Village holiday traditions shine bright

From luminaria to open house, events give Hinsdale that hometown holiday feel


Last updated 12/12/2019 at 11:43am | View PDF

Jim Slonoff

Jenna Krukowski and Carrie Rozich ready the Hinsdale History Museum for Saturday's open house. The event will beckon visitors back to Hinsdale of Christmases long ago.

Part of what makes the holidays special are the traditions that adults and children alike come to know and love. One group of residents is bringing a special tradition back to life this holiday season, while two organizations are inviting residents to annual events that promise to help get folks in the Christmas spirit.

Luminaria tradition reignited

The residents of Golfview Hills will resurrect a longtime holiday tradition this year by setting out luminaria on Christmas Eve. Once a steadfast ritual in the Hinsdale neighborhood, the lights went out on the initiative more than a decade ago.

When Mary Jaworski moved to Golfview Hills three years ago, she missed the tradition she had enjoyed as a resident of Clarendon Hills. Her new neighbors spoke fondly of the Christmas Eves spent admiring their candle-lit neighborhood, and Jaworski become determined to bring the holiday lights back to her new home.

"My goal was to have 75 residents participate," said Jaworski, who has far surpassed that goal.

More than 100 homeowners will line the streets in front of their properties with candle-lit paper bags at dusk on Christmas Eve. An alternate date has been set for Jan. 1, in the event that weather is an issue.

In the season's spirit of giving, sales of the luminaria kits will benefit Bridge Communities, an organization that helps people in DuPage County overcome homelessness through mentoring, housing and support services.

Jaworski said her neighbors aren't the only ones to get behind the return of luminaria in Golfview Hills. Generous donations from homeowners and businesses have lowered the cost of the project and increased the amount available to support Bridge Communities to $2,500.

Jaworski said the luminaria will be displayed predominantly on 58th, Thurlow and Monroe streets. She hopes neighbors in Golfview Hills and beyond will pass through on Christmas Eve to witness the beauty of the luminaria and the magic of neighbors working together.

"It's inspiring. It's an opportunity to find some peace and unity together as a community," Jaworski said, and to share that peace and unity with all who pass by.

Sounds of the season

The Allegrezza chorus will fill Union Church of Hinsdale with the sounds of Christmas at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15. Co-founder and artistic director Stephen Edwards said the holiday music included in this year's "Night Before Christmas" concert is as varied as the 38 voices that make up the choir.

Joined by Gaudete Brass, a Chicago quintet, Allegrezza has prepared holiday songs that range from gospel and jazz to traditional holiday carols.

Edwards, who also is the director of music and worship at Union Church, said the first half of the concert will include traditional carols and songs. While familiar to all, Edwards said some songs will be heard like never before.

"You would never imagine that 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' could be so beautiful," Edwards said of the arrangement by Daniel Elder. "It's stunning."

The second half of the concert is a mix of sacred and secular songs, including the concert's namesake piece, "The Night Before Christmas." Set to the familiar poem, the piece features the Gaudete Brass in a performance that Edwards promises will leave the audience feeling "warm and fuzzy."

Composer Gary Fry's "Sing a Christmas Carol," which weaves together several familiar holiday tunes, and a compilation of spiritual carols by Michael McElroy promise a diverse yet consistently joyous celebration of the season.

Tickets to "The Night Before Christmas" are $25 for general admission and $20 for students. Purchases can be made online at or at the door. The church is at 137 S. Garfield Ave.

A portion of all ticket sales will benefit Care For Real, a Chicago organization that provides food, clothing and support to those in need.

Christmas past

Step back in time Saturday, Dec. 14, as the Hinsdale Historical Society recreates a Victorian Christmas inside its museum at 15 S. Clay Street.

Guests are invited to explore the museum and discover how the holidays were celebrated in Hinsdale's early years during the annual open house, set for noon to 4 p.m. The former home is decorated for the holidays, with a tree festooned in Victorian-era ornaments and other glimpses into what Christmas in Hinsdale was like more than a century ago.

Enjoy cookies, fruit and punch, crafts and more. At 1:30 p.m., the first 15 recipients to be honored in the Hinsdale Historical Society's recently revived Historic Plaque Program will be recognized.

An exhibit created by HHS programs and collections manager Jenna Krukowski includes photos of Hinsdale winters long ago.

From 2 to 2:30 p.m., museum guests will enjoy live music by the Hinsdale Chorale.

Carrie Rozich, HHS Women's Board co-chair and member of the HHS Board, said the open house is a chance for families to share an afternoon exploring the museum and the village they call home.

Golfview Hills residents Mary Jaworski and Carol Pyle are among more than 100 homeowners set to light up the neighborhood with luminaria on Christmas Eve.

"This is an opportunity to bring everyone together and learn something in the process," she said.

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean

Email: [email protected]


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