Historical Holidays: Celebrating Christmas in Chicago’s Parks

I can tell by the number of holiday lights in my neighborhood, and the decorated trees I see in windows, that lots of folks jumped into the holiday spirit a little earlier this year. It's reassuring to see that even in this difficult year, there are still celebrations to share, even if from a distance.

Sharing holiday spirit and festive activities has gone on throughout Chicago's parks for decades. The Chicago Park District collections in the Special Collections and Preservation Division at Harold Washington Library Center include more than 62,000 photographs that showcase activities and celebrations in the parks. Among them are many holiday celebrations, from Valentine's Day and Arbor Day, to Mother's Day and Labor Day, to Halloween and Thanksgiving. In December, Christmas celebrations took place in many local parks. Chicagoans celebrated the season with tree trimmings, craft activities, singing and parties. 

As you cozy up at home this year, we hope you enjoy this selection of holiday photographs from Chicago's parks. To see more photos of the parks, explore the Chicago Park District Digital Collections.

Season's greetings!