reindeerReal live reindeer are present and accounted for, as Sickles Market inaugurates the season with a Holiday Open House event on Friday, November 14.

Ask anyone whose job it is to stock the shelves of the Seasonal aisle at the chain pharmacy — or who’s been forced to listen to the piped-in music at the chain pharmacy. The holidays are here and NOW, and no amount of patient, tasteful restraint or social-media finger-wagging is going to stop this train.

Which brings us to this Friday, November 14, and the Monmouth Museum, where the main gallery hosts a reception for All Aboard! Railroads & The Historic Landscapes They Travel, a group show guest-curated by lensman Michael Froio, and spotlighting the work of eight photographers who collectively celebrate the transformative role of the railroad in the American landscape over the past 150 years. Vintage travel and advertising posters (on loan from the Private Collection of Bennett Levin) are also on display, with the reception running between 3 and 5 pm, and the exhibit continuing during regular museum hours through January 4, 2015.

Also on view will be a returning holiday-season favorite — the Monmouth Museum Model Train Display, a long-running feature that “will make its comeback with new, improved trains and updated network of track.” And if that doesn’t sound the whistle on the express to the season of lights, the Friends of Monmouth Museum will be unveiling their annual Holiday Tree, decorated for 2014 with train and railroad-related memorabilia. Check the Museum website as well for info on the annual Holiday Gift Gallery, set to commence on November 21.

It’s just minutes as the reindeer flies from Lincroft to Little Silver — and over at Sickles Market, the local landmark claims the window seat on the Santa Express, with a Friday evening Holiday Open House event that doesn’t skimp on any of the jinglebells, whistles, trimmings and trappings. To prove it, no less a pair of luminaries than jolly Saint Nick and Mrs. Claus will be on the scene — and they’ll be bringing a couple of their majestic, beautiful reindeer along for the occasion, which runs between the hours of 4 to 7 pm. A stroll-through grove of artificial Christmas trees will be on display and on sale, along with ornaments, household decorations and lights — and the famous market will feature seasonal floral arrangements and tasting demos of many of the dishes offered on the Thanksgiving Menu. Top it all off with a performance of familiar Yuletide carols by members of the Monmouth Civic Chorus, and you’ve got the earlybird jinglebell-jump on Black Friday, weeks before the first Ralphie rerun.