Even with temperatures in the low 30s and a wind chill that made it feel even colder, residents of Glen Ellyn suited up in their warmest clothes and headed out to watch Santa light the tree on Main Street and do some shopping.
The theme for this year's Holiday Walk was Stars of Wonder, and it was apparent in the designs of the store windows along Main Street. Window displays readily made use of stars and holiday lights, and the whole downtown twinkled.
Glen Ellyn Sweet Shoppe, 550 Crescent Blvd., was handing out delicious Ghirardelli peppermint and white chocolate treats and inviting visitors inside to browse the candy aisles. New owners Susan and Matt Johanson took over the shop about two weeks ago. Susan was a former employee and loved the place so much that she decided to buy it when the owner wanted to retire.
"We're keeping everything pretty much the same," Susan said. "People love it so much the way it is, why change it?"
Other businesses were handing out special treats as well to hungry and cold shoppers. Lots of hot chocolate and cookies were just right for the season. The free treats definitely drew some residents out of their warm homes.
"There's lots of fun stuff here to see and we like to get the cookies," said Brent Price, who brought his daughter Zoe, 3, to come see the stores.
Zoe will be asking for a Pillow Pet for Christmas this year. She hopes Santa will bring it and is planning to leave out milk and cookies at her grandma's house for St. Nick and carrots for his reindeer.
At 6 p.m. sharp, Santa arrived, walking through the huge crowd that had gathered around the Christmas Tree at Crescent Boulevard and Main Street. With some help from Glen Ellyn's Volunteer Fire Company, he was hoisted up into the bucket to magically light the tree. It took two tries, but after the second count down, it lit to the cheers of the crowd shivering in the streets.
Check out our video of the tree lighting and our photos of the Holiday Walk. If you took pictures, feel free to upload your own as well!