Lifestyle

From the quaint to the spectacular, McHenry County's holiday happenings

Our complete round-up of holiday happenings McHenry County and beyond:

ONGOING

"A CHRISTMAS CAROL," through Dec. 6, Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St., Woodstock. Annual production by the Woodstock Musical Theatre Company. Join Scrooge as he journeys through the Christmases of past, present and future with his three ghostly guides. Schedule: 8 p.m. Dec. 4; 2 & 8 p.m. Dec. 5; 2 p.m. Dec. 6. Tickets: $24 adults, $21 seniors and students. Tickets and information: 815-338-5300 or www.woodstockoperahouse.com.

"PLAID TIDINGS," through Jan. 3, Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. A holiday musical revue set in the Christmas season. Written by Stuart Ross and performed by Williams Street Repertory. Schedule: 8 p.m. Dec. 4-5, 26, Jan. 1-2; 3 p.m. Dec. 5-6, 26-27, Jan. 3. Tickets: $32.50-$38.50. Tickets and information: 815-356-9212 or www.rauecenter.org.

CARY-GROVE JAYCEES CHRISTMAS TREE LOT, Algonquin Township building, Route 14, Crystal Lake. Celebrating the group's 45th year of selling balsam Christmas trees. Hours: 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Information: www.carygrovejaycees.com.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS COUNCIL 3880 CHRISTMAS TREE LOT, through Dec. 23, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church (Oak Street church lot), 451 Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake. Proceeds benefit local charities. Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Information: www.kofc3880.org.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS COUNCIL 11666 CHRISTMAS TREE LOT, St. Mary Catholic Church, 10307 Dundee Road, Huntley. Proceeds benefit local charities. Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Information: www.huntleyknights.org.

CLAYWORKERS' GUILD OF ILLINOIS ANNUAL HOLIDAY SALE, 10th annual, through Dec. 30, Old Courthouse Arts Center, 101 N. Johnson St., Woodstock. Offering handcrafted artisan works of ceramic art. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays (closed Christmas). Information: 815-337-0126 or www.facebook.com/clayworkersguildofillinois.

CRYSTAL LAKE SANTA HOUSE VISITS, Brink Street Market, 30-40 Brink St., Crystal Lake. Children and their families invited to visit with Santa. Schedule: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, noon to 3 p.m. Sundays. Extra days before Christmas: 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 21-23. Hosted by Downtown Crystal Lake. Free. Information: 815-479-0835 or www.downtowncl.org.

WOODSTOCK SQUARE FREE HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDES, every Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. (with the exception of Dec. 5) in the Woodstock Square. The carriage loads in front of the Woodstock Opera House, 121 E. Van Buren St. Information: www.realwoodstock.com or www.facebook.com/realwoodstock.

HOLIDAY TRAIN DISPLAY, through Dec. 27, Prairie Lodge, 12880 Del Webb Blvd., Huntley. Annual model train display presented by the Kishwaukee Valley & Eakin Creek Sun City Model Railroad Club. There also will be a 3 p.m. Dec. 23 raffle for three Lionel trains. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Schedule: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends. Free. Information: 847-669-2392 or www.sccah.com.

ROCKFORD RIVER LIGHTS, through Jan. 2, Rockford. Nightly shows will be choreographed to music and feature moving and changing lights on both the west and east banks of the Rock River between the Jefferson and State Street bridges. Free. Information: 815-489-1664 or www.gorockford.com.

DEC. 4

FESTIVAL OF TREES & SANTA RIDE-IN, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, Village Hall, 600 Harvest Gate, Lake in the Hills. Santa will host the lighting of the Festival of Trees, then join him for a photo opportunity and activities from event sponsors. After viewing the decorated trees on display, spectators can “vote” for their favorite tree by placing nonperishable food or household items in donation bins. All items collected will be given to local food pantries. Decorated trees will be on display throughout December. Free. Information: 847-960-7460 or www.lith.org.

SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN, 6 p.m. Dec. 4, Fire Station, Marengo. Meet Santa at the fire station, then march to the Christmas tree at the municipal parking lot for a tree-lighting ceremony followed by a celebration at Marengo United Methodist Church. Includes visits with Santa, live music, arts and crafts, refreshments and more. Information: 815-568-8440 or www.marengomainstreet.com.

VILLAGE OF JOHNSBURG'S HOLIDAY MAGIC, 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 4, Johnsburg Community Club, 2315 W. Church St., Johnsburg. Includes crafts, music and refreshments. Santa will arrive at 6:30 p.m., and the tree-lighting will be at 7:45 p.m. Free to Johnsburg residents. Donations of new toys, nonperishable food items or money will be accepted for those in need. Information: www.johnsburg.org.

JAZZ ON THE SQUARE HOLIDAY CONCERT, 8 p.m. Dec. 4, Stage Left Café, 125 Van Buren St., Woodstock. A holiday jazz show featuring vocalist Patty Greer and jazz pianist Fred Wackenhut. Tickets: $10 general admission at the door, $15 premium reserved seating available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2462296. Information: www.jazzonthesquare.com.

McHENRY B'N'B SQUARE DANCE CLUB'S TOYS FOR TOTS NIGHT, 8 p.m. Dec. 4, McHenry Township Hall, 3703 N. Richmond Road, Johnsburg. Square and round dancing with Mike Richard calling squares and Ray and Cindy Bishop cueing rounds. Plus-level dance. Cost: $6 members, $7 visitors. Information: 815-353-5346.

A VERY MERRY HUNTLEY, Dec. 4-5, throughout Huntley. Now a two-day event. From 3 to 8 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Municipal Complex, 10987 Main St., shop the Kris Kringle Market (in the board room). Event includes cookie decorating for kids, tree decorating contest voting (bring spare change for voting, with donations going to the Grafton Food Pantry) and visits with Mrs. Claus from 4 to 6 p.m. Events also will take place in three sessions – 3 to 4:30 p.m., 5 to 6:30 p.m. and 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 4 – at the Huntley Area Public Library, 11000 Ruth Road. The events will be ticketed (a limit of 200 tickets for each time slot), with details available at www.huntleylibrary.org. Among the attractions will be photos with Santa, face-painting, entertainment by Dave Gutshall and Andy Huber, a Friends Foundation book sale, a basket raffle fundraiser and light refreshments. Dec. 5 events feature activities from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 11628 E. Main St., including an indoor farmers market and craft fair, the bell choir's cookie walk, visits with a live reindeer (10 a.m. to noon) and the church's handbell choir performance at noon. Dec. 5 Town Square events on Choral Street between Church Street and Woodstock Street include horse-drawn carriage rides, free hot chocolate and a live nativity at 4 p.m., the announcement of Christmas tree decorating contest winners at 4:45 p.m. and Santa's arrival, along with a lighting of the Christmas tree, at 5 p.m. Information: www.huntley.il.us.

CHRISTMAS AT THE DOLE & WINTER FEST, 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 4 and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 5, Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake. Annual holiday festivities with a 1st Friday art show, holiday musical performances, children's crafts, indoor and outdoor family activities and more. Includes an 8 p.m. "Heart of the Holidays" concert by Cassandra Vohs-Demann and John Hegner in the Listening Room at Lakeside. The concert will be a celebration of the release of their new single, “Heart of the Holidays.” Concert tickets cost $20 in advance at www.lakesidelegacy.org or $25 at the door. Information: 815-455-8000 or www.lakesidelegacy.org.

RICHMOND'S CHRISTMAS OF YESTERYEAR, Dec. 4-6, throughout Richmond. The festivities begin with a Christmas tree-lighting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Stevens Park, followed by photos with Santa, coffee and cocoa, popcorn, raffles and more inside Memorial Hall, 5600 Hunter Drive. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at Memorial Hall, events include St. Joseph's Church cookie walk, crafters, refreshments, raffles, photos with Santa, performances by Broadway Academy of Art & Dance (10:30 and 11:30 a.m.), a 1 p.m. "Straight Outta North Pole: The Christmas Spirit Awakens" performance by Theatrevolt and more. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Richmond Grade School, 5815 Broadway St., the PTO will host Santa's Secret Shop. Free hayrides with the Historical House Tour will be offered at 12:30 and 3 p.m. Dec. 5 beginning at the municipal parking lot on West Broadway Street. Donations of canned goods for the community food pantry are requested. From 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 6, the Richmond Fire Department will host a pancake breakfast and visit from Santa at Memorial Hall. Information: www.richmond–il.com.

DEC. 5

TREETIME BREAKFAST WITH SANTA, 8 to 10 a.m. Dec. 5-6, Treetime Christmas Creations, 22102 N. Pepper Road, Lake Barrington. Featuring a gourmet breakfast buffet, storytelling time, goodie bag and picture with Santa. Reservations required. Cost: $19 adults, $12 children, free for children younger than 2. Information: 847-527-8880 or www.treetime.com.

ALGONQUIN BREAKFAST WITH SANTA, 8 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 5, Westfield Community School, 2100 Sleepy Hollow Road, Algonquin. Pancake breakfast, holiday music, games, time with Santa and a raffle hosted by the Rotary Club of Algonquin. Bring a camera for a picture with Santa. Cost: $5 a family. Jacobs High School Interact Club will accept donations of new unwrapped toys for Adopt A Family.

CRYSTAL LAKE BREAKFAST WITH SANTA, 9 a.m. Dec. 5, Old Towne Hall, 54 Brink St., Crystal Lake. Hosted by Downtown Crystal Lake. Featuring a pancake breakfast, music and singing. Each child receives a cuddly gift. Tickets: $12 a person, free for children younger than 2. Tickets available at Dalzell Jewelers, Heisler's Bootery or online at www.dtcl-store.com. Information: 815-479-0835 or www.downtowncl.org.

WINTER WONDER WALK, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 5, Wonder Lake Chamber of Commerce, 7602 Hancock Drive, Wonder Lake. Horse-drawn carriage rides, ice sculptures, pictures with Santa, gift bags and raffles. Information: 815-728-0682 or www.wonderlake.org.

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BAZAAR, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 5, Nativity Lutheran Church, 3506 E. Wonder Lake Road, Wonder Lake. Features vendor craft tables, a cookie walk, a silent auction and raffles. Information: 815-653-3832.

CHRISTMAS IN HARVARD, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 5, downtown Harvard. Breakfast with Mrs. Claus from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Joe & Tammy's Family Restaurant on Ayer Street. Craft show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Starline Factory, 300 W. Front St. Santa's Gift Shoppe from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Starline. Christmas parade at 12:30 p.m. Visits with Santa from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Starline. Horse-drawn carriage rides from 1 to 3 p.m. at Eastman and Front Street. Information: www.cityofharvard.org.

DISCOVER THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF "A CHRISTMAS CAROL," 2 p.m. Dec. 5, Dundee Library, 555 Barrington Ave., East Dundee. Program takes a close-up look at the genius of Charles Dickens, England's most celebrated Victorian novelist, and explores the hidden history behind his 1843 Christmas classic. Free. Registration required. Information: 847-428-3661 or www.frvpld.info.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 5, McHenry County Historical Society Museum, 6422 Main St., Union. Featuring an aluminum Christmas tree forest, holiday music, homemade cookies, bake sale, the making of old-fashioned Christmas ornaments and a search for gifts. The aluminum Christmas tree forest will remain on display from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, through Jan. 8, 2016, and weekends by appointment. The museum is closed Dec. 24, 25 and 31 and Jan. 1. Free. Information: 815-923-2267 or www.gothistory.org.

HOOVED ANIMAL HUMANE SOCIETY HOLIDAY PARTY, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 5, Hooved Animal Humane Society Education Center, 10804 McConnell Road, Woodstock. Annual family winter celebration with holiday music, farm tours, refreshments and the chance to meet staff members and animals. Admission is a suggested donation of $2. Children 10 and younger are free. Proceeds benefit HAHS' efforts to promote the humane treatment of hooved animals. Information: 815-337-5563 or www.hahs.org.

SANTA PET PHOTOS, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 5, Nature's Feed, 2440 Westward Drive, Unit C, Spring Grove. Accepting donations for pet photos with Santa. Proceeds will benefit Helping Paws Animal Shelter in Woodstock. Treats will also be available. Information: 815-675-2008 or www.naturesfeed.net.

MARENGO SANTA'S WORKSHOP, noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 5, Marengo Park District, 825 Indian Oaks Trail, Marengo. Photos with Santa, along with cookies, arts and crafts and letters to Santa. Free. Information: www.marengoparkdistrict.org.

FOX RIVER GROVE TREE-LIGHTING FESTIVAL, 2 to 5 p.m. Dec. 5, Algonquin Road School, 975 Algonquin Road, Fox River Grove. Santa will arrive by fire truck to meet children and have photos taken. There will be horse and wagon rides, cookies, hot chocolate, entertainment and games. Information: www.foxrivergrove.org.

VILLAGE OF ALGONQUIN'S HOLIDAY ROCK ON THE FOX, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 5, Riverfront Park, 201 N. Harrison St., Algonquin. Annual event featuring a tree-lighting ceremony, candy cane hunt, visit with Santa, ice sculpture creation and other family activities. Accepting donations of new unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots. Free. Information: 847-658-2716 or www.algonquin.org.

BOAR'S HEAD FESTIVAL,16th annual, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 and 2 to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 6, Zion Lutheran Church, 412 Jackson St., Marengo. A Medieval Christmas celebration hosted by King Wenceslas and his court. Wassail and Christmas cookie reception to follow each day. Free, but tickets required. Tickets and information: 815-568-6564, zionboardshead@gmail.com or www.zionmarengo.net.

ROTARY CLUB OF FOX VALLEY SUNSET HOLIDAY MUSICAL DINNER, 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 5, Stonegate Conference Center, 2401 W. Higgins Road, Hoffman Estates. Gala fundraiser to benefit the local charities the club supports. Events for the evening include dinner, entertainment, silent and live auction and more. Tickets: $75 a person. Tickets and information: portal.clubrunner.ca/9717.

JAYCEE PARK HOLIDAY WALK & TREE LIGHTING, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 5, 650 Cary-Algonquin Road, Cary. Holiday lights, visits with Santa and his live reindeer and ice skating on the pond (weather permitting). Hosted by the Cary Park District. Free. Information: 847-639-6100 or www.carypark.com.

CHRISTMAHANUKWANSTIVUS CONCERT, 10th annual, 7 p.m. Dec. 5, McHenry County College Luecht Conference Center, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake. Presented by CorCorps, the McHenry County area French horn choir. Program features "Let It Go" from "Frozen," Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," music from "Cabaret," "Sevilla" by Isaac Albeniz and more. Refreshments follow the concert. Free. Information: Russ Henning, 815-245-2422 or rhenning@mchenry.edu.

"SWINGIN' LITTLE CHRISTMAS," 7 p.m. Dec. 5, Elgin Community College Arts Center, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. Featuring a performance by Grammy-winning country music singer/songwriter Suzy Bogguss. Tickets: $32. Tickets and information: 847-622-0300 or www.tickets.elgin.edu.

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CONCERT OF WORSHIP, 7 p.m. Dec. 5, Herrick Chapel at Judson University, 1151 N. State St., Elgin. Featuring the 50-piece Judson Civic Orchestra, Judson Choir, Chamber Singers and Judson Children's Choir. Free shuttle service from the Lindner Tower parking lot (on River Road) to Herrick Chapel, between 6 and 6:45 p.m., with return service after the concert. A free-will offering will be collected. Information: 847-628-2500 or www.judsonu.edu.

RAILWAY MUSEUM HAPPY HOLIDAY RAILWAY, Dec. 5-6, 12-13, Illinois Railway Museum, 7000 Olson Road, Union. A 45-minute train ride through the winter countryside and a visit with Santa Claus. Treats will be served and gifts given to children. Train ride schedule: 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets: $15 a person. Tickets and information: 815-923-4000 or www.irm.org.

DEC. 6

TRIP TO SEE "A WONDERFUL LIFE" MUSICAL, 8:15 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 6, departing from McHenry County College, 8900 Route 14, Crystal Lake, to Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Offered by MCC's Trips and Tours family program. Enjoy this live-stage version of the holiday classic film about George Bailey and his wonderful life in Bedford Falls. Cost: $99 (meal included), course code: NSTS30001. Registration and information: 815-455-8588 or www.mchenry.edu/trips/index.asp.

KIWANIS SANTA RUN FOR KIDS, fourth annual, 9 a.m. Dec. 6, Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. A 5K run/walk and 1-mile kids dash fundraiser to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters, Turning Point, CASA, Girls on the Run and Main Stay Therapeutic Riding. All participants of the 5K get a Santa suit and beard. Cost: $38. Information: 815-459-1773 or www.kiwaniscrystallake.com.

"THE TOYMAKER'S SHOP," 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Dec. 6, First Congregational Church, 461 Pierson St., Crystal Lake. An original cantata presented by the church's youth and children choirs. Child care available for infants and toddlers. Free. Information: 815-459-6010 or www.fcc-cl.org.

BREAKFAST WITH JOLLY OLD ST. NICK, 9 to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 6, Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic School, 416 N. First St., Cary. Families will enjoy a pancake breakfast, crafts and a visit with St. Nick before joining the Merry Cary Days parade and festivities. Free. Information: 847-639-3041 or www.peterpaulschoolcary.org.

MERRY CARY HOLIDAY PARADE AND FESTIVAL, noon to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 6, downtown Cary. Family activities, Santa, pony rides, petting zoo, holiday treats and more. Sponsored by the Cary-Grove Area Chamber of Commerce. Free. Information: 847-639-2800 or www.carygrovechamber.com.

MOUNT AUBURN CEMETERY CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE, 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 6, East Brink Street, Harvard. See the newly-restored chapel. Bring a memory ornament for the Christmas tree. Children's books will also be sold as a cemetery fundraiser. Free. Information: Bob Dennis, 262-581-5707 or bd20416@gmail.com.

OPEN HOUSE WORKSHOP & HOLIDAY PARTY, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 6, Volo Bog Nature Center, 28478 W. Brandenburg Road, Ingleside. Art class presented by the Volo Bog Youth Art Guild featuring an advanced sculptural ceramic project, games, prizes and refreshments. Registration and information: Stacy Iwanicki, 815-344-1294 or dnr.volobog@illinois.gov.

FREE GUITARS FOR FUTURE STARS CHRISTMAS CONCERT, 2 p.m. Dec. 6, Woodstock Public Library, 414 W. Judd St., Woodstock. Christmas music performed by students in the Free Guitars for Future Stars program. Free. Information: Scott Neumann, 815-975-7989 or Scottn728@comcast.net.

"THE ESSENTIAL CHRISTMAS CAROL," 2 to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 6, Wauconda Area Library, 801 N. Main St., Wauconda. Author William Pack will reveal the legend behind "A Christmas Carol" and recreate a reading of the story with a Victorian-era magic lantern show. Free. Information: 847-526-6225 or www.wauclib.org.

SANTA'S WORKSHOP, 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 6, Grand Oaks Recreation Center, 1401 W. Route 176, Crystal Lake. Hosted by the Crystal Lake Park District for children ages 3 and older with a parent. Activities include crafts, Elves Sweet Shoppe, reindeer games and visit with Santa. Registration deadline: Dec. 3. Cost: $8 a child. Information: 815-459-0680 or www.crystallakeparks.org.

"MARSHMALLOW WORLD" HOLIDAY CONCERT, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 6, First United Methodist Church, 216 E. Highland Ave., Elgin. Family show presented by the Fox Valley Men of Harmony Barbershop Chorus featuring familiar songs of the season and performances by local quartets and the Crystal Lake South High School Madrigal Choir. Tickets: $10 available at the door or from chorus members. Free admission for children younger than age 5. Information: 815-459-6910 or www.foxvalleymenofharmony.com.

NIU HOLIDAY CHORAL CONCERT, 18th annual, 3 p.m. Dec. 6, Music Building at Northern Illinois University, 400 Lucinda Ave., DeKalb. Featuring performances by all the NIU choirs, the DeKalb Festival Chorus and CSA Children's Chorus. Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students available at the door, free for children 5 and younger. Information: 815-753-1551 or www.niu.edu/music.

"CHRISTMAS IMAGES: FORGOTTEN CHRISTMAS CLASSICS" CONCERT, 3 p.m. Dec. 6, Bethany Lutheran Church, 76 W. Crystal Lake Ave., Crystal Lake. Lyric tenor Kenneth Christensen and accompanist/organist Greggory Archer will perform rarely heard foreign language art songs, carols, spirituals and sacred music. The concert will be recorded, with proceeds donated to Pioneer Center for Human Services. Information: 815-459-2690.

“(NOT) ANOTHER FA LA LA,” 3 p.m. Dec. 6, Huntley High School Performing Arts Center, 13719 Harmony Road, Huntley. Sun City Huntley’s Prairie Singers will perform songs honoring Christmas and Chanukah, including sacred, traditional and contemporary pieces. Cost: $10 adults, $3 children ages 2-12. Tickets and information: 847-757-8435.

WINTER POPS CONCERT, 4 p.m. Dec. 6, Holiday Inn, 800 S. Route 31, Crystal Lake. Presented by the Crystal Lake Community Band conducted by Marty Magnini. Tickets: $12 adults, $10 seniors, military and students, $7 groups of 10 or more. Tickets available online at www.clcb.org or call 815-679-2263.

DEC. 7

HOLIDAY CLAY WORKSHOP, 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7, Creative Arts Inc., 400 Highland Ave., Crystal Lake. Ages 7 and older will make a tree-shaped bell out of clay. Cost: $18. Registration and information: 815-219-9243, creativeartsclasses@gmail.com or www.creativeartsinc.org.

HOLIDAY CARD MAKING WITH WANDA, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Cary Area Public Library, 1606 Three Oaks Road, Cary. Make six holiday cards for family and friends. All supplies included. Register in person. Cost: $10 cash or check only. Information: 847-639-4210 or www.carylibrary.info.

DEC. 8

CLASSIC CHRISTMAS BEDTIME STORIES, Dec. 8-18, Colonel Palmer House, 660 E. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake. Take a step back into history and experience traditional Christmas songs and stories with Mrs. Claus. Children should wear pajamas and bring their favorite blankets and stuffed animals. Includes juice, milk and cookies, along with a surprise by Jolly St. Nick. Schedule: 6 and 7:15 p.m. Dec. 8, 11, 15 & 18. Program fee: $15 residents, $20 nonresidents. Registration and information: 815-459-0680 or www.crystallakeparks.org.

HOLIDAY BAND CONCERT, 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 8, Crystal Lake Central High School, 45 W. Franklin Ave., Crystal Lake. Presented by Crystal Lake Central High School Symphonic and Concert Bands with special guest ensemble, the Bernotas Middle School Symphonic Band. Free. Information: Keith Levin, 815-459-2505 or www.clcbands.org.

DEC. 10

SUN CITY CONCERT BAND ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONCERT, 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 1 p.m. Dec. 12, Drendel Ballroom in Prairie Lodge, 12880 Del Webb Blvd., Huntley. Tickets: $10 adults, $3 children available at the door. Information: www.suncityband.com.

"THE TWELVE DAMES OF CHRISTMAS," 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. Featuring Angela Ingersoll presenting vocal impressions of Judy Garland, Brenda Lee, Eartha Kitt, Julie Andrews, Edith Piaf, Marilyn Monroe and other surprises. Tickets: $40 or $45 stage tables. Tickets and information: 847-577-2121 or www.metropolisarts.com.

DEC. 11

"A CHRISTMAS CAROL," Dec. 11-20, PM&L Theatre, 877 N. Main St., Antioch. Charles Dickens story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation after four ghosts visit him in a single night. Presented by PM&L Theatre. Schedule: 7 p.m. Dec. 11, 18; 2:30 & 7 p.m. Dec. 12, 19; 2:30 p.m. Dec. 13, 20. Tickets: $15 adults, $13 seniors and students. Tickets and information: 847-395-3055 or www.pmltheatre.com.

NORTHWEST INDIANA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, 8 p.m. Dec. 11, Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. Holiday pops concert featuring orchestra music with festive combinations of contemporary and classic hits. Tickets: $52-$57. Tickets and information: 815-356-9212 or www.rauecenter.org.

DEC. 12

WOODSTOCK COOKIE WALK & CRAFT FAIR, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 12, St. John's Lutheran Church, 401 St. John's Road, Woodstock. Cookie walk is 8 a.m. to noon. Craft fair is 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Information: 815-338-5159 or www.stjohnswoodstock.com.

RIDGEFIELD COOKIE WALK, 24th annual, 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 12, Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church, 8505 Church St., Ridgefield. Offering traditional Christmas cookies, breads and candies. Select your own cookies for $8 a pound. Other refreshments will be available. Proceeds go to the church mission program. Information: 815-459-1132 or www.rclpc.org.

PRAIRIE GROVE COOKIE WALK, 10 a.m. Dec. 12, Faith Community United Church of Christ, 2023 Route 176, Prairie Grove. Your choice of fresh, homemade artisan cookies offered boxed and bowed at $8 a pound. View the 13th annual Nativity collection display of more than 120 sets. Information: 815-479-1307 or www.faithcommunityucc.org.

HOLIDAY TREAT AND DECORATION SALE, 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 12, Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road, McHenry. Featuring cookies, popcorn balls, fudge, gingerbread houses and pies for $8 a pound, and a holiday decoration rummage sale of gently used artificial trees, ornaments, lights, garlands, wreaths and more. Information: www.treeoflifeuu.org.

FREE HOLIDAY MOVIE: "THE GRINCH," 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 12, Cinema 12, 100 L W Besinger Drive, Carpentersville. Holiday crafts and activities, photos with Santa and 10 a.m. screening of "The Grinch" starring Jim Carrey. Hosted by the Rotary Club of Carpentersville – Morning. Information: 847-322-6049 or www.carpentersvillerotary.org/event/free-christmas-movie.

SCREENING OF "HOME ALONE," 10 a.m. Dec. 12, Woodstock Theatre, 209 Main St., Woodstock. A 1990 Christmas comedy starring Macaulay Culkin about an 8-year-old boy mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for a Christmas vacation. Admission: $1 a person. Information: 815-338-8555 or www.classiccinemas.com.

HOLIDAY FAIRE: "HOMEMADE FOR THE HOLIDAYS," second annual, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 12 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 13, McHenry County Fairgrounds, 11900 Country Club Road, Woodstock. Featuring handmade crafts, entertainment, children's craft corner, storytelling hayride, Home Arts Department demonstrations, visit with Santa and more. Admission: $2 a person or a nonperishable food item, free for ages 7 and younger. Information: 815-338-5315 or www.mchenrycountyfair.com.

FOX HILLS MUSIC TEACHERS ASSOCIATION ANNUAL PERFORMATHON, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 12, Barnes and Noble, 5380 Route 14, Crystal Lake. About 75 to 100 piano and voice students will perform solos and duets with a holiday theme, both classical and pop music. Information: 815-814-3736 or www.foxhillsmta.org.

SANTA'S HOUSE, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Cary Fire Station, 400 Cary-Algonquin Road, Cary. Hosted by the Cary Lions Club. Santa will be riding on a Cary fire engine throughout various Cary neighborhoods between 9 and 10:30 a.m. before arriving at the fire station. Pictures with Santa will be available for $4. Raffle tickets also available. Information: 847-639-2121 or www.caryfire.com.

TWO BIG HOLIDAY SALES, 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 12, Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5603 Bull Valley Road, McHenry. Holiday treat sale of homemade cookies, popcorn balls, fudge, gingerbread houses, pies and other baked goods offered at $8 per pound. Holiday decoration rummage sale offering gently-used decorations of all sorts. Information: 815-322-2464 or www.treeoflifeuu.org.

HISTORICAL HOLIDAYS OPEN HOUSE, noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 12, Powers-Walker House in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. Step back in time and experience holiday preparations from days of old featuring volunteers in historical attire. Hosted by the McHenry County Conservation District. Free. Information: 815-459-5779 or www.mccdistrict.org.

KIDS CHRISTMAS PARTY, 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 12, Art Studio Center, 9243 S. Route 31, Lake in the Hills. Ages 5 through 16 will create holiday crafts. There will be festive music, holiday treats, punch and a visit from Santa. Cost: $14. Registration and information: 815-404-6520 or www.ambersartplace.com.

ELGIN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERTS, 1:30 & 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin. "Magical Holiday Concerts" will be performed. The orchestra will be joined by the Elgin Master Chorale, Elgin Children's Chorus and dancers from Midwest Dance Collective. Tickets start at $30. Tickets and information: 847-888-4000 or www.elginsymphnoy.org.

"THE NUTCRACKER," Dec. 12-20, Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St., Woodstock. The Judith Svalander Dance Theatre's ballet company brings to life Tchaikovsky’s world-renowned music. Schedule: 2 & 7 p.m. Dec. 12, 19; 2 & 6 p.m. Dec. 3, 20; 8 p.m. Dec. 18. Tickets: $23 adults, $16 students. Tickets and information: 815-338-5300 or www.woodstockoperahouse.com.

"WALTZ INTO THE SEASON" DANCE, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, St. John Lutheran Church Activity Center, 300 Jefferson St., Algonquin. Home of the Sparrow benefit dance featuring a complimentary waltz dance lesson taught by Frank and Jackie Penze. Dress code is dressy casual. No jeans or gym shoes. Cake, coffee and prizes. Admission: $8 members, $10 seniors, $12 nonmembers. Doors open 7 p.m. Information: 847-639-8699, www.dancefoxvalley.org or www.dancewithfrankandjackie.com.

DEC. 13

FAMILY CHRISTMAS CONCERT, 4 p.m. Dec. 13, First Congregational Church, 461 Pierson St., Crystal Lake. "Venite Adoremus: O Come Let Us Adore Him" concert will feature the Vestry Adult Choir, the Jubilate Adult Handbell Choir, Alleluia Sound High School Choir and Chancel Choir. Child care available for infants and toddlers. A free-will offering will be taken. Information: 815-459-6010 or www.fcc-cl.org.

VOICES IN HARMONY: "SING-ALONG MESSIAH," 4 p.m. Dec. 13, Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. The community and the Voices in Harmony choir perform Handel’s masterwork with a 25-piece orchestra, soloists and projections of calligraphy by Timothy Botts. The McHenry County Choir Chorus will supplement the on-stage choir. Tickets start at $18. Tickets and information: 815-356-9212 or www.rauecenter.org.

PETER MAYER – "STARS & PROMISES: RESTLESS WORLD – SILENT NIGHT CHRISTMAS" CONCERT, 7 p.m. Dec. 13, Living Waters Lutheran Church, 1808 Miller Road, Crystal Lake. Featuring a Christmas concert performed by Peter Mayer and his band. When Mayer's not playing lead guitar for Jimmy Buffett, which he's done for more than 25 years, he’s playing for major Christian events. Tickets: $25 adults, $10 children age 15 and younger. Tickets and information: 815-455-2424 or www.livingwaterschurch.com.

DEC. 14

McHENRY SENIOR CITIZENS CLUB'S ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY, 11:30 a.m. Dec. 14, McHenry Country Club, 820 N. John St., McHenry. Festivities will include dinner, entertainment by the Prairie Voices of Del Webb and a cash bar. Reservation deadline: Dec. 4. Cost: $25 members, $30 nonmembers. Reservations and information: 815-344-3223.

DEC. 15

McHENRY BREAKFAST & LUNCH WITH SANTA, 9:30 to 11 a.m. for breakfast; noon to 1:30 p.m. for lunch, Dec. 15, McHenry Municipal Center, 333 S. Green St., McHenry. Children ages 1 through 5 accompanied by an adult will make a simple craft, sing carols, listen to “The Night Before Christmas,” visit with Santa and enjoy a continental breakfast. Cost for breakfast is $10 a child. Cost for lunch is $5 a child. Free for adults. Information: 815-363-2160 or www.ci.mchenry.il.us.

CRYSTAL LAKE CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL HOLIDAY JAZZ CONCERT, 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 15, The Listening Room at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake. Music from the Crystal Lake Central High School Jazz Program. Featured ensembles include Jazz Band 1, Jazz Band 2 and Jazz Combos. Free. Donations accepted at the door. Information: Keith Levin, 815-459-2505 or www.clcbands.org.

DEC. 16

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CONCERT BY THE ENCORE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 16, Drendel Ballroom at Prairie Lodge, 12880 Del Webb Blvd., Huntley. Guests will enjoy traditional and classical holiday music along with sing-along carols. Registration required. Free. Registration and information: 847-515-7650 or www.sccah.com.

CHILDREN'S HOLIDAY PROGRAM, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Dec.16, McHenry Public Library, 809 N. Front St., McHenry. "Frosty's Winter Wonderland" will be presented by Dave Herzog's Marionettes. Bring a camera for pictures with Santa. Program for ages 3 and older with an adult. Free. Information: 815-385-0036 or www.mchenrylibrary.org.

DEC. 17

"THE NUTCRACKER" BALLET, 16th annual, Dec.17-20, Lake Zurich Performing Arts Center, 300 Church St., Lake Zurich. Production of Tchaikovsky's ballet fantasy presented by the Illinois Youth Dance Theatre. Schedule: 7 p.m. Dec. 17-18; 1 & 5 p.m. Dec. 19; 3 p.m. Dec. 20. Tickets: $17-$27 a person. Tickets and information: 847-438-4500, option 3 or www.iydt.org.

WILLIAMS STREET REPERTORY'S "SPECIAL HOLIDAY AWESOME SHOW," 7 p.m. Dec. 17, Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. Three hours of sketch comedy and improv with special guests, your favorite (and some new) holiday songs and a veritable smorgasbord of your favorite characters. Tickets: $15 at the door. Information: 815-356-9212 or www.rauecenter.org.

WIM3 HOLIDAY BAZAAR, 7:30 to 9 a.m. Dec. 17, 31 North Banquets, 217 N. Front St., McHenry. Hosted by Women in McHenry County. Members and guests will then have an opportunity, after the meeting, to shop from an array of handmade or designed items by nonprofits Freedom Firm, Kando Bakery by Pioneer Center, Paws for Pure Water, and Gigi's Playhouse. All proceeds will benefit participating nonprofits. Cost: $17 members, $25 nonmembers includes continental breakfast. Information: 815-353-0746 or www.wim3.com/events.

YOU CAN BUILD A GINGERBREAD HOUSE! 7 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 17, McHenry Public Library, 809 N. Front St., McHenry. Learn how to successfully assemble, decorate and bring to life your own gingerbread house with Chef Michael Niksic. For ages 18 and older. Free. Information: 815-385-0036 or www.mchenrylibrary.org.

DEC. 19

CREATIVE ARTS WINTER HOLIDAY PARTY, 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 19, Creative Arts Inc., 400 Highland Ave., Crystal Lake. Activities, music, and refreshments. Cost: $15 ages 6 and older. Ages 4 to 6 welcome with parent or guardian. Registration and information: 815-219-9243, creativeartsclasses@gmail.com or www.creativeartsinc.org.

"THE NUTCRACKER" WITH BERKSHIRE BALLET THEATRE, 3 & 7 p.m. Dec. 19; 7 p.m. Dec. 20, Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. Featuring Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable music, dancing and lavish costumes. Tickets start at $27. Tickets and information: 815-356-9212 or www.rauecenter.org.

SANTA'S SCAVENGER HUNT, 3:30 to 5 p.m. Dec. 19, Lost Valley Visitor Center in Glacial Park, Route 31 and Harts Road, Ringwood. Learn about animals that call the area home. Follow animal tracks outdoors and solve the clues to find Santa and a prize. Hot chocolate and cookies. Cost: $5 county residents, $7 nonresidents. Registration deadline: Dec. 15. Information: 815-479-5779 or www.mccdistrict.org.

DEC. 22

READING OF "THE POLAR EXPRESS," 10:30 a.m. Dec. 22, Read Between the Lynes, 111 E. Van Buren St. on the Woodstock Square, Woodstock. Information: www.readbetweenthelynes.com.

DEC. 23

ED HALL'S "CHRISTMAS GUITAR NIGHT," 8 p.m. Dec. 23, Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van Buren St., Woodstock. The 20th anniversary of this holiday tradition. Five internationally acclaimed musicians will present an evening of arrangements for the guitar, as well as popular holiday favorites. Tickets: $30 all seats. Tickets and information: 815-338-5300 or www.woodstockoperahouse.com.

DEC. 24

A CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS EVE, 8 and 10 p.m. Dec. 24, Historic Immanuel Lutheran Church, 178 McHenry Ave., Crystal Lake. Traditional candlelight services will be offered. There will also be 2 and 4 p.m. contemporary celebrations at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School, 300 S. Pathway Court. Free. Information: 815-451-9376 or www.immanuelcl.org.

CHRISTMAS EVE OPEN HOUSE PARTY, 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 24, Faith Community United Church of Christ, 2023 Route 176, Prairie Grove. Offering dinner of homemade traditional holiday dishes, annual display of more than 120 Nativity sets and 8 p.m. Christmas Eve Service of Light. Free. Information: 815-479-1307 or www.faithcommunityucc.org.

DEC. 31

STEVE COCHRAN'S NEW YEAR'S EVE COMEDY SHOW, 3 & 7 p.m. Dec. 31, Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. Featuring the voice of 720 WGN with the best of stand-up comedy in a show that you can see and still make it home in time to fall asleep by 11 p.m. Tickets: $52. Tickets and information: 815-356-9212 or www.rauecenter.org.

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