Chicago Christmas tree 2

Mayor Lightfoot refuses to let the pandemic ruin Chicago's holiday spirit. In a press release issued with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), she has invited everyone to watch this year’s Tree Lighting ceremony on YouTube. 

A 30-minute program titled, Millennium Park at Home: Chicago Holidays, debuted November 19 at 6:30 p.m. Presented “in lieu of an in-person, public tree lighting ceremony,” it was hosted by Kurtis Productions with support from the Millennium Park Foundation and DCASE. The show remains viewable on the DCASE Facebook Channel.

Program highlights included pre-recorded musical performances by the Chicago Children’s Choir, Sones de México Ensemble and Percy Bady and friends.

“We are extremely excited to be continuing our city’s beloved winter traditions this season in a safe and healthy way,” said the mayor. “Despite the historic challenges presented throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been unceasing in finding workable solutions at every turn.” 

Besides electrifying the 45-foot Blue Spruce donated by the family of Morgan Park resident Catherine Townsend, the program will also feature a special tribute to the 50th anniversary of Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas and acknowledgements to both Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

And once the tree is twinkling, people may view it in person near the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Washington St. from November 20 through January 7.

The YouTube presentation is among many events happening across the Millennium Park Campus this holiday season. Others include:

  • Virtual tours of the Chicago Cultural Center – plus outdoor public art tours of the Millennium Park Campus on the first and third Saturday of the month,

  • In lieu of the annual Dance-Along Nutcracker event at the Chicago Cultural Center, which remains closed to the public, the original Dance-Along Nutcracker will be streamed for free by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band (December 12 & 13, – and Ballet Chicago will present two virtual versions of The Nutcracker (December 18–30, ticket at

  • Holiday shopping at Buddy, a new store created by the Public Media Institute selling Chicago-made art, objects and more – online for now at and on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center when it reopens (Additionally, show off your Chicago pride with artist-designed Official Summer Festival Merchandise created in collaboration with the Design Museum of Chicago,

  • Comedy Tailgate to Skate, December 1, and other special events at the Ice Skating Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park,

  • CMS at Home: Brandenburg Concertos presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Harris Theater for Music and Dance, streaming December 17–21,

  • Monet and Chicago, through January 18, and other exhibitions and events at the Art Institute of Chicago,

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