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Breakfast with Santa - Morton Arboretum

Lisle, Ill.

Enjoy a special breakfast buffet in The Morton Arboretum's scenic Ginkgo Restaurant and a visit from Santa! Children can interact with Santa and his helpers and leave with some sweet treats to take home.

When: 9-11 a.m. Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 21-23
Cost: $41, $35 kids 3-12

Christmas in the Valley

Schaumburg, Ill.


See how German-American farm families in 19th century Schaumburg celebrated Christmas with traditional foods, simple homemade gifts and a continuation of their daily farm chores. Meet a traditional St. Nicholas and enjoy a cup of soup by the fireplace at the log cabin. The day will include refreshments, holiday treats, cookie decorating for the kids and craft activities.

When: Noon-4 p.m.
Cost: $8 family, $2 person, kids 3 and under free

City of Elgin Tree Lighting

Elgin, Ill.


The City of Elgin kicks off the holiday season with the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. Mayor David Kaptain, City Council Members, and Santa Claus will turn on the holiday tree lights at 5 p.m. 

When: 5 p.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: Free

Holiday Happenings in Downtown Tinley Park

Tinley Park, Ill.


Featuring live entertainment, specialty vendors, kids' crafts and activities, and food. Enjoy tree lighting ceremony, parades, carriage rides, movies and carnival rides. Visit website for schedule of events.

When: 6-9 p.m. Dec. 2; noon-6 p.m. Dec. 3; noon-5 p.m. Dec. 4, 2016
Cost: Free

Holidays on the Square

Chicago, Ill.


Participating businesses will be celebrating the season with deals, sweets, treats, tastings, delicious pop up shops, trunk shows, Santa, a tree lighting and more.

When: Check website for schedule
Cost: Free

Christmas on the Prairie

Homer Glen, Ill.


Event combines the life and traditions of St. Nicholas with the life of earlier settlers on the pristine Illinois prairie for an "unplugged" afternoon of family fun. Visitors can see how the pioneers celebrated Christmas when the gifts were simple and did not need electricity. Children will be able to make nature-inspired Christmas crafts, learn how to dip a candle, and see how the settlers completed everyday tasks like spinning wool or churning butter. Walk a quarter-mile luminary-lighted path and encounter special story-station volunteers who will tell the real history of St. Nicholas and answer questions about the prairie, the outdoor art, and the traditions of the Byzantine Church. The church building will be open for visitors to warm themselves with hot beverages, and taste special ethnic holiday cookies called Medovniky.

When: 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Cost: Free

Weekend Family Class: Joyful Gingerbread

Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, Ill.

Explore all the different plants and plant parts needed to make gingerbread. Take home a future ginger plant, decorate cookies, and mix up a batch of gingerbread to bake at home.

When: 9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 4 and 17
Cost: $24 per child

Holiday Open House

Friendship Park Conservatory | Des Plaines, Ill.


The open house includes Santa, music and dance performances by area students and groups, face painting, a craft, hayrides, cookies and cider, and live reindeer. The indoor atrium is full of poinsettias and decorated for the holidays.

When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: Free

Holiday Express

Blackberry Farm | Aurora, Ill.

See Lake Gregory and Blackberry Farm in all its holiday glory amid the twinkling lights and songs of Christmas. Back in the village, enjoy storytelling of the classics, festive decorations, reindeer food bar, hay wagon rides and a visit with Santa. And don’t miss Adventure Playground – decorated as Candy Cane Village. Special Needs Night: Dec. 2.

When: 5-8 p.m. Fridays; 2-6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays
Cost: $5

Pizza with Donatello

Pilcher Park Nature Center | Joliet, Ill.

Donatello the turtle and his shelled friends join guests as they enjoy a pizza lunch. A naturalist will talk about the slow-paced residents of Pilcher Park. After lunch, touch the turtles and do a craft.

When: 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost: $8

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