Countdown to Christmas: 10 ideas for last-minute holiday fun

Christmas is around the corner! Want to make the time between now and then fly by? Pack the next few days with fun! 

Bundle up and go on mini roller coasters

For the first time this year, Santa’s Village AZoosment Park is open on weekends during the winter. Although that may mean bundling up, it also means fewer lines and more fun to ride every single ride … even roller coasters. Visit Santa’s house to meet the jolly old man. Read all about my family’s experience here.

See “A Christmas Carol” like you’ve never seen it before

Everyone’s familiar with the beloved holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol,” but I bet you’ve never seen a hip-hop version. Or how about one performed entirely in Klingon? Yes, that’s right. Here are a few more unique twists involving the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.  

Visit a zoo with twinkling lights

Head to a smaller zoo this holiday season for a more intimate holiday lights experience. Holiday Lights at Wheaton’s Cosley Zoo showcases more than 20,000 lights and Christmas trees decorated by the community. (Free admission; donations appreciated). 

See suburban holiday lights

Put on PJs, blast Christmas music, bring hot cocoa and drive around. Phillips Park in Aurora has a free Festival of Lights going on until Dec. 26 with their mile-long light show or Mooseheart’s Holiday Lights. Santa will be visiting on Dec. 15-17. Admission is $10/car. Here are other neighborhood options in the northwest suburbs

See Chicago’s holiday lights (But have someone else do the driving.) 

No doubt about it — Chicago is beautiful when it’s aglow with holiday lights. But sometimes you just can’t handle the Chicago traffic. No worries. Take a spin on a Chicago Trolley. During their Holiday Lights Tour, you can view the lights on a festively-named trolley then make stops at Lincoln Park Zoo’s ZooLights, Christkindlmarket and Sprinkles Cupcake for a yummy treat. 

Pinkies up for tea time

Think tea time is just for girlfriends? Think again. I brought my entire family, including my husband and two young boys to tea time at Drury Lane, and guess what? They all loved it. And what’s not to love? Mini finger sandwiches, sparkling pink lemonade, hot chocolate, unlimited refills on bubbly for adults and yummy treats. Find more places to enjoy tea time here

See reindeer (Yes, they’re real!)

See real reindeer at Randall Oaks Zoo’s Winterfest (Sunday, Dec. 17, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.) The small zoo will also be festively decorated with holiday lights, and include activities such as a bonfire and cookie decorating. Enjoy a chocolate-inspired brunch with Santa

Mmmm … taste chocolate

The Chocolate Sanctuary will host Brunch With Santa on Dec. 17, with seatings at 10 a.m. and noon. Who can resist a little chocolate in their food? I’m talking about chocolate sourdough French toast and  five-spice cocoa ribs. 

Catch a holiday flick on the big screen

I don’t know about you, but watching movies on the big screen is always a special experience when you have a tub of popcorn and loved ones sitting next to you. Check out these theaters around Chicagoland that will play beloved holiday movies like “Home Alone” and the “Polar Express.”

Have an old-fashioned Christmas

Grab the family and bring them to the small town of Woodstock, where they are known for their Victorian-style Christmas and beautifully lit up town square. (You may also recognize the square from the movie “Groundhog Day.”) Take a free horse-drawn carriage ride on the cobblestone-lined streets. The charming town of Long Grove also gets festive with holiday lights, horse-drawn carriage rides, strolling carolers and appearances by Santa, Mrs. Claus and his elves.

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