String some lights on the plants at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, add a generous helping of teddy bears and you have “Celebrations!,” a holiday experience that runs through Jan. 2. The outdoor garden offers decorated indoor displays and holiday topiaries along the greenhouse paths.
But it is the display of donated teddy bears that serves as the centerpiece of “Celebrations!” The Garden is asking for bears of all shapes and sizes to be donated—or loaned for the display.
Donated new teddy bears will be collected at the end of the festival and given to area charities. Loaned bears will be returned to their owners. Bears can be dropped off at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s information desk through Jan. 2.
“The holidays are about giving and sharing, and everyone loves a warm teddy bear to snuggle up to, especially children in need,” says Chicago Botanic Garden spokesperson Sue Markgraf. “The Teddy Bear Museum is designed to collect bears and display them to celebrate their whimsy and their magic.”
Bears aren’t the only animals participating. On Dec. 4, the Botanic Garden goes to the dogs. For one day, dogs on a leash are invited to don their favorite holiday costume and parade through the grounds in the second annual Reindog Parade from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is a $10 registration fee per dog ($15 on the day of the event).
Both Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations are on the schedule. A Hanukkah Dinner party is scheduled from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 12, featuring the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band. In addition, Santa will be landing at the Botanic Garden before he heads off for his big night. “Supper with Santa” is scheduled from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 20-23. Cost for both dinners is $21 adults; $15 children ages 3-12, free for under 3 and reservations are required.
“Celebrations!” hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Admission is free; parking is $10 for nonmembers. The Garden is closed on Christmas, but open New Year’s Eve. For a complete listing of events or to make reservations, call (847) 835-6900 or visit www.chicagobotanic.org/celebrations.
Lenna Silberman Scott