Illinois Communities show off their Holiday Spirit

As the holiday season begins to unfold, towns and communities across the state compete to put on the best holiday celebrations. Cities and towns fully embrace the Christmas season and continue to foster the magic of Christmas through various events allowing community members to gather during the month of December.

In northwest Illinois, the city of Galena ranks first among Christmas towns in Illinois. Galena encompasses the Christmas season and spirit through its packed event calendar, from a model train show to breakfast with Santa Claus. Galena is known for its Night of the Luminara and Living Windows event. This event allows businesses and shops downtown to light up the streets with more than 5,000 candles and living window displays. 

Other communities across the state have also amped up the holiday spirit. In Woodstock, the Friday following Thanksgiving, the city comes together for Lighting of the Square, showcasing the Christmas lights and decorations downtown, followed by festivities in the park. Food trucks, caroling, arts and crafts, and more are all part of the celebration. 

In addition to Christmas celebrations, communities have embraced adding Chanukah to the calendar. Chanukah (Hanukkah), a Jewish festivity, is eight days long and is also known as the Festival of Lights.  Each night of Chanukah, a candle is lit, leading up to the lighting of all 8 candles. Chanukah is celebrated starting on the 25th of the Jewish month, Kislev. This year, Chanukah begins on the evening of Thursday, December 7 and ends at nightfall on Friday, December 15.

Around Illinois, Chanukah festivities took place in various cities. The nightly lighting of the Menorah, scripture readings, indulging in festive foods, and playing games together fully encompassed the Chanukah celebration shared among those in the Jewish community. Chicago and the Chicagoland area down through the central part of the state joined in on the celebration. Below is a brief compilation of cities that hosted recent Chanukah celebrations
  • Evanston hosted a menorah lighting.
  • In Deerfield, there was a luncheon and celebration.
  • Chicago organized several events throughout the holiday around the city, from cookie decorating to game nights.
  • Aurora put on an arts and crafts festival.
  • In East Peoria, there was a celebration with painting activities.
  • Champaign held events multiple events, including a care package night for food pantries in area.

Photo credit:  Real Woodstock