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Holiday Happenings


Last updated 11/17/2021 at 5:08pm | View PDF


Nov. 18-19

Morton Arboretum

4100 Route 53, Lisle

(630) 968-0074

Be among the first to see Illumination: Tree Lights at the arboretum while sampling seasonal beers, ciders and meads from popular Chicagoland breweries stationed along the Illumination trail. Each tasting ticket includes 15 3-ounce beer sample and a souvenir light up tasting glass. This event is for ages 21+ only. Nov. 19 is sold out. Time: 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. time slots available. Tickets: $75, $40 for designated driver ticket.

Shades of Crimson Poinsettia Display

Nov. 19

Cantigny Park

1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton

(630) 668-5161

Take a self-guided tour of Cantigny’s greenhouse to see 16 varieties of poinsettias in full bloom and about 3,000 plants in all. Horticulture staff members will be on hand to discuss the plants and answer questions. Poinsettias will be specially priced for sale. Cantigny’s annual Mistletoe Market, featuring holiday gifts from local artists and crafters, will be open in Cantigny’s Visitors Center from 1 to 7 p.m. Forty-four vendors are participating. Photography is welcome. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Free with $5 parking.

Irving Berlin’s ‘Holiday Inn’

Nov. 19-Jan. 9

Drury Lane Theatre

100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace

(630) 530-0111

Based on the classic film, Irving Berlin’s musical follows retired song-and-dance man Jim’s efforts to bring entertainment to his small Connecticut town. With the help of talented schoolteacher Linda, he turns his farmhouse into an inn and puts on spectacular shows celebrating all holidays. This joyous, family-friendly musical features thrilling dance numbers, laugh-out-loud comedy, and a parade of Irving Berlin’s hit songs, including the Academy Award-winning “White Christmas.” Tickets: $57-$72 for the show, additional cost for dining packages.


Nov. 20-Jan. 2

Morton Arboretum

4100 Route 53, Lisle

(630) 968-0074

The ninth annual Illumination: Tree Lights returns to the arboretum as a walking trail, with five new features this year, including Human+Nature sculpture Hallow lit at night. Along the route, warm up by a crackling fire and roast marshmallows for s’mores or stop in one of the concession tents for a snack and beverage. Advance ticket purchases are encouraged as many dates sell out. Hours: 4:30 to 8 p.m. slots. Tickets: $13-$24. RR, MD

Light up the Park

Nov. 26

Parkway Bank Park

5501 Park Place, Rosemont

Enjoy a variety of family-friendly festivities from 2 to 6 p.m., including visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, free horse and carriage rides, characters on ice, caroling and ice carving viewing. At 5:30 p.m. the switch will be flipped on more than 80,000 holiday lights throughout the park. The Chicago Wolves Ice Rink will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and then open daily through Jan. 4. See the website for hours and other details.

Holiday Magic

Nov 26-28 & Dec. 1-31

Brookfield Zoo

3400 31st St.

(630) 688-8400

Visitors will enjoy more than 1 million twinkling LED lights, a 600-foot-long tunnel featuring lights synchronized to music, a 41-foot tree and more at the zoo’s 40th annual Holiday Magic. Take memorable photos inside the new illuminated gingerbread house or the luminous 20-foot-tall orb or pose for a selfie next to the Santa Claus cutout. View the new “Sea of Lights” colorful display on the West Mall and more than 600 decorated community and corporate trees along the malls and around Roosevelt Fountain. Several animal areas will be open, including dolphin presentations at 4 and 6 p.m. Both guests and zoo members must secure admission and parking tickets in advance. Reservation times will be available in 20-minute increments at Times: 3 to 9 p.m. Admission: $24.95 for adults, $17.95 for ages 3-11, $19.95 for seniors 65 and older plus $15 parking. RR, MD

‘The Nutcracker’

Nov. 27-28

Hinsdale Central

5500 S. Grant St.

Salt Creek Ballet is back live on stage and celebrating its 35th year of presenting this holiday classic. This visually stunning, festive family-friendly production features a cast of 80 dancers, including Salt Creek Ballet students ages 6-18, and 10 internationally acclaimed guest dancers, including five courtesy of The Joffrey. Sunday’s performance includes special admission to the “Sugar Plum Party,” where audience members can meet characters from the ballet, step onto the stage and enjoy refreshments in an enchanted, winter wonderland. Times: 5 p.m. Nov. 27, 1 p.m. Nov. 28. Tickets: $48, $43 for children 12 and younger.

Hinsdale Chorale

Nov. 27 & 28

Emmanuel Episcopal Church

203 S. Kensington Ave., La Grange

The choir will perform the program “Silence to Gloria” featuring the world premiere of a piece commissioned for the group’s 20th anniversary by Grammy-nominated composer Shawn Okpebholo, with lyrics by the chorale’s own Glenn Spitler. Audiences will also hear Ola Gjeilo’s “Luminous Night of the Soul” and Dan Forrest’s arrangement of “Silent Night” for chorus, piano and string quartet, along with “Ding Dong, Merrily On High!” and “I Saw Three Ships” and other arrangements of familiar and less familiar carols. Times: 7 p.m. Nov. 27, 3 p.m. Nov. 28. Tickets: $20. $15 for seniors & students.

Breakfast with Santa

Weekends, Nov. 27-Dec. 19 & Dec. 23

Morton Arboretum

4100 Route 53, Lisle

(630) 725-2066

Enjoy a special breakfast buffet in The Morton Arboretum’s scenic Ginkgo Restaurant and a visit from Santa. Parties are limited to 10 guests. Time: 9 to 11 a.m. Cost: $48, $38 for children 3-12, free for children under 3. RR, MD

Jingle Bell Java

Nov. 30

Hinsdale Central High School

55th and Grant streets

Central musicians will perform festive music at this annual event. Time: 7 p.m.

Hinsdale Holiday Trees Ornament making & contest

Through Nov. 30

Village Hall

19 E. Chicago Ave.

(630) 789-7090

Help decorate the Hinsdale holiday trees in Burlington Park by making a homemade ornament, which can be entered in a contest to win a prize. Ornaments should be made of weatherproof material and should not have sharp edges, pointy ends or heavy materials. A 10- to 12-inch string or twine should be attached for hanging. Submissions should not contain content that promotes foul language or discrimination or is deemed graphic, obscene or explicit. Ornaments should be delivered with the entry form (available online) to village hall between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays. Winners will be announced Dec. 7.

Holiday Party

Dec. 1

Hinsdale Golf Club

140 Chicago Ave., Clarendon Hills

(708) 246-5281

The Hinsdale Chapter of the Lyric Opera will host this black tie-optional gathering with cocktails and dinner followed by a program. Time: 6:15 p.m. cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner and program. RR

Photos with Santa Paws

Dec. 1 & 4

Pet Rescue and Resource Center

21 Salt Creek Lane, Hinsdale

(630) 323-5630

Hinsdale Humane Society will take family photos with Santa and family friendly pet(s) in a safe, socially distanced environment, complete with holiday vendors, reindeer food for the kids and more. Masks will be required at all times but can be removed during photos. (Santa will be socially distanced from your family). Pictures will be available for download after the event. Register and choose a time slot on the website listed above. Times: 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 4. Registration: $20 per family.

Santa’s Mailbox

Dec. 1-15

(630) 789-7090

Write a letter to Santa, drop it in the mailbox at village hall, 19 E. Chicago Ave., and receive a personal letter back in four to six business days. Be sure to include the parent form available on the website listed above under Special Events > Santa’s Mailbox. Questions? Call the number listed above or send an email to [email protected]

Womens’ Life: A Village Christmas

Dec. 2

The Village Church

4475 Wolf Rd., Western Springs 
Join this Bible study group to celebrate the beginning of the season. Child care (nursery to kindergarten) will be provided. Donations for Breakthrough Ministries will be collected at the door. Time: 9:30 a.m. RR

Hinsdale Christmas Walk

Dec. 3

Downtown Hinsdale

(630) 323-3952

The Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the 55th annual event, which will feature Cookie’s Carousel, the Kiddie Express train, animated holiday characters, strolling carolers, giveaways and more. Santa will arrive at the Memorial Building, 19 E. Chicago Ave., to light the tree at 5 p.m. Time: 5 to 7:30 p.m.


Dec. 4

Mayslake Peabody Estate

1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook


(708) 762-3140

Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas with music reminiscent of handmade Christmas gifts, candles on the tree, togetherness, and simple gatherings with friends and relatives. Time: 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets: $15-$17.

Celebrate the Season

Dec. 4

Cantigny Park

1SS151 Winfield Road, Wheaton

(630) 668-5161

Families and children of all ages are invited to the park, which will be decorated for the holidays. Santa will be available for photos and Mrs. Claus will hand out a small takeaway (while supplies last). A strolling snowman and reindeer will add to the fun and present additional photo opportunities. The Lego Train Show also will be taking place in the Visitors Center from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Marine Toys for Tots drop boxes inside the visitors center. Time: 1 to 7 p.m. Admission: $5 parking; free with toy donation.

‘Joy! Joy! Joy!’

Dec. 4 & 5

Emmanuel Episcopal Church

203 S. Kensington Ave., La Grange

(708) 580-0997

The Tower Chorale’s first concert of the season will feature favorites like “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella,” arranged by Howard Helvey; “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” arranged by Ken Berg; and the unofficial Tower Chorale anthem, “O Holy Night,” arranged by Brian Luckner. Time: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, 3 p.m. Dec. 5. Tickets: $23, $20 for seniors and students.

Virtual: Christmas at Marshall Fields

Dec. 7

(630) 986-1976

For many Chicagoans, no Christmas season was complete without a visit to Marshall Field and Co. Hear about the store’s holiday traditions, including the Walnut Room Christmas tree, the window displays, the toy department and the catalogs. Remember Uncle Mistletoe and Aunt Holly? Join HPL and Leslie Goddard virtually for a fun and fascinating look at one of Chicago’s most beloved holiday traditions. Time: 7 to 8:30 p.m. RR

Holiday Concert

Dec. 11

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

1310 Shepherd Drive, Naperville

(630) 476-9072

The New Horizons Band of DuPage will perform selections of Holiday favorites. The concert will include sing-alongs, the New Horizons Concert Band, German Band and Jazz Band. New Horizons consist of musicians from Chicago and the surrounding suburbs under the direction of Maryann Flock. Time: 3 p.m.

CarolFest Christmas Concert

Dec. 12

Christ Church of Oak Brook

501 Oak Brook Road, Oak Brook

This year’s performance includes holiday classics, traditional carols and excerpts of Handel’s “Messiah,” featuring the Christ Church Chancel Choir accompanied by a chamber orchestra as well as organ, piano and professional soloists. The program will be presented in person and online with special ticketing and seating protocols described on the website listed above. Time: 3 p.m.

‘The Second City: It’s a Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Life’

Dec. 12

(630) 942-3008

While the weather outside could be frightful, the laughter inside is most delightful as comedy’s best and brightest roast the chestnuts out of all the things there are to lovingly loathe about the holiday season. Bring those on the nice (or naughty) list. Time: 4 p.m. Tickets: $30-$38.

Holiday Concert

Dec. 15

Hinsdale Central High School

55th and Grant streets

Central musicians will present their annual holiday concert. Time: 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Family Gingerbread Houses

Dec. 15

Hinsdale Public Library

20 E. Maple St.

(630) 986-1976

Families can register and then stop by the library to pick up their very own “dream” gingerbread house kit starting Dec. 15. Limit one per Hinsdale family. Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. RR

‘The Nutcracker’

Dec. 18-19

McAninch Arts Center

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn

(630) 942-4000

Salt Creek Ballet offers its production of this holiday classic, accompanied by the New Philharmonic under the baton of maestro Kirk Muspratt. Photo opportunities will be available with Santa one hour before each matinée. Times: 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 18, 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 19. Tickets: $46, $36.

Supper with St. Nick

Dec. 18-19 & 22-23

Morton Arboretum

4100 Route 53, Lisle

(630) 725-2066

Enjoy a decadent buffet dinner in the Thornhill Education Center and then head on over to the Founder’s Room for a special visit with Santa in front of the fireplace. After dinner, enjoy Illumination: Tree Lights, included in the ticket price. Time: 5 to 7:30 p.m. Cost: $95, $80 for young adults ages 13-20, $65 for children 3-12, free for children under 3. RR, MD

New Year’s Eve Concert

Dec. 31

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn

(630) 942-4000

Ring in the New Year with New Philharmonic, which welcomes back MAC favorite baritone Ted Allen Pickel. Maestro Kirk Muspratt conducts waltzes, polkas, arias, light classical and pops, reflecting back and propelling audiences forward as only music can. Times: 1:30, 5 & 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $67, $65 for seniors, $77 for gold circle table seating (including glass of bubbly and party favors). RR

Skating in the Park and NYE Fireworks

Dec. 31

Parkway Bank Park

5501 Park Place, Rosemont

Celebrate New Year’s Eve skating under the stars with a special fireworks display at midnight. Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission: Free, skate rental is $8.


RR - registration required

MD - member discount


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