My Glance at Christmas in Chicago: Tree Lightings + Christkindlmarkt

An image of Christmas lights on streets with the caption “Christmas in Chicago - XoTani” on it.

As an international student from India, who once used to live in Switzerland, I was amazed at how different the holidays are celebrated in Chicago.

Even if I wasn’t in the city for the actual festive days (I travelled back home for the winter break), I was fortunate enough to get a glimpse of Christmas here thanks to the Christmas Tree lighting and the Christkindlmarkt.

#1. DePaul Christmas Tree lighting

On 14th November 2023, DePaul had its beautiful tree lighting ceremony. Unfortunately, I missed it as I had classes, but that didn’t stop me from marvelling at it that very evening. The beautiful blue lights and the pretty star sitting on the top were a great indication of the merry and jolly days ahead of us.

An image of a decorated Christmas tree.

Alongside that, our Lincoln Park campus even held a giveaway for Ugly Sweaters and winter hats. For students who have an eye on them for next year, I would suggest standing in line as early as possible, as they are very limited and the competition to get them is intense!

#2. Chicago City Christmas Tree

The whole city had gathered at 6.30 pm on 17th November near Millennium Park to witness the ceremony, and it was incredible when the countdown began. The excitement was off the charts and the anticipation lingered in the air densely due to the huge crowd present. When the fireworks show finally started, it was evident that the long wait was worth it. The tree was gigantic and decorated magnificently. Next to it there even was a stage where people performed cute Christmas carols. It was a new experience to be in the heart of a huge city and marvel at the tree on the one side and the brilliant skyline on the other.

A montage of two images. One of a girl in front of a decorated Christmas tree; a Firework show from Chicago City.

#3. Christkindlmarkt

The Christkindlmarkt also opened the same day the tree lighting was in the city centre. Due to it being packed with people, it was very hard for me to take cute pictures of the place. The small wooden huts which sold German staples were reminiscent of Switzerland during this time of the year. One of the most in-demand spots there had to be the photo booth which attracted a long snake of people, who were waiting to capture a more physical memory of that day.

Two images of the Chicago’s Chirstkindlmarkt

Overall, the Christmas spirit in Chicago was something I had never experienced before, and it would be an understatement to say that it was a magical one. I am already very excited for the next Christmas to come and hope that I will be able to report back on other attractions too!

– XoTani