Holiday wreaths make Church Street festive. NEIL GRABOWSKY/FOR MONTCLAIR LOCAL

For Montclair Local

Now that the frost is on the pumpkin and out of our lattes, we’re psyched up for the holiday season. Don’t stress out, stay and shop local while exploring events right here in town. Mark your calendars for the Montclair Arts Alliance four day Festival of Visual and Performing Arts starting on Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. with an art gallery opening on Wednesday.


Enjoy wine and cheese while listening to harpist Violetta Norrie, followed by a jazz performance. On November 30, five theater companies present sit down and staged readings as well as musical theater performances. The festival runs through Saturday, December 2 with more music, modern and African dance plus daytime performances for children at The United Way Theater, 60 South Fullerton Avenue.

Need a little black dress or something festive and fabulous to wear for entertaining or party going? Stop by Barbara Eclectic, 594 Valley Road and see owner Holly Felber. She’ll help you find the LBD of your dreams. Some of the dressy embellished tunic tops are long enough to wear as a dress over opaque leggings or tights. A glittery peacock butterfly top, along with a black embroidered tunic followed me home as my purchase while exploring the shop. The accessories and gifts start as low as $10, to designer couture creations for $230.

While you’re in the Upper Montclair Business District, the 5th Montclair Pop-Up Shop opens on Nov. 25 at 127 Valley Road. Co-founders Selma Avdicevic and Helene Richman advise that this is the final year of the short term local holiday shop featuring artisans and makers selling everything from gourmet food, fragrances, soap, handmade jewelry, home décor to accessories, furniture and artwork. Take part in jewelry making and cooking demonstrations, too. The Pop-Up Shop will be open for business until Christmas Eve, December 24th.

Need some decorating inspiration to get yourself in the mood for a holly jolly holiday? Take time out to tour the first floor of the historic Van Vleck House and Gardens, 21 Van Vleck St.,  Nov. 16-18. Enjoy cider and cookies while viewing the oversize trimmed tree, mantle covers and wreaths made and donated by local residents. View and bid on silent auction items while you’re there. No RSVP required, tickets $5 each for adults, free for children.

Christmas means a photo op with Santa for many of us and our children. Applegate Farm, 616 Grove St., is booking 10 minute sessions with Santa on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. until 3:50 p.m. You and the little ones will enjoy the warmly decorated living room set up where Santa will pose in front of a fireplace to make a holiday memory photo print or holiday card for you. Bring back the good old days or just make it a better day with their shakes, sundaes, ice cream cakes, pies, chocolates or apple cider donuts on your way to doing more shopping.

We’re known for being a multicultural town, so early shopping and planning are key since Hannukah falls early this year, starting at sundown on Dec. 12 and ending at sundown on Dec. 20. It’s as easy as buying jelly donuts in a supermarket, bakery or cafe to commemorate the Festival of Lights and enjoying homemade or store made potato latkes. Latke recipes are like snowflakes, handed down through families or easily found online.

Dec. 8 is Nutcracker Day at Montclair Public Library, 50 South Fullerton Ave. Events begin at 11 a.m. with a dress up story time for children, continuing with a kid friendly screening of The Nutcracker. Young ballerinas talk about performing the ballet while demonstrating some of the dances before a classical concert of German and Russian selections, followed by the final screening of The Nutcracker at 7 pm. All events are free and open to the public.

Have no fear, there’s more seasonal fun to come to take you through The New Year.

In this article:

• Montclair Arts Alliance

• Barbara Eclectic

• Montclair Pop-Up

• Van Vleck House and Gardens

• Applegate Farm

• Montclair Public Library Main Branch, 973-744- 0500 x 2235