SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The holidays are right around the corner, with Christmas less than a month away, and Hanukkah beginning at sundown this Sunday, December 6. Here are eight great holiday happenings this weekend in and around South Orange and Maplewood:

1. Friday, December 4, the Seton Village Committee presents the 2nd Annual "Light Up the Holidays in Seton Village" beginning at 5:30 p.m., with a tree lighting, visit from Santa, specials at local restaurants and much more. Details here.

2. Saturday, December 5, is full of festivities at Maplewood's Dickens Village; full schedule here. Highlights include the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus at 1 p.m., and the tree lighting program at 4:30 p.m. 

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3. Holiday shows have performances all weekend long. Catch A Christmas Story: The Musical at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, or The Theater Project's It's a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play in Union.

4. Model train displays are open all weekend, suitable for kids of all ages. In Woodbridge, the Baron Arts Center Train Show is open daily, and in Union, the Model Train Holiday Light and Sound Show is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

5. For those who like to shop, there are three opportunities this weekend to find unique offerings from local artists and craftspeople. Studio B's Bizarre Bazaar is at The Woodland in Maplewood on Sunday (details here); South Orange's holiday store, Pop 'N Shop, is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 65 South Orange Ave. (details here); and Gallery 103 in Maplewood has a Holiday Pop-Up Art Shop (details here), with an Open House on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

6. Sunday, December 6, the Durand-Hedden house holds their Holiday Open House, "Celebrate the Season." Gingerbread houses will be on display as part of the third annual competition, and other highlights include a visit from a Victorian Santa.

7. Sunday, December 6, the American Repertory Ballet performs the Nutcracker at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, and even includes a cameo from South Orange Village President Sheena Collum. Details here.

8. Sunday, December 6, at 4 p.m. there is a community Menorah Lighting Ceremony in Spiotta Park in South Orange. In addition to the lighting of the menorah, the event will include singing, music, jelly doughnuts and hot chocolate. Sponsored by Congregation Beth El, Oheb Shalom, Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, with support from South Orange Village, and the South Orange Village Alliance. 

Looking ahead, other great holiday events coming up include the Maplewood menorah lighting on Tuesday, December 8, and the Springfield Avenue Winterfest on Sunday, December 13.

Did we miss a holiday event? Please send details to Anna Sandler at