Holidays 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you grateful for?

At the City of Belleville, we're grateful for our excellent schools and educators; our first responders, front-liners, healthcare workers; our local businesses; friends and family; and our community spirit and resilience. Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving! 

Holidays 2020

Message from Mayor Mark Eckert 

As we come to the close of the year, it’s incredible to think the end of 2020 is upon us. It’s been an unprecedented year, to say the least. The challenges of COVID-19 are not over. The City of Belleville continues to monitor the health and wellness of our residents and region along with the ongoing financial and staffing challenges we face. Our concern over businesses has not gone away and we appreciate those who have gone the extra mile to protect their employees and residents of our city. Thank you!

We are all saddened that most of our fall and holiday activities are cancelled. I know our organizations and city staff have labored over these decisions. Many are actively working to create alternative events, like the Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce’s Remote Chili Cook-Off. As you have probably heard, Downtown Trick-or-Treat has been cancelled; it’s simply not safe to congregate in large crowds. However, the Parks & Rec Department has created an alternative to this – Boo Buckets, delivered directly to your home. Our Veterans Day Ceremony will be held Nov. 11, but those details are still being finalized. It will be a virtual event. Stay tuned as we announce those details. We saw a successful virtual Sept. 11 Moment of Remembrance Ceremony and want to extend our gratitude to that committee for hosting such a great event.

It is with great sadness that the Christkindlmarkt was cancelled this year, but we are excited to learn they’ll host a virtual market. Details will be released soon. We also heard from Santa and because he wants to ensure everyone’s health and safety for the holiday season, we aren’t able to host the Santa Parade or Santa on the Square. While Santa won’t be able to meet with children before Christmas, you can drop off letters to Santa downtown in a special North Pole mailbox. Santa will read some of those letters live on Facebook. He’s also told us that he’s planning some Santa Sightings where he’ll stroll through our Belleville neighborhoods to say ‘hi’ from afar.

We’ll decorate downtown as we do each year and ask that our residents add a few decorations to the neighborhoods to help lift our spirits during these difficult times. We’ll offer the Virtual Gingerbread Endurance Challenge in place of the Gingerbread 5K and the annual Gingerbread Contest, which looks a little different this year. It’s the 51st year for the Way of Lights at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Continue to support them and make this long-standing tradition stronger than ever!

Please remember our Belleville businesses. Shop local first. It’s more important this year than ever as many of them are seriously struggling. Nov. 28 is Shop Small Saturday. Make this one count! Please be safe and continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing. I wish you a happy holiday season and a blessed and safe New Year.

Click on the graphics below to learn more about the upcoming events. 

For the livestream of the event on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., visit our Facebook page

Shop Small Saturday

shop small graphic

Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce's Movie Nights with Santa

For more information, click here.

Calls from Santa

The Belleville Parks & Recreation Department is hosting CALLS FROM SANTA & the NORTH POLE ELVES starting on November 30, 2020. We will have special assistance from the Downtown Belleville Optimist Club, Belleville Jaycees, Belleville Rugby Club, and Little Knights Football Club. All calls are made on a first come-first served basis with priority given to Belleville residents. PARENTS – Please fill out the attached call form noting that this program is a PHONE CALL ONLY, NOT A GIFT GIVING PROGRAM. If your child becomes too shy/excited that the conversation becomes difficult, please let us know and we will send a LETTER FROM THE NORTH POLE instead. Remember that Santa is very busy this time of year and counts on his elves to carry some of the workload. Please know that your child may receive a call from Santa or one of his handy helper elves. You must submit forms no later than Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. For complete details and the request form, click the graphic below.  

Calls will take place from 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and Dec. 2.

Request Form for Calls from Santa

Gingerbread Contest Displays

To All Gingerbread Contest Participants:  

As you all know, 2020 has seen unprecedented circumstances. As a result, many events have been cancelled or postponed. The Belleville Gingerbread Contest is no different. The Gingerbread Committee has debated at length about this year’s contest. The one thing we DO NOT want to do is cancel it! However, for the safety of all participants and the good will of contest sponsors, the contest must be modified for this year.  

It is our hope that having Gingerbread creations in the windows of downtown Belleville will bring joy, holiday spirit, and just a little bit of “normal” to this crazy year.  

We would like to thank all of the sponsors of the Gingerbread Contest. It is through their generous support that we are able to host this event and offer such great monetary prizes. We recognize that many of the contest sponsors themselves are dealing with decreased revenues and temporary business models. It is with this in mind, that the Gingerbread Committee is returning all monies collected thus far to the sponsors and asking them to reserve it for the 2021 Contest. The Gingerbread Committee itself will offer the prizes outlined below.

 The 2020 Gingerbread Contest will have two categories: Adult (16 years and older) and Children (15 years and younger). EVERY Adult entry will receive 25 Downtown Dollars to be used at participating businesses. EVERY Child will entry will receive 25 Downtown Dollars to be used at participating Belleville businesses.

Once the Creations are placed in windows, there will be an option for viewers to vote for their favorite in each category. Prizes, awarded by popular vote, are as follows: 

Adult, 1st   prize  $300; 2nd  price   $200; 3rd  prize $100 (cash prizes).

 Child, 1st prize $100; 2nd prize $75; 3rd prize $50 (cash prizes).

 Gingerbread Creations are to be turned in to Toot’s Cake Decorating & Candy, 314 E. Main St., Belleville, IL 62220, November 14th between 8am – 2pm. The Creations will be placed in windows by November 18th and voting will go through December 12th. 

We hope to see your imaginations come to life in the form of GINGERBREAD. There are no stringent rules this year, no judging panel...this IS the year to let your imagination and your creativity run wild! We do, however, hope that all participants maintain the integrity of the contest.

2020 Gingerbread Contest (2)

Trouble viewing this graphic? Click here

Blizzard Boxes

Deadline for orders is Dec. 4.
parks  Rec

Trouble viewing this graphic? Click here

19th Annual Angel of Hope Memorial

The annual Angel of Hope Ceremony will be held December 6, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at the Stone Lodge Facility located at Bellevue Park, 401 Bellevue Park Dr., Belleville, IL 62226. The Angel of Hope Monument was brought to Belleville to support parents who have lost a child of any age, for any reason. To honor children’s memories, a memorial wall and walkway have been established. The Belleville Angel of Hope is located to the east of the Bellevue Stone Lodge, facing the beautiful lake. Benches are spaced around the perimeter so that loved ones can rest and meditate in a serene setting. For more information, please contact the Belleville Parks & Recreation Department at 618-233-1416.

The Old Belleville Historical Luminary Walk

The Old Belleville Historical Luminary Walk is schedule for Sat., Dec. 12 from 5-9 p.m. in the Old Belleville Historic District. There will be no homes open during the luminary walk this year. For more information, click here


Letters to Santa & Santacasts

Children can drop off their Letters to Santa at Belleville's Public Square downtown, in a special North Pole mailbox, and then tune-in to live letter readings by Santa! 

November 27 @ 10 a.m.

December 2 @ 7 p.m.

December 9 @ 7 p.m.

December 16 @ 7 p.m.

December 23 @ 7 p.m.

Tune into the live Santacasts at:


Trouble seeing the graphic, click here

*Please note Santa will only be able to read select letters.*

Santa Sighting & Canned FOod Drive 

City of Belleville Hosts Canned Food Drive and Santa Claus Drive-Through This Weekend 

 Belleville, Ill. – December 16, 2020 – The City of Belleville will host a canned food drive and drive-through Santa Claus event Sat., Dec. 19, 2020 from noon until 4 p.m.

 The event will be hosted at Fire House No. 4, 1125 S. Illinois St. Guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the local food pantry.

 “We wanted to offer an event where children could see Santa during this season, while maintaining covid-appropriate practices,” said Belleville Mayor Mark Eckert. “This is also a way for the community at large to band together and help those who are less fortunate. We’ve seen more demand on our local food pantries this year than ever before. Plus, we all know everyone enjoys seeing Santa Claus at any age!”

Santa Christmas Greeting Poster

Virtual Christkindlmarkt

To shop at the virtual market, click here

Get your Christkindlmarkt Gluhwein Gift Packs! Click here for details. 


Gingerbread Virtual Endurance Challenge 

 Catch The Grinch That Stole 2020! 

It is that time of year again! The Gingerbread Run, you know and love, has a new twist. We need your help to “Catch The Grinch That Stole 2020!” The 31-day virtual event allows everyone a chance to participate by choosing to run, walk, swim, hike, ski, bike, anytime, anywhere (even inside!). There are six (6) challenges to choose from so you can find many ways, in 31 days to complete one or all. The interactive route you choose will have a map to log your miles. We have designed each challenge to have a fun, specially designed medal to commemorate your accomplishment.



We have added four (4) easy ways to earn extra swag. You can earn logoed apparel like a neck gaiter, knit cap, ½ zip pullover and even cash back on this challenge, all for bringing friends and family to join you in this exciting challenge!

NEW! Visit our online store to order extra shirts, hoodies, ½ zip pullover and more! Let’s catch the Grinch together! Online Registration


Registration begins November 1! You have from December 1 through December 31 to reach your goal!


National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows

Each holiday season, the Shrine hosts a variety of different events and activities. Read this letter from Shrine Director Father Uribe and learn how you can support these great events. Click here to learn about Shrine sponsorship opportunities. Way-of-Lights2018

Click here for details regarding the Shrine's annual wreath decorating activity and here for details regarding it's Festival of Trees. 

Downtown Events

November - December 2020

Gingerbread Contest Display
Nov. 18-Jan 1

Letters to Santa & Live 'Santacasts'
Nov. 27 @ 10 a.m.

Shop Small Saturday
Nov. 28

Chamber's Movies with Santa - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
Nov. 28

Gingerbread Virtual Endurance Challenge
Month of December

Calls from Santa
Nov. 30, Dec. 1 & 2

Letters to Santa & Live 'Santacasts'
Dec. 2 @ 7 p.m.

Deadline to Register for Blizzard Boxes
Dec. 4

Chamber's Movies with Santa - A Charlie Brown Christmas & It’s Christmastime Again Charlie Brown 
Dec. 5

19th Annual Angel of Hope Memorial
Dec. 6

Letters to Santa & Live 'Santacasts'
Dec. 9 @ 7 p.m.

The Old Belleville Historical Luminary Walk
Dec. 12

Chamber's Movies with Santa - Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer
Dec. 12

Letters to Santa & Live 'Santacasts'
Dec. 16 @ 7 p.m.

Santa Sighting & Food Drive
Dec. 19, Noon - 4 p.m.

Virtual Christkindlmarkt

Letters to Santa & Live 'Santacasts'
December 23 @ 7 p.m.