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Chicago’s 103rd Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony


November 18, 6pm

Millennium Park

DCASE Homepage  >  Millennium Park  >  Upcoming Events  >  Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony  >  Holiday Events


The Christmas Tree will be on display in Millennium Park until January 6, 2017.

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

(click on image to enlarge)


The City of Chicago is proud to present the 103rd Anniversary of the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Millennium Park, Friday, November 18.

The 103rd Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature a performance by the international percussion sensation created by Luke Cresswell and Steve NcNicholas: STOMP along with a special appearance by Santa Claus.

Also performing, cast members from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical, which returns to Chicago for nine shows only at The Chicago Theatre. The limited holiday engagement begins, November 17 through November 20. Join the world’s most famous reindeer and a holly jolly cast of iconic characters including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster as they help Santa save Christmas. For complete details, visit

The ceremony finale will feature an assortment of holiday classics sung by the Chicago Community Chorus, followed by a special appearance by Santa and Mrs. Claus, followed by the lighting of the tree!

The 103rd Tree Lighting Ceremony is presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and sponsored in part by the 93.9 MYfm, Chicago Transit Authority. The lights adorning the Christmas tree are donated and placed on the tree by IBEW Local 134.

Admission to the Tree Lighting Ceremony and all other holiday activities in Millennium Park is free.


Chicago's 2016 Christmas Tree - 69 Foot Norway Spruce from Wauconda, IllinoisChicago’s 103rd Christmas Tree was donated by Scholla Family of Wauconda, Illinois

Chicago’s 103rd Christmas Tree was donated by Scholla Family of Wauconda, Illinois, their 69 foot Norway Spruce was selected out of 120 submissions received by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Bill Scholla, who nominated the tree, grew up on the North side of Chicago and now lives in Wauconda with his wife Margie. The Scholla family will join Santa Claus and other guests to light the tree at the annual ceremony.


The City's Search for the Perfect Tree

Throughout the summer and early fall, trees from the Chicagoland area were submitted to the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) for consideration. With input and assistance from BrightView Landscape Development (landscaping/tree professionals) the City of Chicago selects a tree based on the following criteria: must be a Spruce or Fir tree at least 55 feet tall, easily accessible to insure a safe removal and located within 100 miles of Chicago’s Loop.


Lights & Decorations

The tree is adorned with 48,375 multi-colored lights (8,375  LED C-9 bulbs and 40,000 LED mini lights) and topped off with a brightly lit star.


Other Holiday Events

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

November 18, 2016-March 5, 2017; Hours Vary

Millennium Park

The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium park will kick off the winter season on Friday, November 18 (weather permitting), on the same day as the 103rd Annual Chicago Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration.


Caroling at Cloud Gate

Fridays, November 25, December 2, 9, 16 & 23, 2016; 6-7pm

Millennium Park

Bundle up and get ready to belt out some holiday classics at these festive events that are part concert, part sing-along as local Chicago choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song.


Information and Resources

Millennium Park

Millennium Park
Near Michigan Ave. & Washington St.
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601

FREE Admission

Millennium Park Open Daily, 6am-11pm 

Visitor Information

 The City of Chicago's 1913 Christmas Tree in Grant Park

History of the Christmas Tree