Tree lighting ceremonies mark start of holiday season in the suburbs

The holiday season is about to begin, and what better way to get in the spirit than by attending any of the holiday tree lighting events scheduled throughout the suburbs.

You'll find caroling, carriage rides, hot chocolate, a visit with Santa and parades in a host of communities.

So, bundle up and jump into the holiday in a blaze of colored lights and music.

Here's where you can see tree lightings:


5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Historic Village Hall Plaza, 2 S. Main St. The Miracle on Main event includes free family activities, the arrival of Santa and the annual tree lighting ceremony.


6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, in downtown Antioch. Parade travels down Main Street to the village hall, where Santa will light the village Christmas tree.

Arlington Heights

4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at Harmony Park, 7 S. Vail Ave., and North School Park, North Evergreen Avenue and East Eastman Street. Trolleys will be looping between the parks from 3:45-6:45 p.m. At North School Park, see the Vibe Dance group and hear carols at 4:30 p.m., with the lighting at 5 p.m. At Harmony Park, see ice carvers and live reindeer: 4:30-6:30 p.m.


5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at Bartlett Park, Oak and North avenues. Includes horse-drawn wagon rides, visits with Santa at the Log Cabin, musical performances, cookies, cocoa, caroling and more.


10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Cook and Main streets. The Annual Holiday Festival includes an open house at Barrington's White House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., tree lighting at 5 p.m., visits with Santa from 5:15-6:30 p.m. and more.


5-7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, at Batavia Riverwalk, 151 Island Ave. The Celebration of Lights Festival includes hayrides, family photos, Santa, hot chocolate and the ceremonial tree lighting. There will be old-fashioned ornament-making at Depot Museum, and a community singalong. Free.

Santa arrives and greets kids at a previous Holiday Magic and tree lighting in Bensenville. This year the big guy makes his appearance from 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at Center and Green streets. Daily Herald File Photo


5-7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at Center and Green streets. Holiday Magic includes a DJ playing holiday music and photos with Santa, with the tree lighting and fireworks display at 7 p.m.


7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at Old Town Park, 111 Third St. Ninth annual Festival of Lights opening night event features the museum exhibit opening and Kriss Kringle Market from 3:30-8:30 p.m., chamber open house from 3:30-6:30 p.m., Santa visits from 4-6:30 p.m., kids' train rides from 4:30-8 p.m., the Bloomingdale Choir from 6-8:30 p.m. and the lighting ceremony at 7 p.m.

  Diane Neal of Bloomingdale and Cathi Bohm of Schaumburg are covered in holiday lights at the seventh annual tree lighting and Festival of Lights in Bloomingdale's Old Town Park. Get wrapped up in the holiday spirit at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3. Mark Welsh/, 2019

Campton Hills

4-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Campton Hills Village Hall, 40W270 LaFox Road. Holiday in the Hills includes local choir singing holiday favorites, roasted chestnuts, marshmallow roast and s'mores, candy canes, hot chocolate, and complimentary holiday ornament, with tree-lighting ceremony at 5:45 p.m.

Carol Stream

6-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at the Ross Ferraro Town Center, 960 N. Gary Ave. Enjoy seasonal music, beverages and snack, pick up a free holiday craft, visit with a reindeer and take a free digital photo with Santa, who will arrive at 6:30 p.m.


No tree lighting, but the Cary Grove Chamber of Commerce will hold the Merry Cary event from noon to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at various locations in Cary. The Merry Cary Parade steps off at 1 p.m. on Main Street. Event includes a petting zoo and pony rides from noon to 3:30 p.m. in the BMO Harris Bank lot; visits with Santa at Start Farm - The Phil Horn Agency, 111 W. Main St., Cary; and Mrs. Claus at Linda M. Barrett studios, 25 Spring St., Cary, from 2-3:30 p.m.; sleigh rides; and more.

Crystal Lake

7-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at Williams Street and Brink Street. The Festival of Lights Parade is the traditional start to the season when Santa Claus comes to town. This year's theme is "A Toyland Christmas!" The parade ends at the corner of Williams and Crystal Lake Avenue, when Santa throws his magic dust to light the 40-foot Community Christmas tree.

Des Plaines

4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at Metropolitan Square, 647 Metropolitan Way. Join Mayor Andrew Goczkowski and the city's elected officials for the event celebrating Holidays Around the World. Tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. Bring a letter to Santa to drop in the mailbox. Bring donations for the Mitten Tree and the Des Plaines Self-Help Closet and Food Pantry.

Downers Grove

4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at the Main Street train station, 5001 Main St. Handmade ornaments by residents decorate the Downtown Holiday Tree.

Dundee's 34th annual Dickens in Dundee includes tree lighting ceremonies, hot cocoa, a parade, a visit from Santa and live portrayals of Christmas scenes. This year the festivities kick off Friday, Dec. 3. Courtesy of Village of East Dundee

East Dundee

6-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, downtown East and West Dundee. Dundee's 34th annual Dickens in Dundee includes tree lighting ceremonies, hot cocoa, a parade, a visit from Santa and live portrayals of Christmas scenes. The event continues with the Spirit of Christmas Parade from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4.


4-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, downtown Elburn. The Christmas Stroll includes holiday-themed activities, the Kaneland Scholarship 50/50 Raffle, and more.


5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, at Festival Park, off Grove Avenue and Prairie Street, Elgin. Part of Elgin Holly Days, the city's tree-lighting ceremony features holiday music by Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra. From 1-3 p.m., carolers and roasted chestnuts downtown, and Santa and Mrs. Claus from 3-5 p.m. Stop by pop-up winter market, holiday windows. Order Holiday Cheers cup for $20 as part of Holiday Cheers Beverage Crawl, sponsored by DNA of Elgin, at

Elk Grove Village

4-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at Elk Grove Village Green, 901 Wellington Ave. This year, the tree lighting ceremony will feature a holiday concert by Paul Revere's Raiders. After the concert, Mayor Johnson will throw the switch to light up the Holiday Tree and over 250,000 holiday lights. A fireworks display will announce the entrance of Santa. Free.


5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, at Wilder Park, 175 S. Prospect Ave. Elmhurst Park District kicks off the holiday season with fun for the whole family, plus the sight of the park's 60 holiday trees lighting the night. Visit with Santa while enjoying games, family photo opportunities, holiday music and more. Sugar Mama's Mini Donuts will be there with hot cocoa available to purchase. Free.

Fox Lake

2-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, at Community Garden Green, 17 E. School Court. Event details will be posted closer to the event date. For questions, call the Parks and Recreation Department at (224) 225-1404.

Geneva will hold its tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 3. Courtesy of Geneva Chamber of Commerce


6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, on Third Street, downtown Geneva. Santa and Santa Lucia will visit. Enjoy carolers, the Great Tree lighting, roasted chestnuts, Swedish cookies, an old-fashioned candy cane pull and holiday shopping. The Geneva Visitor Center, 10 S. Third St., will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland. Reservations required for a Santa visit.

Glendale Heights

7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, at Camera Park, 101 E. Fullerton Ave. Featuring visits from Mr. & Mrs. Claus and holiday music. Free.

Glen Ellyn

5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, on Main Street in Glen Ellyn. Gather for the Holiday Walk at 5 p.m. with music around the Christmas Tree on Main Street. Santa will emerge from the firehouse at 6 p.m. and start his march down Main Street to light the star on top of the tree at 6:30 p.m. Santa will return to the firehouse to grant wishes, take photos, and hand out candy canes and hot cocoa until 8:30 p.m.


4-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, parade starts at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 1775 Grove St. Annual Holiday in the Park and Parade begins with a parade down Glenview Road to Jackman Park. Festivities in the park include a visit with Santa, hay rides, a train ride for kids, carolers, a gift for each child and prepackaged snacks.


3-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, in downtown Grayslake. Tree lighting event with sleigh rides, Santa, shopping, food and more.

Hanover Park

5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at 1900 Ontarioville Road. Photos with Santa, face painting, caroling, games, cocoa and cookies and more.

Hawthorn Woods

3-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Community Park, 5 Park View Lane. Mayor DiMaggio, village trustees and staff host the event with live music and holiday festivities, including a visit with Santa and lighting the community tree at 5:30 p.m. CDC mask guidelines and COVID precautions applicable at the time will be followed.

Island Lake

6-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at the village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave. An outdoor event with tree lighting at 6:30 p.m., treats, singing and a special visitor in a red suit.


6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, in Cook Memorial Park, 413 N. Milwaukee Ave. Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. Musical groups include the Libertyville High School Jazz Band, Red Rose Children's Choir and Butterfield Chorus Club. Santa will arrive at 7 p.m. to help light the tree.


5:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at Village Green Center, 100 Olde Half Day Road. The village will hold its tree lighting celebration.


5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at the village hall, 925 Burlington Ave. The event will also be livestreamed. A parade and Santa visits are being planned.


5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Lilacia Park and downtown Lombard. Jingles the reindeer invites the community to the Jingle Bell Jubilee. Dec. 4 to Jan. 2, stop by Lombard Park District's annual holiday lights display in Lilacia Park from 4:30-10 p.m. each night with magical light shows, tree decorations, a gingerbread house and more.

Long Grove

No tree lighting planned this year. For other holiday events, visit

  The Prospect High School Madrigal Singers perform during the Mount Prospect tree lighting ceremony. Sing along this year Wednesday, Nov. 24. Joe Lewnard/, 2017

Mount Prospect

5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, at the village hall, 50 S. Emerson St. Witness the lighting of a tree donated by a Mount Prospect resident. Enjoy hot chocolate, cookies and carols. The Prospect High School Madrigals will perform.


5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at Village Plaza, 300 Plaza Circle. The annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony.


7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26. The Holiday Parade of Lights starts at Jackson Avenue and Mill Street, heads east to Webster Street, turns north on Webster to Van Buren Avenue and ends at Naper Elementary School. Immediately following the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit with kids inside the Naperville Public Library Nichols Library, 200 W. Jefferson Ave., until 9 p.m. The parade is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Naperville in partnership with the Downtown Naperville Alliance.


5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, at Clarkson Park, 343 Churchill St. Santa visit, music, food, activities and family fun.


4-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, on Lockport Street in downtown Plainfield. "The Heart of Christmas" includes pictures with Santa, crafts, writing letters to Santa, a hot chocolate station and a crèche lighting.

Prospect Heights

5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, at Gary Morava Recreation Center, 110 W. Camp McDonald Road. Join Mayor Nick Helmer and Prospect Heights City Council members for the annual Tree Lighting and Santa Visit.

Rolling Meadows

6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, at Rolling Meadows Museum, 3100 Kirchoff Road. Count down with the city's elected officials, local music groups and Santa Claus. Giveaways and free tours of the city's holiday retro museum.


Friday, Dec. 3, at Village Park, 900 W. Romeo Road. Time TBD.


5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at Parkway Bank Park, 5501 Park Place. The Chicago Wolves Ice Rink will open for the season at 11 a.m. Mayor Bradley Stephens will arrive at 5:30 p.m. to light up the park with more than 80,000 holiday lights. Free family-friendly activities include visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, horse and carriage rides, costumed characters on ice, caroling and ice sculptor viewing. Free. Ice skating is free; skate rentals are $8.

Round Lake Beach

6 p.m. Friday, Nov 26, at the Cultural and Civic Center, 2007 N. Civic Center Way. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on a fire truck at 6:15 p.m. Includes warm beverages, treats and a small gift for each child.


6-8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at the Al Larson Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court. Begins with caroling by the village president, board and clerk in the Maggie Atcher Theatre. At 6:30 p.m., Santa arrives via fire truck to light the tree; from 6:30-8:30 p.m., there will be holiday balloon twisters and character appearances; and from 6:45-8:30 p.m., Santa will be available for photos with children in the theater. Free, donations of nonperishable food and household items encouraged. Email or visit

Sleepy Hollow

4-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at Sabatino Park, 71 Thorobred Lane. Holiday in the Hollow includes hot cocoa and holiday cheer, music provided by Sleepy Hollow Elementary School, and lighting the Sabatino Park Flagpole and the Sleepy Hollow Elementary School Circle-of-Cheer Christmas trees.

St. Charles

5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, in St. Charles. Friday is the Lighting of the Lights in the First Street Plaza. On Saturday, Holiday Tree Trail from 1-4 p.m., the holiday movie, and the Electric Christmas Parade at 5:30 p.m. on Main Street, between Sixth Street and Fourth Avenue, with bands, parade floats and Santa Claus.


Friday, Dec. 3, at the village hall, 301 E. Irving Park Road. A tree lighting ceremony and Santa may arrive for a visit.

Vernon Hills

4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, near the Vernon Hills Municipal Golf Course clubhouse, 291 Evergreen Drive. The Vernon Hills Tree and Menorah Lighting is planned as an outdoor celebration. The event will include hot chocolate, cider and cookies. Santa will arrive at 4:30 p.m. escorted by the Countryside Fire Protection District and Vernon Hills police.

Villa Park

4-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, in front of the Villa Park Chamber of Commerce, 10 W. Park Blvd. "Joyful Traditions in Villa Park" includes food, cartoon characters, trolley rides, petting zoo from 4-6 p.m. and more. Meet Santa from 5-7 p.m. For a schedule of events, visit


5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, at the village hall, 500 S. Fish Lake Road. Santa will arrive by fire engine to light the tree and visit with families. Includes refreshments from My Funnel Truck, a North Pole Mailbox and glow necklaces for each donation of new hats and gloves or food items for the food pantry.


6-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, at the corner of Tracy Place and Warren Avenue. Holly Days includes Santa's Arrival Parade, lighting the City Holiday Tree, free horse-drawn carriage rides, fire pits, a hot chocolate bar, cookies, visits with Santa, entertainment provided by local school groups and more.


5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, in Wauconda. Santa Claus and a parade of lighted cars to travel through the Wauconda School District. The parade route will be available on Thanksgiving. From 1-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, visit with Santa and his reindeer; shop artisan booths and shops; and enjoy hot cocoa, a warm bonfire, crafts, and games at the Holiday Walk on Main Street.

West Chicago

4-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, downtown West Chicago. Check out an old-fashioned winter vignette, complete with a grand tree lighting, horse-drawn sleigh, live reindeer, Victorian carolers and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.

West Dundee

6-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3, downtown East and West Dundee. Dundee's 34th annual Dickens in Dundee includes tree lighting ceremonies, hot cocoa, a parade, a visit from Santa and live portrayals of Christmas scenes. The event continues with the Spirit of Christmas Parade from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4.

Wheaton holds a Christmas Parade along with its tree lighting ceremony. Take in the festivities this year at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, in downtown Wheaton. Daily Herald File Photo


6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, in downtown Wheaton. The Wheaton Christmas Parade steps off at Wesley and Wheaton avenues, proceeds south to Front Street and east on Front to Cross Street. See illuminated floats, meet characters before and after the parade and see Santa. The tree lighting ceremony in Adams Park follows the parade.


4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21, at Friendship Park, the northeast corner of Dundee Road and Milwaukee Avenue. Usher in the holiday season as Lights Around Wheeling returns. Festivities are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.


4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, just south of the train tracks near the village hall, 27W465 Jewell Road. Santa will light the village tree.

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