This image from the Illinois State Water Survey shows the climatological normal chances of a White Christmas, defined as 1" of snow on the ground Christmas morning. Most of central and southeast Illinois has between a 25% and 35% chance. (click image to enlarge)
A record dry year was coming to an end in parts of central Illinois. During 1914, Springfield reported only 22.76 inches of precipitation, and Champaign had 24.68 inches. The normal amount of precipitation for a year is around 35 inches.
A strong cold front pushed into an unsesaonably warm airmass over central Illinois, causing severe thunderstorms with widespread wind damage. In Springfield, part of the roof was blown off a school, and 3 large barns and the grandstand were damaged at the state fairgrounds. In addition, heavy rain fell on partially frozen ground to cause flooding in a few areas.