Holiday Traditions

Naperville has been decorating the downtown area for 25 years – making Christmas bright for local families and visitors during this special time of year.

“The downtown especially does a great job of making it feel cozy, small town where people come down they walk the streets they see the lights, the Santa house is down there and that draws people in. A lot of the shops even do things like offer hot chocolate or pictures. It really just gives it a cozy hometown feel,” said Operations Supervisor at Public Works, Christine Schwartzhoff.

The whole process takes the city about a week and a half to complete. Once done, the lights are flipped on in a ceremony and Santa Claus is welcomed into town with a parade.

“The parade runs right through the downtown, and ends up with Santa coming in and that kicks of the Santa house and that is run by the Park District. It’s a really big draw and it’s the kick off to the season,” said Schwartzhoff.

However, Santa isn’t the only one who visits Downtown Naperville during this time of year.

The Chibad Jewish Center of Naperville hosts multiple Hanukkah celebrations in the area.

“It’s a beautiful holiday with a beautiful message, a holiday about light and bringing light into the world, lighting candles. It’s really a joyful holiday. We do all we can to make it possible for anyone to celebrate. We hold menorah lighting in the mall, and one downtown. We include everybody so they all can get to celebrate this beautiful holiday,” said Rabbi Mendy Goldstein.

Six years ago the center donated a Menorah to the Park District and holds a Menorah lighting celebration on the first night of Hanukkah.

“It’s beautiful to see how much the city does to enable us. About six years ago we donated a menorah to the park district and they put it up. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from people walking downtown and see the menorah. It gives them a lot of pride and joy, we are always grateful to the city for allowing us to do that and welcoming us,” said Goldstein.

Between the parade, decorations, and celebrations the holidays are the most wonderful time of year in town.

Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale Reports.

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