Holiday Traditions at the Ellwood House

By mid-November of each year, the Ellwood mansion is decked for the holidays. Tour guides lead visitors room-by-room and deliver the history of the home while guests delight in the gilt and stenciled ceilings, rich woodwork, and elegant holiday decorations. Then, during the first weekend of December, things become even more festive as the mansion comes alive with twinkling lights, music, and the history of the Ellwood family, as told by tour guides in each room of the mansion.


New this year is a fantastic display on the second floor by DeKalb School District 428 Librarians. The group was inspired by both their profession and the ornate bookcase that lines the hall. Unique details of their decorating include cutout characters from reproduction book pages and a Christmas tree made from multiple, stacked books in various shades of green.


To take a guided tour in November or attend the open house event in December, visitors may purchase tickets in the Visitor Center or book them in advance at Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for youth ages 6 to 17, and free for children under 6. Open house hours are Friday, December 2 from 7 pm to 9 pm and Sat, Dec. 3 & Sun., Dec 4 from 1 pm to 5 pm (last admittance 30 minutes before close).


The holiday event takes weeks of preparation and a host of volunteers to be a success.  Participants include Kathy Hallgren, Linda Wahlstrom, Lois Miller, Kishwaukee College Special Events Class, DeKalb School District 428 Librarians, Haircuttery, Belle & Herbie’s Handmade Treasures and Vintage Finds (Kori Rempfer Pietrowski and Mark Pietrowski Jr.), Tracy Coyle, Kohl’s of DeKalb, Altrusa International of DeKalb/Sycamore, DeKalb Area Garden Club, Kohl’s of Batavia, Steve Klopfenstein, COUNTRY Financial, Cracker Jax, Pam and Tim Holt, and Hickey Family Farm (John & Kristen Hickey).

The Ellwood House is located at 509 North First Street, DeKalb, IL 60115. Additional information can be found at or by calling 815-756-4609.  Major sponsorship of Holiday Traditions is provided by First National Bank.