Holiday happenings: Tree lightings, music, festivals & more in DuPage County

  • Wheaton's Christmas Parade will take center stage from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in downtown.

    Wheaton's Christmas Parade will take center stage from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday in downtown. Daily Herald file photo

Posted11/29/2019 6:00 AM

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us. Here's a look at what's happening:

Lights and more lights


Illumination, Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum: 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. daily through Sunday, Jan. 5, (except Dec. 2, 9, 16, 24 and 25) at The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. Be surrounded by color while walking a one-mile, paved path amid interactive lighting effects that highlight the beauty of trees in winter. Enjoy seasonal music and a drink or s'mores by the fire. $12-$23.

Living Wheaton Christmas Parade: 6-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, in downtown. Floats, decorated cars, costumed characters and Santa. Free.

Downers Grove Tree-Lighting Ceremony: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, near the train station at 5001 Main St., Downers Grove. Countdown to turn on the lights of the Main Street tree, decorated with more than 1,000 ornaments made by local kids. Free.

Roselle Cocoa Crawl: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, on Main Street in Roselle. Meet Santa, Elsa, Anna and the Grinch and enjoy hot cocoa and treats during the fourth annual Cocoa Crawl. The event starts at the Roselle Public Library, 40 S. Park St., and ends with a tree-lighting ceremony at Main and Prospect streets. Free.

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Westmont Holly Days Frosty & Friends Parade, Tree-Lighting & Pictures with Santa: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, on Cass Avenue, downtown Westmont. The Westmont High School Madrigals perform at Westmont Centre at 4 p.m., followed by the Westview Hills Middle School Band at 4:30 p.m. The Frosty & Friends Parade starts at 5 p.m. on Cass Avenue, followed by the tree-lighting ceremony at 5:45 p.m. in front of the Westmont Centre building. At 6 p.m., take pictures with Santa at Westmont Centre while enjoying music from Holy Trinity Hand Chimes Ensemble. Free.

Heart of Christmas: 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, in downtown Plainfield. Pictures with Santa, hayrack rides, crafts, dance performances, face painting, writing letters to Santa and a crèche lighting. Free. (815) 436-4431 or

Living Wheaton Christmas Festival: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, in downtown Wheaton. Horse-drawn carriage rides, cookie decorating, reindeer, roaming music, Santa. Tree-lighting at 5 p.m. at Wheaton city hall, 303 W. Wesley St. Free.

Bensenville Holiday Magic and Tree Lighting Ceremony: 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at 12 S. Center St., Bensenville. Kick off the holiday season with the opportunity to take pictures with Santa Claus, receive a free Bensenville ornament and take a sleigh ride around downtown. Santa will arrive at 3 p.m. Free.


Glendale Heights Tree Lighting Ceremony: 7 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, at the Glendale Heights village hall, 300 Civic Center Plaza, Glendale Heights. The village invites the community to celebrate the holiday season with the annual tree lighting ceremony. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be guests of honor, and holiday decor and lights will illuminate the Civic Center. Free.

Elmhurst Tree Lighting in Wilder Park: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, in Wilder Park, 175 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. Meet with Santa, enjoy holiday entertainment, participate in children's activities, and decorate one of 60 holiday trees. Free.

Bloomingdale Festival of Lights: 4 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at Old Town Park, Third and Franklin streets, Bloomingdale. Seventh annual display of holiday lights and sights kicks off at 7 p.m., when the giant switch is pulled to illuminate Old Town Park and the village's Holiday Tree in the adjacent piazza. In addition, the event will include Santa Claus and live reindeer, horse-drawn carriage rides, kids' crafts and train rides, a Kriss Kringle Market and a Lego Holiday Show. Free.

Bartlett Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at Bartlett Park at North Avenue and Oak Avenue, Bartlett. Start your holidays at the annual tree lighting sponsored by the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce with the Bartlett Park District and the village. From 5 to 6:30 p.m., Bartlett Lions Club invites everyone to visit Santa in the Log Cabin. Bring a camera for pictures with Santa. The South Elgin High School choir sings holiday carols in the gazebo from 6:30 to 7 p.m. The tree lighting takes place at 7 p.m. Bring a nonperishable food item for the Hanover Township Food Pantry. Free.

Carol Stream Tree Lighting: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the Town Center, 960 N. Gary Ave., Carol Stream. Snacks, crafts and pictures with Santa inside the Fountain View Rec Center. Free.

Addison Tree Lighting: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the village hall, 1 Friendship Plaza, Addison. Visits with Santa, carolers, lighted train rides, craft fair, historical museum hours and tree lighting at 8 p.m. Free.

Westmont Holly Days, a monthlong winter festival, kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 30, with opening ceremonies and The Frosty & Friends Parade.
Westmont Holly Days, a monthlong winter festival, kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 30, with opening ceremonies and The Frosty & Friends Parade. - Courtesy of Westmont Holly Days

Warrenville Holly Days: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at Tracy Place and Warren Avenue, Warrenville. Santa arrives in a parade, tree lighting, horse-drawn carriage rides, carolers and dancers, and visits with Santa. Free.

Wood Dale Tree Lighting & Family Fun: 2:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Wood Dale city hall, 404 N. Wood Dale Road, Wood Dale. Free hot chocolate and treats, visits with Santa, holiday-themed crafts, games and activities, and seasonal entertainment. The giant tree will be lit at 5 p.m. in the city hall rotunda. Concludes with an outdoor fireworks display.

West Chicago Frosty Fest: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at 123 Main St., West Chicago. Outdoor and indoor activities. Features visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, choir performances, live reindeer, cookie decorating, ice-sculpture carving, a holiday parade, tree lighting, festive displays, free hot cocoa, dance and musical performances and more. Free.

Lombard Jingle Bell Jubilee: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Lilacia Park, 150 S. Park Ave., Lombard. Jingle the reindeer invites everyone to join the Lombard Park District, village of Lombard, Helen Plum Library, Lombard Historical Society and Maple Street Chapel to enjoy the sights and sound of the holidays. Free.

Villa Park Joyful Traditions: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Rugaard Gazebo, 10 W. Park Ave., Villa Park. Tree lighting, carolers, photos with Santa, and trolley and horse-drawn wagon rides. Decorated trees line the Prairie Path. Co-sponsored by the village and Villa Park Chamber of Commerce. Free. www.invillapark.comor

Lights of Lisle/Downtown Holiday Celebration: 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at 4713 Lincoln Ave., Lisle. Kick off the season with the Santa Light Parade at 4:30 p.m., the tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. and Lights of Lisle at dusk. Lisle Santa Train heads for the North Pole -- aka Chicago. See website for ticket prices. Free admission.

Holiday Lights in Lilacia Park: 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7-8, and Fridays through Sundays, Dec. 13-15 and 20-22, in Lilacia Park, 150 S. Park Ave., Lombard. Join the Lombard Park District's annual lighting celebration in Lilacia Park. See holiday displays light up the park with animated light shows, decorated trees, a gingerbread house and more. Kids can visit Santa and enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and cookies. Free.

Music and more music

'A Christmas Carol the Musical': Various times and dates from Friday, Nov. 29, through Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville. BrightSide Theatre presents this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' story of Ebenezer Scrooge, who believes that personal wealth is more valuable than happiness until three ghosts show him the error of his ways. $25-$30.

Presley, Perkins, Lewis & Cash: 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at the McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. Join the cast for a holiday show that features classic rock 'n' roll hits, plus a selection of heartwarming holiday tunes. $45-$65.

DuPage Community Concert Band: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, at the McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. Concert features holiday favorites and more. $7.

Festival of Lessons and Carols: 4 and 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel, 190 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. An annual Elmhurst College tradition featuring carols and scripture readings. Free.

Gavin Coyle's "A Celtic Christmas": 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. Award-winning recording artist Gavin Coyle brings his "A Celtic Christmas" back to the MAC to perform traditional holiday favorites from America and Ireland. Tickets: $35. Proceeds benefit People's Resource Center. $35.

Wintersong 2019 Christmas with Glen Ellyn Wheaton Chorale: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, and 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at College Church, 332 E. Seminary Ave., Wheaton. The Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale will be joined by organist Dan Mattix and a chamber orchestra for Christmas music. Tickets: $9-$19.

Tuba Christmas: Dozens of tuba players will gather at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, to perform holiday favorites outside US Bank, 135 S. Washington St. in Naperville, under the leadership of Naperville Municipal Band conductor Ron Keller. The musicians also perform at 12:45 p.m. near Macy's at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora. Free.

The Texas Tenors "Deep in the Heart of Christmas": 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton, Naperville. The Texas Tenors, which debuted on "America's Got Talent," perform a holiday show. $30-$50.

Naperville Municipal Band: Performs its holiday concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at Neuqua Valley High School, 2360 95th St. Free.

Chorus of DuPage: A cappella barbershop chorus performs a Christmas concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at Trinity Center Green Trails, 2701 Maple Ave., Lisle. Musical guests: Midwest Crossroads, a woman's a cappella barbershop chorus, and Upside Downers. Tickets: $23 for adults; $15 for children 16 and younger. Tickets at

Robin Spielberg's "Spirit of the Holidays Sing-A-Long": 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton, Naperville. Hear pianist/composer Robin Spielberg's arrangements for the season, with singalongs, stories, special guests and more. $6-$12.

Salt Creek Ballet's "The Nutcracker" with the New Philharmonic: 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. Salt Creek Ballet, under the artistic direction of Sergey Kozadayev, brings its full-scale production of the holiday classic to the MAC for the first time with accompaniment from the New Philharmonic. $34-$44.

"The Music of Christmas": 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Hammerschmidt Chapel, Elmhurst College, 190 S. Prospect, Elmhurst. The Elmhurst Choral Union and Orchestra present "The Music of Christmas," featuring Vivaldi's Gloria, music by Leroy Anderson and Alfred Burt carols. A preconcert lecture begins at 2 p.m. Tickets: $10-$25.

Trains and more trains

Canadian Press Rail Holiday Train: 3 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, at 12 S. Center St., Bensenville. This Canadian Press Rail Holiday Train raises awareness of hunger issues. It features live music, giveaways and a check presentation to the food pantry. Attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to benefit the Bensenville-Wood Dale Food Pantry. Free.

Holiday Train Ride: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Villa Park Recreation, 338 N. Iowa, Villa Park. Ride the train in your PJs to the North Pole. Onboard activities include a visit from Santa. A holiday story will be read at the Villa Park Metra station prior to departure. Arrive by 10:15 a.m.; train departs at 11:15 a.m. Registration required. $25 per person; free for kids younger than 1.

Santa Express Train: 9:15 and 11:15 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14-15, at the Wheaton Metra Station, 402 W. Front St., Wheaton. Join Kidz Kingdom and the DuPage County Historical Museum for a Santa Express train ride departing from the downtown Wheaton Metra Station. $20.

Lego Train Show: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. The largest show of the year produced by the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club returns to Cantigny. Admission is free with paid parking ($5 per car). Parking is free for anyone donating a new and unwrapped toy for the Marine Toys for Tots.

Runs, walks & skates

Turkey Dri Tri: 6 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29, at the Oak Brook Park District, 1450 Forest Gate Road, Oak Brook. Row on Concept 2 Rowers (2000 meters), cycle on Air Assault bikes (2.5 miles) and run/walk on Precor Treadmills. (1.25 miles). Each participant will be assigned a heat based on gender and age. Heats start every 30 minutes, beginning at 6 a.m., with five participants per heat. Appropriate attire, including athletic shoes, are required for all events. All registrants will receive a T-shirt. $25. For details, contact Mike Delgado, Fitness Supervisor, at (630) 645-9542 or

Rotary Club Ugly Sweater 5K: 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 25 N. Cass Ave., Westmont. The race begins at 9 a.m. on Burlington Avenue. Race-day registration will be from 8 to 8:45 a.m. Awards and refreshments at the end of the race. Adults: $30; kids 15 and younger: $20.

Cup of Cheer House Walk, Holiday Market & Tea: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 5-6, at Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873, 908 W. Jackson, Naperville. Tour four homes decorated for the holidays. Enjoy a tea with homemade cookies and receive a commemorative cup/saucer. Shop the Holiday Market for artisan items. The market is open without a ticket from noon to 4 p.m. Friday. Proceeds fund club projects and scholarships. $40-$55.

Reindeer Run: 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at DuPage County Historical Museum, 102 E. Wesley St., Wheaton. Get your holiday cheer on in this winter 5K. Advance registration online through Dec. 4 is $35, $30 for teams of four or more. Registration is available at packet pickup on Dec. 5 and race day for $45.

Skating with Santa: Noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Rocket Ice Rink, 180 Canterbury Lane, Bolingbrook. Skate with Santa, as well as "Frozen" characters Anna and Elsa. Enjoy holiday music, photo opportunities and hot chocolate. Skates provided. Naperville residents pay $11, nonresidents $17.

Christmas Sweater Shuffle 5K: 7:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, on Main Street, Glen Ellyn. Grab a holiday sweater and shuffle around Lake Ellyn. Santa will be there and taking gift requests. $30-$35.

Other cool stuff

Santa House: Various times and dates from Saturday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 22, on the Riverwalk, at Jackson Avenue and Webster Street, Naperville. Santa will greet children at the Santa House, sponsored by the Naperville Park District. Free admission. Photos may be purchased for $8 or 2 for $15.

Cookies and Milk with Santa -- Hosted by PCHA-IL: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, at Naperville Park District's Fort Hill Activity Center, 20 Fort Hill Drive, Naperville. Pediatric heart patients, families that live in the same household and pediatric cardiac staff members are invited for cookies and milk with Santa and special guests Mickey and Minnie. The event features entertainment, crafts, giveaways and more. To protect attendees, families should not attend if anyone in the household is sick or showing symptoms of illness. Free.

Glen Ellyn Woman's Club Celebrates 125th Holiday Festival: 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at the Glen Oak Country Club, 21W451 Hill Ave., Glen Ellyn. Features social hour, lunch, silent auction and a performance by the Glenbard West High School Madrigal Singers. Proceeds benefit scholarships. $50.

Third annual Naperville Holiday Sip, Shop & Share: 6 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at Chicago Marriott, 1801 N. Naper Blvd., Naperville. Features wine tasting, holiday shopping and helping families. Free, but registration is required. Middle School Holiday Extravaganza: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at the Elmhurst Public Library, 125 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. Create your own gingerbread house while watching the holiday classic "Elf." Free.

Celebrate the Season Festival: 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. All ages can enjoy the park's ninth annual holiday festival, including the Mistletoe Market and photos with Santa Claus. Free; parking: $5.

Santa's Workshop at Wilder Mansion: 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Wilder Mansion, 211 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. Santa's Secret Workshop is a special place for children where they can purchase inexpensive holiday gifts for those they love. Items are kid-priced and kid-friendly. Free admission.

GEHS Presents Gingerbread and Candlelight with Aunt Tillie and Her Elves: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Glen Ellyn History Center, 800 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn. The Glen Ellyn Historical Society presents a holiday celebration for the family. Free for kids, $5 for adults.

"The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Sweater": 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at the McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. The Second City roasts the holiday season. $32-$46.

Holiday Afternoon Tea at Drury Lane: 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7-28, at Drury Lane, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. Indulge in Holiday Afternoon Tea featuring seasonal teas, unlimited champagne and desserts while a pianist plays carols. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance. Adults $40, children 12 and younger $30.

God with Us!: 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at St. Matthew United Church of Christ, 1420 S. Gables Blvd., Wheaton. The Christmas cantata shares the story of Jesus Christ. Nursery care provided. Fellowship following the worship service. Free.

Pictures with Santa Paws: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, at Cortesi Veterans Memorial Park Depot, 318 E. Kenilworth, Villa Park. Bring your pet to meet Santa, take photos and get a special treat. Register at the Iowa Community Center; choose a time slot at registration. $7 per dog for residents, $10 nonresidents.

Classic Movie Monday featuring 'The Santa Clause': 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. $1.

Aunt Tillie Storytime: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the Glen Ellyn History Center, 800 N. Main St., Glen Ellyn. Hear Aunt Tillie tell Christmas stories and make a craft. Geared toward kids 2-5, but all are welcome. Adults are asked to stay with children. Free.

Holiday Floral Workshop: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. Create a floral arrangement to brighten your home, with expert instruction. Register in advance. $45 for members, $50 for nonmembers. (630) 260-8162 or

Senior Luncheon Holiday Party: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at White Pines Banquet Hall, 500 W. Jefferson St., Bensenville. Seniors 55 and older are invited. Tickets are required and are available at the village hall finance counter by Dec. 2. $10 for incorporated Bensenville residents, $25 for nonresidents.

Itasca Santa's Workshop: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, and 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Springbrook Nature Center, 130 Forest Ave., Itasca. Visit with Santa and enjoy crafts and treats. Dogs are welcome from 7 to 8 p.m. Free.

Legend of St. Nicholas: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at the Warrenville Public Library, 28W751 Stafford Place, Warrenville. Actor Terry Lynch portrays the Old English version of Father Christmas to share the origins of St. Nicholas in various countries, plus popular Christmas symbols and traditions. Free.

Cookies for Santa: 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18, at the Iowa Community Center, 338 N. Iowa, Villa Park. Kids 3-10 can decorate treats to take home for Santa. Cookies, frosting and decorations provided. Kids can sample cookies and enjoy hot cocoa. Registration required. $9.

Holiday Trolley Express: 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, at Fountain View Recreation Center, 910 N. Gary Ave., Carol Stream. Take a festive Trolley Ride around Carol Stream to look at holiday lights, hear the story of the Polar Express and sing carols. Visit with Santa at the "North Pole" and enjoy refreshments, games and crafts. Each child will receive a special keepsake from Santa. Choose ride times at registration. $15-$22.

Snow Much Fun: 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at Veterans Memorial Park, 55 E. Richmond St., Westmont. Bundle up to meet long-eared mules, take a free wagon ride, pose for photos in a giant snow globe and visit Santa in his workshop. Take a lamplight tour of the Gregg House to see how Christmas was celebrated by early settlers. Enjoy games, crafts, hot cocoa, s'mores and more. Free.

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