Holiday Neighborhood Traditions | Libertyville Area Moms

Milk Jug Luminaries Tradition

We moved to a very special neighborhood 2.5 years ago. We knew it was the “milk jug” neighborhood when we bought the home but nonetheless we were surprised to see the former owners left us 15 milk jugs, a string of lights and a note in our garage when we moved in. The jugs are handed down to the new residents when anyone leaves one of the 28 houses on Dymond and Dover just south of Golf Road in Libertyville. For the past 33 years, every holiday season over 800 luminaria are lit on these two cul-de-sac streets making it a destination for families seeking a special holiday experience of viewing holiday lights. They are lit every night from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas and look the most beautiful when there has been a snowfall.

Mary Ann Chamberlain organized this in 1986 inspired by experience in her former Oklahoma City neighborhood. Mary Ann has since left the neighborhood but Hailey Yetman now lives in her home with her family and shared that “We look forward to this tradition every year. It brings the whole neighborhood together and lights up our hearts and holiday spirit. It’s hard not to get a big grin on your face when you pull onto our street.”

Article written in 1986 by Susan Ewait about the first holiday season with the milk jug luminaries. A kind neighbor dropped this off for us when we moved in.


We are thankful we live in this neighborhood with such strong traditions and sense of community filled with wonderful people who have become like friends and family. We are grateful they helped us drink lots of milk on that first Christmas here when we realized at the last minute that we were short 8 milk jugs and needed to drink 8 galloons of milk quickly. 😉

New Traditions

We are also proud to start some of our own traditions to add to the neighborhood. This year was our Second Annual Kids Ornament Exchange for the neighborhood. We’ve gained three more families with children since we moved in bringing it to a total of 20 kids. Each year we’ve had special visitors from Santa and Mrs. Claus!!! They surprised the kids and impressed them really instilling that sense of magic when they told each one of them something good they’ve been doing and knowing what they wanted for Christmas. Santa and Mrs. Claus always accept donations for their time and give 100% to Northwestern Memorial Foundation. This is such a special, magical afternoon that we look forward to each year!

Mrs. Claus and Santa himself parked on the pond and walked over to surprise us during our Kids Ornament Exchange!

They knew all of the good things the kids had been up to plus they brought them each a small gift.

Santa and Mrs. Claus’ first surprise visit in 2018. 

Caroling with Classmates

A close friend who lives just outside of our neighborhood started a tradition last year of getting classmates from our elementary school together to go caroling. She loves the luminaries so she chose our neighborhood. The kids and neighbors alike loved this so much we’ll be doing it again this year. We even rang a bell during a family holiday party where they were all dressed in matching pajamas! Creating magical memories for our children is the motivation behind the new traditions and we hope they continue for more than 3 decades too!

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