Polar express storytime train
Geneva Train Station, 328 Crescent Pl, Geneva, IL
DATE: December 4 & 5, 2021 | 9:30am – 12pm and 1:30pm – 4pm
DETAILS: All aboard the Polar Express Storytime Train! Travel to the North Pole to pick up Santa & his friends. Then travel back with us to Geneva and have lunch/dinner. After we eat, each child will have the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap, give him their wish list, and have a picture taken. Families are encouraged to wear their pajamas and bring their holiday spirit! Pre-registration is required and space is limited.
COST: Ages Newborn – 11 months: Free | Ages 1-17 years: $22 ($33 N/R) | Ages 18+ years: $27 ($40 N/R)
Downtown Geneva | Third Street and James Street
DATE: December 3, 2021 | 6pm
DETAILS: Our annual Christmas Walk begins Christmas in Geneva with the arrival of Carolers, Santa Lucia and Santa Claus (see Stay + Play Local's VISIT SANTA Page). The courthouse lawn becomes illuminated with lights, our Great Tree and HOPE for the season. Among the twinkling lights and fresh greenery lined streets you will find downtown Geneva to be a holiday destination overflowing with comfort and charm.
COST: FREE (fee applies for one on one time with Santa - see "Visit Santa" page for details!)
carols on campbell
Campbell Street, West of Third St., Geneva, IL 60134
DATE: December 11, 2021 | 1pm, 3pm, 5pm
DETAILS: Sing your favorite carols in our outside caroling tent December 11. Three seatings available. (1, 3 & 5 pm). Reserve your spot for $5. There will be stand up tables and seats available on a first come basis. Each session will have no more than 100 people. Reservations are required. Walk-ins will be accommodated if the time slot has not sold out. Caroling tent is located on Campbell Street, west of Third Street.
Holiday House TOur
First Congregational Church | 327 Hamilton Street, Geneva, IL
DATE: December 3 and 4, 2021 | Friday 10 am-8 pm and Saturday 10 am-5 pm
DETAILS: Tour five festively decorated homes in Geneva. You will have to drive to homes and all homes are not located together. You will want to allow yourself 3-4 hours (this is an estimate and can change depending on lines and size of home) to go through all the homes. Part of the proceeds are used to decorate Geneva for the holidays. The ticket price includes a traditional tea served at First Congregational Church located at 327 Hamilton Street and a special treat from The Olive Mill or 360° Flavor & Spice (while supplies last). Tea is served from 10:30 am to 6:00 pm on Friday and 10:30 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday. Ticket Pick-Up at Haven Interiors Studio, 15 S. Third Street, Geneva - advance online purchase
gingerbread barn raising
Sunset Community Center 710 Western Ave. Geneva, IL
DATE: December 5, 2021 | 12:30pm - 2:30pm
DETAILS: Get your own gingerbread barn and start decorating! Enjoy hot cocoa and holiday music, while you and the family decorate your gingerbread barn to take home. Start a new holiday tradition! Registration includes your very own gingerbread barn, plus frosting, assorted candies and cookies for decorating! One registration covers the whole family (up to six people per barn). Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
COST: $72 R / $92 NR (for up to 6 people)
windy acres farm winterfest
Windy Acres Farm, 37w446 Fabyan Parkway, Geneva, IL
DATE: November 24, 2021 from 10am - 4pm | November 26 - December 19, 2021, Thursdays - Sundays from 10am - 6pm
DETAILS: Mulled Wine and Open Bar, Hot Chocolate Bar, Hot Cider, S’Mores Kits on the open fire, Wreaths, Roping, Door Swags, Holiday Greenery Arrangements, Hot Churros, Freshly Baked Fruit Pies, Windy Acres Holiday Train Ride Express, Petting Zoo Pets, photo opportunities, fun for the whole family, … and a visit with Santa Claus! Santa Claus, Petting Zoo, Train Rides, Bar available on Saturdays and Sundays only. Advance ticket purchase highly recommended.
COST: $10 for Saturday + Sunday events with Santa
8 S 3rd St (Upstairs), Geneva, IL 60134
DATE: December 11, 2021 | 11am - 4pm
DETAILS: Stroll through Geneva and experience a variety of Geneva shops and restaurants at the Cocoa Crawl from 11 am-4 pm. Cocoa creations will be offered. Map of participating businesses will be posted soon. This event is suitable for adults and children. Note: This is an open house format between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm. You can sample at any of the participating businesses, in any order during those times (times are noted for exceptions). Only one sample per ticket will be given. Enjoy! Tickets can be picked up December 6-10 during business hours and December 11 beginning at 10:30 am. Please come to 8 S. Third St., Geneva (upstairs).
COST: $15 per participant
celebration of lights festival
DATE: November 28, 2021 from 5pm - 7pm
DETAILS: Experience the Magic of Batavia with the Celebration of Lights Festival! We will have hayrides, holiday craft activities, old-fashioned ornament-making, a community sing-a-long, ceremonial tree lighting, a visit with Santa, story hour and the ever-popular Christmas Tree Lane! See link for full schedule of events!
holiday homecoming lighting of the lights
First St. Plaza, St. Charles, IL
DATES: November 26, 2021 | 5pm
DETAILS: Lighting of the Lights, sponsored by Audi Exchange St. Charles, will be at 5pm on Friday, November 26th. Come and celebrate the lighting of the city's lights while kicking-off the holiday season with the community! Even Santa will be there to meet and take pictures with everyone after the ceremony!
Downtown St. Charles, Main Street Route, St. Charles, IL
DATE: November 27, 2021 | 5:30pm
DETAILS: The Electric Christmas Parade steps off on Main Street at 5:30 pm. The parade will feature bands, parade floats and a special guest, Santa Claus! Best viewing spots are between 6th Street and 4th Avenues!
flashlight candy cane hike
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center | 3795 Campton Hills Dr., St. Charles, IL
DATE: December 17, 2021 | 4pm - 6:45pm
DETAILS: Explore the woods and prairie on a winter’s eve. Take a hike along a candy cane decorated path as you solve a puzzle to receive a goody bag! Then head inside Hickory Knolls for warm beverages and a make & take craft.
COST: $12 per person, Ages 2 and Under are FREE!
Jingle bell bash (ages 50+)
Q Center, 1405 N 5th Ave., St. Charles, IL
DATE: December 3, 2021 | 11:30am - 3pm
DETAILS: What a bright time, it's the right time to share holiday cheer with friends. Mix and mingle with games and fun, holiday activities have just begun. Entertainment provided by Edizon Dayao. Enjoy a delicious plated dinner with salad, rolls, sides and your choice of salmon, chicken or vegetarian entrée. Coffee, tea and soda will be served. Cash bar will be available. Sponsored by Silverado St. Charles Memory Care.
COST: $40 Members / $60 Nonmembers
letter from the north pole
POTTAWATOMIE COMMUNITY CENTER | 8 North Avenue, St. Charles, IL
DATE: Ongoing, November 22 – December 8, 2021
DETAILS: Ho! Ho! Ho! Add to the excitement of Christmastime’s holiday magic with a letter from Santa Claus, all the way from his workshop at the North Pole. OPTIONAL: Have your child write a letter to Santa. Drop it off to Santa's mailbox at Pottawatomie Community Center or mail to 8 North Avenue, St. Charles, IL 60174. Letters from children will not be returned.
COST: $5 per letter
candlelight at the durant house
Durant House Museum, LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W700 Dean Street, St. Charles, IL
DATE: Saturday, December 4 and Sunday, December 5, 2021 | 2:00p - 6:00p
DETAILS: Step back and time and enjoy the sights, tastes, and smells of the holidays in 19th-century Illinois. This is the only time of the year when the museum is open after dark and lit entirely by candlelight! Enjoy holiday music, the smell of fresh cut evergreens, the crackle of fire, and flicker of candlelight as you stroll through the historic Durant House Museum. Outside the house, warm yourself by a bonfire and enjoy hot cider and light snacks. Then, head over to Sholes School for a lesson and hands-on activities
COST: $3/person for adults | $1/children 18 and under
cider + cookie stroll
DATE: November 27, 2021 | 3pm - 7pm
DETAILS: Celebrate Small Business Saturday with the Cider & Cookie Stroll as you wander through the retail shops of downtown Wheaton! Participating businesses will offer cider with their own unique flavorings and toppings and a festive holiday cookie. Purchase your mug from the DWA today and that along with an official event map will be your ticket to taste and enjoy as much cider as you wish and a cookie at each tasting location. Once you’ve tasted all the cookies, vote for your favorite by marking your event map (ballot) and placing it in the ballot box at the W Tent at Martin Memorial Plaza.
COST: $20 per participant
wheaton christmas parade
Downtown Wheaton, Wheaton Ave & Front St, Wheaton, IL
DATE: November 26, 2021 | 6pm
DETAILS: Your “presents” is requested at this year’s Wheaton Christmas Parade! Join us for a joyful celebration of the season as this colorful, light-filled parade moves down Wheaton Avenue and Front Street in Downtown Wheaton. Spectators of all ages will enjoy magical floats, meet your favorite character after the parade and see Santa! End your festive-filled evening with the Nights of Lights lighting ceremony in Adam’s Park immediately following the parade.
Downtown Naperville, throughout the Water Street District and along the Riverwalk
DATE: Thanksgiving - New Year's Eve
DETAILS: Enjoy this free dazzling display of holiday lights and sound as you stroll down Water Street, Foyo Plaza, Jaycees Park and the Riverwalk in Downtown Naperville! This our gift to the community from the Rotary Club of Naperville Sunrise. Fridays and Saturday evenings (weather permitting) grab a holiday photo with Santa alongside the Great Tree. He’ll wear a mask and maintain social distance but he can’t wait to greet you and your family!
winter lights, parade, and fireworks
Downer Place, from Water Street to River Street, Aurora, IL
DATE: November 19, 2021, 6pm | Parade steps-off at 6:30pm
DETAILS: As the City of Aurora's official kick-off to the holiday season, this free family-friendly event will be filled with merry-making moments and a sleigh full of fun for the entire family. Stepping off at 6:30 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will usher in the holiday season with an illuminated parade filled with reindeer, elves, special guests and other holiday favorites! Following the Parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with Mayor Irvin and the newly-crowned Little Mr. and Miss Aurora, will lead the crowd in a countdown to flip the magic switch and illuminate the City's holiday tree! After the tree lighting, the downtown Aurora sky will be brightened by a grand fireworks display along the banks of the Fox River
Various locations - Downtown Aurora, IL
DATE: December 3, 2021 | 5pm - 9pm
DETAILS: First Fridays is art, music, and cocoa in December. Come to downtown Aurora and enjoy hot cocoa sampling from 5 to 9 p.m. at Aurora Downtown’s 3rd annual Cocoa Crawl. A mug and a button can be purchased for only $15! See link for purchase locations and more details.
COST: $15 per participant
hot cocoa with anna + elsa
Blackberry Farm, 100 S Barnes Rd, Aurora, IL
DATE: December 4, 11, and 18, 2021 | 1:30pm - 6:15pm
DETAILS: Join your favorite Frozen Sisters, Anna and Elsa, for a hot cocoa party complete with sing-a-long and photo opportunities. Each registered attendant is also invited to come early or stay after to enjoy all Holiday Express has to offer! You won’t want to miss the train, visit with Santa and all of the festive decorations! All attendees ages 1 and up (including adults) must purchase a ticket. All ticket sales are final. Time slots occur each hour starting at 1:30pm.
COST: $12 per participant
storytime with the grinch
Blackberry Farm, 100 S Barnes Rd, Aurora, IL
DATE: December 5, 12, and 19, 2021 | 1:30pm - 6:15pm
DETAILS: Visit with the Grinch and enjoy cookies and hot cocoa. There will be story time and photo opportunities. Each registered attendant is also invited to enjoy all Holiday Express has to offer, come early or stay after depending on your ticket time, Holiday Express runs 2-7pm. You won’t want to miss the train, visit with Santa and all of the festive decorations! Everyone ages 1 and up need to purchase a ticket. Time slots occur each hour starting at 1:30pm.
COST: $12 per participant
Elburn Christmas stroll
Main Street, Elburn, IL
DATE: December 4, 2021 | 4pm - 8pm
DETAILS: Join us on Dec. 4th, from 4-8pm in Downtown Elburn, IL for the 27th Annual Elburn Chamber Christmas Stroll! Enjoy the start of the holiday season with holiday themed activities, the Kaneland Scholarship 50/50 Raffle, and much more! Enjoy the downtown lights, shops on Main Street, and then stroll down to the Elburn and Countryside Community Center too.
dickens in dundee & Spirit of Christmas parade
The Depot, 319 N. River Street, West Dundee, IL
DATE: December 3, 2021 from 5:45pm - 9pm | Parade is December 4, 2021 at 10am
DETAILS: This year’s Dickens in Dundee will take place on Friday, December 3rd from 6-9 pm, with a parade to follow at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 4th. All of East Dundee's activities will take place near the surrounding downtown area. ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:
5:45 PM: Tree Lighting and Live Music
6-8 PM: Those Funny Little People Toy Making Elves
6-9 PM: Visits with Santa Living Windows The Frozen Robins Caroling Quartet The Frozen Fab Four (Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf)
FREE Horse-drawn Carriage Rides
santa's village magical drive-thru experience
Santa's Village Azoosment Park, 601 Dundee Ave, East Dundee, IL
DATE: November 26 - 28, December 2 - 5, 9 - 12, 16 - 19, 2021 | 5pm - 10pm (select nights end earlier)
DETAILS: Begin your holiday season with a one-of-a-kind, drive-thru experience at Santa’s Village. Santa’s helpers have been busy transforming our park into a festive winter wonderland. Enjoy over 2 million lights synchronized to holiday music, dazzling displays, live animals, and Santa, himself, as you drive through our park, all from the comfort of your car. Socially safe and set up for any weather. At the end of your drive-thru experience, you’ll be able to purchase funnel cakes and hot chocolate while taking in the breathtaking view of our park.
COST: $20 per vehicle (advance purchase)
winterfest at randall oaks zoo
Randall Oaks Zoo, 1180 N Randall Rd, West Dundee, IL
DATE: December 4 - 5, 11 - 12, 18 - 19, 2021 | 11am - 7pm
DETAILS: t’s the most magical time of the year! Experience the zoo all dressed up in holiday lights! Open weekends on December 4-5, 11-12, and 18-19 from 12-7 pm. Enjoy holiday lights and decorations around our barns and animals, a bonfire, community tree sponsorships and the Big Guy himself visits from 1:00-4:00 pm each day! Event activities are subject to change and weather dependent. Activities include: Holiday Lights and Decorations | Santa Visits – 1:00-4:00 pm | Bonfire
COST: $3.75 per resident | $4.50 per non-resident | Children ages 1 and under: FREE | Randall Oaks Zoo Members: FREE | United States Military with ID: FREE
downtown oswego christmas walk
Main Street, Oswego
DATE: December 3, 2021 | 4:30pm - 8:30pm
DETAILS: It's back! This year’s Oswego Christmas Walk, an annual downtown tradition, is returning in its original format along Main Street in downtown Oswego to kick off the 2021 holiday season! Tree lighting takes place at 5:10pm and live entertainment runs all night.
silent light parade
Main Street, Oswego
DATE: December 3, 2021 | 8pm
DETAILS: Watch Oswego's favorite tradition, the Silent Light Parade of Emergency Vehicles! The parade steps off at 8 p.m. and will wind down Main Street for the official end of the Oswego Christmas Walk event.
gingerbread drink + decorate to go
Fox Bend Golf Course, 3516 US-34, Oswego, IL
DATE: December 14, 2021 | 6:30pm - 8:30pm
DETAILS: Take a gingerbread break this holiday season. Leave the kids at home for this adult only evening of candy coated creative exterior decorating. Each registration includes a “holiday spirit” and nibbles from Pearce’s while you work.
COST: $25 resident, $35 non-resident
South Point, 810 Preston Lane, Oswego, IL
DATE: December 9, 4:30pm - 6:30pm, December 10, 4:30pm - 7:30pm, December 11 and 12, 2pm - 7:30pm
DETAILS: The tradition returns this holiday season! Oswego Holiday Express will leave the Santa Station for the North Pole. All aboard to kiddos, young and old! Put on your pajamas, don your warmest apparel, and head to the top of the world on a magical journey.
COST: $20 for resident, $25 for non-resident
Christmas drive through celebration
Venue 1012, 1012 Station Dr, Oswego, IL
DATE: December 10, 2021 | 4:30pm - 8:30pm
DETAILS: On Friday, Dec. 10, join us for the Christmas Drive-Through, featuring music, illuminated holiday displays, and appearances from some very special holiday guests at Venue 1012, Oswego's new home for the performing arts and entertainment at 1012 Station Drive. The drive takes approximately 10-15 minutes, arrive anytime.
Downtown Elgin Holly Days Kick Off
Festival Park, 132 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL
DATE: November 27, 2021 | 1pm - 6pm
DETAILS: Sip and stroll as you support Elgin local businesses on Small Business Saturday! Enjoy holiday themed-window murals created by talented local artists. Sip your way through a Holiday Cheers beverage crawl at 20+ locations (advance purchase ticket required, $20), enjoy foaming Carolers: 1pm - 3pm, Roaming Santa: 3pm - 5pm, and the City of Elgin Tree Lighting with Santa: 5pm at Festival Park
COST: FREE ($20 for beverage crawl, other events are free)
The Polar Express Train
Jon Duerr Forest Preserve, 35W003 Route 31, South Elgin, IL
DATE: November 27 & 28, December 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, and 19, 2021 at 3:15pm, 4:25pm, 5:35pm, and 6:45pm
DETAILS: Chris Van Allsburg's book The Polar Express comes to life when the train pulls out of the station with your family on board! The train will transport you to the “North Pole” where Santa will be waiting. Experience the joy of watching the children's faces when the train arrives at the North Pole. At the North Pole, Santa will board the train. There will be caroling, sing-alongs with professional musicians making this what will surely become an annual holiday tradition for the whole family. Must reserve in advance.
COST: $40 per participant
an almost winter day
SEBA Park, 151 S Water St, South Elgin, IL
DATE: November 20, 2021 | 2pm - 5pm
DETAILS: An Almost Winter Day returns to SEBA Park (151 Water Street) and combines familiar events with a couple of new wrinkles. Enjoy the S'More Station, Cookie Decorating, Craft Station and Concessions. Get a socially-distanced picture with Santa Claus (2-4:45pm), play a rousing game of Ottoman Curling, watch an ice sculptor and drop off letters to Santa. And cap off the day with a tree lighting at 5pm!
flight deck the halls
Flight Deck Bar & Grill | 1207 W Gurler Road, Rochelle, IL
DATE: December 5, 2021 | 9am - 2pm
DETAILS: Fun for EVERYONE! Christmas holiday meals and drinks at Flight Deck Holiday shopping with crafts, treats, and activities for the kids Gift Wrapping Station Dance performances Holiday spirits and hot chocolates Holiday music echoing the halls and... FREE PHOTOS with SANTA from 11am to 2pm with Lifeworks Photography Studio!
Happy Holiday Railway
Illinois Railway Museum | 7000 Olson Road, Union, IL
DATE: Saturdays and Sundays, November 26th, 27th, 28th, December 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 18th, and 19th. Trips take place at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 5pm and 6pm.
DETAILS: Embark on a magical 40 minute train ride through the winter countryside with Santa Claus himself! Enjoy a 40-minute train ride for the whole family See and visit with Santa Claus on the train Treats and hot chocolate will be served Gifts will be given to children on Santa’s “good list” Holiday lights display at the boarding area including the biggest and brightest Christmas tree in McHenry County Brand new for 2021: our indoor, heated Model Railroad Exhibit See historic trains in the museum’s display barns 6, 7 and 9 Rides on historic Chicago streetcars included with your ticket Free parking
COST: $20 per person
Visit live reindeer at whispering pines
2792 Shabbona Grove Road, Shabbona, IL
DATE: November 26th, 27th, & 28th | 11:00am - 4:00pm
DETAILS: Whispering Pines Reindeer Ranch will be open the Friday, Saturday, & Sunday of Thanksgiving week from 11-4 PM. Come visit us, check out the reindeer, & purchase a tree if needed!
COST: Free, but consider purchasing a Christmas Tree!
Montgomery Tree Lighting and Festival of Trees
2200 N River Street, Montgomery, IL
DATE: December 5, 2021 | 5pm - 7pm
DETAILS: The Village of Montgomery and the Greater Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Tree Lighting in front of the Village Hall on the first Sunday in December. The event features Santa Claus's prompt arrival at 5P by the Montgomery-Countryside Fire District fire engine, musical performances by area school children and local singers, strolling carolers, free hot chocolate and cookies, kids giveaways, and a coloring contest sponsored by local River Street businesses. Participants should dress for the weather as most activities are outdoors. In addition to lighting the tree outside Village Hall, the Festival of Trees kicks off which includes trees decorated by residents, families, businesses, and organizations both indoors at Village Hall and outdoors along River Street (between Webster & Mill). All are invited. Bring the family to meet Santa, he arrives promptly at 5P and will be onsite until 7P for visits and pictures. Area residents are invited to bring the whole family to meet Santa, have cookies and cocoa and vote for their favorite tree. For those unable to attend the Sunday event, the Festival of Trees will stay during the month of December. Indoor trees will be available for viewing during business hours at Village Hall 8A-4:30P Monday through Friday.