Gigantic Roundup of Holiday Season Fun for Families
Make holiday memories kids won’t forget with Christmas parades, shows, concerts, lights, Santa sightings, and so much more.
There’s something magical about the holiday season in Champaign-Urbana, for kids and parents alike. The twinkling lights, the fresh snow (if we’re lucky), and the excitement in the air all make this a memorable time of year.
This is our complete guide to all things holiday-season in Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities. We will keep adding posts, events and updates as they are announced, so check back often; all events are also listed on our events calendar. Click on the links for more information/details on each topic – we have lots of exciting things to share with you in the coming months!
Editor’s note: some topics do not have links yet as the information has not been finalized.
chambanamoms.com thanks the University of Illinois Athletics for presenting this post. Look for these deals available at 9 a.m. on Dec. 12 through 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 24: Men’s basketball: $25 vs. Purdue (minimum 2 purchase); Football Mystery Ticket: $20 mystery ticket to 2020 football game against Ohio State (delivered 48 hours before); women’s basketball: Pack the House Pink Game — $1 tickets.
Everything Holiday for Champaign-Urbana
Pin this page, post this to Facebook, save the link to your homescreen, or bookmark this link because this is one page you’re going to want to come back to over and over again for the holidays. Click on each link below to read what we’ve taken the time to put together for you and your family this holiday season. Some topics do not have links yet as they information has not been finalized.
Want more info on Champaign-Urbana holiday fun for your family? Sign up for our Ho Ho Holidays email newsletter, and you’ll get 24 days of holiday info in your inbox, starting Dec. 1.
Without further ado … your Champaign-Urbana Holiday Guide!
If you are trying to make each day count this holiday season, this section is for you. The holiday season gets busy, so we have done the planning for you! Be sure to check out our calendar to see a different activity each day that your family will enjoy.
Holiday traditions inspire excitement in kids (and parents!) of all ages. You’ll find all of these in our lists for Champaign-Urbana holiday traditions this year.
A holiday season favorite, Christmas tree lighting ceremonies are happening in Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities.
Are you looking for Champaign-Urbana Christmas shows, concerts and holiday performances? You are in luck. There are many Christmas performances around Champaign, Urbana, Monticello, and other locations this November and December. Champaign-Urbana Christmas holiday performances range from single performance shows to shows that run through the whole season such plays, musicals, concerts, and of course the ballet. We include shows that are generally $15 or less per person (or even FREE), as well as some higher-ticket performances, too.
Looking for houses with the best Christmas light displays in the Champaign-Urbana metro area? Check out our list of Amazing Christmas Lights Around Champaign-Urbana and Beyond to help you plan a night with your family that’s fun, festive and free! So pack some snacks, fill up a thermos with hot cocoa (or a sippy cup with chocolate milk for the toddler crowd) and head out on a mission to find the best decorated houses!
Are you willing to drive all over Central Illinois for good holiday lights shows? Don’t worry, so are we! We’ve put together a short list of the top Christmas light shows across the Central Illinois region, including Peoria, Mattoon, Shelbyville, Urbana, and more. Most of these are permanent, annual fixtures in their communities. All of these are drive-through lights displays.
How to have Polar Express fun even if you missed the train. We list ways to experience the magic of Polar Express in Champaign-Urbana, in ways that won’t break your budget.
There is nothing quite like heading to a Champaign-Urbana area Christmas tree farm to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. Whether you want to head out to the field and cut your own Christmas tree or you prefer to choose from a selection of fresh cut Christmas trees, our handy guide will help you find the best Christmas tree farms near you. And many of the area farms offer unique experiences to make your visit even more memorable.
If you’ve followed chambanamoms.com for any period of time you might know that we have a thing for parades. We’ve put together a list of all the Champaign-Urbana area Christmas parades for your convenience, in case you love parades as much as we do! Pack that hot chocolate, dress warm and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season with these festive events.
Live nativity displays allow those who celebrate in Champaign-Urbana to share their faith with the community. C-U churches produce several displays, and you can check the links below for more information, including locations and timing. Live nativity events typically include live actors and actresses, as well as live animals, in their displays.
Santa visits can be stressful for many children. The noise, the crowds, the slow-moving lines — these are hard for most children. Adults and children alike that struggle with their reaction to bright lights, loud noises, and unexpected touch may avoid these activities altogether. However, the Champaign-Urbana area has fantastic resources available for children wishing to see the man in red! Read all about where to find these special dates/times with Santa.
You call, and they sing. Since 1960, University of Illinois students have sung Christmas carols over the phone, live from Snyder Hall. And your family can join the roster of callers when the Dial-A-Carol line re-opens this season. Not only do little kids love it, but the college students love talking to little kids.
If you’re spending the holidays in the Champaign-Urbana area and looking for a church to attend on Christmas Eve, there are many different congregations that you can be a part of to celebrate this special time of year. Want to submit your church’s services? Head to this link now.
The gifts have all been opened, the food has been eaten, and you hear “I’M BORED.” You think: Wait, didn’t everyone just get new toys? Well, that may be so … but if they’ve been cooped up in the house, they may just need to stretch their legs and get a change of scenery. We put this list together of places and things to do, see, and go on Christmas Day in Champaign-Urbana and beyond, just for you.
Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner… We know where to eat on Christmas Day in Champaign-Urbana
If making reservations sounds more compelling than making a turkey or ham this Christmas Day, we’ve got the guide for you. We present our 2019 list of where to eat on Christmas Day in Champaign-Urbana (not including fast food).
Where to get your picture taken with Santa in Champaign-Urbana and Beyond.
Want a phone call from Santa? You can set that up!
For when you fur baby wants to get in on the Santa photo action.
Brunch with Santa, tea with Mrs. Claus, pizza in your pajamas? We have all the details on where you can eat with Santa this year. Make sure to note a lot of these events require pre-registration and many will sell out, too.
Chanukah happens December 22-30 this year. Find out where and how to celebrate.
You may be thinking: I have these kids at home, and stuff is closed for the holidays, and everyone seems to be out of town. What to do? Well, we’ve got you covered. There are more opportunities to get out and have fun — and keep kids active — than you ever imagined!
Parents, fear not: Some of the same local institutions that excel at summer camps rev up their programming over winter break as well. Whether you work full-time, part-time, at-home, overnight, or whatever the case may be, these are great options for parents who need to — or want to — send their kids for at least one of the events listed.
When you become a parent, suddenly New Year’s Eve loses most of its social importance. That doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the day and it’s significance in new ways! If you’re planning on spending New Year’s Eve in Champaign-Urbana with your family, we have a few ways to celebrate.
Shopping for Gifts
You might not think about fun when you think about shopping. For some, it’s a chore. For others, it’s an enjoyable part of the season. Be sure to check out our shop local trail, and mark your calendar for our Holiday Hullabaloo Shopping Day on Dec. 5.
Create memories, not clutter, with the gift of an experience this holiday season! We’ve got pro tips for you if you’d like to focus more on memories and less on STUFF this year.
Once the big day is over, you need to know where to recycle your tree.
How will you be celebrating the holidays? No matter how you choose to spend the season, we hope it is full of love, light, laughter, and joy.
For some families, turkey trots are an annual tradition – a fun way to make memories. Turkey trots are always family-friendly, sometimes even FREE (or with a suggested donation, like a canned good) and tons of fun.
If you prefer to eat Thanksgiving dinner outside the house, you have options. Our list includes restaurants and gatherings that are actually serving traditional Thanksgiving menus; other places may be open as well.
Our list of family-friendly things to do with your kids to keep everyone happy – and busy – on Black Friday in Champaign-Urbana.
All Upcoming Holiday Season Events
We’ve made it simple for you to scroll what is happening, in upcoming order, near you. Check it out!No Events