Christmas and Holiday Events in December 2017

It’s almost December. Yes, time flies. Celebrate this season watching Holiday Light Shows, visit Santa, take a carriage ride, listen to Christmas story times, watch holiday movies and enjoy much more fun programs.

This guide has three parts: Ice Skating Outdoor Rinks, Ongoing Events in the Chicago and Suburbs, and events by the date around NW Suburbs of Chicago. Update your calendar and enjoy this holiday season with your family and friends.

 

Merry Christmas!!

And Happy Holidays for those who celebrate Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa!!

 

OUTDOOR ICE SKATING

  • SOUTH BARRINGTON, THE ARBORETUM – Arboretum on Ice – November 11, 2017 – January 15, 2018. Skate on our 7,200 square foot real ice rink with your friends and family. Admission: $12 with skate rental or $8 without skate rental, $8 for children under 3.  Website
  • CHICAGO, MILLENNIUM PARK – Ice Skating Experience one of the city’s finest winter traditions from November 17, 2017 – March 4, 2018 (weather permitting). Check the website for daily hours of operation. Admission is FREE with free skating lessons Friday through Sunday, one hour before the rink opens. Skate rentals available for $12.
  • ROSEMONT – Ice Skating at MB Financial Park, November 24, 2017 – February 2018

It’s winter fun for the whole family! Ice Skating is a FREE event. Skate rentals are available for $8. Tickets are sold on site at the box office.  Cash & credit cards accepted. Website

  • CHICAGO, The Maggie Daley Park – Skating ribbonNovember 17, 2017 – first week of March (weather permitting).  Free admission, skate rentals $12 ($14 on the weekend), locker rental $2. Website
maggie daley ice ribbon

Photo credit: Martha Williams

 

ONGOING

  • BASS PRO SHOPS – Santa’s WonderlandNovember 11, 2017 – December 24, 2017.

Santa’s Arrival and Preview Event on Saturday, November 11 at 5:00 pm.

Free photo with Santa, $5 Christmas card package, free wooden picture frame, free crafts, free activity tables, laser or foam toy arcade, Lincoln Logs building area, remote control trucks and more. Visit website for schedule and more details.

  • MUSEUM OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY – Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light  opens November 18, 2017- January 7, 2018.

It began in 1942 with a single tree. Today, the Museum’s beloved annual celebration features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of more than 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. On the weekends, you can also enjoy live holiday performances. It’s the one-of-a-kind experience that brings a whole world of holiday joy under one roof. Website

Photo credit: msichicago.org

  • THE MORTON ARBORETUM, LISLE – Illumination: Tree LightsNovember 17, 2017 – January 1, 2018

Illumination is an award-winning, one-mile outdoor walking tour on a paved path winding through 50 acres of The Morton Arboretum’s celebrated tree collections. Seating, warming/concession tents, and fire pits are available along the route. So are countless photo opportunities. It’s an ideal way to experience the winter woods brought to life with innovative lights, projections, and music.

This year, we’re introducing the Illu-medallion. Groundbreaking technology lets you be part of the interactive light display when you purchase a glowing, wearable Illu-medallion that reacts to the spectacular sights and sounds along your journey. Website

Photo credit: mortonarb.org

  • CHICAGO – ChristkindlmarketNovember 17 – December 24, 2017

The Christkindlmarket Chicago brings a cherished German and European tradition with international flair and local charm to Chicago. At the market, stop by the Information Counter at the Americaneagle Grand Timber Haus and pick up a Christkindlmarket Passport – inside are activities, coloring pages, and a special at-market contest for children. Advent Calendar, Scavenger Hunt and more.  Admission is FREE! Website

christkindel_by_True_Shot_Studios

  • LINCOLN PARK ZOO – ZooLightsNovember 24–26; December 1–3, 8–23, 26–31; January 1-7, 2018

Winter wonderland with lights, Santa visits, ice carving, train adventures, holiday crafts and more, 4:30-9:00 pm. Website

  • COSLEY ZOO, WHEATON – Festival of lightsNovember 24- December 30, 2017, 3:00-9:00 pm.

Cosley Zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland with 20,000 twinkling lights creating spectacular displays, an amazing selection of Christmas trees for you to purchase, hot chocolate, and holiday gifts.  Zoo Admission is free during the Festival of Lights and Tree Sales. Donations are greatly appreciated.

  • Cosley Zoo is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day
  • Cosley Zoo is open 9A-Noon on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

The zoo is open 9 am-9 pm daily; lights come on at 3 pm. Website

  • CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN – Wonderland Express, November 24, 2017 – January 7, 2018

This is one of the Chicago area’s top holiday “must-sees,” and a family-friendly, made-for-memories experience.  Website

  • GLENVIEW, ABT ELECTRONICS – Meet Santa, November 24 – December 23, 2017

Come meet the Jolly Man himself, deliver your wish list, and get your photo taken with him for FREE. Santa is available only on Saturdays, and Sundays, between 12:00-4:00 pm.

Photo credit: ABT Facebook Page

  • HOLIDAY CLASSICS at Marcus Theatres, December 1-14, 2017

Bring the whole family to the theatre this December to see classic holiday films, back on the big screen! The best part is, tickets are only $5! Start a new holiday tradition with Marcus Theatres!

December 1 – 7
It’s a Wonderful Life / Elf / The Polar Express

December 8 – 14
Christmas Vacation / A Christmas Story / White Christmas

Check your local theatres listings for showtimes. Website

  • CHICAGO, NAVY PIER – Winter WonderFest, December 1, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Packed with indoor family fun, this delightful family tradition features 170,000 square feet of rides, giant slides, the Chicago Blackhawks indoor ice skating rink, visit with Santa and much more. Website

  • BROOKFIELD ZOO – Holiday Magic, December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 26-31, 2017

Chicagoland’s Largest and Longest Running Lights Festival – 36th Year. Over One Million Twinkling LED Lights, train rides, live entertainment, ice carvers and much more. Website

  • BARRINGTON, ICE HOUSE MALL-Free Photos & Visits with Santa, December 2-23, 2017, 12:00-3:00 pm

Bring a donation for the Northern Illinois Food Bank and take a photo with Santa. Help feed a hungry neighbor this holiday season. Bring your own cameras and wish lists when visiting Santa. Children receive a free holiday gift and a special thank you from Santa for donating to help needy children. Website

Photo credit: Randhurst Village

  • MOUNT PROSPECT, RANDHURST VILLAGE – The Magical Animated Holiday Light Show, December 9-16, 2017

From Dec. 9 through Dec. 16, Randhurst Village will present a magical light projection show every night at Center Court. The show will be projected onto a portion of the Hampton Hotel building, bringing it to life with a customized 3-D projection featuring elves, icicles, snow and other holiday images, all set to dramatic holiday music.

The light show will run every half hour from 6 to 8 pm Saturday and 6:30 to 8 pm Sunday through Friday. Those Funny Little People Holiday Elves will introduce the Light Show on Saturday, Dec. 9 and 16, with performances at 5:30 pm. Local community choirs will perform from 4:30 – 5:30 in Center Court on Dec. 9.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on a horse-drawn carriage Dec. 9 and 16 at 3 pm. They will be greeting children in a new location – the lobby of The Hampton Inn and Suites until 5:30 pm.

Carriage Rides will be from 3 to 5:30 (as time allows, first come, first served).

Website

*** In the case of extreme weather, the Holiday Light Show may be canceled. Please visit Randhurst Village’s Facebook and Twitter pages for the most up to date information on cancellations.***

 

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 1

Shop for all your holiday gifts at hundreds of exhibits from all over the country. Adults: $8, Children: (under age 15): FREE, Parking: $7 (Cash Only).

The Festival of Lights returns for the fifth straight year in bigger and brighter fashion. Pedestrians and motorists alike will be treated to a sparking display of holiday lights and sights. The Lighting Ceremony kicks off at exactly 6:30 pm.

Additional entertainment to include:
– Horse-drawn carriage rides
– Holiday Crafts
– Family Bingo
– Santa Visits
– Cookie Decorating
– Rockin’ Santa
– Christmas Card Decorating
– Train Rides

Take a tour of Old Town Park and enjoy the lights and sights of the Festival of Lights in a horse-drawn carriage.

Entertainment and refreshments are provided, and a special guest arrives to “flip the switch” and light up the Village welcoming in the holiday season.

This year, we host guest appearances by Batman and Batgirl, enjoy hot chocolate and live entertainment, and greet Santa as he enters the square on a Des Plaines fire engine. At 6:30 P.M., we’ll flip the big switch to light up the city and celebrate the meaning of family, friends, and community.

All aboard! Come in your PJs and join us for a magical evening as we host our annual Polar Express Storytime. Coloring and activities to follow. Check if your nearest Barnes & Noble location offers this Storytime.

 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 2

This classic, heartwarming story about the effects of the Christmas spirit will grow even the coldest and smallest of hearts three sizes. Activities to follow.

Visit Santa, and animals, make a craft or two and enjoy refreshments. Fee: $5/family donation, $3 for printed photo with Santa.

Special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, live Reindeer, snacks and hot cocoa.  New to Miracle on Main Street this year will be children’s crafts, sleigh rides, adult beverages, and food vendors. Make sure to get there early as the annual Lake Zurich Lions Club Candy Cane Hunt begins in Lions Park (Lake Zurich Lion’s Den 81 E. Main Street) right before Miracle on Main Street at 2pm.

Shop for all your holiday gifts at hundreds of exhibits from all over the country. Adults: $8, Children: (under age 15): FREE, Parking: $7 (Cash Only).

Come visit Fischer Farm for a free old-fashioned Christmas-themed event featuring hay rides, crafts for kids, treats and live music. Performances will include Christmas carols and opportunities to sing along. There will be complimentary hot chocolate and desserts. This year, families can get their picture taken with Santa for $7; time slots (2-5pm) for photos can be secured; pay and make your appointment at the Deer Grove Leisure Center by Friday, December 1. Walk-ins are welcome based on availability.

The annual winter festival with free admission, free parking, free pictures with Santa. Entertainment • Walk-around Characters • Music • Dance • Singing • Magic • Story Time • Face Painting • Crafts • Games • Food • Model Train Displays, Food and Fun for all ages! 

Families and children of all ages are invited to Cantigny Park for the “Celebrate the Season” holiday festival. The park will be decorated for the holidays, and an assortment of activities and offerings are planned to kick off the season in style.

Sleigh Rides | Live Reindeer | Craft | Face Painting | Storytime with Mrs. Claus | Santa

Visitors to the event are encouraged to bring a new and unwrapped toy for the Marine Toys for Tots drop boxes inside the Cantigny Visitors Center. Those bringing a toy will receive FREE parking.

Christmas is an old holiday with even more ancient roots. Come celebrate the holidays with a trip back in time at Spring Valley’s Heritage Farm and Merkle Log Cabin. See how German-American farm families in 19th century Schaumburg celebrated Christmas with traditional foods, simple homemade gifts and a continuation of their daily farm chores. Meet a traditional St. Nicholas and enjoy a cup of soup by the fireplace at the log cabin. The day will include refreshments, holiday treats, cookie decorating for the kids and craft activities.

This event is for all ages. Cost is $3 per person and $12 per family (six or fewer). Additional members are $3. Children 3 and younger are free.

Begins with a magical holiday story hour by none other than, Mrs. Claus at 11:00 am. The Nutcracker dance and story at 11:30 am. Santa’s Arrival with Parade of Characters at noon! Cookies and milk and visits with Santa 12:30-3:00 pm. Suzuki Strings performance at 2:00 pm.

This festive night features actors, singers, and musicians from the community. We’ll also unveil the Cary Community Tree inside Town Hall. Over 130 community groups provide handcrafted ornaments to be displayed on the inside tree- a true representation of the diversity of Cary.

Santa will be arriving on a big red fire truck. Make sure to get your picture with Santa & Mrs. Claus and pick up your clown nose! Other activities include Holiday Crafts, Wagon Rides, Movie and Refreshments, and much more.  Treelighting & Fireworks at 5:15 pm.

Show your love this holiday season. Snap a FREE digital pic in the Sears Court then share it online with #givelove.

“Grow Your Heart 3 Sizes!” and celebrate all things Grinch with a reading of the classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! We will have good deed badges and tracking booklets for kids to log all the good things they do this holiday season. Activities to follow. Check if your nearest Barnes & Noble location offers this Storytime.

Indoor holiday craft market • food trucks • live holiday music • carriage rides • live reindeer • live nativity & petting zoo • tons of free kids activities • pictures with Santa • AND MUCH MORE!

 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 3

The annual winter festival with free admission, free parking, free pictures with Santa. Entertainment • Walk-around Characters • Music • Dance • Singing • Magic • Story Time • Face Painting • Crafts • Games • Food • Model Train Displays, Food and Fun for all ages! 

Shop for all your holiday gifts at hundreds of exhibits from all over the country. Adults: $8, Children: (under age 15): FREE, Parking: $7 (Cash Only).

Christmas is an old holiday with even more ancient roots. Come celebrate the holidays with a trip back in time at Spring Valley’s Heritage Farm and Merkle Log Cabin. See how German-American farm families in 19th century Schaumburg celebrated Christmas with traditional foods, simple homemade gifts and a continuation of their daily farm chores. Meet a traditional St. Nicholas and enjoy a cup of soup by the fireplace at the log cabin. The day will include refreshments, holiday treats, cookie decorating for the kids and craft activities.

This event is for all ages. Cost is $3 per person and $12 per family (six or fewer). Additional members are $3. Children 3 and younger are free.

Show your love this holiday season. Snap a FREE digital pic in the Sears Court then share it online with #givelove.

 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 4

Continue our sweet tradition as Preschoolers/Early Elementary Age Students and parents decorate cookies with frosting, sprinkles and assorted candy! Space is limited to 30.

In order to better serve our patrons, we will be distributing a limited number of tickets at the Youth Services Reference Desk on a first-come, first-served basis 30 minutes before the start of the program. One ticket will be given per person and all attendees must be present to receive a ticket.

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 5

Decorate LEGO inspired holiday cards and cookies.

Join us for a magical evening! Exciting holiday entertainment on the stage, Storytime with Mrs. Claus, Crafts and hot chocolate, Carousel rides, and Souvenir pictures with Santa. Ticket sales are limited.

Fee: $5 Child / $3 Adult
At the door: $7 Child / $5 Adult

 

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7

Join us for the tree lighting celebration, a popular Rolling Meadows tradition, at 6 p.m. by the McDonald’s restaurant (3140 Kirchoff Road). Enjoy seasonal treats and giveaways. Afterward, go to Fire Station 15 (3111 Meadow Drive) where you can meet a couple of Santa’s elves and reindeer, warm up and enjoy a free spaghetti dinner (while supplies last).

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8

Visit Santa’s Workshop at the Nature Center! Kids will meet with Santa and parents may take photos in this festive atmosphere!  We will have cookies and hot chocolate, and make some holiday crafts. FREE

 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9

Join us this Holiday season for a showing of Elf at the Elk Grove Theatre! Elf will be shown on Saturday, December 9th at 10:00 AM. Admission is free and sponsored by Porte Brown (Certified Public Accountants). Bring your camera to take pictures with Santa!

Visit Santa, and animals, make a craft or two and enjoy refreshments. Fee: $5/family donation, $3 for printed photo with Santa.

Movie with Santa – The Star. Free Admission, but bring one canned food item for donation to the local food pantry.

Celebrate the season and spread holiday cheer at Woodfield Mall! Families are invited to join us for various craft activities and holiday fun. This event will feature fun-filled story time with Santa himself! Sears Court

Show your love this holiday season. Snap a FREE digital pic in the Sears Court then share it online with #givelove.

Cruise the lights and sights of Old Town Park’s Festival of Lights on an old-fashioned carriage ride. Rides are FREE and seat a maximum of two adults and four children.

Registrations are available online. Carriage Rides are located under special events. Register one family member to reserve a spot for the whole family. One reservation per family. Times are approximate.

Visit the animals; enjoy hot spiced cider and carols by the fire; visit the farmhouse decked in greens; and stop in the visitor center for a picture with a Victorian Santa in his sleigh. Activities ongoing. All ages. Free. No registration. Questions? Call 630-876-5900.

Visit Santa’s Workshop at the Nature Center! Kids will meet with Santa and parents may take photos in this festive atmosphere!  We will have cookies and hot chocolate, and make some holiday crafts.

Join us this Holiday season for a showing of Elf at the Woodstock Theatre! Elf will be shown on Saturday, December 9th at 10:00 AM. Admission is $1.00 and in partnered with Woodstock Independent and the City of Woodstock.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on a horse-drawn carriage December 9 and 16 at 3 pm. They will be greeting children in a new location – the lobby of The Hampton Inn and Suites until 5:30 pm.

 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10

Visit the animals; enjoy hot spiced cider and carols by the fire; visit the farmhouse decked in greens; and stop in the visitor center for a picture with a Victorian Santa in his sleigh. Activities ongoing. All ages. Free. No registration. Questions? Call 630-876-5900.

Visit Santa’s Workshop at the Nature Center! Kids will meet with Santa and parents may take photos in this festive atmosphere!  We will have cookies and hot chocolate, and make some holiday crafts.

Show your love this holiday season. Snap a FREE digital pic in the Sears Court then share it online with #givelove.

 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12

See Santa and take pictures with him.

Join us for the annual village holiday celebration! The festivities will kick off with Santa arriving at the library at 5:30 p.m. Activities include music by the Peacock Middle School Choir and holiday crafts organized by community groups. Each family that attends will receive a commemorative ornament and tote bag (while supplies last). Donations of new and unwrapped toys will be collected that night by the Itasca Police Department to help local families in need. Collections will also be taken of winter wear for all ages, and food and non-perishable donations for the Itasca Food Pantry.

santa1

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 15

For children and their families.
Join us for a holiday concert featuring beloved teaching artist Laura Crotte. Enjoy songs that remind us of the joy of friends and family this holiday season. Register today to save your spot!

Come join us at the Carousel and Jumps n’ Jiggles to visit with Santa. Children will be able to make a craft, ride the Carousel and play in Jumps n’ Jiggles. Santa will be at the Carousel from 11-1pm.

 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16

Show your love this holiday season. Snap a FREE digital pic in the Sears Court then share it online with #givelove.

Cruise the lights and sights of Old Town Park’s Festival of Lights on an old-fashioned carriage ride. Rides are FREE and seat a maximum of two adults and four children.

Registrations are available online. Carriage Rides are located under special events. Register one family member to reserve a spot for the whole family. One reservation per family. Times are approximate.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on a horse-drawn carriage Dec. 9 and 16 at 3 pm. They will be greeting children in a new location – the lobby of The Hampton Inn and Suites until 5:30 pm.

The Pavilion Aquatics Center will transform into the North Pole for a day your family will not soon forget! Swimming, Holiday games & prizes, Tie-Dye snowflake swim T-shirt Station.
(Child fee includes snowflake swim t-shirt and prize bag. Adult must register with child).

Fee: Child $12 R / $14 NR, Adults $5 R/$6 NR

 

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17

Show your love this holiday season. Snap a FREE digital pic in the Sears Court then share it online with #givelove.

 

 

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20

For kids up to 6th grade and their families.
Drop into the South Branch to make crafts. The Library will provide all craft supplies. No registration required. Children under age 9 must be accompanied by an adult.

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22

Cruise the lights and sights of Old Town Park’s Festival of Lights on an old-fashioned carriage ride. Rides are FREE and seat a maximum of two adults and four children.

Registrations are available online. Carriage Rides are located under special events. Register one family member to reserve a spot for the whole family. One reservation per family. Times are approximate.

 

 

CHRISTMAS LIGHT FINDER – VISIT THIS WEBSITE TO FIND HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS AT YOUR AREA.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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