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Calumet City celebrates annual tree lighting ceremony at city hall

CALUMET CITY, Ill. (December 11, 2023) – The community came together to celebrate Calumet City’s annual tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 8 from 5 – 8 p.m. The outdoor event took place in front of city hall on Pulaski Road between Lincoln and Wentworth Avenue.

The three-hour event featured live music, food trucks, games, light displays, and a visit from Santa Claus and the Grinch. The official ceremony to honor the lighting of the tree took place at 6 p.m.

Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus M. Jones made a short speech before leading the countdown and encouraging the crowd to join in. The crowd erupted into applause as the Christmas tree and decorations lit up the night.

“I would like to thank everyone for coming out tonight,” he said. “We really appreciate your support.”

Mayor Thaddeus M. Jones (far right) thanked the community for attending the ceremony before leading the countdown to the lighting of the tree. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Spreading joy in the community

The excitement of Friday’s event attracted the attention of people who were unaware of it.

Eboni Pampmlin was heading home with her children when she saw the event taking place and decided to attend. “It is nice,” she said. “I’m enjoying it.”

Many people gathered around the front of Calumet City Hall to watch the tree-lighting ceremony. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

An evening of music, fun, and games

Attendees gathered in heated tents to warm up before the lighting of the tree. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Attendees mingled while enjoying live music, fried chicken from Uncle Remus, and tacos from the Taco Truck before the lighting of the tree.

The evening began with a jazz band playing Christmas carols including Little Drummer Boy.

A jazz band played traditional Christmas carols before and after the tree-lighting countdown. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Shortly after the start of the evening, Santa Claus made an appearance on his sleigh. He spent the evening taking pictures and talking with families.

Santa Claus arrives on his sleigh to visit boys and girls at Calumet City’s annual tree lighting ceremony. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
Santa waves to onlookers before getting off his sleigh to take pictures with families. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Sam Williams & Saint Sabina Youth Choir of Chicago headlined the event. The group graced the stage to perform holiday songs including Joy to the World and This Christmas.

The Saint Sabina Youth Choir of Chicago performed traditional Christmas Songs throughout the evening. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Pulaski Avenue was transformed into a dance floor as many attendees danced in front of the stage set up near Wentworth Avenue.

Attendees were invited to play video games in mobile game trucks, Fab Gaming, and Gaming Galaxy, which featured a theatre-like screen and double-player seats.

Many families waited in line for their turn to play video games in the “Fab Gaming” mobile gaming truck. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The event also featured several Christmas lights displays spread throughout the event where attendees gathered to take pictures.

Attendees took pictures with light displays to commemorate the event. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The Grinch from the classic Dr. Seuss story How the Grinch Stole Christmas, stole the show with his appearance toward the end of the event.

The tree lighting ceremony took place in front of Calumet City Hall located at 204 Pulaski Rd. in Calumet City. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

For more information on events in Calumet City, visit

Calumet City Hall is located at 204 Pulaski Road.

Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.


  1. The ceremony is mostly similar to the events held by the former mayors, with noticeable differences in wasteful spending by the current office holder.

    Mayor Jones spent, without prior discussion, an RFP, or council approval, nearly $40 thousand dollars to “rent” certain displays pieces. He also provided free food with food trucks and paid a choir from St. Sabina to perform. Does Calumet City not have any local school children or adult choir members who could have lent their voices to the event? There is also an empty police vehicle that has been parked near one display area for weeks to apparently thwart vandals that should be used to patrol and monitor the city.

    In the past, the city purchased holiday lights and display pieces that were both placed and removed by public works crews and used yearly. Although the city paid for live reindeers to be present, tax dollars were not spent to provide free meals. Instead, hot chocolate and cookies were given to spectators. All of which is a more cost-effective approach.

    With rising inflation, still-too-high interest rates, and overly priced goods and services, residents have had to tighten their finances and in many cases do without. The city should be no exception.

    It seems that certain individuals look at the budget funds and run wild like it’s a gifted personal open checkbook. Cal city can’t afford all this wasteful spending. Hasn’t Jones heard the phrases “balanced budget” and “less is more?”

    Candidates should have to take and pass a basic economics and finance course in order to run for public office. They should also be required to sign an affidavit that any overages or unlawful expenditures will come out of their paycheck, their pension, and then frozen from their personal accounts. Maybe only then they will learn to do things the right way, and not the Illinois way.

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