Christmas Family Activities in the Chicago Suburbs

by Maria Scinto

The Chicagoland area, which encompasses the Illinois counties of McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage and Will, loves a good celebration, but never more so than at Christmastime. Families can get their fill of holiday cheer without having to deal with city traffic as there are numerous activities throughout the Chicago suburbs that capture the spirit of the season.

Holiday Walks

The city of Geneva hosts a pre-Christmas Holiday Walk that features appearances not only by Santa but also St. Lucia, who arrives in a horse-drawn carriage to hand out Swedish Christmas cookies. The walk also includes such delights as roasted chestnuts, hot cider and freshly made candy canes. It's held in conjunction with a tour of historic homes decorated for the holidays. Hinsdale sponsors its own annual Holiday Walk that includes ice carvers, carolers, a tree lighting ceremony, costumed holiday characters and of course, the jolly old man himself.

Christmas Parades

Every year the Little Friends Society, which serves developmentally disabled children and adults, puts on a Parade of Lights as part of Downtown Naperville's Hometown Holidays celebration. At the culmination of the parade, Santa Claus flips a switch, which turns on more than 300,000 holiday lights. The city of Wheaton has a Lighted Holiday Parade that kicks off at the courthouse and also features a tree-lighting ceremony.

Light Shows

Cuneo Mansion and Garden in the suburb of Vernon Hills, gets dressed up for the holidays each year with its spectacular Winter Wonderland light show. Drive through the 97 acres of holiday decorations and lights with a special musical accompaniment provided by a local radio station. The Festival of Lights hosted by the city of Aurora is also a drive-through display with lighted Santas, flying reindeer, rocking horses, snowmen, teddy bears, and many other favorite holiday characters.

Breakfast with Santa

Children and parents can enjoy a special Breakfast with Santa at Lambs Farm in Libertyville. In addition to the meal, kids can participate in crafts and other activities, while adults might enjoy browsing the gift and craft fair. The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, hosts its own Breakfast with Santa event, featuring a buffet meal, free parking and admission to the Wonderland Express exhibit of toy trains running through miniature landscapes such as famous Chicago landmarks and a gingerbread village.

About the Author

I am a former librarian turned freelance writer and researcher - I got my start writing for, and this was when I first learned I could turn my talent for research into writing articles on just about any topic. Parenting is my favorite topic - I am the homeschooling work-at-home single mom of a four-year-old son. I also enjoy writing about pets (I have a Chow/Husky mix, 2 orange-striped kittens, and a hermit crab - unless he died since I last checked - and I used to have a fish but the kittens ate him), food (I like to cook, like to eat out, just plain love to eat), dieting (my metabolism isn't so crazy about all this eating), TV (my son and I are up on all the latest cartoon series). I have regular gigs writing about political questions (for and all things Virginian (for Northern Virginia Magazine) and also work as a fact checker, web editor, and data annotator.

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