Evanston area events that will kindle your holiday spirit


Meher Yada/Daily Senior Staffer

Evanston is buzzing with holiday cheer.

Elena Hubert, Reporter

If you’re in need of holiday cheer, look no further than these local happenings. Whether you want to browse holiday retail window displays, build a wooden family tree or watch an LED robot dancer at a menorah lighting ceremony, we’ve got you covered. Mark your calendars — here are some of the holiday-themed events taking place in Evanston and the surrounding area, listed in order of start date:

Winter arts and craft expo

The Evanston Art Center will host its 19th Annual Winter Arts and Crafts Expo from Nov. 20 to Dec. 20. The event is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A preview party will take place on Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on the Evanston Art Center website.

Handmade gift market from the Woman’s Club

The Woman’s Club of Evanston’s annual Holiday Bazaar, a juried market of handmade art and gifts, will run Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, although donations are welcome and will benefit the club’s Community Grants Fund. Attendees are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event and must wear masks if over the age of 2.

Drive-thru lights experience

Northbrook’s Willow Hill Golf Course will host its first annual Winter Magic drive-thru lights experience from Nov. 20 to Jan. 2. The event will take place nightly from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., weather permitting. With themed sections such as snowflakes and candyland, the mile-long drive-thru event also features 50 Christmas trees decorated with lights and light tunnels. Proceeds benefit Erika’s Lighthouse, a non-profit focused on adolescent mental health education. Tickets, which must be purchased online in advance, cost $45 per car.

Holiday shopping passport

To support small businesses, holiday shoppers can pick up a Shopping Passport at participating stores and get special offers from Small Business Saturday (Nov. 27) to Dec. 18. Customers spending over $100 with their Passport will get a $20 gift card valid at over 60 local businesses including Bookends & Beginnings, Gearhead Outfitters and Madison Grace.

Holiday window decorating contest

For the seventh year in a row, Evanston businesses will decorate their windows for a festive competition. The contest, which will last from Nov. 27 to Dec. 19, is themed “Nature & Wonder.” Residents can vote for their favorite windows from a showcase on the Evanston Holiday Window Contest Facebook page. Awards will be given to the best overall display, best display of theme and best incorporation of product or service.

Menorah lighting celebration

The Tannenbaum Chabad House is hosting a menorah lighting celebration at Fountain Square on Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. Northwestern men’s soccer midfielder Rom Brown (Weinberg ’24) will light the menorah, and Evanston mayor Daniel Biss and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) will offer greetings. Attendees can then enjoy a live performance from Bienen School of Music students, an LED robot dancer and Hanukkah treats.

Tree lighting ceremony

Evanston’s annual tree lighting ceremony will be held at Fountain Square Dec. 4 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Evanston Children’s Choir, NU a cappella group Purple Haze and special characters from the Actors Gymnasium will perform. Biss will join Santa and Mrs. Claus to light the tree. Hot cocoa, cookies and other refreshments will be available for purchase.

Wooden family tree workshop

The Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse is hosting a holiday workshop in which participants will construct their own tabletop wooden trees. Tickets can be purchased online for $30 per family for the event, which will happen Dec. 4 from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the organization’s Hartrey Avenue warehouse. Masks are required.

Black-owned businesses holiday pop-up shop

Red Gal Events, founded by Da Jerk Pit owner Ebony Love and indie book author Blaq Carrie B, will host Da Blaq Affair, a holiday pop-up shop for Black-owned businesses. The free event will take place Dec. 5 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center on Foster Street. Vendors will sell food, cosmetics, clothing and more. There will be a cash bar, complimentary photo booth, free raffle and music by DJ MOB, who is from Evanston. 

Holiday Delights a cappella concert

A cappella chorus Bella Voce will visit St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for its Holiday Delights concert series Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. The chorus will sing both holiday favorites and carols for a celebration of “togetherness, humanity, love and light,” according to its website. Tickets are available for purchase online

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Twitter: @elenahubert25

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