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I’m amazed every year just how quickly the holidays ascend upon us. Wasn’t it just Halloween? Sure, it was snowing, and it felt like winter, but temperatures have stabilized (thank you, Mother Nature!), and December is halfway over. All the cookie baking, holiday lunches & many parties have kept me quite busy.
Here are some suggestions when you need to stop, take a breath & actually try to enjoy the season. Yes, it’s extra crowded & annoying, but if you let that stop you, you’ll never leave your house. Just get out there and enjoy the decorations, lights & holiday cheer that is a part of December since it will all be over soon. It’s not quite time to hibernate yet. That’s what January & February are for!
So gather up some extra patience and enjoy the season. Here are more suggestions for celebrating the Chicago-style holidays – part #2. If you missed part #1, you can read it here.
not your mother’s holiday concert
For an out-of-the-ordinary day/night out, check out Teatro ZinZanni presents Love, Chaos & Dinner. Sounds like it’s a combination of cabaret, performance art & multi-course dining experience. Haven’t been yet, but heard good things from people who have. Here is a description from their website.
Enter a realm where reality and dreams converge! An experience unlike any other, Teatro ZinZanni is a three-hour whirlwind of international cirque, comedy and cabaret served with a multi-course feast. Described as the “dynamic, hilarious and delicious”, the fast-paced action unfolds around, above and alongside our guests. World-class acrobats, musicians, divas, illusionists, madmen, and aerialists fill our intimate Spiegeltent ZaZou, a unique jewel box mirror tent located in the heart of Chicago’s Downtown Theater District.
How about a tuba holiday concert? Yes, I said TUBA concert. Go to the beautiful Palmer House Hilton Hotel and check out a free TubaChristmas concert, Saturday, Dec 21.
keep on keeping on
The shortest day & longest night of the year is Saturday, December 21st. Let’s celebrate the winter solstice and the days getting longer by visiting one of these festive lights displays throughout the city & suburbs.
ComEd is offering customer discounts to attend holiday light shows all around Chicagoland. Click here for discounts and to see which events are free.
Aurora Festival of Lights at Phillips Park
Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
Home for the Holidays at Rialto Square Theatre, Joliet
Illumination at Morton Arboretum, Lisle
Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden
Stroll on State in Rockford
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
get a different perspective on the holidays
By bus: Don’t let the cold stop you from enjoying this beautiful city in all it’s holiday glory. Bundle up & take the Chicago Architecture Center’s holiday lights bus tour. Get tickets here. Runs through Monday, December 30.
By air: Looking for a very special & unique gift? Give the experience of a helicopter holiday lights tour. Here are 2 companies that offer them. Chicago Helicopter Experience and Vertiport Chicago.
By water: There is a new boat in town. The Odyssey Chicago River. I saw this boat on the Chicago River for the first time this past summer while I was giving a walking tour. Insert smiley with heart eyes here. The roof is all glass so I’m sure the view is spectacular and it’s entirely enclosed. Check the link above for the dining cruises they offer. It looks amazing and it operates all-year-round.
support artists from near & far
There is still time to get your holiday shopping done but you had better hurry. The Christkindlmarket is only here until Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24. Luckily there are 3 locations, Downtown Chicago, Wrigleyville & Milwaukee.
Shopping your local neighborhood establishments is a good way to get something unique and at the same time support a small business. Here is a list of stores throughout the city. I hear all the time that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, well let’s help ’em out then. Wouldn’t you rather get/give something more meaningful & perhaps handmade by a human with a smaller environmental footprint?
I’ve been a small business owner in the past and it’s not for the faint of heart. Please, I urge you to help small businesses and help them not only survive but thrive. While I love the idea of small business Saturday it needs more recognition than one day. I say we start a SMALL BUSINESS EVERYDAY campaign. WHO’s IN?!
Collectively, we can make a difference. The power is where you choose to spend your hard-earned money. Look for a new series of blog posts from me featuring small businesses. If you are a small business owner and interested in being promoted then please contact me at email@example.com.
from soup to nuts – go check out the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago
From his world-famous soup cans to a ginormous portrait of Mao the Andy Warhol From A to B and Back Again exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago does not disappoint. It is the first major U.S. retrospective of Warhol’s work in 30 years. While I expected it would be super crowded it really wasn’t that bad. Listening to the audio tour (available through the Art Institute of Chicago app) definitely helped block out some distractions so I could focus on the art. I have recommended this app before & it really does makes the experience much more enjoyable. I liked it so much I think I’ll go again. The exhibit runs through January 26, 2020. Here are some Warhol focused things to do in honor of this exhibit.
make Mr. Rogers proud
Did you know it’s the law in the city of Chicago that property owners must shovel their sidewalks? Residences and businesses can be fined if they don’t. Read more here. Besides being neighborly, it makes it easier for everyone to get around from the kiddos going to school to your mail/delivery person.
What about your neighbors who are elderly or disabled? In my ward, you can sign up for the Volunteer Snow Brigade to help. Does this exist in your neighborhood? If not, talk to your alderperson.
Although Chicago is snowless at the moment you know it’s coming & we will get slammed so you better get ready. For tips on surviving a Chicago winter, read my post here.
Now, get out there and enjoy the holidays before they are gone! I hope part #2 of celebrating the holidays Chicago style gives you some new ideas to get you out of the house and take some time to enjoy the season.
I’m taking a break for a couple of weeks to stop, take a breath & enjoy this big, beautiful, festive city. Happy Holidays!