Above / …And what to my wondering eyes should appear? See it to believe it during Naperville Trolley tours… Pop Up Tours for 2018, too. Trolley-la-la-la La-la-la-la! Find this holiday display at the corner of Williamsburg and Vicksburg in Hobson West. Thanks to everyone who contributes to our city’s grand illumination N.E.W.S. and downtown happenings! Ding! Ding!

Keeping track of Santa and his many helpers in Naperville is a challenge.  He’s everywhere!  He’s everywhere!

But first, before we get ahead of ourselves, we’re hopeful families, friends and neighbors gather together to celebrate the wonders of the season with an attitude of gratitude and hope for peace.

Special thanks to everyone who works on holidays so folks can travel safely to count their blessings.

Little Friends Parade of Lights / Gallery of Photos  (2016)  (2017) (2018 Canceled!)

Since 2003, Jolly Old St. Nicholas officially has arrived in this City along the DuPage River at the end of the Little Friends Hometown Holiday Parade, now known as the Parade of Lights. Even dating back to 1831, well-behaved children of early settlers waited with anticipation on Christmas Eve for Santa Claus to find them with good cheer by Christmas morning. Ho. Ho. Ho.


Above / For 2015, Santa, accompanied by Mrs. Claus, returned for a quick visit during the annual Little Friends Parade of Lights, when Ray Kinney and Katie Wood served as emcees for the popular community event to kick off the holiday season. The 2018 Little Friends Parade of Lights slated for 7PM Sat., Dec. 1, in downtown Naperville was canceled due to the forecast of inclement weather. (Click here for info about remote parking.)

Above / Naperville Municipal Band Conductor Ron Keller says Santa has promised to appear for the audience sing-along at the Christmas Concert beginning at 12:45PM Sun., Dec. 2. The one-hour concert, free of admission charge, is slated to precede the dedication at 2PM of the Century Walk Laughing Lincoln sculpture in Central Park. (PN Photo 2017)

Santa visits & breakfasts through the years with 2018 updates

What’s more, whether at the Santa House along the Riverwalk, Santa Breakfasts, holiday parades, Toys for Tots collection parties, traditions and mansion tours at Naper Settlement, complimentary photo sessions at local businesses or bell ringing for the Salvation Army, that jolly old bearded elf in the big red suit has made the rounds in Naperville for years, always shining in the spotlight, eager to pose for pictures with the young at heart!

This small sampling of PN’s collection of Santa’s helpers is just another example of folks you likely know creating simple joys. Thanks to all who share the giving spirit from one season to the next. God bless us every one.


Above / Find Santa along the Riverwalk, Jackson at Webster, in the Santa House, hosted by the Naperville Park District. This 2015 photo shows Santa with Cory and Molly Huard at the Santa House, open certain days from Nov. 30 until Dec. 23, 2018.  


Find the 2018 Santa House along the Riverwalk, Jackson at Webster.  Hours begin Nov. 30 and are 4-8PM weekdays and noon to 6PM on weekends until Dec. 23.  Listen for the Ho! Ho! Ho! (PN Photo, Nov. 22, 2015)


Above / When this little guy gave Santa his Christmas list at Quigley’s Irish Pub in downtown Naperville, Illinois, on the second Sunday in December 2015, he wasn’t taking any chances. To be sure Santa would find him on Christmas Eve, he asked Santa if he wanted to know which state he lived in— and then told him he lived in Michigan. ((Annual Pictures with Santa, 10AM to 2PM on Sun., Dec. 2, 2018, at Quigley’s Irish Pub, will be followed all day on Sat., Dec. 15, by the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest. )


Above / Visiting Santa is an annual tradition for everyone who believes from 10AM to 2PM on Sun., Dec. 2, 2018, at Quigley’s Irish Pub, another fun place for free photos with Santa and the Leprechaun. Remember the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest on Sat., Dec. 15. (PN Photo, Dec. 13, 2015)

Thanks to all for making the season bright

With the legendary spirit of St. Nicholas living deep our hearts, here are a few of Santa’s helpers PN caught on 35mm film years ago and more recently on digital.


Above / Back in 2000, Santa had breakfast with a bunch of good little girls and boys.

Catch 35 Breakfast with Santa is Dec. 15

For 2018, a special Breakfast with Santa will be hosted at Catch 35 Naperville on Sat., Dec. 15. Santa will be sharing good cheer and accepting gift lists during two seatings, first at 9AM and again at 11AM, Sat., Dec. 15, 2018. Catch 35 is located at 35 S. Washington St. at Van Buren Ave., just steps from the parking deck in downtown Naperville.


Back in the day, Santa and a Naperette got their kicks on a golf cart during one of the holiday parades.


“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmastime.”

—Charles Dickens


Above / Father Christmas and Scrooge shared the stage for many years during Christmas Memories at Naper Settlement. (Photo circa 1999)  This year enjoy a fun-filled morning with Santa @ The Settlement on Saturdays, Dec. 1, 8 & 15, along with the Christkindlmarket and Naper Lights beginning Nov. 25, 2018.

For 2018, create a new Christmas Memory during a Dinner with Santa at the Kroehler Family YMCA in downtown Naperville from 6:30PM to 8PM on Dec. 7. This event for members costs $50 for a family of four, $5 per person for more. The evening includes a full dinner, dessert, goodie bags for kids, crafts, a reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” and time for individual visits with Santa. Santa photos, too! Register early because space is limited. For more information or to RSVP call (630) 420-6270.


Above / In 2013, to officially kick off the holiday season, Santa and Mrs. Claus attracted thousands to the Little Friends Parade of Lights in downtown Naperville. Santa’s arrival was set for Sat., Dec. 1, 2018, but was canceled due to a threatening weather forecast. Nonetheless, Santa and many of his helpers found Naperville and they continue to make the rounds for visits with good little girls and boys.

Naperville Park District Board

Above / Santa posed with members of the Naperville Park District Board of Commissioners, decked out for an Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest, before he set up visiting hours in the Riverwalk Santa House. For 2018, the Santa House opens on Nov. 30 and will host visits through Dec. 23.  (PN Photo 2013)

Above / One of Santa’s helpers also found time to meet with youngsters at the Naperville Responds for Veterans annual holiday gathering on Dec. 4, 2018. Even kids know some kids say the darnedest things!


Above / Santa and Skip Junkins helped members of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves during the 2012 Toys for Tots Collection at Hotel Arista in CityGate Centre. Find Toys for Tots drop off containers at Busey Bank in Naperville Plaza and at Naperville Bank & Trust locations around town.

Breakfast with Santa at Hotel Arista is Dec. 16

Santa also returns for Breakfast with Santa at 9AM, 10:30AM, 12PM and 1PM in the the Hotel Arista Ballroom on Sun., Dec. 16, 2018. Spots fill up quickly. For more info or to reserve a spot, call (630) 579-7827 or email santa@hotelarista.com. 


Above / In 2013, Santa arrived at the landmark Naperville Woman’s Club to assist Rotary Club of Naperville/Sunrise President John Nania with the inaugural illumination of Naper Lights in Central Park.

In 2014, Naper Lights moved to Naper Settlement. For 2018, the Grand Illumination for Naper Lights began Nov. 25. Then the event runs 5-9PM Thursday through Sunday and all during the week before Christmas until Dec. 23. Take a stroll! And sing along with many lively and memorable holiday tunes. Admission is free of charge.


Above / Santa shows up once a year for photos with guests and staff at Quigley’s Irish Pub on a Sunday in December. Then everyone is invited all day on Sat., Dec. 15, to stop by in your favorite Ugly Christmas Sweater and you might win prizes. Cheers and Happy New Year at 6PM here and Dublin time there!  (PN Photo, 2013)


Above / And in case you didn’t hear…  Even on Christmas Eve, you’ll find Santa putting in a shift to help all the other bell ringers who volunteer to help raise funds for the Salvation Army.

Above / Civic Plaza along the Riverwalk is aglow in the evenings as a place to pause and reflect about peace on Earth. For 2018, Chanukah (used interchangeably with Hanukkah) begins on Dec. 2 for eight days, ending in the evening of Dec. 10, 2018. Christmas Day is Dec. 25.

Thanks to all the giving hearts on behalf of the child in everyone during this wondrous holiday season.