Wilmette, Community

Record Roundup: Tree lightings and plenty more to keep you merry and bright this holiday season

If the weather hasn’t clued you in: ‘Tis the season.

The holidays again successfully snuck up on everyone, but fortunately, the community has your back. Local organizations are providing plenty of opportunities for you to catch the holiday spirit.

Details of many of those events are below. But we surely didn’t catch everything. If you have another event you’d like to add to this list, please email newsroom@therecordns.org.

The gazebo at Dwyer Park is ready for the holiday season in Winnetka.

When: 4:30 p.m.-close select dates from Nov. 12-Jan. 8
Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe
Details: An after-dark, illuminated trail through the gardens that includes festive sounds coming from the trees. A new path and features were added for this year. Advance tickets are $30 for adult members, $32 for nonmembers, and $14/$1 for children over 3 years old. Kids 2 and younger are free. Parking for nonmembers is $10.

Holiday House Decorating Competition
When: Throughout season
Where: Winnetka
Details: Register your home to compete for prizes and local bragging rights. Registration ends on Dec. 9, and voting ends Dec. 16.

Holiday Open House
When: 5-8 p.m. Nov. 17
Where: Plaza del Lago, 1515 Sheridan Road, Wilmette; and Village Center, Wilmette and Central avenues, Wilmette
Details: Businesses in two Wilmette shopping districts will have festive specials and treats. Click here for more information.

Reindeer Visit
When: Nov. 14 arrival date
Where: Chalet Nursery, 3132 Lake Ave., Wilmette
Details: Prancer and Vixen will be with Chalet for the holiday season. Come see them during business hours. Post a selfie with the reindeer to receive a $10 gift card. Click here for more information. Special happy hours (hot chocolate, music, cookies, wine and beer) from 4-6 p.m. on Dec. 1 and 12.

Walk and Gobble
When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 16
Where: Mallinckrodt, 1041 Ridge Road, Wilmette
Details: Trot or walk around the park, and then head inside for an after-party lunch with a Thanksgiving-inspired meal. Bring a beverage of your choice. Registration ($10 member/$13 nonmember) includes a T-shirt. More information.

Santa’s Mailbox Wilmette
When: Nov. 18-Dec. 3
Where: Mallinckrodt Park Gazebo, 1041 Ridge Road, Wilmette
Details: Children are urged to bring their letter to Santa to the special mailbox that delivers straight to the North Pole. Include a return envelope so Santa can write back.

If Kids Ran Thanksgiving
When: noon-2 p.m. Nov. 19
Where: Takiff Center, 999 Green Bay Road, Glencoe
Details: For Ages 2-8, upon registration, your child will be asked how Thanksgiving should be celebrated and the event will feature some of the wild ideas. Children must be accompanied by a guardian and registration is $10/$15.

Sugar Plum Shopping Spree
When: 2-4 p.m. Nov. 19
Where: Downtown Highland Park
Details: Hosted by the Downtown Highland Park Alliance, and part of the Heart of the Holidays series, the event will feature Santa arriving by carriage, holiday carolers, street entertainers, a raffle, holiday window displays, Santa’s mailbox, a toy drive and more.

Holiday Boutique
When: 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Nov. 20
Where: Beth Hillel Bnai Emunah Congregation, 3220 Big Tree Lane, Wilmette
Details: The popular and annual Holiday Boutique returns with vendors offering unique and affordable merchandise for all ages. Jewelry, clothing, handbags, accessories, personalized gifts, artwork, toys and much more, with lunch available. For more information, call (847) 256-1213 or email information@bhbe.org

Santa’s Mailbox Winnetka
When: Nov. 23-Dec. 20
Where: Winnetka Park District, 540 Hibbard Road
Details: This magical mailbox will make sure your letter gets to Santa Claus, but make sure you include a return envelope for a message from the big man.

Small Business Saturday Scavenger Hunt
When: Nov. 26
Where: Throughout Winnetka
Details: Sponsored by local businesses, the Village and the park district, shop around town and see how many clues you can find.

Pet Visits with Santa
When: noon-1:30 p.m. Nov. 25
Where: Chalet Nursery, 3132 Lake Ave., Wilmette
Details: Bring your pet to visit with Santa Claus for a photo op.

Light the Lights
When: 5-7 p.m. Nov. 25
Where: Downtown Glencoe, Wyman Green
Details: Gather at the new location for a “new and improved” lightscape and family-friendly activities (train rides, live music, hot chocolate, more) throughout downtown Glencoe, including Tudor Court where there will be a winter village. The lighting ceremony will be at 5:15 p.m.

Small Business Saturday in Highland Park
When: 2-4 p.m. Nov. 26
Where: Downtown Highland Park
Details: Holiday music will fill the street thanks to carolers and buskers. Guests can enjoy food samples, holiday windows and more.

Santa Claus at Chalet
When: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Nov. 26-27, Dec. 3-4, Dec. 10-11
Where: Chalet Nursery, 3132 Lake Ave., Wilmette
Details: Greet Santa Claus and his reindeer all day at the Wilmette store.

Northfield Holiday Fest
When: 5:30-7 p.m. Nov. 30
Where: Clarkson Park, 1950 Willow Road, Northfield
Details: Light the park with Santa Claus while enjoying music from local students, food from Stormy’s Tavern and Grille, s’mores, crafts and more.

Candy Cane Lane
When: Dec. 2-Jan. 6
Where: Hubbard Woods School, 1110 Chatfield Road, Winnetka
Details: Register your family, group, club or organization to decorate a tree, which will be available for viewing at Hubbard Woods Park. Registration ($10) deadline is Nov. 28.

Winnetka Tree Lighting
When: 5-6:30 p.m. Dec. 2
Where: Dwyer Park, 856 Elm St., Winnetka
Details: Join the community for the annual tradition that includes carols, treats and lighting of the tree at 6 p.m. Stick around for a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

‘Frozen’ Pancake Breakfast
When: 9:30-10:45 a.m. Dec. 3
Where: Convito Cafe, 1515 Sheridan Road, Wilmette
Details: RSVP and prepay (depends on food order) by Nov. 30 for this event featuring characters from the movie “Frozen” and a menu with adult and kids dishes. To sign up, call (847) 251-3654 or email convitomanager@gmail.com

Alvin the Elf’s Winter Carnival
When: 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 3
Where: Skokie School, 520 Glendale Ave., Winnetka
Details: Carnival games, cookie decorating, reindeer, refreshments and more — and maybe even a visit from the big guy (Santa!). Registration is between $15-$20.

Holiday Happenings and Wilmette Tree Lighting
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dec. 3
Where: Downtown Wilmette, Village Hall, 1200 Wilmette Ave.
Details: A day of festivities — such as visits with Santa Claus, a giant snow globe, carolers, a scavenger hunt and more — ends with a tree lighting at 5 p.m. on the Village Hall Green.

‘Frozen’ in Highland Park
When: 2-4 p.m. Dec. 3
Where: Downtown Highland Park
Details: In the third installment of the Heart of the Holidays series, characters from the movie “Frozen” will perform throughout town, along with carolers, as children can play a game with Olaf and roast chestnuts.

Holiday Market and Kenilworth Tree Lighting
When: 4-8:30 p.m. Dec. 3
Where: Kenilworth Assembly Hall, 410 Kenilworth Ave.
Details: Photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus begins an evening that also includes children’s activities, a holiday market with local vendors and a tree lighting at 6:15 p.m. followed by cookies, hot chocolate and live music from Anthony Bruno and His Swingin’ Orchestra.

Jackson and Spencer Burnell visit Santa, who enjoyed his snowglobe during Wilmette’s Holiday Happenings in 2021.

‘The Nutcracker’
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 9, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 10, 2 p.m. Dec. 11
Where: Community Recreation Center, 3000 Glenview Road, Wilmette
Details: From the Wilmette Center for the Arts, the classic holiday musical hits the Wilmette stage for four shows. Tickets are $11 and available Nov. 18.

Winnetka Winter Express
When: 5-7 p.m. Dec. 9
Where: Winnetka Golf Club, 1300 Oak St.
Details: Watch the “Polar Express” from your car starting at 5 p.m. Each child will receive hot chocolate, a cookie, popcorn and a letter they can write to Santa. Registration is $50 per car and cars are asked to arrive an hour early.

Breakfast with Santa
When: Dec. 10 and 17
Where: The Lawn Grill at Wilmette Golf Club, 3900 Fairway Drive
Details: Visit and snap a photo with Santa and receive a goodie bag. A family-style breakfast will include pastries, fruit, pancakes, bagels and lox, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage. Registration is required.

Christmas Caroling at Chalet
When: 1-3 p.m. Dec. 10
Where: Chalet Nursery, 3132 Lake Ave., Wilmette
Details: New Trier High School’s swing choir will be on hand to spread holiday cheer.

Heart of Holidays finale
When: 2-4 p.m. Dec. 10
Where: Downtown Highland Park
Details: Visits from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, the Klezmer band and Hannukah Harry highlight the final Heart of the Holidays event. Children can make dreidels and gingerbread houses and enjoy sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).

Holiday Skate Exhibition
When: 1-2:30 p.m. Dec. 11
Where: Centennial Ice Rinks, 2300 Old Glenview Road, Wilmette
Details: The free annual exhibition for the park district’s skating classes.

Hallmark Holiday
When: 5-7 p.m. Dec. 15
Where: Kalk Park, 260 Park Ave., Glencoe
Details: Warm up outdoors with seasonal treats, activities and good cheer — just like a movie. Registration is between $5-$12.

Santa For A Cause
When: 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 17
Where: Central Station Coffee and Tea, 1150 Central Ave., Wilmette
Details: Say “hello” to the big guy and snap a selfie while also helping I Am ALS, a local nonprofit founded by Kenilworth’s Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya.

Visit With Santa
When: Noon-3 p.m. Dec. 17
Where: Watts Ice Center, 305 Randolph St. Glencoe
Details: Santa Claus will be on hand to take photos with guests, who can also enjoy holiday treats and activities. Sessions occur every 10 minutes and registration is required for $10/$12.

Menorah Lighting (Wilmette)
When: 4:30 p.m. Dec. 18
Where: Wilmette Village Hall, 1200 Wilmette Ave.
Details: A community gathering to light a 9-foot menorah and enjoy a performance from the Wilmette Junior High choir, as well as fire juggling from a special guest and doughnuts and giveaways.

Winter Solstice Parade of Lights
When: 5-6 p.m. Dec. 21
Where: Shelton Park, 251 Harbor St., Glencoe
Details: Come decorated in lights and other bright objects (no candles) to help light up the Green Bay Trail for this seventh annual event to mark the passing of the longest period of darkness of the year. Enjoy music, a bonfire, hot chocolate and more. For more information, check out the

Skate with Santa
When: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: Centennial Ice Rinks, 2300 Old Glenview Road, Wilmette
Details: Hot chocolate, candy canes and a visit from St. Nick. between $4-$9.

Holiday Sing
When: 6-6:30 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: Village Green, 553 Maple Ave., Winnetka
Details: Winnetka neighbors will gather on the village green for the 26th annual event. Guests are welcome to bring candles or flashlights and sing holiday favorites.

Menorah Lighting (Kenilworth)
When: 6 p.m. Dec. 24
Where: Village of Kenilworth
Details: Enjoy a 6-foot menorah, holiday doughnuts and a 7-foot LED robot dancer.

Hannukah Gathering
When: 5 p.m. Dec. 25
Where: Village Hall, 510 Green Bay Road, Winnetka
Details: Community gathering with music, treats and costumed characters.

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This article was developed using publicly available information, such as press releases, municipal records and social media posts.

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