How to “Holiday” in 12 Festive Steps

“First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of tollhouse cookie dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we’ll snuggle.” Match Buddy the Elf’s enthusiasm with even more ways to embrace the holidays.

1. Secure a hot cocoa companion. 


Christkindlmarket is coming to town. Actually, it’s already here! Now through Dec 24, grab some green, and head to Daley Plaza between Washington, Clark and Dearborn St. Wander in ornament wonderland, snap a photo by the big tree, and leave the candy-striped kiosks feeling glücklich, or happy in German. Don’t forget one of their annual souvenir mugs to reminisce/sip from all year long.

2. Sing loud for all to hear. 


Huddle up with fellow carolers to spread merriment in Millenium Park on Dec 2, 9 or 16. Then give your vocals a rest by skating on over to the McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink for triple axels or tripping avoidance.

3. Ditch your old coat.


Odds are you picked up a new one during Black Friday or Cyber Monday madness. Gift the less fortunate through the Chicago Bears Coat Drive. “Da Bears”, Jewel-Osco, and The Salvation Army unite to warm bodies and hearts. Find the drop-off location nearest you through Jan 1.

4. Gather together.


Photo credit: Jesse Lirola

Whatever your denomination, gather to worship strings, bells, and whistles at Fourth Presbyterian Church. Violinist Andrew Bird will deliver a stripped-down sermon of old and new songs Dec 14-16, 8PM

5. Track down “the” tree.


Take pride in picking (and possibly uprooting) your own pine or fir. Ben’s Christmas Tree Farm offers 9 breeds of trees, “decorate-your-own” wreaths, horse-drawn wagon rides, and a break from city living (7719 Ryan Rd, Harvard, IL 60033). A more local lot, Christmas Trees Chicago, delivers for free within three miles. Check out one of their locations to stock up on firewood, lights and other decor to complete your Yuleitde display.

6. Continue celebrating sweet victory at Gingerbread Field.


This 400-pound display was masterminded by Chef Gerald Madero of Forest Hills Country Club. Greet the winning ballpark transformed into candied structure before season’s end.

7. Catch a holiday double feature.


Desert your couch imprint for Music Box Theatre’s 33rd sing-a-long event. An emcee Santa, 2 classic films (White Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life), and ample cheer await. Runs Sat, Dec 10th through Sat, Dec 24th.

8. Go festing.


Over 30 local businesses vie for your patronage at West Town Winterfest. Tour trunk sales, snag items inspired by the season, and appease even the toughest on your gift list this Sat, Dec 10 from 12-6PM. Forgo walking with a guided Jolly Trolley tour for just $10.

9. Have yourself a merry little 5k.


Soldier Field. Sweating. Ugly sweaters. Be there for it all Dec 10 at 11AM. Once you finish the 3.1 mile fun run, “hydrate” with hot chocolate and/or a Kahlúa cocktail. Other perks include “ginormous” inflatables, jubilant music, wacky awards, and more.

10. Outgift your friends.


Meet Foursided, a custom framing, vintage, card and gift oasis with 3 locations (Andersonville and Lakeview) and loads of cute and quirky joy. With their Holiday Gift Guide, you can address everyone on your list from Chicago diehards and pin collectors to “boss ladies” and boyfriends. Shop here for one-of-a-kind goods. Good luck leaving.

11. Hole up in cosmic snowglobe.

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Adler Planetarium’s Grainger Sky Theatre presents the “world’s largest snow globe” . Get lost in a virtual world of large flakes and “Windy City” monuments through Jan 1. Permission to drop jaw and open this gift before Christmas granted.

12. Witness a brave, new ballet.


From Dec 10-30, you can see The Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker like never before. Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon juxtaposes the classic production with Chicago history. Take a seat for an unforgettable dance through 1893 World’s Fair.


Images linked to sources

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