93. Great New Year’s Parties in Barrington

93.  Great New Year’s Parties in Barrington

If you’re still looking for a fun way to celebrate New Year’s Eve and the start of 2012, there are some great places in Barrington hosting huge parties!

You don’t have to go far to ring in the new year with festive crowds, live music and even balloon drops for kids AND adults. Plus, there’s a great New Year’s Day Brunch scheduled for this Sunday…

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92. Celebrate Miracles on the Eighth Night of Hanukkah

92.  Celebrate Miracles on the Eighth Night of Hanukkah

 Menorahs are glowing brightly tonight, the eighth and final night of Hanukkah. Though I don’t know as much as I’d like to about the Jewish holiday, I love that these little sparkling lights symbolize triumph, hope and miracles, the stuff of so many of our most cherished traditions. Because I’ve never celebrated this holiday before, I’m self conscious that my explanation might be insufficient so … Read more…

91. Survive Christmas

91.  Survive Christmas

 What just happened?  For me, the holiday hit like a Christmas tsunami this year, leaving a debris-field of pine needles and toys in its wake.  I couldn’t get our dead, u-chop-your-own-Christmas-tree out of the house fast enough yesterday. And I’m so relieved that all signs of wrapping paper, along with that scary Christmas shelf-elf, are finally out of sight. There must be a better way … Read more…

90. It’s a Christmas TIE at 365Barrington.com!

90.  It’s a Christmas TIE at 365Barrington.com!

Two of our “Scared of Santa” photos were neck-and-neck throughout the day yesterday so it’s fitting that the day, and our contest, ended with a Christmas TIE!

There were many votes cast in our contest this week and both winners received exactly 48.95% of the vote.

The elves at Brilliant Sky Toys in Lake Zurich agreed to split the $100 prize in half. So I have in my hand two $50 gift certificates to purchase toys for two truly traumatized children. Now that’s making up for the laughs we shared at their expense! Read on to see the winning photos…

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88. Kids’ Shopping Day at the Barrington Home Shoppe

88.  Kids’ Shopping Day at the Barrington Home Shoppe

Your favorite little elves have a rare opportunity to get expert holiday gift advice in Barrington this weekend. This special kids’ shopping event has become an annual tradition and it’s happening tomorrow at the Barrington Home Shoppe in the Ice House Mall.

If you bring your kids to the shoppe between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, December 17, helpers will be on hand to make it easy for them to find the perfect gifts for parents. Children will receive 10% off their holiday purchases and enjoy hot chocolate and other treats. They’ll also be able to choose their holiday wrapping for all their purchases! A lot of dads see it as a great way to pick gifts mom will treasure for years to come. And moms often wait in the hall and let their kids make purchases while they’re not watching.

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86. Men’s Shopping Night at Norton’s U.S.A.

86.  Men’s Shopping Night at Norton’s U.S.A.

If your spouse is like mine, he probably hasn’t started his holiday shopping yet. He probably waits until he gets home from work a few days before Christmas and says, “I have to run out and do some quick Christmas shopping. I’ll be back in about an hour.”

So tonight, I’m trying something different. I’m going to gently suggest that he head over to Norton’s U.S.A. for some MAN-tastic holiday shopping tips in Barrington. They’re hosting Men’s Night, staying open late and will be offering men expert gift advice on all-things American-made.

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85. “C” is for Cookie at Community Church of Barrington

85.  “C” is for Cookie at Community Church of Barrington

Bakers throughout Barrington have been busy all week preparing for tomorrow morning’s 38th Annual Community Church of Barrington Cookie Walk. If you want to see what “selling like hot cakes” looks like, don’t be late. Last year, they sold out of cookies in just over an hour.  So be sure to show up early because goodies found at the Cookie Walk make THE BEST “homemade” holiday gifts for neighbors.  They look just like you baked them yourself.  But …. shhh … don’t tell anyone I’ve let you in on this sneaky cookie tip.  I wouldn’t want my own neighbors to know my little holiday secret ;).

Here’s how it works, for $10, you can buy a “one pound” box and fill it with your own hand-picked assortment of cookies in all shapes, sizes and colors…

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84. Bring a Toy to Win a Visit with Devin Hester TONIGHT

84.  Bring a Toy to Win a Visit with Devin Hester TONIGHT

Chicago Bears wide receiver, Devin Hester, will be visiting with fans in Lake Barrington TONIGHT to help raise funds to support our troops. All 500 tickets for tonight’s event at the Lake Barrington Field House have sold out. But there’s still one way you can get on the guest list.

Funds raised at tonight’s event will help cover the cost of care packages headed overseas to active members of the US Military. They will also be collecting toy donations for the Toys for Tots campaign tonight. And that’s how you can win the “Last Chance” raffle and a ticket to meet Devin Hester while he’s here.

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83. “A Christmas Carol” at Prairie Middle School

83.  “A Christmas Carol” at Prairie Middle School

He’s cold.  He’s cranky.  And he’s coming soon to a theater near you! Ebeneezer Scrooge and the cast of A Christmas Carol will take the stage at Prairie Middle School this weekend and I hear eighth grader, Scott Jonske, plays one mean miser!

Eighth Grader, Scott Jonske, as Scrooge at Prairie Middle School

Because we could all use a close encounter with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come from time to time, the students at Prairie Middle School have been working hard to prepare for this weekend’s performances.  They’ve practiced their lines, fine-tuned their adaptation and hope we’ll come out to see the shows this Thursday, Friday or Saturday.  After all, it’s just not Christmastime until you hear at least one “Bah Humbug!”

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82. Santa Welcome, Tree Lighting & Holiday Festivities

82.  Santa Welcome, Tree Lighting & Holiday Festivities

This is it!  The Day is here.  When Santa Claus will Reappear.

Santa at the Sweet Spot Candy Shop, Courtesy of Bob Lee

He’s coming on a fire truck.  And his guest house is all set up.

Santa House on Cook at Main Street, Courtesy of Bob Lee

Our tree will sparkle in the night when St. Nick lights it up so bright.

5 p.m. Tree Lighting TONIGHT in Barrington!

You’ll want to see and hear, for sure, the town’s best Christmas carolers

Courtesy of the Village of Barrington

And sip hot chocolate inside or climb aboard a carriage ride.

Carriage Rides in Downtown Barrington, Courtesy of the Barrington Village

A trolley will be making stops at all the best holiday shops.

All Lit Up at the Sweet Spot Candy Shop, Courtesy of Bob Lee

So get some Christmas shopping done and come home tired from too much fun!

Click the “Continue Reading” link below for the full list of today’s holiday events throughout Barrington…

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81. Experience “The Nutcracker”, Barrington-Style

81.  Experience “The Nutcracker”, Barrington-Style

One of my favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit is to sit back and listen to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite while watching the classic holiday story unfold on stage.  You don’t have to leave Barrington this weekend to see local and guest ballet dancers bring the story to life. Barrington Youth Dance Ensemble’s 17th Annual Nutcracker Performances are taking place this weekend, starting with opening night TONIGHT at Barrington High School!

Barrington Youth Dance Ensemble Nutracker Ballet

This year’s cast will feature professional guest artists from River North Dance Chicago, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, New York, Modern American Dance Company in St. Louis and NoMi LaMaD Dance Inc.  Over 65 Barrington area student dancers, ages 7 to 18, are performing in this year’s ballet. Tickets will be available at the door and there are four scheduled performances to choose from…

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80. Savor the Season with Barrington’s Holiday Menus

80. Savor the Season with Barrington’s Holiday Menus

Area restaurants are rolling out new holiday menus just in time for the Village of Barrington’s festive four-day kickoff to the holiday season this weekend. We’re all invited to start a new tradition of sampling special seasonal dishes at local restaurants throughout the month, starting this Friday night, the eve of Santa’s Saturday arrival in downtown Barrington.

There are over 40 exceptional restaurants to choose from in Barrington, offering something for everyone with cuisines from around the globe. I checked out the holiday menus at three of my favorite Barrington restaurants today, just to give you a little taste of what you’ll find when you dine out in Barrington this month…

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