The Best Christmas Decorations in Chicago
Slide Presentation
An Amusing Look at the Finest Holiday Displays in the Area
and the Delightful People Who Create Them



Speaker: Mary Edsey, author of The Best Christmas Decorations in Chicagoland
Audio-visuals: Slide presentation
Length: 45 minutes, followed by questions, book sales and signing.
Fee: Dependent on group size. Call for rates.
Publicity photos available on request.
Mary Edsey

    For millions of Americans, driving around to look at Christmas decorations is as much a part of holiday tradition as trimming the tree. In Chicagoland, where even the name sounds like an amusement park, elaborate displays from downtown to Monee attract viewers worldwide.
    Native Chicagoan Mary Edsey logged over 10,000 miles in her car during five chilly holiday seasons discovering, photographing, and interviewing for the first edition of her self-published guidebook, The Best Christmas Decorations in Chicagoland, which sold over 14,000 copies and received widespread media attention. After 5,000 more miles and five more years of research, she now brings you the second edition of her award-winning book, which features 157 new displays and 79 repeat locations that have grown better every year.   
In this updated, entertaining, yuletide slide presentation, she captivates her audience with beautiful photographs of displays featured in her new book and intrigues listeners with the delightful tales of the enthusiastic creators. They include:
    • a 91-year-old Barrington resident and former locally famous Arlington Heights Santa Claus who started building his own elaborate display in 1993 and continues to add four new homemade yard decorations each year;
    • a disgruntled Elk Grove Village decorator who disassembled his display soon after Christmas, only to reassemble the entire thing a few hours later when he discovered he had, in fact, won the local decorating contest;
    • a Chicago woman who coaxed a passing fireman with a hook and ladder to hang a star at the top of her front yard tree in exchange for homemade tamales;
    • a Park Ridge woman whose family of cement geese dressed as an angel, a reindeer and Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus are not only a part of her manger scene but are dressed for all occasions from a wardrobe of 20 outfits;
    • a longtime Wilmette resident whose front yard is trimmed with a locally famous display left to him by the decorator he had helped as a boy; and   
    • a Wauconda woman who was surprised by a traffic jam on her block one night only to discover it was caused by a 13-foot snowman her husband had constructed in their front yard.   
Edsey also features downtown decorations and famous displays of the past, such as Chicago’s Candy Cane Lane neighborhood.
     “The Best Christmas Decorations in Chicagoland” is a holiday presentation that is sure to entertain audiences and fill them with the spirit of the season!

Mary Edsey has made numerous appearances on television and radio and been featured in dozens of magazine newspaper articles, including the front page of the Tribune Sunday. She has been presenting her holiday program since 1995 at dozens of libraries and organizations to high acclaim.

Mary Edsey's holiday slide presentation has received these enthusiastic responses:
"Highly entertaining!" - Margaret Annett, Borg-Warner 200 Club
"Very highly recommended!" - Steve Gianni, Northbrook Public Library
"Mary Edsey is a wonderful speaker--so full of life and so animated--absolutely the best way to kick-of the holiday season, I can't wait to have her come back again!"
- Margarete Gross, Visual & Performing Arts Division
  Harold Washington Library Center
"Mary Edsey's slide show is a delightful tour of Chicago and the suburbs during the holiday season. She is so familiar with her subject that she casually relates the details of amazing decorating feats from the traditional to the incredible! Her presentation really brings her book to life: she details the fascinating history, engineering, and hard work that goes into these holiday decorations, and the effort that went into the production of her book."
- Mary Clark, "The Chicago Authors Series"
  Edgewater Library