One of the most cherished holiday traditions in Chicago is the annual Christmas tree lighting.
It marks the beginning of the season as thousands gather round to celebrate the spirit of giving. This year is the 106th year for the ceremony, which will take place in Millennium Park on November 22. This is a tradition you won’t want to miss.
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The Chicago Christmas tree lighting ceremony is always a full evening of entertainment. Past performers have included talent as diverse as the “People’s Diva,” opera star Renée Fleming and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider.
The event will feature Grammy® Award-winning artist Jonathan Butler who grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, and recently released his second Christmas album, Christmas Together.
Also performing will be Cielito Lindo, a modern Latin Mariachi made up of the 9-member Lucero family. Performing the traditional music of Mexico, these 4th generation musicians are passionate about inspiring families to enjoy music, culture and creativity together.
Rag doll Eleanor and the elves from Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish – The Musical will show off their wrapping and “rapping.” The music performances will be followed by a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The ceremony culminates in the lighting of the tree around 6:30 pm. This year’s official tree is a 55-foot Blue Spruce donated by Gene Nelson and family out of Elgin. There were more than 40 submissions for the honor, and this lucky family will be there to help with the lighting.
The Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature performances and special appearances by:
- Brittney Payton and Jarrett Payton, (Emcees)
- Cielito Lindo, a modern Latinx Mariachi made up of the 9-member Lucero family
- Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish, rag doll Eleanor and the elves will show off their wrapping and “rapping”
- Jonathan Butler, Grammy® Award-winning artist from Cape Town, South Africa, who recently released his second Christmas album, Christmas Together
- Skylar Stecker, singer and the the youngest artist to ever top the Billboard Dance Charts with three #1 singles
- The Nelson Family and their 55-foot Blues Spruce
- Santa and Mrs. Claus and many more
The tree lighting ceremony isn’t the only holiday fun!
Millennium Park will be turned into a winter wonderland, with ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink beginning at 11 am on November 15.
There will also be the Millennium Park Art Market, featuring one-of-a-kind items, including jewelry, fashion, painting, sculpture, prints, drawings and more on sale by more than 150 student artists.
Supported by the Millennium Park Foundation, the market offers free admission on November 22 and 23, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. and November 25, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. in a heated tent on the Chase Promenade North.
One of Chicago’s other favorite holiday traditions is just down the street from the Chicago Christmas Tree. Christkindlmarket is an outdoor holiday fair in Daley Plaza that brings the German-style market to the Midwest.
Christmas in Chicago is a magical time, and one of the most magical is the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. For more holiday events, please follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook group, where we’ll be sharing cheer all season long.