When holiday tree lightings are happening across the suburbs
When does the holiday season officially begin. Some say it's on Black Friday, or when they put down one last fork of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving night. Others say it's when Santa Claus arrives at the mall, which in the case of Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg this year, it was a very early Nov. 1. And yet others are willing to wait until the kids are out from school for winter break before ushering in the season.
For our money, we'll take our hometowns' annual tree-lighting festivities as the official kick off to the holidays. A few suburbs got the celebration off to an early start with tree lightings last week. For those who could hold off until after turkey day, here's a listing of when their lighting events are taking place:
Friday, Nov. 23
Arlington Heights Tree Lighting: 4:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, North School Park, 410 N. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights. The annual Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place at North School Park, Eastman St. and Arlington Heights Road. More than 80,000 tiny lights, illuminate the fantasy toy displays along with giant decorated tree in the center of the fountain. The Village of Arlington Heights Special Events Commission hosts the ceremony. Free. www.ahpd.org/tree-lighting-ceremony.
Elk Grove Tree Lighting Ceremony: 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at Town Center Village Green, 164 Lions Drive, Elk Grove Village. The 2018 ceremony will feature a holiday performance by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Following the performance, Gary Puckett will join Mayor Johnson in throwing the switch to light up the village's holiday tree. A special fireworks display will follow the tree lighting, announcing the entrance of Santa and his elves. Hot chocolate and cookies provided. Free. www.elkgrove.com.
Schaumburg Tree Lighting: 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, at Prairie Center for the Arts, 201 Schaumburg Court, Schaumburg. Holiday carols begin at 6 p.m. The fire department will escort Santa on a fire truck that will arrive at 6:30 p.m. Santa will be greeted by village officials who will assist him with his lighting duties. After the tree lighting, Santa will meet with children in the Al Larson Prairie Center for the Arts' Maggie Atcher Theatre where parents are encouraged to bring their cameras for photos. Seasonal entertainment will be featured and refreshments will be served. Free. www.ci.schaumburg.il.us.
Downers Grove Tree Lighting and Parade: 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, Metra Station, 5001 Main St. Join the mayor in the countdown to turn on the lights of the tree. More than 1,000 ornaments made by local youths decorate the tree. Followed by Gingerbread Festival Nov. 23-25. Info: downers.us/
Wheaton Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting: 6-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, begins at Wesley Street and Wheaton Avenue heading south toward Front Street, then east on Front Street ending at Cross Street. Someone special and jolly pays his first visit to Wheaton. Visit the characters in the parade at their sponsoring downtown businesses after the parade for pictures Info: downtownwheaton.com.
Grayslake Tree Lighting Festival: 3-8 p.m. at Center Avenue and Whitney Street, Grayslake. Santa arrives at the Holiday Tree at 5:30 p.m. Visits with Santa at The Oasis, 151 Hawley, starting at 3 p.m. Sleigh rides from 6-8 p.m. Holiday Market at the Grayslake Museum begins at 5 p.m. Free. grayslakechamber.com.
Glencoe Light the Lights: 4-7 p.m., at Park and Vernon avenues, downtown Glencoe. Take part in the kickoff of the Village's yearlong 150th anniversary celebration with caroling, a visit from Santa and lighting of the lights. Visit www.villageofglencoe.org.
Round Lake Beach Tree Lighting: 6:15-8 p.m. Round Lake Beach Village Hall, 1937 N. Municipal Way, Round Lake Beach. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on a fire truck, followed by the tree lighting and a performance by the Round Lake High School Choir. Then everyone is invited to follow the illuminated path to the Cultural and Civic Center for visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, free hot chocolate and treats, adult beverages for purchase, and crafts for children. Call (847) 201-9032, or visit www.villageofroundlakebeach.com.
Antioch Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting: 6:30 p.m. in downtown Antioch. Parade down Main Street culminates with tree lighting outside village hall, 874 Main St., Antioch. Free. Visit www.antioch.il.gov
Libertyville Tree Lighting and Holiday Walk: 6:30 p.m. Cook Park, 413 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville. Tree lighting complete with holiday carols and a visit from Santa, music and other Holiday-themed entertainment. The Ansel B. Cook Mansion will be open for tours and downtown merchants will offer extended hours for evening shopping and dining. Visit mainstreetlibertyville.org.
Crystal Lake: 7-8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, downtown Crystal Lake. Parade steps off from Williams and Crystal Lake avenues with decorated floats, marchers and music. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive at the end of the parade on a sleigh of lights, and Santa throws his magic dust to light the downtown Christmas tree. Children can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Santa House in Brink Street Market when the parade is over. Free. downtowncl.org.
Geneva: 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23 at Geneva Commons on Randall Road. Geneva Commons' newly renovated courtyard area, The Green, will be transformed into a winter wonderland during the holidays and beyond. An ice-skating rink will operate through Jan. 13. shopgenevacommons.com.
St. Charles Holiday Homecoming/Electric Christmas Parade: Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23-24, Main Street, St. Charles. Lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday at First Street Plaza. Electric Christmas Parade at 5:30 p.m. Saturday on Main Street, from Sixth Street to Fourth Avenue. Free holiday movie at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Arcada Theatre. Live holiday window displays along Main and First streets from 1-5 p.m. Free horse-drawn trolley rides and visits with Santa from 1-4 p.m. Saturday. Free. www.downtownstcharles.org.
Saturday, Nov. 24
Prospect Heights Annual Holiday Tree Lighting and Santa Visit: 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, Gary Morava Recreation Center, 110 W. Camp McDonald Road, Prospect Heights. Join Mayor Nicholas Helmer and the Prospect Heights Park District for the annual Prospect Heights tree lighting and Santa visit. Mayor Helmer begins the activities with a tree lighting countdown. Cub Scouts, Daisies, Girl Scouts, and the St. Alphonsus Choir will sing Christmas carols. There will be cookies, baked by Prospect Heights Garden Club members, and the Lions Club will be stirring up a big batch of hot chocolate. For information, www.prospect-heights.il.us.
Roselle Celebrate the Season and Cocoa Crawl: 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, starting at Roselle Public Library, 40 S. Park St. Santa arrives by fire truck at 2 p.m. to begin Cocoa Crawl and continues down Main Street. Disney characters available for photos; afternoon entertainment at Town Center Plaza, Main and Prospect streets. Community tree lighting at 5 p.m. Free. Info: www.roselle.il.us.
Vernon Hills Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting: 4:30-6 p.m. Vernon Hills Golf Course, 291 Evergreen Drive, Vernon Hills. The village annual holiday tree and menorah lighting event, with refreshments and holiday celebration including a visit from Santa. Visit www.vernonhills.org.
Fox Lake Tree Lighting and Holiday Parade: 5-7:30 p.m. in downtown Fox Lake. Parade down Grand Avenue followed by ceremony at Millennium Park, 6 Rollins Road, Fox Lake. Visit www.foxlake.org.
Lake Villa Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade: 5 p.m. at Lehmann Park, 148 Cedar Ave., Lake Villa. Annual Christmas Parade lines up at Palombi School, 133 McKinley Ave., Lake Villa, followed by tree-lighting ceremony and Santa's Party at the train station. Visit www.lake-villa.org.
Sunday, Nov. 25
Bensenville Holiday Magic: 3-6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, at Center and Green streets in downtown. Santa arrives on Yuletide Express at 3 p.m.; photos with Santa from 3:15 to 6 p.m.; tree-lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. Music, live reindeer, face painting, commemorative ornaments, treats. Also a toy, food and coat drive. Info: www.bensenville.il.us or (630) 697-3439.
Batavia's Celebration of Lights: 5-7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, Batavia Riverwalk, Houston Street and Island Avenue. Family photos, free roasted chestnuts, holiday craft activities inside city hall, old-fashioned ornament making for all ages at the Depot Museum, as well as hot dogs and hot chocolate for sale. Batavia Community Band performs at 5:15 p.m.; community singalong at 5:30 p.m.; arrival of Santa and tree lighting at 5:45 p.m.; Santa Warming House at the Peg Bond Center at 6 p.m.; Light Up the Gazebo at 6 p.m.; Story Hour 6:15-7 p.m. in the Batavia Depot Museum. Christmas Tree Lane with 25 holiday trees decorated by local organizations and businesses. Hayrides for $1 or a nonperishable donation to the Batavia Food Pantry. Free admission and parking north of the Batavia Government Center. www.bataviaparks.org
Monday, Nov. 26
Glendale Heights Tree Lighting: 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, Glendale Heights Civic Center Complex, 300 Civic Center Plaza. Mayor and Santa illuminate the complex. Choral groups sing. Refreshments at the Center for Senior Citizens. Free. Info: glendaleheights.org.
Friday, Nov. 30
Bartlett Tree Lighting: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at Bartlett Park, Oak and North avenues, Bartlett. Visit Santa at the Log Cabin and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. Bring a camera to capture the memories. The South Elgin High School Choir will perform holiday music in the gazebo and will lead spectators in the singing of carols just before the tree is lit. Free. For information, www.bartlettchamber.com.
Old Town Festival of Lights: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, Old Town Park, Third and Franklin streets, Bloomingdale. Sixth annual display of holiday lights and sights kicks off at 6:30 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 park district will offer horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday crafts, holiday entertainment, and train rides, as well as Kriss Kringle Market and Lego Holiday Show. Info: www.bloomingdaleparks.org.
Addison Tree Lighting Ceremony: 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, Friendship Plaza, 1 Friendship Plaza. Visit with Santa and Christmas characters, ride the Christmas Express, listen to Christmas carolers, experience a living Nativity scene and enjoy festive holiday treats. Addison Historical Museum Craft Fair from 5-9 p.m. Free. Info: www.ithappensinaddison.com.
Mundelein Tree Lighting Ceremony: 5 p.m. at Village Plaza, 300 Plaza Circle, Mundelein. Festivities begin with music, singing and other Holiday themed entertainment. Santa Claus will help with the countdown for the lighting of the Holiday Tree followed by a fireworks display. Visit www.mundeleincommunityconnection.org/
Round Lake Tree Lighting: 5 p.m. Round Lake Village Hall, 422 N. Cedar Lake Road, Round Lake. The village's annual tree lighting ceremony, including a visit from Santa. Visit eroundlake.com.
Dickens in Dundee: 6-10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in downtown East and West Dundee. 31st annual winter festival featuring tree lighting at 7 p.m. Nov. 30, living windows, Spirit of Christmas parade, Santa, petting zoo, crafts, gingerbread village, Festival of Trees and more. Free admission. dickensindundee.org.
Christmas in Kaneville: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Village tree lighting at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at Hill's Country Store, 2S133 Harter Road, bring an ornament to represent your family. On Saturday, Cookie Walk from 9 a.m. to noon at Kaneville United Methodist Church, 46W764 Main St. cookies sold by the pound; craft show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Community Center gym at 2S101 Harter Road; Santa & Mrs. Claus from 9 a.m. to noon at the fire barn, 46W536 Lovell St. www.facebook.com/KTHistoricalSociety.
Saturday, Dec. 1
Barrington Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting: The free Holiday Trolley begins at 10 a.m. at Cook/Station streets and travels in a loop until 5 p.m. between the Ice House Mall, Shops on Lageschulte, the Foundry and Barrington's White House. There are free family-friendly activities all day, including carriage rides, visits with Santa, a petting zoo, face-painting, balloon artist, Madrigal singers and holiday music by Bob the DJ. The holiday tree is lit and Santa arrives on the fire truck at 5 p.m. at Cook Street and Park Ave. Visits and photos with Santa until 6:30 p.m. For information, visit www.barrington-il.gov.
Lombard's Jingle Bell Jubilee: 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, Lombard Town Center. Tree lighting and Santa's arrival at Lilacia Park from 5:30 to 8 p.m., photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Dancers performing "The Nutcracker" from 5 to 7 p.m. Candlelight tours of Lombard Historical Society's Victorian Cottage Museum from 6 to 8 p.m. Glenbard East Honors Strings performing three short concerts in the sanctuary with crafts, coffee, and hot cocoa in the gym at Lombard Bible Church, 111 S. Park Ave. Glenbard East Madrigal Singers show, activities in youth services starting at 5 p.m. at Helen Plum Library. Singalong in Maple Street Chapel from 6:30 to 8 p.m. www.facebook.com/jinglebelljubilee.
Wood Dale Tree Lighting Celebration: 2:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, adjacent to Wood Dale City Hall, 372 Wood Dale Road, Wood Dale. Crafts, wagon rides, and photos with Santa. Concludes with tree lighting and fireworks. Free. www.wooddale.com.
Lights of Lisle Festival: 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, downtown Lisle. Saturday's events include Santa Light Parade at 4:30 p.m., entertainment, lighting of luminaria at dusk, tree lighting at 6 p.m. at village hall, refreshments, music. Both days include Once Upon a Christmas at Museums of Lisle Station Park. Free. www.villageoflisle.org.
Carol Stream Tree Lighting: 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, Ross Ferraro Town Center, Gary Avenue and Lies Road. Enjoy music followed by Santa Claus's arrival at 6:30 p.m. Then to the Fountain View Recreation Center for holiday refreshments, music, kid's crafts and a complimentary photo with Ol' St. Nick. Free. www.carolstream.org.
Villa Park Joyful Traditions: 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Regaard Gazebo, Ardmore and Park, Villa Park. 20th annual tree lighting, pictures with Santa, trolley and horse-drawn wagon rides, tasting tent, s'mores, carolers and the World's Largest Stocking. Free. www.villaparkchamber.org.
West Chicago Frosty Fest: 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in downtown. Parade steps off at 4 p.m. from West and Main streets. Tree lighting at 4:15 p.m. Caroling, dancers activities from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Info: westchicago.org.
Little Friends Holiday Parade of Lights: 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, downtown Naperville. Parade starts at Jackson Avenue and Mill Street, east to Main Street, ending at Main and Van Buren Avenue. After parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus visit with kids until 9 p.m. inside the Santa House at Jackson Avenue and Webster Street on the Riverwalk. Free. www.littlefriendsinc.org
Algonquin's Holiday Rock on the Fox: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Riverfront Park, 201 N. Harrison St., Algonquin. Annual tree lighting ceremony, visit with Santa and Friends, ice sculpture, family activities, and holiday music. Free admission. Toys for Tots donation bins available for new unwrapped toys. www.algonquin.org.
Wauconda Holiday Walk and Tree Lighting: 2-8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, Main Street, downtown Wauconda. A day of activities on Main Street culminating in the village tree lighting. Features sleigh rides, visits with Santa, crafts, family activities and live reindeer with a parade and fireworks show. Free. Visit www.waucondachamber.org.
Hometown Holiday and Tree Lighting: 3-6 p.m. Community Park, 5 Park View Lane, Hawthorn Woods. Enjoy a visit with Santa and horse drawn wagon rides while snacking on cookies and listening to the Stevenson High School Choir. Includes the community tree lighting. Free. Visit www.vhw.org.
Miracle on Main Street: 3-7 p.m. 70 E. Main St., Lake Zurich. A 35-foot tree will be displayed for the holiday season. Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and their reindeer. Other offerings include children's crafts, sleigh rides, artisans, adult beverages and food vendors. Free. Visit lakezurich.org/585/Miracle-on-Main-Street.
Lindenhurst Tree lighting: 4:30-6 p.m. Lippert Community Center, 2200 Grass Lake Road, Lindenhurst. Lakes Community High School Chamber Choir will carol before the lighting at 4:20 p.m. Santa will arrive via fire trick at 4:30 p.m. Includes performances by the Engle Junction Preschoolers and Jason the Juggler. Make an ornament, bring letters for Santa's Mailbox, enjoy free cookies and juice and more. Nonperishable food items will be collected for the Lake Villa Township Food Pantry. Visit lindenhurstparks.org or call (847) 356-6011.
Lincolnshire Holiday Tree Lighting: 5:30 p.m. Village Green Center, 100 Village Green, Lincolnshire. Lighting of holiday tree, choir and bands from local schools and organizations, appearance by Santa, Toys-for-Tots collection and other activities. Food and beverages available. Free. Visit lincolnshireil.gov.
Cary Holiday Walk and Tree Lighting: 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Jaycee Park, off Silver Lake Road in Cary. Lighting of the Jaycee Park Holiday Walk, including visits with Santa and his live reindeer, refreshments, and ice skating (weather permitting). Free. (847) 639-6100 or www.carypark.com. Elgin Window Wonderland: 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, along DuPage Court and Spring Street in downtown Elgin. 20th annual event holiday market, pictures with Santa, Santa's live reindeer, sleigh rides, food trucks, live holiday music, tree-lighting ceremony and more. Free. elginwinterwonderland.com.
Fox River Grove Tree Lighting Ceremony: 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Algonquin Road School, 975 Algonquin Road, Fox River Grove. Featuring pictures with Santa, live music, cookies and activities. www.foxrivergrove-il.org.
Holiday in the Grove: 7:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in Sugar Grove. At Sugar Grove Community House, 151 Main St., ceremonial tree lighting at 7:45 a.m., sign up online for "Breakfast with Santa" at 8, 9, or 10 a.m. ($6 per meal); Pictures with Santa from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. www.holidayinthegrove.org.
Holiday in the Hollow: 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Sabatino Park, on Thorobred Lane, Sleepy Hollow. Visit with Santa, tree lighting, carols, Sleepy Hollow Elementary School Circle-of-Cheer Christmas trees, and more. Bring a nonperishable food item or monetary donation for FISH Food Pantry. www.sleepyhollowil.org.
Pingree Grove: 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, Police Department, 1 Police Plaza, Pingree Grove. www.villageofpingreegrove.org.
A Very Merry Huntley: 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in downtown Huntley, as part of the Nov. 30-Dec. 1 "A Very Merry Huntley" festival. Starts Friday, Nov. 30, at municipal complex, 10987 Main St., featuring live reindeer, Kriss Kringle Market, tree-decorating contest and kids games from 3-8 p.m. and visit with Mrs. Claus from 4 to 8 p.m. On Saturday in Town Square, Merry Maskers strolling carolers from 3 to 5 p.m., free hot chocolate and horse-drawn trolley rides from 3 to 6 p.m., live reindeer from 4 to 6 p.m., Christmas tree-decorating contest winners at 4:45 p.m., and Santa arrives on fire truck at 5 p.m. for lighting of Christmas tree. Fireworks show at 5 p.m. Bring camera for photos with Santa in the gazebo. www.huntley.il.us.
Sunday, Dec. 2
North Aurora's Evergreen Holidays: 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at Riverfront Park on the north side of State Street, just west of the village hall. Hosted by North Aurora River District Alliance. Featuring roasted chestnuts, a cookie walk hosted by North Aurora Mothers Club, tree lighting, music and more. Stroll along the scenic Riverfront Park adorned with lighted evergreens and warm up with some hot chocolate and popcorn. Free. noarda.org.
Thursday, Dec. 6
Rolling Meadows Holiday Tree Lighting: 6 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, in front of the McDonald's on Kirchoff Road, 3140 Kirchoff Road, Rolling Meadows. Ring in the holiday at this seasonal pleaser. A downtown count down to lighting up the city along with the mayor, local music groups, goodies, giveaways and a special appearance from Santa Claus. Free admission. www.cityrm.org.
Elmhurst tree lighting: 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, Wilder Park, 175 S Prospect Ave, Elmhurst. Elmhurst Park District kicks off the holiday season with live entertainment, a special visitor from the North Pole and children's activities. Free. www.epd.org.
Friday, Dec. 7
Des Plaines Tree Lighting: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, Metropolitan Way, downtown Des Plaines. Pre-lighting festivities begin at 4 p.m., with the tree lighting ceremony taking place at 6:30 p.m. The event features tree decorating by local organizations, live entertainment, strolling characters, and Santa will be ready and waiting to hear everyone's wish list. Free. For information, www.desplaines.org.
Hanover Park Tree Lighting: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at Village Hall, 2121 W. Lake St., Hanover Park. Hanover Park continues the tradition of welcoming a special visitor from the North Pole who will help flip the switch to light up the village's holiday decorations. Free. For information, www.hanoverparkillinois.org.
Streamwood Tree Lighting: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, at Veterans Memorial, 301 E. Irving Park Road, Streamwood. Santa and Mrs. Claus at luminaria. For information, www.streamwood.org.Warrenville Holly Days: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, Warren Avenue and Tracy Place, Warrenville. Santa parade, tree lighting, entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday music and performing arts provided by local community and school groups, and hot chocolate. Free. warrenvilleparks.org.
Geneva Christmas Walk: 6-9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, Third Street between James and Campbell, Geneva. Santa Lucia arrives with Santa to light the Great Tree on the courthouse lawn and to open the Gingerbread House. Live nativity, roasted chestnuts, strolling carolers, the first candy cane of the season and holiday shopping. (630) 232-6060 or www.genevachamber.com.