The Definitive Map of Suburban Christmas Lights

How else will you spend your quarantined Christmastime?

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In my last newsletter before Christmas, my gift to you is a bunch of quick-hitting Christmas-related activities you can do on your own or with your family. Hold on to your sleigh bells!

The Definitive Map of Suburban Chicago Christmas Lights

For a moment, I flirted with the idea of trying to put together a custom Google Map that showed where some of the best light displays in the northwest suburbs could be found. After all, it’s the perfect socially distanced and/or warm-in-the-car activity for the unusual Christmastime that we find ourselves living through.

Unfortunately, putting together a map like that would be a ton of work. Fortunately, someone already beat me to the punch and was far more organized and definitive than I ever would have been! Click the button and behold all the Griswold houses, plotted on a map with custom icons and everything:


We already took our kids out once for a brief tour around our neighborhood, and this map makes me want to plot a more advanced road trip through the nearby ‘burbs. It would be even better in a one-horse open sleigh. Where’s that Clydesdale when you need him?

For added fun, you can do like my brother-in-law and turn your vehicle into a minivan Polar Express, complete with tickets for the conductor to punch on their way in, individual thermoses of hot chocolate, and a battery-powered strand of lights to make the minivan more magical. You can probably skip the Tom Hanksesque hobo sitting on top.

See Santa Claus From A Social Distance

If you live in Park Ridge or nearby, the Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a 5-mph drive-by through the city tomorrow (Sunday, December 20) from noon to 3 p.m with the big man himself riding in a vintage 1931 Studebaker with a police escort. See the map below to stake out a spot six feet away from the nearest party and support a local business while you’re in the neighborhood

Here’s a link you can use to monitor Santa’s progress in real-time.

Witness The Great Planetary Conjunction a.k.a. The Christmas Star

OK, so this is not necessarily related to Christmas, but it’s cool and it’s timely, so let’s call it The Christmas Star. If you haven’t already heard, Jupiter and Saturn will line up in the night sky and appear closer than they have in 400 years on the evening of Monday, December 21. Isn’t that a better event to tell your grandchildren about than the pandemic of 2020?

If you want to learn a lot more about this planetary conjunction, you can check out this half-hour video from NASA.

The video notes that even if it’s cloudy on December 21, you should still try to see it in the days before or after that. It’s best to try 45 minutes after sunset and things will be visible for about an hour, looking like extremely bright stars in the western sky. They even offer tips for how to photograph it.

I hope you have a safe, healthy, and merry Christmas, no matter what your celebration looks like this year. Thanks for reading and subscribing, and please pass this along to anyone who might enjoy it! Merry Christmas!