Holiday music from Brookfield orchestra musician and teacher Carolyn Krizek

Brookfield Zoo kicks off Holiday Magic

Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic, the Chicago area’s longest-running lights festival is back again from 4 to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays on Dec. 3-4, 10-11 and 17-18 and the week of Dec. 26-31.

In addition to enjoying the spectacle of millions of twinkling lights throughout the zoo, visitors can carol to the animals and enjoy live entertainment, professional ice carving demonstrations, visits with Santa (through Dec. 18) and more.

Festivities begin with an opening ceremony at 5 p.m. on Dec. 3 and close on Dec. 31 with the annual Zoo Year’s Eve, featuring a kid-friendly New Year countdown at 8 p.m.

For more information visit or call 708-688-8000. Admission and parking fees apply.

Technology and art intersect at RAC

Riverside Arts Center, 32 E. Quincy St., presents a new group exhibition, “Good Machines,” featuring work that explores how we can use technology to better connect to others and create new experiences for ourselves.

The works of Taylor Hokanson, Richard Holland, J. Stephen Lee, Eric Lunde, Nikki Passath, Jesse Seay and Philip von Zweck are featured. The show runs from Dec. 4 to Jan. 7 with an opening reception of Sunday, Dec. 4 from 3 to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. and Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. Closed, Sunday, Monday and major holidays.

Theater troupe stages Elf Jr.

The Children’s Theatre of Western Springs presents the new holiday classic Elf Jr., featuring a cast of more than 50 local children on Dec. 2-4 and 9-11 at the theater, 4384 Hampton Ave. in Western Springs.

Based on the 2003 movie, the musical debuted on Broadway in 2010. Elf Jr. tells the story of Buddy, a human orphan who crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole, where he’s raised as an elf.

Tickets are $15 ($9 for 18 and under). Friday performances are at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m. For more information and to order tickets call 708-246-3380 or visit

Masonic lodge blood drive

The Riverside Masonic Lodge, 40 Forest Ave. in Riverside, will host a blood drive on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are recommended and can be made by calling LifeSource Blood Services at 847-803-7943. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Donors should bring ID showing name, date of birth and one of the following Social Security ID, driver’s license, state ID or passport.

Write to Santa at LTHS

Lyons Township High School invites all kids kindergarten through third grade for its Beary Merry Holiday Write Night event on Tuesday, Dec. 6 between 4 and 7 p.m. in the South Campus Discovery Center and surrounding classrooms, 4900 S. Willow Springs Road in Western Springs.

Kids will be able to write letters to Santa on the computer and receive an immediate response from the North Pole. Participants are asked to bring one non-perishable food item, which will be donated to a local food pantry.

Those interested are asked to register by Dec. 2 online at, by calling 708-579-7434 or 708-579-7436 or emailing or

Holiday music at For the Birds

Enjoy holiday music from Brookfield orchestra musician and teacher Carolyn Krizek, including selections from Haydn’s “Toy Symphony,” Handel’s “Messiah” and Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” on violin, clarinet, recorder and guitar on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 3 to 5 p.m. at For the Birds, 9207 Broadway Ave. in Brookfield during the village’s holiday celebration.

In addition to the classics, Krizek will play carols ranging from the familiar to the more unusual, including international carols and Renaissance music. The public is welcome to attend this free event.

And more

• Lyons Township High School students are invited to stop by the Corral for Open Fun Nights on Dec. 2 and Dec. 9 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Play the latest video games, ping pong, pool, board games and meet with friends. Movies, bands, dances are in the works. The Corral is next to the South Campus at 4940 S. Willow Spring Road in Western Springs.

 Mailboxes for letters to Santa are ready to receive children’s letters in both Riverside and North Riverside. In Riverside, the mailbox is located on the east side of the historic water tower, 10 Pine Ave. Letters received before Dec. 22 will get a note back from Santa.

In North Riverside, the mailbox is inside the Village Commons at 2401 Desplaines Ave. Deposit letters before Dec. 21 with a return address so Santa may respond.

• North Riverside Recreation hosts a free family movie night with a screening of The Santa Clause on Friday, Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the gym of the Village Commons, 2401 Desplaines Ave. Popcorn and concession available.

• North Riverside Public Library, 2400 Desplaines Ave., continues its Wednesday Movie Matinee on Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. with The Caine Mutiny featuring Humphrey Bogart and Van Johnson. Free.

St. Hugh Church will hold its Christmas Bazaar in Keating Hall, 7939 43rd St. in Lyons, on Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The extravaganza includes games and prizes at booths plus lunch and dessert. Sponsored by the St. Hugh Society of Catholic Women. Call Nicki Mendez at 708-539-6575 or email for more info.