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Entries in christmas (44)

Thursday
Dec122013

Holiday Guide 2013: Where to Visit with Santa Claus in the Far Western Suburbs

If your kids have yet to meet with Santa Claus -- or perhaps they've thought of some additional toys they really need to tell him about since their last visit  -- here's a list of spots where the man in red will be over the next two weeks. Please doublecheck Santa's hours and availability on the linked websites provided before heading out. 

SANTA COTTAGES:

GENEVA: Santa's house in downtown Geneva is located on the corner of Third and James streets, next to the old Courthouse. His hours vary -- there are daytime and evening hours -- so take a look at this list before heading out. But in geenral, he'll be in his cottage on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. through Dec. 22 and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Visits are free, and make sure to bring your own camera!

ST. CHARLES: Santa's Cottage in downtown St. Charles is located on the redeveloped 1st Street Plaza. He'll be there on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 22. Be sure to bring your own camera!

SYCAMORE: Santa and his elf visit with children in a house on the Courthouse lawn in downtown Sycamore on Route 64. His hours are Fridays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. through Dec. 22. His "vacation home" has its own personal mailbox, so your kids can make sure he receives their wish list by delivering it personally, even if Santa isn't at home. Visits are free.

Photo by ktbuffy on Flickr.

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Monday
Dec022013

Holiday Guide 2013: Polar Express Trips in Chicago's Western Suburbs

Polar Express-themed train trips are so popular that many of them sell out as soon as details are announced in the summer. (Also, Warner Brothers Entertainment has been cracking down on the use of the "Polar Express" name, according to this newspaper article.)

But there are several options available that either still have tickets for sale or don't require a ticket in advance. Also, if you're looking for a town not listed here, or a different type of Polar Express event, make sure to check out the site Santa in Chicago and its "Santa on the Train" page. It's about as comprehensive as you could get. 

AURORA, NAPERVILLE & CHICAGO: CANDY CANE EXPRESS

  • The "Candy Cane Express" is a new option in the area this year. (Or at least new to me.) It involves a ride on the Metra, accompanied by Santa and his elves, along with milk and cookies and carolers. I don't see a mention of "The Polar Express" on the website. 
  • Dates: Saturday, Dec. 7. Times vary, depending on which train location you are leaving from. (Options include Aurora, Naperville Downtown or Chicago Union Station; you return to the same station you leave from.)
  • Tickets: $25 per rider. Children under 1 ride free.
  • Details: This ride is 50 minutes long. You buy your tickets online for a specific train car. It does not look to include a reading of "The Polar Express." Candy Cane Express has partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; 20 percent of all profits from the event will benefit the hospital. 
  • More info: thecandycaneexpress.com, check out its Facebook page or write info@thecandycaneexpress.com.   

Photo by dkjd on Flickr.

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Wednesday
Nov272013

Holiday Guide 2013: Great Light Displays and Drives in Chicago's Western Suburbs

We've told you about where you can catch "The Nutcracker" this holiday season, and various live theater performances, too. We've also told you where your family can cut your own Christmas tree. Within a few days, we'll have info on spots to visit with Santa Claus and to see a holiday-themed movie. But first, how about we take a trip through the best Christmas light displays and drives in the western suburbs?

'Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum.' Photo by Tara Burghart.

LISLE: "Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum" is a brand-new addition to this list. It's also quite unique. I was fortunate to be able to check this attraction out a day before it officially opened at The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, and we had a great time, even though it was a rainy night. My family got to "hug" a tree and see its lights grow brighter, sing to trees and see its lights change color and see our faces projected onto a screen of evergreens. The event takes place on a paved path, about one mile long, and will take most families about 90 minutes to complete. (There are warming stations where you can stand by a fire and buy concessions, too.) Tickets for non-members are $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 2 through 17. Daytime Arboretum admission for the same day as your Illumination ticket is included with your ticket price. Illumination will open at 4:30 p.m. daily through Jan. 4, with the last entry at 8:30 p.m. (Event closed Nov. 28, Dec. 2, 9, 16, 24 and 25.) Advance ticket purchase is encouraged. 

NORTH AURORA: Mooseheart Child City & School in North Aurora will be holding its fourth annual "Holiday Lights" display from Nov. 29 through New Year’s Eve. The 80 displays, covering a 2-mile-long driving loop, will be lit from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night. The tour through the display costs $10, but $2 off coupons are available on the website for those visiting Monday through Thursday. Santa Claus will also be in the Mooseheart Fieldhouse welcoming visitors from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 8, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 and 23. (You have to pay your admission fee and pass through the light display to visit Santa.) Proceeds from the event benefit Mooseheart's operating budget, including food, shelter, clothing, books and recreational activities for the children it serves. 

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Tuesday
Nov262013

Holiday Guide 2013: Cut-Your-Own Christmas Tree Options

If your family planning to cut your own Christmas tree this season, here are some options that come recommended by Go West readers. Please check the farm's website, or phone ahead, to make sure it's open when you plan to stop by and also that it offers the type of experience your family envisioned. Do you have another suggestion to make? Please do so in the comments! 

  • Camelot Christmas Tree Farm: 16380 S. Somonuak Road in DeKalb. 815-756-6559. (This got a number of mentions, was praised for its wonderful selection, friendly staff, free cookies and hot cider.)
  • Williams Tree Farm: 4661 Yale Bridge Road in Rockton. 800-423-NOEL. (A reader says "A little further out of the way, but we LOVE it here.)
  • Photo by Accretion Disc on Flickr.
  • Larson's Family Farm: 4404 Somonauk Road in Sandwich. 815-786-2249.
  • Spring Bluff Nursery: 41W130 Norris Road in Sugar Grove. 630-466-4278.  
  • Kuipers Family Farm: 1N318 Watson Road in Maple Park. 815-827-5200. 
  • Lee's Trees: 45W002 Lees Road in Lily Lake. 630-365-2116. (A reader says this spot offers cut-your-own trees and ready cut, as well as lots of pretty wreaths. You can have your photo taken every year, put it up on a wall and replace it with a current one the next year.)
  • Marmion's Abbey Farms: 850 Butterfield Road (IL Route 56) in Aurora. 630-936-0054.
Sunday
Nov242013

Holiday Guide 2013: Theatrical Performances in Chicago's Western Suburbs

Earlier this month we brought you a roundup of local productions of "The Nutcracker." Here's a list of holiday-themed theaterical productions, in somewhat chronological order. Please follow the links for exact info on dates, times and ticket prices. Enjoy!

ST. CHARLES: Steel Beam Theatre in St. Charles is offering up "Sing-Along With Santa!" on its children's stage. Performances are mostly on Saturday and Sunday mornings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons from Dec. 1 through Dec. 23. This is a short production, good for young children, featuring all of Santa's friends and interactive singing. Kids get to come up on stage afterward to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus and to receive a special gift. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students age 16 and under. 

OSWEGO: The Oswego Park District's Limelight Theatre Company will be performing its own original version of the holiday classic "A Christmas Carol," adapted from the novel by Limelight writers. Performances are at the Little White School Museum in downtown Oswego. Showtimes are at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5, 7, 19, 20 and 21 and at 2 p.m on Dec. 21. 

A production of "A Christmas Carol." Photo by Blackburn Drama Club on Flickr.

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