 if other accommodations are required. For more information, visit gccchoir.com
  • The Washington Township Historic Preservation Commission will host its annual “Magic of Christmas” event on Dec. 14 at the Olde Stone House Village on Egg Harbor Road from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. This event will feature “Polar Express” readings, live music, a station for kids to write letters to santa, a bake sale and photo opportunities with Santa. For more information, email TownshipHistory1836@gmail.com.