Local Festivities



It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we have rounded up all the Christmas festivities in one location for your family!  Mark your calendars, it’s going to be a great time!  Detailed descriptions and links below!





Christmas Kick-Off – November 19
Downtown Decatur. An entire day of festive events to kick-off the holiday season in Decatur.

Holiday Art Making, Madden Arts Center 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Free Ice Skating, Decatur Civic Center 3:30pm -5:30 pm
Central Park Lighting Ceremony 5:10pm
9th Annual Lighted Christmas Parade 5:30 pm
Santa House Opens following parade 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Free holiday movie at the Lincoln Square Theatre 8:00 pm

Christmas Parade – November 19    
Downtown Decatur Parade Route. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is the theme for the Annual Nighttime Lighted Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Decatur Jaycees, entry fees used to send disabled children to summer camp, 5:30pm, 217-413-0990.

Santa House in Central Park – November 19 – December 23
Downtown Decatur, Central Park. Visit Santa and tell him your Christmas wishes, bring your camera, F’s 4-8pm, Sa’s 11am-5pm, W 12/7 4-9pm, Su 12/18 11am-5pm, M 12/19-F 12/23 4-8pm, free, donations accepted, 217-422-2200.



Merry Texas Christmas Y’All – December 11
Lincoln Square Theatre. Celebrate the holiday season with a performance by Asleep At The Wheel. 3:00pm Matinee. Advance $30, Door $35. Get tickets at lincolnsquaretheatre.com


Holiday Events

Heritage & Holly Home Tour – November 26 
Near West Historic District. Christmas tour of historic homes decorated for the holidays. This year’s theme is HerStory – Women Building Decatur. Tickets $15. nwraps.ticketleap.com/heritage-holly-2016/

Cocoa & Cookies with Santa – December 2
Children’s Museum of Illinois, 55 S. Country Club Rd. Enjoy hot cocoa and cookies with Santa, listen to a holiday story read by a local celebrity, make an edible science project, 6-8pm, $, reservations required, 217-423-5437.


A Christmas Past – December 3
Fletcher Park, Sulphur Springs School House, 323 Fletcher Park Blvd., Mt. Zion. Visit Mrs. Claus, tour the museum, tree lighting ceremony, refreshments served, 4:30-6:30pm, tree lighting 6pm, free, 217-864-5424.

Christmas Extravaganza – December 3
Mt. Zion Convention Center, 1400 Mt. Zion Pkwy, Mt. Zion. Pictures with Santa, concessions, games, face painting and magic show by The Amazing Dudley, for kids ages 3-11, 11:30am-2pm, $, 217-864-5424.

Christmas High Tea – December 3
Mari-Mann Herb Co., 1405 Mari Mann Ln. The 27th annual full English High Tea featuring an array of sweets, treats and tea sandwiches, Mrs. Claus joins in, children may bring their favorite doll, bring your camera, 12-2pm, $, reservations required, 217-429-1555.

Santa Fly In – December 3
Main Hangar Restaurant, 910 S. Airport Rd. Santa flies in to hand out goodies, breakfast included with ticket, for children ages 4-10, 9am-12pm, $, reservations required, 217-421-7452.

Vespers – December 3-4
Millikin University, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, 1184 W. Main St. Millikin’s annual traditional Vespers (Evening Prayers), the beautiful seasonal production performed by over 300 student singers and instrumentalists featuring songs from past centuries, carols, anthems and candlelight, 2 & 7:30pm, $, 217-424-6318.

Santa Shuffle – December 4
Decatur Indoor Sports Center (DISC), 1295 W. Wood St. Santa stops at the DISC for a non-competitive fun run on the indoor track, all participants receive a medal, cookie and photo with Santa, check in 15 minutes before race time, ages 2-4 3:30-4pm, ages 5-6 4-4:30pm, ages 7-8 4:30-5pm, ages 9-10 5-5:30pm, $, 217-429-3472.

Christmas Walk – December 7 
Downtown Decatur. Downtown comes alive with horse-drawn carriage rides, music and carolers, children’s activities, delicious goodies and Santa Claus in Central Park, extended retail and art gallery hours, 5-8pm, free, 217-422-2200.

PopLocal “Shop till you Pop” – December 9 – 10
Downtown Decatur, Corner of Main & William (Haines & Essick Building). A hip handmade market with home goods, art, jewelry, wearables and more featuring central Illinois artisans. A great place to buy Christmas gifts, or just treat yourself! Also get your tickets here for Asleep at the Wheel at The Lincoln Theatre, presented by Backland Radio. Serving refreshments and adult beverages.  Friday 5-9pm, Saturday 10-2pm, 217-423-4739. More info >

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play – December 9 – 10
Decatur Club, 158 W. Prairie Ave. Holiday dinner-theatre fundraiser to benefit Theatre 7, which brings the beloved American holiday classic to life as a live 1940’s radio broadcast, seated five-course dinner, cash bar and show, doors open 6:30pm, dinner 7pm, $, 217-429-4200.

A Christmas Carol – December 9 – 11
Decatur Civic Center, 1 Gary K. Anderson Plaza. Original stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ tale presented by Mid Summer Moon Productions, F 7pm, Sa 2 & 7pm, Su 2pm, $, 217-422-7300.

A Swingin’ Little Christmas – December 9-18
The Little Theatre on the Square, 16 E. Harrison, Sullivan. Swing into Christmas with this Branson-style holiday variety show with singing, dancing and comedy, fun for the whole family, evening shows 7:30pm, matinees 2pm, $, advance ticket purchase preferred, 217-728-7375.

Nutcracker Ballet – December 9-11
Richland Community College, Shilling Auditorium, 1 College Park. Richland’s 20th annual Nutcracker Ballet, a family holiday tradition, Sugar Plum Tea following the Sunday performance, F & Sa 7pm, Su 2:30pm, $, 217-875-7211 ext. 6170.

Holiday Jazz – December 10
Millikin University, Kirkland Fine Arts Center, 1184 W. Main St. Celebrate sounds of the season with Millikin University’s faculty jazz sextet performing their swing interpretation of holiday classics, joined by guest vocalist Millikin alumna Angel Spiccia Slykas, 7:30pm, $, 217-424-6318.

Pajama Party with Santa at Scovill Zoo – December 10
Scovill Zoo, 71 S. Country Club Rd. Kids ages 3-10 can wear their PJs, bring their pillow and visit with Santa while they make an ornament, decorate cookies and enjoy special animal encounters, parents must be present, 1-3pm or 5-7pm, $, 217-421-7435.

Chamber Orchestra Advent Services – December 11  
Central Christian Church, 650 W. William St. The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Chamber Orchestra joins the musicians of Central Christian Church for services of the season, a Decatur Christmas tradition, 8 & 10:30am, free, 217-428-4336.

Christmas Open House – December 11
Millikin Homestead, 125 N. Pine St. Visit James and Anna Millikin’s historical home decorated for Christmas; punch, cider, cookies and the Sweet Treats Bakery selling a variety of homemade items packaged and holiday-wrapped for gift giving, 1-4pm, free, 217-422-9003.

Victorian Christmas Tea – December 11
Oglesby Mansion, 421 W. William St. Enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas celebration at Governor Oglesby’s beautiful Victorian mansion, refreshments served, 2-4pm, free, 217-429-9422.

Gingerbread House Workshops – December 18 & 21
Children’s Museum of Illinois, 55 S. Country Club Rd. Decorate your own gingerbread house, 12/18 1-3pm, 12/21 10am-12pm, $, reservations required, 217-423-5437.

Church Street Christmas Church Tour – December 18
First United Methodist Church, 201 W. North St. Walk, drive or ride the free trolley to visit several Decatur Church Street churches, music, refreshments and historical information offered, 1:30-4pm, free, 217-423-9711.

Happy Noon Year – December 31
Children’s Museum of Illinois, 55 S. Country Club Rd. A special countdown to the New Year for those who don’t stay up late, music, craft and festive fun, confetti flies and balloon drops at noon, 10am-2pm, $, reservations required, 217-423-5437.