A Dozen (Plus) Ways to Make the Holidays Even Happier in Evanston

Dec 7, 2023

Evanston is truly a wonderful place to be during the holidays, especially with the many breathtaking light displays throughout the city. But what makes it even more wonderful are all of the activities you can find this time of year.

Celebrations started with the Holiday Light Celebration last Saturday night (December 2nd) featuring the city’s annual tree lighting, Santa, and holiday music by the Evanston Children’s Choir, Evanston Owns It, NU Community Singers, and Soul4Real Acapella; the Evanston Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert with appearances by the Chicago Ballet Arts, Evanston Children’s Choir, North Shore Choral Sociate, Evanston Dance Ensemble, and The Evanston Symphony Gospel Choir (as well as Santa and his elves) last Sunday night (December 3); Menorah Lighting Ceremony tonight (December 7th), and the Main Dempster Mile Hometown Holiday Celebration and Stroll (and tree decorating contest) tonight (December 7th).

In fact, from shopping to celebrating, here are 12 ways to help you get more out of the season:

1.Explore the 3rd annual Shop Evanston Made Holiday Market, through December 17th! Located at 1631 Chicago Ave. (in the former Found restaurant), the holiday market features original art, jewelry, ceramics, wearables, textiles, stationery, home goods and much more! In addition, some of the Evanston Made artists will host workshops and special events.

2. Check out the Evanston Holiday Window Decorating Contest through December 14th! And see how Evanston businesses are displaying their creativity in the decorations of their windows!

3. Celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa with Evanston Children’s Choir Holiday Concert, joined by the Youth Chorale Pops and the Pope John XXIII School Choir, Friday, December 8th at the Alice Millar Chapel (1870 Sheridan Rd., Evanston, IL). Admission is free.

4. Attend the Nutcracker on Ice at the Robert Crown Community Center and Library, 1801 Main Street, Dec. 8th through the 10th. Celebrating its 48th year with four performances this holiday season, this beloved winter ice show features hundreds of skaters of all ages telling the familiar tale of Clara and her musical holiday adventures. Enjoy exquisite costumes, Tchaikovsky’s classic music, and exciting special effects. It’s the perfect family show to spread holiday cheer. General admission; $12.

5. Join the Evanston Parks & Recreation Department for Flapjacks & Flannels, Dec. 10th from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Avenue Wear your flannel, bring your family, and enjoy some flapjacks! Full breakfast, selfies with Santa, dreidel, and snow globe-making included. Vegan and Kosher options are available. Registration required, register at cityofevanston.org/registration.

6. Enjoy live music, face painting, and more at Evanston SPACE’s Holiday Jamboree, Sunday, Dec. 10th from 12:00-3:00 p.m. Check out the make-your-own hot chocolate bar with all the fixings, holiday cocktails (mulled wine, spiked hot cider) for grown-ups, and the chance to snag classic Evanston SPACE merch at deeply discounted rates (plus find some new merch)! Enjoy our range of performers, including The Hogmires (Holiday Bluegrass Duo), Pierce Crask (St Louis Holiday Bluesman), Bowmanville (Gypsy Jazz Trio performing Holiday favorites), and Billingsley & Earp (Husband & Wife Western Swing Duo singing holiday classics) – be sure to check the schedule for details. Of course, Santa will be here too as well as face painting. And if you get hungry for lunch, Union Pizzeria will have an abbreviated menu of pizza or salad. (Please note: By attending the event, you consent to the possibility of having your photograph taken and used on social media. For Evanston SPACE.)

7. Celebrate the season with a holiday mug filled with warm bevvies, as you enjoy shopping during the owners Downtown Evanston Warm Bevvy Walk from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Dec. 14th. You’ll find local gifts for the loved ones on your holiday shopping list. Tickets are $10/person. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Evanston Made, a local nonprofit arts organization.

8. Join the Chicago Ballet Arts Winter Showcase, Dec. 17th at 4 pm at the beautiful McGrath Family Performing Arts Center for their Winter Showcase! This family-friendly event will feature their Junior, Senior, and Adult Ensembles performing excerpts from classical ballets, including Swan Lake, as well as new works created by Ensemble directors and musical guests from The Musical Offering. With open seating, tickets are $15 for ages 5+ and free for children under 5. Additional processing fees may apply. https://givebutter.com/wintershowcase2023

9. Did you know elves are on the loose and hiding around the City of Evanston community centers and parks! Help track them down during The Great Elf Hunt, Dec. 18th28th. When you find an elf, snap a photo with them and send them to kgrundin@cityofevanston.org to be entered into a raffle for a chance to win gift cards to local Evanston businesses and other prizes. Each photo will count as one entry. Winners will be announced on Jan 2.

10. Hosted by the City of Evanston and the Fleetwood-Jourdain Theater, join your neighbors for the FREE Kwanzaa Celebration at the Robert Crown Community Center and Library, 1801 Main St. Tuesday, Dec. 26th at 6:00 PM. The festivities will include an Artisan Market Place, delicious food, sweet treats, a Community Drum Circle with Tony Garrett, arts & crafts for the entire family, and a performance of ‘A Poetic Kwanzaa’ featuring JustUsArts. This FREE event will conclude with the traditional Kwanzaa Ceremony.

11. Bring in the New Year at one of the many Evanston-based events. Choose from a wide range of events such as the FREE family-friendly New Year’s Eve Bash & Splash, Dec. 31st from 2:30pm to 4pm sponsored by Goldfish Swim School- Evanston 2008 Dempster St.; dine out one of many Evanston restaurants (note: this is a partial list and some are open on Christmas Eve and day as well); the New Year’s Eve Extravaganza at Evanston SPACE featuring a live performance by the Lemonheads; and many more opportunities to start 2024.

12. Help us Light the Night, Jan 27th from 6:30 PM -to 9:30 PM, Tallmadge Park (corner of Noyes and Colfax). For one night only, experience solar and battery-powered works by local artists lighting up the park! Sip hot cocoa and wander through the magical lights in this free event that’s open to the public!

Of course, this list is just the beginning. If you know of a seasonal event we missed, please let us know and we can include it in this post.

And from my team at Jackie Mack & More, we hope you fully enjoy the season!

If there is anything we can do or any question we can answer about Evanston, home maintenance, and/or home-selling or buying, please reach out to us.

We can be reached at: Jackie@JackieMack.com and/ or 847-274-6676.

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