As has been pointed out in the past, Rockford finds itself on too many lists of non-positive things, and on too few of the positive lists. However, when it comes to celebrating Christmas, we here in the Forest City can hold our heads high.

The gang at OnlyInYourState took a good close look at Illinois to determine where the best spots for Christmas revelry are each and every year. No small task, as I'm sure you've noticed that more than a few communities in our state seem to celebrate the Christmas holiday.

There are 11 total towns and cities in Illinois that receive high praise from OnlyInYourState for their Christmas celebrations and activities. Let's run down the top five:

  1. Tuscola- Did you know that there is a Christmastown right in the middle of Illinois? If you are already chomping at the bit to get into holiday festivities then it’s time to kick off the season in Tuscola the weekend of December 2nd. Pick up something special for that special someone at their homemade craft fair. Enjoy breakfast with Santa at the Douglas County Museum or run off some of those Thanksgiving goodies by participating in the Santa Chase 5K on December 3rd.
  2. Chicago- While it might seem obvious that this toddlin’ town would be full of festive holiday magic, there is something for everyone here in the Second City and it’s well worth battling a little holiday traffic. Take in one of the many amazing shows like Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker or the Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol. Head to the Daley Plaza for a commemorative ceramic boot full of mulled cider while shopping around the popular Christkindlmarket (open under December 24th). Or bundle up with some hot cocoa and listen to local choral groups belt out holiday favorites at Cloud Gate (fondly referred to as “The Bean”) before taking in a few laps on the McCormick Tribune ice rink.
  3. Galena- If you dream of an old-fashion Christmas just like the ones you used to know (see what we did there?) then it might be time to book a weekend stay at one of the historic B&Bs and enjoy the idyllic holiday town of Galena. If you are looking to do some antique shopping, this is certainly the town for you. Christmas festivities start November 26th and continue throughout December. Take a peek at some of the stately decorated homes during the Holiday Housewalk (December 3rd), or watch the streets and sidewalks come alive with candle-lit decorations and beautifully festive storefront displays (this happens on December 10th) while enjoying the sites in a horse-drawn sleigh. Take a step back in time this Christmas season and head to the historic town of Galena.
  4. Naperville- If you just can’t stomach the hoards of holiday shoppers in Chicago but you still want to enjoy Christkindlmarket, there is now one at Naper Settlement. From November 25th to December 24th, enjoy all the wonders of your Chicago Christkindlmarket except in this Chicagoland suburb. Head to downtown Naperville on December 2nd and see your favorite storefronts come to life during Holiday Living Windows with scenes from your favorite holiday movies like It’s a Wonderful Life and Charlie Brown Christmas.
  5. RockfordWith the culturally diverse background of Rockford’s residents it’s no surprise that the festivities celebrate this winter season with a plethora of different heritages. With Christmas Heritage Exhibits at the Ethnic Heritage Museum from November 27 to December 18th, a children’s choir with traditional Swedish and English songs to welcome in the Christmas seasons and a Victorian Holiday Celebration there is something to warm even the Grinchiest heart. And whether you love a good cocktail during the holiday or you can drink you weight in hot chocolate then you may want to spend time enjoying Rockford’s 12 Bars of Christmas Pub Crawl on December 17th. Take in some of the hot spots in Rockford while celebrating the holidays with friends.

And, for a global look at the best Christmas towns:

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