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Holiday Gift Guide 201 5



Holiday Gift Guide 201 5

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This Season’ s Top Holiday Gifts: Save or Splurge To save or to splurge? We give you both options in our list of this season’s top gifts.

Surviving the Holidays on a Budget

We’re sure ole’ Saint Nick must have some crazy credit card debt - so Voyager Media Reporter Andrea Earnest gives tips to save.

The Giving Tree

Local businesses give back and donate to JDRF for diabetes research.

Adoptable Pets for the Holidays

What better to make your season a little brighter with a new furry friend from a local shelter?


Perfect Holiday Gifts for Every Age


Magical Moments of the Holidays

What do you get for your teenage daughter who only speaks in emojis? Your finicking mother-in-law? We’re here to help.

From watching the Charlie Brown Christmas special to hot cocoa and Elf on the Shelf, Christmas is all about traditions.


Curmudgeon’s Guide to Survive the Holidays


Calendar of Holiday Events

It ain’t easy being a Grinch this time of year, but our own staff curmudgeon shares his advice on how to grit your teeth through the eggnog and Yuletide cheer.

Make the season a little brighter and check out the holiday events happening in your community.

Voyager Media Staff Michael James General Manager, VP Advertising & Marketing Andrew Samaan Creative Director Pat Ryan Advertising Director Jonathan Samples Managing Editor

Shelley Holmgren Publication Designer

Steve Hodge Advertising Designer

Scott Taylor Sports Editor

Laureen Crotteau Marketing Director

Andrea Earnest Assistant Editor

Phil Besler Sales Associate

Staff Reporters Laura Katauskas Mark Gregory Igor Studenkov

Maureen Vitacco Sales Associate Dena Conn Sales Associate


Sphero BB-8 App Enabled Droid Pr i c e: $149. 99

The “Force Awakens” is right around the corner, and this martphone-enabled gift is the droid you’ve been hoping for.

Air Hogs Star Wars Remote Control Millennium Falcon Pr i c e: $49. 99

Kessel Runs can now be made in your own back yard with this holiday must have.

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player Pr i c e: $99. 99

Voice and mobile device enabled = Binge Watcher Heaven.

House-Themed Harry Potter Book Collection Amazon Kindle RE Pr i c e: $49. 99

That price ain’t a typo - this is how low Amazon is bringing down their newest tablet. So rejoice - now the kids can stop stealing yours.

Pr i c e: $275

This drool-worthy leather bound book collection is a dream for any true Harry Potter fan. Unfortunately, the price tag may not be friendly to all muggles.

Harry Potter Marauder's Map Replica by The Noble Collection Pr i c e: $34. 99

Mischief may not be managed with this map - but it will definitely make any Gryffindor happy on Christmas morning.



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Call of Duty Black Ops 3 Limited Edition PS4 TB Bundle Pr i c e: $449. 99

Yes, this price tag is pretty daunting, but if you’re planning on upgrading to a next gen system, this is a way to go. One Terrabyte of memory ensures that the only thing you will accomplish in the coming months, is unlocking trophies in online multiplayer. (Trash talking not included.)

Mortal Kombat X Collector's Edition Pr i c e: $89. 99

You’re ensured a flawless victory with this special edition of one of the best-selling games of 2015. This collection includes replica Scorpion to proudly display, art book, and countless hours of gruesome fatalities that almost made Marshawn Lynch go from “Beast Mode” to “Barf Mode.”

Vans Disney SK8 Hi Slim Sneaker Collector's Edition Pr i c e: $70

Vans and Disney come to together for an enchanting collaboration that features some of the most beloved and iconic Disney princesses. No need to wish upon a star for these envious kicks, just put a pair on your Christmas list (unless you have an evil stepmother...)

Lego Disney Princess Elsa Sparkling Ice Castle Pr i c e: $3 9. 99

This Lego collection features a castle with icicle tree, sleigh, secret staircase, ice cream bar, bed and an ice hill. What is not included is the aspirin required for listening to the recipient of this set howling “Let It Go” at the top of their lungs while they play.

Splurge: Apple iPhone 6s 64GB Price: $749 (without plan) Comes in Rose Gold, Gold, Space Grey & Silver Save: Laser Projection Virtual Keyboard Price: $99.99 (without plan) Mobile & Tablet ready!

Scratch Map Price: $28.95

Track your travels with a handsome scratch-off-whereyou’ve-been map that charts globetrotting in a fun, colorful and innovative way.

Ticket Stub Diary By Chronicle Books Pr i c e: $14. 95

The perfect way to save tickets from museums, concerts, movies + more. Roomy sleeves store tickets of all shapes + sizes. Lined margins provide space to keep notes about the corresponding events.

Splurge: NFL Sunday Ticket Package Price: $319 (without plan) Your husband may try to recruit you to his fantasy team with this touchdown.

Save: Chicago Blackhawks 2015 Stanley Cup Champions Blu-Ray Price: $29.99 Re-experience the greatness all over again.

Splurge: FITBIT Flex Wireless Activity Sleep Wrist Band Price: $99 Tracks steps, distance, calories, but not Netflix hours consumed.

Save: Lunchbots Bento Style Lunch Box Price: $19.99 & Up

This health blogger favorite is perfect for meal planning.

Various Hardcovers Price: $19.99 & Up

The second-half of this year has been littered with must reads including pivotal sequels such as “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” and Harper Lee’s “Go Set a Watchman.”


Holiday Gift Guide 201 5



Holiday Gift Guide 201 5

By Andrea Earnest | Voyager Media hether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas or another December holiday, the gift-giving season is right around the corner and a budget is something we all should have in mind. Sometimes your budget can be thrown right out the window this time of year, especially if you’ve waited until the last minute to buy some or all of your gifts. We all know the feeling: You’ve put off holiday shopping – thinking there’s plenty of time left to swing by the mall or place an online order – but suddenly it’s December, and the only solution to your holiday headache seems to be your credit credit card and plenty of overnight deliveries. I definitely recommend starting your Christmas shopping as early as possible; you don’t have to start in July, but starting in September or October isn’t a bad idea. In doing so, you will have more time to find the best deals and also to find the best possible gift for each person on your list. Put some thought into your gifts and it will pay off – both in terms of how much you spend and how excited people are when they unwrap their presents. No one wants to unwrap something that they didn’t need or want. A good way to plan your holiday budget is to set a dollar amount for each person you plan to shop for, or a total dollar amount that you will not go over when it comes to buying gifts. Stick to that number and you

won’t enter the New Year with the same old money problems. I have several nieces and nephews, and I’ve found that setting a spending limit really does work. This way, I don’t spend a crazy high amount on their gifts and each will be equal in terms of cost, which I feel good about. It might be easy to buy a bunch of cute baby clothes or toys, but setting a limit will help your budget in the long run. Additionally, it’s easy to get emotional and overspend when buying things off the shelf on a whim. Try to make a list of what you think each person would like and go into the store with that list in mind. If you have no idea what to buy a person, you may end up paying more than you planned just to make sure you have a gift and get it out of the way. Something that I do when it comes to buying gifts, especially because I come from a large family, is to break up the number of people I’m shopping for at a given time. Instead of heading out and spending hours in a store buying things for everyone, I focus on one person a week and try to spread out how much I spend. I find that I tend to buy more meaningful gifts this way, because I have more time to think about each person. This technique also allows me to spread my spending out over two or three months, rather than spend my entire holiday budget in December – when travel and other holiday expenses, not to mention stress, tend to pile up.



Holiday Gift Guide 201 5



Holiday Gift Guide 201 5



Holiday Gift Guide 201 5

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Ft. Playset. $119.99 2. Playschool Sesame Street Play All Day Elmo, $49.99

3. VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Ultimate RC Speedway, $59.99 4. Minions Tumbling Stuart Doll, $19.99

1. Marvel Avengers Age of Ultron Iron Man Arc FX Armor, $19.99 2. Super Mario Maker Nintendo Wii U, $59.99 3. Nerf Strike Modulus ECS 10 Blaster, $49.99 4. Disney Descendants Dolls, $19.99


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1. Loot Crate Subscription Box, Varies, Depends on Subscription Length

2. Urban Decay Naked Smoky Eyeshadow Palette, $54

3. Gotham: The Complete First Season Blu-Ray, $34.99

4. Fuji LM Instax Mini Instant Film Camera, $69.99

“Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg, $19.99 >> Trainwreck DVD/Blu-Ray, $19.99 >> Philips Norelco Beardtrimmer 7300, $49.99 >> Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker, $199.99

Better Call Saul Season 1 DVD/Blu-Ray, $39.99 >> Cricut Explore Air, $249.99 >> Back to the Future: The Complete Adventures Limited Edition, $89.99 >> “Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook,” $19.99

1. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker, $129.99

2. Ugg Australia Ascot Suede Slipper, $109.95

3. Cusinart GR4N 5 ‘n’ 1 Griddler, $79.99

4. Vera Bradley Throw Blanket, $49.99


Holiday Gift Guide 201 5

By Laura Katauskas | Voyager Media eaving milk and cookies for Santa is an age-old tradition that no one, other than the Grinch, would like to see disappear. But wearing matching Christmas pajamas or taking a midnight walk in fresh fallen snow, should Mother Nature permit, might not make everyone’s list of traditions to make the holiday magical. Growing up, most can remember special traditions that were a must come every holiday season. Yet, with time those traditions tend to change depending on what stage of life you find yourself. New couples embracing first traditions are excited to simply be on their own; a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, mistletoe, and a bottle of wine could paint the perfect Christmas Eve. For others with toddlers in tow, there is nothing like seeing Christmas through a child’s eyes, Santa becoming more real than ever. The cliché of the hustle and bustle of Christmas takes on new meaning when you try to juggle seeing relatives from two families, all starving for time with the grandkids and more time to see cousins who have now become best friends. Regardless of what they may be, it is a given that traditions help shape what we think is the perfect holiday. We think Christmas and we think of childhood memories and an instinct to share that with our own. And with that, we have a nagging tug to make new traditions, to make a mark for your own new, little nuclear unit and without even realizing you

may already have. We crave the stuffing our mom made and vow to bake 10 different kinds of cookies, but when the time comes the stuffing isn’t quite what your husband likes, Pinterest has a thousand different ideas to try and the pre-made Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix is just the smarter way to go. We want to head downtown to stand below the giant tree at Daley Plaza and take in the windows at Marshall Field’s. But the tree seems to have shrunk a bit and the windows carry a different name. So as adults, we may still take that ride but we add another. Perhaps now we don’t have to head out so far. Instead, we take in a Symphony of Lights or drive through a Winter Wonderland at a nearby park district or the streets of the neighborhood, listening to carols on the car radio, hot chocolate in a thermos and cookies stuffed in a coat pocket. We’ve experienced the Nutcracker on horseback, started a chocolate-covered pretzel making party, and shared white-elephant gifts. Belle, the mysterious elf, has somehow found her way around the house and we get a live message online from the Portable North Pole, things I don’t remember as a child, but my children will. But we will all remember the smell of a fresh Christmas tree and the simple joy of being together.



Holiday Gift Guide 201 5



Holiday Gift Guide 201 5

By Jonathan Samples | Voyager Media he holiday season is upon us and let me be the first to say, bah humbug. It’s not enough to point out that the holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier each year (as illustrated by my neighborhood chain store’s decision to run discounted Halloween decorations next to it’s newly installed Christmas display on Oct. 30!). A true curmudgeon must actively fight against this magical time of year. No matter which holiday you observe (Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa), it’s supposed to be a joyous occasion for family and friends (yuck). Luckily, my family parties have an expiration date of several hours, which sets reasonable expectations for my cheerful demeanor. But when those expectations are stretched out to a month or longer, a reasonable person’s inner grinch has plenty of opportunities to shine through: a contrast made all the more obvious when friends, family, coworkers and strangers are wishing you a happy this and merry that every chance they get. Still, there’s no convincing the majority of people that they’d be better off catching up on episodes of “The Walking Dead” this December, rather than repelling from an ice covered roof to decorate their home with barely working Christmas lights. To prepare for the inevitable onslaught of yuletide cheer, I will offer my sure-fire tips on how to get through the most aggravating holiday scenarios -- one Curmudgeon to the next.

Whether out spending your hard-earned money on gifts for people you barely know or replacing those imperfect decorations, the holiday season provides many opportunities to proudly display your Scroogery to the world. Don’t let the animatronic Santa and random greeting get you down, instead respond to unsolicited well wishers with a stern holiday grimis. Nothing says “it’s only November” more than a blank stare (feel free to add an inaudible mumble every now and then for variety).

There are any number of workplace annoyances this time of year. Overly cheerful coworkers, holiday music in the breakroom

and everywhere else, and everyone’s least favorite, the holiday party. But dissuading your colleagues’ holiday spirit takes more subtlety than the tactic outlined above (unless you’re searching for a new line of work). One trick is to avoid acknowledging any holiday-themed changes taking place around the office, except for a strategically placed vacation request. This means not discussing holiday plans, eating your lunch outside of the office and never, under any circumstances, decorating your workspace. Holiday parties are a bit more tricky, as there is a fine line between seasonal curmudgeon and all-around jerk. Drop small hints leading up to the party that you may have to leave early for some prior “family” engagement (possibly the best cover this time of year). Make sure you keep the details vague but consistent. If done correctly, you will be able to hightail it the second you hear the first note of impromptu office caroling.

Warning: The family holiday party is the most difficult setting to maintain your scroogelike demeanor. Catching up with friends and cousins, receiving gifts and genuine well wishes, and enjoying a few refreshments can turn the grumpiest party guest into Buddy The Elf. There’s no easy out (refer to “family” excuse) and any suggestion of “feeling under the weather” will likely be meet with some sort of invitation to lay down in the guest room or to stay overnight. Furthermore, you don’t want to alienate yourself from your friends and family completely. You folks are surely surly by the time family dinner is being served and likely looking for any opportunity to disengage. Feigning interest in a sporting event is one way to give yourself frequent breaks from conversation. You can also seek out another like-minded curmudgeon (no family has just one) to share your misery. For those of you who were able to stave off the months-long lead up to the day or two you spend with your family and friends, congratulations! You are certainly in need of some holiday cheer and have chosen the best group to share it with.


NOVEMBER 19 • Downers Grove Unbound: Drinks & Jars Craft Meet up. 7 to 8 p.m. at

Ballydoyle Irish Pub, 5157 Main St. Gear up for the holidays with Unbound! Join the group for a drink at Ballydoyle and create Pinterest-inspired decorative mason jars fit for a hostess gift or present. Free. Ages 21 and up.

NOVEMBER 19-22 • plainfield “A Christmas Carol.” 7 p.m.

Nov. 19-21 and 2 p.m. Nov. 22. Plainfield East High School will present “A Christmas Carol.” Tickets are $7 for general public and $5 for District 202 staff, students, seniors and children.

NOVEMBER 21 • downers grove Polar Express Story time Train. At the Main Street Train

Station. Families experience a train ride based on the book “The Polar Express.” Riders leave from the train station and travel to the North Pole (Aurora train station). Professional storytellers will read “The Polar Express,” while riders enjoy chocolate milk and cookies. Santa Claus boards the train

for the return trip. Six seats per household may be reserved. Train Times: 8:45 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. To register, visit

NOVEMBER 21 • joliet Holiday Make and Take. 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bird Haven Greenhouse, 225 N. Gougar Road. Create a fresh holiday wreath, and enjoy a lunch you don’t have to prepare. A baked potato bar, salad and drink are included with your wreath. To register, visit

NOVEMBER 21-22 • lockport Christmas Crossroads.

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 21 and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 22 at Lockport East High School, 1333 E. Seventh St. Christmas Crossroads, presented by the Lockport Woman’s Club, will feature 185-190 artisans and craftsmen selling Christmas wreaths, centerpieces, ornaments, dolls, and more. Cost: $3 adults, $2 seniors, $1 students, 5 & under free.

NOVEMBER 22 • westmont Holly Days Gift Bazaar. 9

a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Westmont

Community Center, 75 E. Richmond St. Find beautiful handmade items and one-ofkind ornaments, among other gifts. For more information, visit

NOVEMBER 23 • downers grove Scratchboard Turkey. 1

p.m. at Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss St. Illustrator Terri Murphy is back just in time for Thanksgiving to show you how to make a Scratchboard Turkey using oil pastels, paint, and scratchboards! Register at For ages 8-13.

NOVEMBER 26 • downers grove Bonfield Express 5K. 8:30

a.m. in downtown Downers Grove. The Bonfield Express 5K is held every Thanksgiving morning. The USATF-certified course takes runners and walkers through the downtown as well as scenic side streets. To register, visit www.

NOVEMBER 27 • joliet Dave Rudolf - Christmas With Rudolf Family Show. 1:30 p.m. at the Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St. Dave’s Christmas show features kids twisting to the “Candy Cane Twist,” hula hooping to “Santa’s Got A Zoot Suit,” Christmas song parodies such as “Frosty The Slow Man,” and lots of Yuletide joy. Cost: $10.

NOVEMBER 27 - 28 • joliet Littlest Elves Workshop. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pilcher Park Nature Center, 2501 Highland Park Drive. Pick an unfinished ceramic item, paint it and we’ll fire it for you in time for the holidays. Drop in for music and painting fun! Free plus the cost of ceramic items.

NOVEMBER 27 • downers grove Tree Lighting Ceremony. 4:30

p.m. at the Main Street Train Station. Sponsored by the village of Downers Grove. Join the mayor in the countdown to turn on the lights of the tree at the Main Street Train Station. More than 1,000 ornaments handmade by local youth decorate the tree.

NOVEMBER 27 • joliet Light up the Holidays Festival and Parade. Noon to 4:45 p.m. at Joliet Public Library, 150 N Ottawa St. All ages with adult. Visit the library before the parade for a holiday craft and story time with Santa! Registration

is not required, but seating is limited. Bring your camera! Santa reads at 12, 2 and 4 p.m. Parade is downtown on Chicago Street and starts at 5:30 p.m.

NOVEMBER 27-29 • downers grove Gingerbread Festival. Get your

holiday on in Downers Grove Thanksgiving weekend. Shop, sample and join the village as it kicks off the holiday season. For more information, visit

NOVEMBER 28 • joliet Santa Run 5K/Santa Stroll 1 Mile Walk. 9 a.m. at Joliet Central High School Field House, 201 Jefferson St. The third annual Santa Run 5K/Santa Stroll 1 Mile Walk. Cost: $25 per adult 18+, $15 per student, $10 per child (512) Children under 4 free.

NOVEMBER 28 • Niles Niles Holly Jolly Market. 3 to 9 p.m.

at Oasis Waterpark, 7877 N. Milwaukee Ave. The Holly Jolly Market and Tree Lighting includes a wide variety of entertainment including live music, beer and wine, a fire pit, children’s craft activities, horse-drawn carriage rides, a petting zoo and a special market where businesses will be selling holiday trinkets and food items. The annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held outdoors at 5:30 p.m.

NOVEMBER 28 • Plainfield Visit with Santa. 1 to 2:30 p.m. at

the Plainfield Township Community Center 15014 S. Des Plaines St. The park district is joining the Plainfield Area Chamber of Commerce in welcoming the Christmas season on Small Business Saturday. Bring your camera to take the perfect picture for your Christmas card. Letter writing and picture making supplies will be available. For a complete list of events visit Cost: R $6/NR $8.

NOVEMBER 28 • westmont A Colonial Christmas. 3 to 7 p.m.

at the Gregg House Museum. 117 S Linden Ave. Holly, ivy, mistletoe, fruit and fox hunts! Come learn about holiday customs and traditions of our founding fathers. The museum will be beautifully decorated with lots of fresh greenery and fruit to celebrate a colonial Christmas. Children are invited to make a small holiday craft to take home.

NOVEMBER 28 • Plainfield Candlelight Christmas. 4:15 to 4:45

p.m. at the Plainfield Public Library, 15025 S. Illinois St. Stop by during Downtown Plainfield’s Candlelight Christmas celebration to hear a special performance by the Plainfield East madrigals. For more information, visit


NOVEMBER 29 • lockport Christmas in the Square & Festival of Trees. 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Central Square, 222 E. Ninth St. Celebrate the holidays at the Annual Christmas in the Square. Visit Santa and his reindeer! Children’s crafts, treats and entertainment will be available. Cost: free.

DECEMBER 2 • park ridge Holidays Concert with the Irving Sisters. 7:30 to 9:20 p.m. at The

Pickwick Theatre, 5 S. Prospect Experience a celebration of classics and pops by the Orchestra, joined by the 40’s-style trio singing White Christmas, Sleigh Ride and more. Tickets: $20/seniors, $25 /adults and free for ages 18 and under. For information, call 847-692-7726 or visit

DECEMBER 3 • Plainfield White Christmas. 11 a.m. to 5

p.m. Join the Plainfield Park District and travel to Drury Lane Oakbrook for this heartwarming musical adaptation featuring 17 Irving Berlin songs. Trip includes, lunch, show and transportation. Ages 55 and up. Residents $85, non-residents, $180. For more information and to register, visit

DECEMBER 3-4 • Plainfield Journey to the North Pole. 5 to


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8 p.m. at Four Seasons Park, 22500 Lockport St. Join the Plainfield Park District for a wagon ride to the North Pole that will include a sing along of holiday favorites. When the wagon reaches the North Pole, families will have a chance to visit with Santa and his Elf. Snacks and hot chocolate will be served by the campfire while you wait for your journey to begin. Registration by noon Dec. 2 at www.

DECEMBER 4 • Romeoville Winter Wonderland & Tree Lighting Ceremony. 6 to 9 p.m. at

Edward Hospital Athletic & Events Center, 55 Phelps. Enjoy another year of celebrating the holidays, as you wait for the Romeoville Fire Department and Romeoville Firefighters Local 4237 to bring Santa on decorated, flashy vehicles. Tree Lighting Ceremony held at 6 p.m. Firefighters Local 4237 will provide and serve hot chocolate and cookies immediately following the parade. Admission is one nonperishable food item. Activities include children’s entertainment, inflatables, crafts, a picture with Santa for the first 300 children, and more.

DECEMBER 5 • crest hill 5K Jingle Bell Race. 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. is pre-registration/packet pick-up. 9 a.m. race starts at Bluff Public Golf Club, 19433 Renwick Road. The Jingle Bell 5K Race is certified and accurately

marked and measured. All participants will receive an official 5k race shirt and enjoy the post-race party. Cost: $25 until Dec. 2, $30 day of event.

DECEMBER 5 • Romeoville Matinee: The Muppet Christmas Carol. 1 to 3:30 p.m. at White Oak

Library Romeoville Branch, 201 Normantown Road. Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” is retold in classic Muppet tradition, featuring singing and absurdity.

DECEMBER 5 • park ridge Breakfast with Santa. 9 to 11:30

a.m. at Maine Park Leisure Center. Ages 2 and up. $15 for residents, $20 for non-residents. Children can talk with Santa and have a professional photo taken. Enjoy some holiday shopping at our Candy Cane Lane Shoppe. Fee is per person and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Registration deadline: Nov. 26 at

DECEMBER 5 • WEstmont The Polar Express Story time Train. 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the

Westmont Centre, 1 S. Cass Ave. Before boarding the Polar Express, Westmont Park District staff will read The Polar Express. Attendees will then board the train at the Westmont Train Station and head to the North Pole (Aurora depot). While at The North Pole, you will have a

chance to speak with Santa, enjoy additional entertainment and some refreshments. Advanced tickets are required and each family is limited to 10 tickets. Registration deadline is Dec. 1 or when the maximum is reached. To register, visit www.westmontparks. org or call 630-963-5252.

DECEMBER 5 • bolingbrook Fire & Ice Show. 6 to 9 p.m. at

The Promenade of Bolingbrook, 631 E. Boughton Road. Ice sculptures throughout the grounds, and an ice sculpting presentation. 4 ambient “Fire” stations performing around the grounds, ending with a large 15 minute staged performance on “The Row.”

DECEMBER 5 • morton grove Silver Bell Express Trip 1. 7:15

p.m. at Morton Grove Train Station. On Christmas Eve, many years ago, a young boy took a journey to a magical place. Travel with the park district as we venture on a memorable train ride. Santa awaits your arrival at the North Pole and will join us aboard the train for milk and cookies.

DECEMBER 5 • WEstmont A Colonial Christmas. 5 to 8 p.m. at

the Gregg House Museum. 117 S Linden Ave. Holly, ivy, mistletoe, fruit and fox hunts! Come learn about holiday customs and traditions of the founding fathers. The museum will be decorated with lots of fresh greenery and fruit

to celebrate a colonial Christmas. Children are invited to make a small holiday craft to take home.

DECEMBER 5-6 • Joliet CASA Christmas Express Train Ride. At Joliet Union Station, 50 E.

Jefferson St. Guests will enjoy games and activities and hot cocoa courtesy of the city of Joliet, before boarding the Christmas Express en route to the Tinley Park Oak Park Avenue Station. Once there, guests will partake in an array of festive fun before the return trip, including breakfast or lunch, photos with Santa, children’s games, raffle prizes and more. Tickets are $35 each and include the round-trip train ticket, breakfast or lunch, soft drinks, hot cocoa and cookies, as well as all activities. Limited seating is available. To register, call 815-730-7072 or visit

DECEMBER 6 • Joliet Regis Glass Art Holiday Event.

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sue Regis Glass Art in downtown Joliet. Join Joliet Jewish Congregation and create a beautiful Chanukah gift during this artistic workshop. Cost is $25 per person and must be paid in advance. Reservations may be made by calling the office; questions may be directed to Robin English. Only individuals older than 8 may participate in the workshop portion, which will include flame work. For more information and to register, call 815-741-4600. DECEMBER 6 • niles Holiday Karaoke Party. 2 to 4 p.m.

at the Niles Public Library, 6960 W. Oakton St. Come to the Creative Studio and jam out to your favorite holiday songs in front of a green screen. Please avoid wearing green or you’ll blend in with the screen. For more information, visit www.nileslibrary. org/events.

holiday movies at this holiday season celebration. Be prepared to laugh (and cry?) as we view these nostalgic films. Steven Frenzel from Marquee Movie Presentations will be our narrator. For more information visit www.

DECEMBER 9 • Bolingbrook DIY: Pin Up Card Display Wreath.

Congregation. 250 N. Midland Ave. Chanukah party will be during Sunday school hours. For more information and to RSVP, please call our office; 815-741-4600.

7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Fountaindale Public Library District, 300 W. Briarcliff Road. Participants create a unique way to display holiday cards using clothespins. Suspend from a ribbon, and clip cards in place as cards are received. To register, visit www.

DECEMBER 7 • shorewood Santa’s Workshop. 6 to 8 p.m. at

DECEMBER 9 • joliet A Christmas Story. 11 a.m. to 4:30

DECEMBER 6 • Joliet Chanukah party. At the Joliet Jewish

Shorewood-Troy Public Library, 650 Deerwood Drive. Come to the library for a very special craft night and make gifts for your family. There will be booths for 4 adorable crafts and a wrapping station for your gifts. Limit 1 craft per child per booth. Age 4-12 with a guardian. Registration is required at

p.m., departs from Presence Inwood Athletic Club Lobby, 3000 W. Jefferson St. Based on the hit film, “A Christmas Story” is a heartwarming family tradition. Lunch, show admission and transportation is included. For more information, visit

DECEMBER 8 • niles Funniest, Heartwarming Moments in Christmas Movies.

3 to 4 p.m. at the Niles Public Library, 6960 W. Oakton St. Make holiday and winter ornaments with the 3D Printer and Laser Cutter. For more information, visit www.nileslibrary. org/events.

10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Niles Public Library, 6960 W. Oakton St. Come revisit some of the greatest moments from modern and classic

DECEMBER 9 • niles Holiday and Winter Ornaments.

DECEMBER 9 • joliet Lunch Matinee Series: White Christmas. 11 a.m. at Jacob Henry

Mansion Estate, 20 South Eastern Ave. Join for the annual holiday celebration inspired by the classic film White Christmas. This holiday concert will take you on a musical journey from a World War II performance for the troops, to the glamour of a Florida nightclub and finally the charm and simple beauty of a New England town. For reservations, call 815-722-1420

DECEMBER 10 • Plainfield Santa’s Workshop. 6:30 to 8 p.m. at

the Plainfield Township Community Center, 15014 S. Des Plaines St. Bring along your wish list to share with Santa, then enjoy the rest of your evening with crafts, snacks and games. Pictures will be taken from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. The evening will end with a story read by Santa. Ages 1-6 with parent. $12 for residents, $18 for non-residents. To register, visit www.

DECEMBER 10 • Plainfield Marshall Field’s Christmas. 11

a.m. to noon at the Plainfield Public Library, 15025 S. Illinois St. Years ago, no Christmas season was complete without a visit to Marshall Field’s department store. Let’s take a look back at beloved holiday traditions including the Walnut Room Christmas tree, holiday window


displays, visits with Santa and more. For more information, visit www.

DECEMBER 11 • joliet It’s A Wonderful Life Live Radio Broadcast. 7 p.m. at the Rialto

Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St. Be taken back in time as Digity presents a live radio broadcast and theatre performance of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Take the kids and grandkids to this multi-generational nostalgic performance. The performance will be broadcast live on 1340 WJOL. Tickets are $10.

DECEMBER 11 • park ridge Gingerbread House Decorating.

6:30 to 8 p.m. at Maine Park Leisure Center. Ages 4-12. $27 for residents, $30 for non-residents. Decorate your very own gingerbread house. All the cookies, candy, and frosting are provided. Just bring your imagination! Registration required. Register online at

DECEMBER 12 • joliet Breakfast with Santa. 8 a.m. to

9:30 a.m. at Bird Haven Greenhouse, 225 N. Gougar Road. Make this a holiday tradition! Enjoy a family friendly breakfast, a visit with Santa and crafts to take home. Each child will get a gift from Santa. Then go visit our greenhouses in all their holiday finery. Everyone attending must sign


Holiday Gift Guide 201 5

up – no walk-ins. Ages 2 and under are free, but must be registered. For more information, visit

(Dee Rd.) station. Times are subject to change with Metra. Please arrive 10 minutes early.

DECEMBER 12 • niles Breakfast With Santa. 8:30 a.m.

DECEMBER 12 • niles Teen Gingerbread Houses. 2 to

to 12:30 p.m. at the Howard Leisure Center, 6676 Howard St. Join Santa for his annual breakfast buffet with Niles Park District. Every year, Santa makes a stop at the Howard Leisure Center, to enjoy breakfast, visit, and of course pictures with the children. All adults and children in attendance must register for this event. Res $10, Non-Res $12. For more information, visit

DECEMBER 12 • Romeoville Romeoville Matinee: The Santa Clause. 1 to 3 p.m. at White Oak

Library Romeoville Branch, 201 Normantown Road. Divorced dad Scott (Tim Allen) and his son (Eric Lloyd) are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa’s place before the next Christmas.

DECEMBER 12 • park ridge Santa’s Holiday Express. 10:50

a.m. to 2 p.m. Ages 2 and up. R/NR: $21/$31. Join Santa and his holiday crew as they sing songs, talk with Santa, play games and enjoy face painting. Ride on Santa’s Holiday Express train all the way to Santa’s barn (Harvard) where it turns around and heads back home to Park Ridge

3:30 p.m. at the Niles Public Library, 6960 W. Oakton St. Teens design gingerbread houses using graham crackers for the holiday season. For more information visit www.

DECEMBER 12 • westmont Lunch with Santa. Noon at

the Westmont Park District’s Administrative Building, 55 E. Richmond St. Attendees will enjoy delicious pizza, soda, juice, milk and a yummy dessert. After lunch, a merry afternoon is planned, with singing, audience participation and lots of surprises. Take family pictures in front of the Christmas tree and enjoy the spirit of the season. To register, visit or call 630969-8080.

DECEMBER 12 • westmont Westmont Winter Wonderland.

5 to 8 p.m. at the Westmont Community Center, 75 E. Richmond St., and the Westmont Park District’s Administrative Building, 55 E. Richmond St. Visit Santa and his elves in Santa’s Workshop, learn about dog sledding and meet some real huskies from Z-Team and board the Trackless Train for a ride around

the park (nominal fee). Bundle up as most activities will be outdoors. For more information, visit www.

DECEMBER 13 • Joliet The Sounds of Christmas.” 2 p.m.

at the Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St. The award-winning Joliet American Legion Band presents, “Sounds of Christmas.” Enriched with tradition, military sharpness and musical integrity, these musicians are dedicated to bring you a quality performance with their tremendously rousing musical spirit. Cost: Canned good or other staple food item.

DECEMBER 13 • park ridge Grinch’s Candy Cane Hunt. 1:30 to

3 p.m. at Maine Park Leisure Center in Park Ridge. Ages: 3-10. Cost: $7. The Grinch discovered that Santa’s elves have hidden candy canes at one of their favorite places – Maine Park! Event begins with the story “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” inside the Maine Park gym. Then head outside to find all the candy canes hidden in the park. The adventure concludes with a cup of hot chocolate and some yummy cookies, while the Grinch hands out prizes to those that found the special candy canes. Registration deadline: Dec. 1. Visit

DECEMBER 13 • des plaines Trinity Lutheran Church Fine Arts Series 2015. 3 to 4 p.m. at Trinity

Lutheran Church, 675 E. Algonquin Road. The New Tradition Chorus. Each of the many colors in a stained glass window represent a unique point of reference that together create composition that presents a complete image. To everything there is a season; a distinct color in the great tapestry of the life of the church.

DECEMBER 13 • Park Ridge Holiday Exhibition. 4:40 to 8 p.m.

at the Oakton Ice Arena, 2800 Oakton St. All ages. Don’t miss this special exhibition featuring participants from Oakton Ice Arena’s Competitive Edge and Learn-to-Skate programs skating to Holiday themed music.

DECEMBER 15 • joliet Stories with Santa. 6:30 to 8

p.m. at Joliet Library Black Road Branch, 3395 Black Road. All ages with adult. Santa’s helpers will read seasonal stories. Children will have the opportunity to meet Santa and spend time doing activities with their families. Bring your camera! Registration is not required.

DECEMBER 15 • romeoville Candy House Creations from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the White Oak

Library District, Romeoville. It’s the most wonderful time of the year…time to make a CANDY HOUSE! Come to hear fun gingerbread stories and make fantastic candy creations. Children, teens, and families of all ages are welcome to attend, but this program is most suitable for those 4 years of age or older. Register as space is limited. Call 815-552-4210 to register.

DECEMBER 15 • joliet A Christmas Carol. 7 p.m. at the

Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago St., Joliet. A Christmas Carol captures both the humorous and touching moments of the classic story with witty dialogue and fresh new songs, conveying Dickens’ original message that the holiday season should be a “kind, forgiving, charitable time,” a sentiment which still rings true today. Tickets are $10.

DECEMBER 15 • park ridge Santa’s Holiday Express. 10:30

a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Ages: 2 and up. R/ NR: $21/$31.All aboard! Join Santa and his holiday crew as we sing songs, talk with Santa, play games, and enjoy face painting. Please bring a nut-free sack lunch to enjoy as Santa reads us a story. We stay on Santa’s Holiday Express train all the way to Santa’s barn (Harvard) where it turns around and heads back home to Park Ridge (Dee Rd.) station. Times are subject to change with Metra. Please arrive 10 minutes early to check in at the Dee Rd. Station. Register online now at

DECEMBER 15 • shorewood Santa’s Comin’ to Town! 6 p.m.

to 8:30 p.m. at Shorewood-Troy Public Library, 650 Deerwood Drive. Don’t miss Santa’s annual visit to the Shorewood-Troy library. A great time will be had by all with a family-friendly holiday movie, snacks, and crafts while you wait to see Santa. Make sure you’re on the ‘Nice’ list this year, boys and girls! Registration is required for all attending the program. Call the library at 815-725-4368 to register.

DECEMBER 15 • joliet Holiday Paint Night. 7 to 9 p.m. at

Hartman Recreation Center, 511 N. Collins St. Come enjoy a night of fun and relaxation! You will be instructed on how to paint a beautiful holiday painting that can be shared with family and friends. All supplies are included for the class. Refreshments and snacks will be provided with a holiday theme!! 18 and over. $45 for residents, $55 for non-residents.

DECEMBER 17 • downers grove Holiday Movie: The Santa Clause. 4 to 6 p.m. at the Downers

Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss St. For more information, visit www.

DECEMBER 17 • niles White Christmas: A Holiday Songbook with Dr. Fischman.

10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Niles Public Library, 6960 W. Oakton St. For more information visit www.nileslibrary. org/events.

DECEMBER 19 • westmont

A Colonial Christmas. 5 to 8 p.m.

at the Gregg House Museum. 117 S Linden Ave. Holly, ivy, mistletoe, fruit and fox hunts! Come learn about holiday customs and traditions of our founding fathers. The museum will be beautifully decorated with lots of fresh greenery and fruit to celebrate a colonial Christmas.

DECEMBER 19 • joliet Breakfast with Santa. 9 a.m. to

noon at the Hartman Recreation Center, 511 N. Collins St. Get into the holiday spirit at the Hartman Center! Enjoy snacks, crafts, games and a visit with Santa.

DECEMBER 19 • romeoville Romeoville Matinee: White Christmas. 1 to 3 p.m. at White Oak Library Romeoville Branch, 201 Normantown Road.

DECEMBER 19 • downers grove Victorian Christmas. 1 to 3 p.m.

at the Downers Grove Museum, 831 Maple Ave. Come to the Downers Grove Museum for a special tour of the Victorian Blodgett house. Learn about Victorian Christmas traditions, while touring the holiday-decorated home with a warm cup of apple cider. This is a free event. All ages are welcome.

DECEMBER 19 • bolingbrook Polar Express Day. 11 to 3:30 p.m.

at the Fountaindale Public Library, Bolingbrook. All things Polar Express! Storytime and a craft will be from 11:00-11:45 a.m. and an interactive Polar Express movie will be shown from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Coloring Pages will be available all day.

DECEMBER 19 • westmont A Grinch Whobilation Workshop.

5 to 8 p.m. at the Westmont Park District’s Administrative Building, 55 E. Richmond St. The Grinch will be taking over Santa’s workshop again and turning it into his dark, dingy cave. Attendees can play Grinch Games in Whoville like the Snowball Toss, Grinch Bowling, Grinch Gift Towers, the Grinch Slither and making Grinch treats and crafts. Play games inside, then bundle up and take a ride around the Whomont neighborhood to enjoy the holiday lights on the Long Eared Mules Wagon. For more information, visit

DECEMBER 20 • joliet Illinois Philharmonic OrchestraA Very Merry Holiday Spectacular. 3 p.m. at the Rialto

Square Theatre. For more information, visit

DECEMBER 21-23 • bolingbrook Teen Winter Break Movie Marathon. 2 to 8 p.m. at the

Fountaindale Public Library District, 300 W. Briarcliff Road. Watch teen movie favorites in the Vortex. Contact

the Vortex for movie title information at 630-685-4199. For grades 6 - 12.

DECEMBER 30 • shorewood Noon Year’s Eve Party. 11 a.m. to noon at Shorewood-Troy Public Library, 650 Deerwood Drive. Don’t stay up until midnight -- celebrate early and countdown to the NOON Year with us! We’ll bust out the noisemakers, pour a sparkling grape juice toast, and party till the stroke of 12 p.m. with some family-friendly games. For more information, visit

DECEMBER 31 • downers grove Noon Year’s Eve Party. 11:15 a.m.

to noon at the Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss St. Say goodbye to 2015 a little early. Library staff will be doing a craft, having a dance and giving a toast. For more information, visit

DECEMBER 31 • Plainfield Noon Year’s Countdown. 11

a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Plainfield Township Community Center, 15014 S. Des Plaines St. Children will have a great time ringing in the New Year at Noon with fun games, crafts and songs to add to the celebration. At noon attendees will have a count down with a balloon drop. Ages 1-8 with parent. $12 for residents, $18 for non-residents. To register, visit www.


DECEMBER 31 • romeoville Countdown to Noon Year. 11:30

a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at White Oak Library Romeoville Branch, 201 Normantown Road. Celebrate counting down to Noon Year and welcome in 2016. Kids of all ages welcome. There will be crafts, dancing and a Noon Year Toast. For more information and to register, visit

DECEMBER 31 • lockport Countdown to Noon Year. 11:30

a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at White Oak Library Lockport Branch, 121 E. Eighth St. Celebrate and countdown to Noon Year! Kids of all ages can join in the fun. There will be crafts, dancing and a Noon Year Toast. Please register. For more information, visit www.

DECEMBER 31 • park ridge New Year’s Eve Celebration. 5 to 8 p.m. at Centennial Fitness Center, 1515 W. Touhy Ave. Ages: 2 and up. $18 per person. Bring out the whole family for a fabulous New Year’s Eve event. Enjoy together a fantastic dinner and dessert buffet, DJ entertainment, tot play area, miniature golf, and a fabulously fun countdown to midnight (8 p.m.). Registration deadline: Dec. 20. For more information, visit

The Holiday Gift Guide 2015  
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