Suburban communities find a way to keep the season jolly with tree lightings

  • Bartlett will hold a public tree-lighting ceremony, but masks and social distancing will be required.

    Bartlett will hold a public tree-lighting ceremony, but masks and social distancing will be required. Courtesy of Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce/Mary Beth Smith

Daily Herald report
Updated 11/20/2020 12:06 PM

Community tree lightings, for many years a traditional way to kick off the holiday season, look different this year because of the pandemic. Some have adapted to be drive-through or socially distant events; others will be held virtually, and some have canceled altogether.

This list was current at press time, but plans may change on short notice; we recommend checking websites and calling ahead to verify events.


Algonquin: The annual Miracle on Main tree-lighting ceremony is canceled, but the village is offering alternative holiday enjoyment. There is a "Zoom to the North Pole," where families can schedule a Zoom meeting with Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as an Algonquin Holiday Express to see them from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at Jacobs High School. Visit

Antioch: The traditional parade and tree-lighting have been canceled. The parks department is planning a drive-through Santa event. Visit

A crowd gathers around the tree during a previous Arlington Heights Christmas tree lighting. This year's tree lighting will be virtual.
A crowd gathers around the tree during a previous Arlington Heights Christmas tree lighting. This year's tree lighting will be virtual. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Arlington Heights: The village and park district are recording a virtual tree-lighting that will be shown on their websites and social media platforms, as well as the village cable access channels. The video will be released online prior to the traditional date of the Friday after Thanksgiving. Visit

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Bartlett: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4. A public event will not be held; the village is working on plans to stream the tree-lighting virtually.

Barrington: 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. There will be a virtual tree-lighting broadcast on the village's YouTube channel at The tree will be lit by Rollin Potter, cultural director for Barrington's White House, and his wife, Joanne McDade.

Bensenville: 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, "Holiday Tree & Lights Spectacular," starting north at Center Street from Memorial Drive. The traditional Holiday Magic celebration has been reconfigured as a free, self-guided driving tour featuring decorated Bensenville homes and a holiday light display along Center Street. Donations are encouraged for the Bensenville Food Pantry. Visit

Batavia: 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29, on Batavia Access Television's television channel and YouTube channel. The in-person festivities are canceled. The "Celebration of Lights" ceremony will be streamed online. There will be an address by Mayor Jeff Schielke, a visit from Santa Claus, and highlights from Christmas Tree Lane. Visit


Campton Hills: 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, throughout the village. The Campton Hills Community Relations Commission announced it will have a lighting ceremony without a crowd. The village is encouraging businesses and residents to light up the village with decorations. There also will be a virtual giving tree where residents in need receive gifts purchased for them. Visit

Cary: 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, north Metra parking lot, enter off Main Street and High Road and exit via Jandus Road. With the Merry Cary "Turn Around" Parade, the Cary-Grove Chamber of Commerce is modifying the annual event by having floats, displays and vehicles that are in the parade parked in the north Metra parking lot. Viewers can drive past in their cars to kick off the holiday season. Free. Call (847) 639-2800 or visit

Des Plaines: Canceled

Downers Grove: Canceled

East Dundee: Canceled

Elburn: Canceled

Elgin: Canceled

Elk Grove Village: Canceled

Geneva: The traditional Christmas Walk, including the tree-lighting and arrival of Santa Claus and Santa Lucia, is canceled. But the Chamber of Commerce plans a light show lit each day beginning Dec. 4. The tree will be lit earlier that week, no time is released, at the lawn of the Kane County Courthouse, 100 S. Third St. Other activities are also planned for weekends in December, including Santa Claus visits and a by-reservation caroling party. Visit

Glenview: 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28. The Glenview Chamber of Commerce is presenting a reverse holiday parade. Floats will be located in parking spaces opposite Jackman Park, and attendees will drive south on Lehigh Avenue from Washington Street to Glenview Road. Tickets, one per car, are required with reserved times available first come, first served. To register for a ticket that will be emailed, visit

The pandemic has led many communities to cancel or modify their holiday tree-lighting ceremonies this year.
The pandemic has led many communities to cancel or modify their holiday tree-lighting ceremonies this year. - Daily Herald File Photo

Hanover Park: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, online. Hanover Park will hold a Virtual Tree Lighting Ceremony during its "Santa Claus is Coming to Hanover Park" event. Santa will be on a fire truck traveling on a predetermined route from 4 to 8 p.m., waving and spreading holiday cheer. Families can follow him online so they know when he is in their area, or listen for the siren and come outside to wave. At 7 p.m., the online feed will cut over to elected officials flipping the switch to light up the village hall and all the decorations in the village. Visit

Hawthorn Woods: The traditional tree-lighting has been canceled as a public event, but the village will hold "Santa is Still Coming to Town," a drive-through event, from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at Heritage Oaks Park, 310 Fairfield Road. Visit

Hoffman Estates: Canceled

Island Lake: Canceled

Libertyville: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, virtually. Details for viewing can be found at or on its Facebook page,

Lincolnshire: Canceled

Lisle: 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, near the village hall, 925 Burlington Ave. (streamed live at This year a "Holiday Caravan" replaces the usual parade and features elected officials and Santa before the free tree-lighting ceremony. The caravan route is still being finalized, so visit for full details.

Lombard: 4:30 to 9 p.m. daily, Dec. 5 through Jan. 3, at Lilacia Park, 150 S. Park Ave. "Holiday Lights Shining Bright" display will feature an array of animated light shows, decorated trees, a gingerbread house and more. The park will remain open, provided visitors comply with the social distancing requirements. Free. Visit

Long Grove: 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, a tree-lighting will be streamed live on Facebook. Do-it-yourself ornaments are being sold at the Visitors Center, 308 Old McHenry Road; visitors can bring an ornament or decoration to add to the tree. Visit

Mount Prospect: 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25, the village will hold a virtual tree-lighting, which can be viewed on YouTube through the village's Facebook page,

Mundelein: 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, the village will hold a virtual tree-lighting, live streamed on Facebook. On Dec. 12 and 19, the village will hold a drive-through Santa's Cottage event from noon to 3 p.m. at Plaza Circle, 300 Plaza Circle. It will include a "Letters to Santa" Mailbox, Santa and Mrs. Claus and goody bags for children. Visit

Santa Claus assists from a fire department ladder truck during a previous Palatine tree lighting. This year's tree lighting will be a drive-up event.
Santa Claus assists from a fire department ladder truck during a previous Palatine tree lighting. This year's tree lighting will be a drive-up event. - Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

Palatine: 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, "park and watch" holiday tree-lighting event near the intersection of Slade and Greeley streets. Following the tree-lighting, visitors can drive south on Greeley Street (from Slade Street) to wave to Santa. Visit

Prospect Heights: Canceled

Rolling Meadows: Canceled, but new lights and decorations will be in place near the historical museum campus at Central Road and Barker Avenue. Visit

Rosemont: The public ceremony has been canceled. According to village officials, the holiday lights in Rosemont will be turned on during the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 25, so visitors and locals can enjoy them Thanksgiving weekend.

Schaumburg: Canceled

Sleepy Hollow: Canceled

South Barrington: Canceled

South Elgin: 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, livestreamed at An Almost Winter Day festival will take place from 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, as a drive-through event at Panton Mill Park, featuring decorated trees, goody bags handed out by elves, and a ballot to vote for your favorite tree. An elf will accept letters to Santa, and Santa will be inside a snow globe and will be available for socially distant pictures by advance registration. Visit

St. Charles: The annual Holiday Homecoming will take place Nov. 27 and 28, but it'll look different due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Lighting of the Lights Celebration will be a virtual event on Nov. 27 and will be broadcast on social media outlets. There will be a Holiday Tree Trail near 1st Street and the Riverwalk, and socially-distant pictures with Santa are available on the East Plaza. Visit

Streamwood: Canceled

Vernon Hills: On Saturday, Nov. 28, Santa will be escorted through most residential subdivisions. The entourage will leave Countryside Fire Protection District headquarters, 600 Deerpath Drive, about 2:30 p.m. and end about 5 p.m. at the village's 9-hole municipal golf course on Route 45 and Evergreen Drive, where the traditional tree and Menorah lighting will be held virtually. Only necessary village staff will be allowed. Once Santa's route and timing is determined, the information can be promoted and shared via social media. Vernon Hills police will lead the escort followed by a fire truck and Vernon Hills Park District vehicle. The event will be broadcast live on the village Facebook page, and available later on its public access channel.

Villa Park: The village is not hosting a tree-lighting this year, but the Villa Park Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the 22nd annual "Joyful Traditions with a Peppermint Twist" from 5 to 8 p.m. nightly between Saturday, Dec. 5, to Friday, Dec. 25. It involves a "Peppermint Prairie Path" along Park Boulevard in Villa Park that can be viewed on foot or in your vehicle. Visit

Volo: 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, at the village hall, 500 S. Fish Lake Road. At the village's sixth annual tree-lighting, visitors will be directed to a parking spot and can tune radios to holiday music beginning at 5 p.m. Each child will be given a gift bag and asked if they want to visit with Santa, who will arrive at 5:30 p.m. Families will watch from their vehicles and be invited one vehicle at a time to visit with Santa. Masks are required for all families any time they are outside their vehicle. Plans are subject to change.

Warrenville: 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, a tree-lighting and greetings from the mayor and Santa will be livestreamed on Facebook. From 6-7 p.m., there will be a Holly Days Drive-Thru (enter at the corner of Tracy Place and Warren Avenue) with carolers, hot cocoa and cookies to go, a children's craft to go and Santa in a snow globe. Visit

Wauconda: Dusk Wednesday, Nov. 25, in front of the village hall, 101 N. Main St. Main Street will be decorated and the streetlights turned on with the flip of a switch during a brief event. Visit

West Chicago: Canceled

West Dundee: 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, a tree lighting will be livestreamed from the village's Facebook page. Visit

Wheaton: Dusk to 10 p.m. nightly, Friday, Nov. 20, through Wednesday, Jan. 20, Nights of Lights at Adams Park, Main and Wesley streets. Nights of Lights is a walk-through seasonal lighting display. Free.

Wheeling: Canceled

Winfield: Canceled

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