Chicago Holiday Happenings

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It’s the first day of December, my halls are decked and the holiday season in Chicago is on. There’s no better place to get in to a festive spirit than Chicago and below are a few things I am looking forward to this month.

Music Box Theatre Christmas Sing-A-Long: December 11-24; enjoy It’s A Wonderful Life or White Christmas with a theatre full of people who came prepared with bells, costumes and a whole lot of Christmas Spirit. Also- Santa usually makes an appearance!

Brew LightsDecember 2; Zoo Lights at the Lincoln Park Zoo and Craft Beer tastings- enough said.

The Southport Stroll: December 4; from 5-9pm, enjoy sales in all the shops along Southport while Santa and Mrs Claus make their rounds, carolers in Victorian costume sing up and down the street and a horse drawn carriage acts as an old fashioned “L”. Because before public transit, there were horses.

CTA Holiday Train: Brown Line – December 2-5, Blue Line – December 10-12, Red Line – December 15, 17, 19; train cars on the “L” wrapped in Christmas everything. It’s amazing, smells really good and Santa and his reindeer brave the elements on a flatbed in between cars.

The Joffrey Ballet NutcrackerDecember 4-27; the only thing more beautiful than the theatre itself is this production by the Joffrey Ballet. Stunning and a Christmas classic.

Christkindlmart: through December 24; this German open air market is back in Daley Plaza for its 19th year and also back is the boot shaped mugs for the mulled wine. Thank goodness.


Link Love

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West Loop Street Art

{street art in the West Loop}

Bon Appetit Magazine got it absolutely right- listen to your elders when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving. The old lady who said her kitchen has vibes made me laugh!

I am super into podcasts- here are 7 local podcasts you should be listening to right now. I have already downloaded Curious City and can’t wait to find out what Chicago would be like had the Great Fire never happened…

Hosting dinner parties is one of my favorite things in the world. This compilation of tips and anecdotes is really fun and timely for the upcoming holiday season.

You guys. Hamilton. I am not kidding when I say I could barely sleep last night because I was so excited after having listened to both 1st and 2nd acts over the course of my evening. A musical that tells the story of the creation of our country as set to hip hop. It is amazing.

Holiday Bucket Listing

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Caroling at Cloudgate, Zoo Lights, impromptu cocktails, shopping…this weekend really took a bite out of my holiday bucket list. My family was in town to celebrate Christmas and it was such a fun mix of old traditions and new. The unseasonably warm temperatures was certainly something new; I am so used to doing our family festiveness while the biting cold hits my face! While I do love how beautiful Michigan Avenue looks covered in snow, being able to get away with wearing a blazer while running out to get one last gift for our celebration was quite a treat. And this city is just begging to be photographed in all of it’s holiday glory which was nice to be do without removing gloves every two seconds.

Still on the holiday deck: “White Christmas” viewing at The Music Box Theatre and somehow find that Santa Train. And maybe bake some cookies. If anyone has a recipe they love, please share!

A Guide to Christmas in Chicago

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Christmas Chicago 2

The holiday season is here and I don’t beat around the bush in claiming that Chicago is the best city in the world to enjoy the holidays. It is just a fact. But if there is anything negative about all of the holiday awesome in our fair city it is that there is so much- how do you possibly know what is happening and when and make plans to do it?!? That’s what I am here for. Below you will find links, dates and details for all sorts of fun Chicago Christmas goodness. Mark your calendars, friends!

Tree Lighting at Daley Plaza: November 25th at 5pm

Thanksgiving Day Parade: November 27 at 8am

Christkindlmart: November 21-December 24 Sunday-Thursday 11am-8pm, Friday-Saturday 11-9pm; this German open-air market is open in the Daley Plaza to satisfy your craving for mulled wine in little boots, ornament shopping and wiener-schnitzel.

Wreathing of the Lions: November 28th at 10am the beloved Lions at the Art Institute get their traditional evergreen wreaths and following the ceremony, families are invited inside the Ryan Center to create their own wreaths, totally free.

Zoo Lights: November 28-January 4 frpm 5-9pm (check the website for specific days as it’s a bit inconsistent and you would hate to be stuck outside the gates with your spiked roadie. Or not…)

BrewLights: December 3rd from 5:30-9pm- $40 will get you a dozen holiday beer samples that you can use to keep warm while checking out the Lights.

Southport Holiday Stroll: December 5th from 5-9pm; free cocktails, shopping, sales, more free cocktails, a sleigh that acts like a bus to transport you up and down Southport (for free!), Victorian carolers and Santa & Mrs. Clause. Such a quaint experience for such a big city.

Ice Skating at The Peninsula: The “Sky Rink” opened last Saturday and sits 4 stories above Christmas-ready Michigan Avenue. Combine that with spice wine and you’ve got my kind of outdoorsy activity. Open Monday through Friday 3-8pm, Saturday 12-9pm and Sunday 12-6pm.

Ice Skating at Millennium Park: Monday-Thursday 12-8pm, Friday 12-10pm and weekends from 10am-10pm

Caroling at Cloudgate: Fridays at 6pm starting on November 28th until December 19th, choirs will lead a community singalong in front of the Bean. Mark this down as the most festive thing you could possibly do. I sang my heart out last year.

30th Annual Music Box Theatre Christmas: December 13-24th, The Music Box Theatre does showings of It’s A Wonderful Life and White Christmas. Sometimes Santa shows up and there’s a group singalong. Gosh, I love a singalong.

Kris Kringle’s Kandy Kane Ball: Festive cocktails for a cause at Joe’s on Weed on December 13th from 9pm-12am. Proceeds benefit Chicago Children’s Charities and don’t forget to bring a toy to donate at the door!

Claymas Christmas: December 21 at 9:30pm- Holiday improv. These guys are hilarious.

CTA Santa Train: November 28- December 23- check the schedule for when this hub of Christmas cheer is on your tracks. It smells like cinnamon, Santa and the reindeer are on a flatbed and the inside is covered in decorative holiday awesome. So, basically, the only time during the year when you actually want to get on the El.

Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”: December 5-28; Joffrey is one of the best ballet companies in the world and to see them do The Nutcracker is so special.


I Just Can’t Quit You

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I took the rest of Christmas down last week but I can’t bring myself to touch the Christmas cards just yet. Sending our cards each year is one of my very favorite things to do and I love receiving holiday cheer via my mailbox. And I extra love looking at these happy faces and notes each day.

Maybe I’ll take them down in February.

Excessive Christmas Cheer

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I refused to tell Ryan where I went shopping tonight because he is the worst with gifts- the second he knows they’re purchased, he wants to open them. “Fine.” he replied. “I’ll just call the stores and ask if you were there. Green hat, green eyes, humming Christmas carols under her breath, glitter and Christmas cheer shooting out from her pores- someone will have recognized you and tell me what you bought.”

So close, baby. So close.

While he is delusional that calling any retailer at any time will yield him a “Oh yes, her” result, he pretty much nailed the description of me tonight. Oak Street, Christmas lights, loaded up with bags, full moon rising over the lake…there is just nothing like Christmas in Chicago. So in love with my city, the holiday and my shopping is done. Falalalala….

Just a Chi Town Girl Gift Guide

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There are 13 days until Christmas which means there’s still plenty of time to finish my holiday shopping and I should probably make a list and start to check it twice. Here are a few of my favorite things in case your lists have a little room to grow.


Nike Sneaker Boot: I call mine my “Shoots” (aka shoe-boots) but these are perfect for going on winter walks in the city, when you’re heading out to run an errand…basically, anytime when it’s not snowy enough to need your massive snow boots. They’re really warm, water resistant and fit like tennis shoes.

David’s Tea: Any tea lover or even tea liker would love David’s Tea. A starter kit includes a perfect mug w/ diffuser and their top 3 teas. Forever Nuts is my favorite and tastes like apple pie.


Tastes of Chicago: Such a fun way to share a bit of our fair city, sending Lou Malnati’s deep dish with other Chicago classics is one of our go-to gifts.


Aveda Energy Composition Oil: I keep this in my bag for after yoga, to perk up after long flights and to soothe dry skin. Especially relevant now that we’ve hit the freezing cold, dry air season of the year.


Restoration Hardware Wine Bags: dress up that bottle of holiday cheer you’re bringing as a hostess gift to the party this weekend or for that co-worker you love. On sale for $8!


Map Necklace: a teeny diamond marks the spot of a special location.


And if you’re really struggling for ideas, booze. I got home last night to find this at our door and now I am convinced that I have the best neighbors ever. You can’t go wrong with gifting someone a bottle of good champagne, liquor they love (whiskey and scotch is always welcome in our house) or if they’re a beer lover, we’re loving Breckinridge Brewery Christmas Ale.

Giving Thanks Week 7

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42. David’s Tea A walk up to the Lincoln Park location this afternoon procured me tins of Coco Chai Rooibos and Forever Nuts. I already cannot wait to wake up tomorrow morning.


43. Balloons. Festive, underrated, orbital vessels of cheer. Big fan.


44. Luna Bell. The best (furry) little friend in the world.


45. Twitter In 140 characters or less, I combined my love of history with politics and a ridiculous song and got a response from the historic Willard Hotel. The Internet is amazing.

46. Friends. There is not enough gratitude in the world for the remarkable women in my life who show me such love, grace and support.

47. Sunshine. Chicago winters get long; sunshine helps.

48. Baking. There’s something reassuring and calming about following directions and getting an (edible) end result.