A late Thanksgiving this year means that the countdown to Christmas starts … now!
While we know that you are all busy with a whirlwind of commitments and planning family celebrations, it’s always nice to remember the events and activities that make our villages so special.
Here are five ways to celebrate the season in Hinsdale and neighboring communities:
RIDE A CHRISTMAS CAROUSEL
For 54 years, the Hinsdale Chamber of Commerce has been hosting a village-wide holiday extravaganza that brings the magic of Christmas to life on the streets of its historic downtown.
There’s even a carousel—a full-size one that evokes all the Christmas markets of Europe—perfect for children and their families to make magical holiday memories.
This year’s Hinsdale Christmas Walk, sponsored by AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale, brings that back (Cookie’s Carousel) along with all the old favorites from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, December 6. One of the biggest chamber events of the year, the Christmas Walk also includes
The Cookie Express Kiddie Train, holiday carolers, annual tree lighting, animated characters, and, of course, the arrival of none other than Santa himself.
Merchants will stay open to greet guests and customers with free giveaways. Kids who don’t get to see Santa that evening have another chance with a meet and greet in Burlington Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 14, and Saturday, December 21.
Hinsdale Christmas Walk activities can be found downtown on Washington and First streets. For more information, visit hinsdalechamber.com.
TAKE A PAW-FECT SANTA PIC
Pictures of cute kids and rosy-cheeked babes with Santa have become almost a rite of passage. Everyone has an adorable one, a funny one, and a downright embarrassing one somewhere in their family photo album. And there are plenty of places around Hinsdale where you can take your children and do just that.
But what about the fur-babies?
Not to be left out, Oakbrook Center is once again bringing back its popular pet pictures with Santa nights. From now through Monday, December 16, you can bring your cat or dog (no other pets, please) to Village Green from 5 p.m. to the time the center closes.
A variety of print and digital packages are available. (And yes, Oakbrook Center has similar photo opps for your human children.)
Reserve your spot online at oakbrookcenter.com.
LET THEM EAT GINGERBREAD
Clarendon Hills Park District is also getting in the spirit, hosting a variety of holiday events and activities this month.
The fun kicks off with a holiday ornament and wreath making event for kids ages 5 through 11 on Thursday, December 5, at the Clarendon Hills Park District Community Center and continues Sunday, December 8 with the chance to have lunch with the big guy himself.
Held from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., the “Lunch with Santa” event includes music, crafts, cookie decorating, and lunch. Registration by December 5 is required. While you’re at it, also make plans to send the kids (ages 5-12) to a gingerbread house decorating sessions from 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 12. They get to decorate their own gingerbread house (always a cherished holiday decoration) as well as enjoy pizza and drinks.
Resident and non-resident fees apply to these events. The Clarendon Hills Park District Community Center is located at 315 E. Chicago Avenue in Clarendon Hills. For more information, visit clarendonhillsparkdistrict.org.
SANTA IN THE SKY
The couple of the moment can be seen around our towns at a variety of venues and events this month. However, there are few places where you can see Mr. and Mrs. Claus arriving in a red helicopter.
The Claus’s will make their dramatic entrance from the North Pole on Saturday, December 14, at Burr Ridge Village Center.
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. you can enjoy holiday music, hot coffee, and cocoa on the Village Green while waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Claus to arrive. Upon their arrival, the friendly elves from Burr Ridge Town Center will be standing by to take photos with Santa while others enjoy a holiday story read by Mrs. Claus.
This is just one of the holiday events Burr Ridge Town Center is hosting this year. You can also mark your calendars for “Sunday Christmas Funday,” a time where kids can meet holiday characters, get their faces painted, and enjoy a variety of other seasonal activities. It will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every Sunday from now through December 22.
Burr Ridge Town Center is located at 701 Village Center Drive in Burr Ridge. For more information, visit shopburridge.com.
BOARD THE HOLIDAY EXPRESS
Inspired by the popular holiday book, The Polar Express, Oak Brook Park District’s Holiday Express recreates the magic of a boy’s journey to the North Pole on Thursday, December 19.
Sign up for your “train ride” (on a trolley) from the FRC on your way to meet the one and only Santa.
“Departures” start as early as 4 p.m., with activities that include crafts, a reading of The Polar Express, a bounce house, and light refreshments. All persons traveling to the “North Pole” must register in advance. (Pre-registration ends Friday, December 14.)
Park district officials suggest that you choose a time that works for your family and stick to it. They also recommend arriving at least 15 minutes early to participate in other free festive activities.
Most importantly, have fun and enjoy the wonder of youth. As the book (and movie) taught us, the Christmas bells will always ring for those who believe.
Register online by Friday, December 14, at obparks.org.