Chicago shines with entertainment excellence during the holiday season
December 3, 2016

By Susan Fong

For many, the holiday season brings back memories of family fun and traditions. No matter what your age or your interest, you can make new memories as the holiday season in Chicago offers fun events for the whole family. So take a little time and experience the holidays in Chicago in both the great outdoors and in warm indoor entertainment venues that will make the season bright. For more information, check the websites or call the phone numbers for ticket information on the programs and events being offered.

Through Macy’s annual Believe Campaign, youngsters can write letters to Santa. For every letter sent, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Through Macy’s annual Believe Campaign, youngsters can write letters to Santa. For every letter sent, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

Over the past year, 360 Chicago, 875 N. Michigan Ave., formerly the John Hancock Observatory, has created an entirely new guest experience: TILT, the moving thrill ride available only on the 94th floor. The 360 Chicago observation deck is shining its nonprofit spotlight on the Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago from now through Sat., Dec. 31, as it will donate 3% of every ticket sold for TILT to the hospital. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at 360 Chicago’s ticketing desk, based on availability. Children under 12 will receive a 360 Chicago puzzle with purchase of a general admission ticket. All children ages three through 11 will be admitted for 50% off the general admission price from now through Dec. 31. Visitors who provide a valid ID proving 606 zip code residency will save 50% on general admission: an adult is $10 instead of the regular $20, and youth admission is $6.50 instead of $13. Open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., 365 days a year. For more information, go to www.360chicago.com.

The 120-voice Apollo Chorus of Chicago will perform Handel’s Messiah, complete with an orchestra and soloists including soprano Amanda Majeski. Performances will be held Sat., Dec. 10, at 7 p.m., and Sun., Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Dr. Tickets are from $30 to $70. Call the box office (312) 334-7777 or visit www.apollochorus.org.

The Chicago Transit Authority Holiday Train, a six-car train decorated in a Christmas motif, will run from now through Fri., Dec. 23. Schedule: now through Sat., Dec. 3, Brown and Orange lines. Tue. and Wed., Dec. 6 and 7, Pink Line. Thurs. through Sat. Dec. 8 to 10, Blue Line. Tues., Dec. 13, Red Line. Wed., Dec. 14, Purple Line. Thurs., Dec. 15, Red Line. Fri., Dec. 16, Purple Line. Sat., Dec. 17, Red and Purple Lines. Thurs., Dec. 22, Purple Line Express. Fri., Dec. 23, Yellow Line. Log on to www.transitchicago.com.

Chicago’s 103rd annual Christmas tree is a 69-foot Norway spruce located in Millennium Park at Michigan Avenue and Washington Street. Come see the massive spruce, aglow with more than 48,000 lights reflected in “The Bean” (Cloud Gate) across the way.

Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., offers several holiday events. Inspired by the Nuremberg Christmas Market that began in 1545, Christkindlmarket is celebrating its 21st year in Chicago. One of the most popular features is the daily Advent Calendar: one lucky visitor each day gets to help count down until Christmas Eve and win a gift from one of the market’s special vendors.

The popular “Kinder Club” boasts fun activities geared toward the youngest visitors. Children and the young-at-heart can go on a scavenger hunt to explore the market, interact with the vendors, and learn more about German holiday traditions. The market runs 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sun. through Thurs. until Thurs., Dec. 22; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fri. and Sat., and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Christmas Eve, Sat. Dec. 24. Admission is free. Visit www.christkindlmarket.com.

Also, Santa will be in his house at Daley Plaza Fri., Sat., and Sun. through Dec. 18, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sat., Dec. 24, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Glessner House Museum, 1800 S. Prairie Ave. The annual gingerbread decorating party will be Sat., Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children can decorate their own mini gingerbread houses. All supplies are included for $10. Glessner House and the American Institute of Architects of Chicago (AIA Chicago) have joined together to offer Glessner House’s first annual gingerbread architecture competition, also Sat., Dec. 3, noon to 3 p.m. Make your own gingerbread house and enter it in the contest. There will be prizes, and the two winning entries will be displayed in the museum’s visitors center. The cost is $25 per entry or $20 for members or AIA Chicago members.

Glessner House will hold its annual Christmas candlelight tours on Sun., Dec. 4, Tours leave every 15 minutes from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Tours last 90 minutes and showcase Christmas decorating and customs of the mid- and late 19th century.

Light refreshments will be served in the coach house. The cost is $15 per person or $12 with a coupon code. Call (312) 326-1480 or visit www.glessnerhouse.org for more details.

Macy’s, continuing in the old Marshall Field’s tradition, is marking the 109th display of the Great Tree in the Walnut Room. The tree stands 45 feet tall and is adorned with 42 LED star ornaments along with other more traditional ornaments and twinkle lights. Children are invited to visit and get their picture taken with Santa daily through Sat., Dec. 24, on the fifth floor.

This year the 49th annual holiday windows theme is “Reasons to Believe.” The windows pay homage to traditions, Santa, giving, love, the magic of the season, and the Chicago Cubs’ win in the 2016 World Series. Viewing is free.

Through Macy’s ninth annual Believe Campaign, kids also can write letters to Santa and either mail them at local Macy’s or send an email at www.macys.com/believe. For every letter sent, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-AWish Foundation, up to $1 million to grant wishes to children with life-threatening conditions. Find Santa in Santaland on the fifth floor, tell a wish, and then have a picture taken with him. He will be available until Sat., Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. Or simply wander over to Mrs. Claus’s Bakery, where there are beverage and holiday treats such as candies, cupcakes, and cookies.

For more information about Macy’s holiday events, go to www.visitmacysusa.com/macysiconic-events.

For the 38th year, the Goodman Theatre brings Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” to the stage with an all-Chicago cast of 28.

For the 38th year, the Goodman Theatre brings Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol” to the stage with an all-Chicago cast of 28.

CONCERTS
The Chicago a capella classical vocal ensemble will perform Holidays a cappella, Tales and Legends, which includes traditional European and American carols, Christmas spirituals, folk songs, and Hanukkah tunes, Sat., Dec. 10, 8 p.m. at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Michigan Ave. and Delaware St.; Sun., Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. at St. Clement Church, 642 W. Deming Pl.; Chicago; Fri., Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave, Naperville; Sat., Dec. 17, at 8 p.m. at Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago; and Sun., Dec. 18, 4 p.m. at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St., Oak Park. Ticket prices range from $15 to $43. Visit www.chicagoacapella.org or call (773) 281-7820.

The Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., will host free holiday concerts and performances in Preston Bradley Hall. The Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts every Wed. at 12:15 p.m. present solo and ensemble performances of classical music by emerging musicians: Dec. 7, Tomoko Fujita, cello, and Luba Poliak, piano; Dec. 14, Luca Buratto, piano; Dec. 21, Artu Duo: Ruth Marshall, cello, and Garret Ross, piano; and Dec. 28 Misuzu Tanaka, piano. Young and old are encouraged to dress in their finest tutus and hit the dance floor alongside professional dancers from Ballet Chicago.

The 13th annual Dance-Along Nutcracker takes place Sun., Dec. 4. Performances are at noon, 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. Dance lessons, provided by Ballet Chicago, begin one hour before performances at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band will provide the music. For information on all Chicago Cultural Center events, call (312) 744-6630 or log on to www.chicagoculturalcenter.org.

In Caroling at Cloud Gate, come join the fun as some local performers from around the city take the lead in holiday sing-a-longs on Fridays, Dec. 2, 9, and 16, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park. Join in on the holiday classics at these festive events that are part concert, part singalong as local Chicago choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song. Santa Claus will join the crowd beforehand. Performers are Dec. 2, Chicago Children’s Choir; Dec. 9, British International School of Chicago; and Dec. 16, John Berchman’s Holiday Pops Chicago Chorus. In case of extreme weather, hours will be shorter.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 220 S. Michigan Ave., will perform Merry, Merry Chicago along with the 160 voice Chicago Children’s Choir, with special guest Ashley Brown, who played the Mary Poppins role on Broadway. Join the festivities with familiar carols and songs from around the world. Dates are Fri., Dec. 16, at 7 p.m., and Sat., Dec. 17, at 3 p.m., as well as Wed. and Thurs., Dec. 21 and 22, at 3 p.m., and Fri, Dec. 23, at 1 p.m and 4:30 p.m. On Tues., Dec. 20, at 3 p.m, the Vienna Boys’ Choir will perform Christmas in Vienna. For further information, call (312) 294-3000 or visit www.cso.org.

In a special collaboration, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., will celebrate the season with Handel’s Messiah performed by Apollo Chorus of Chicago in two concerts, Sat., Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. and Sun, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. On Mon., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m., the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center will perform. Join professional and amateur singers and musicians in their two-day performance of Do It Yourself Messiah, Tue. and Wed., Dec. 20 and 21, at 7 p.m. For ticket prices, call (312) 334-7777 or go to www.harristheaterchicago.org.

The Hyde Park Youth Symphony, featuring the Hyde Park Neighborhood Choir, will perform a free concert from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wed., Dec. 14, at the Logan Center for the Arts in Performance Hall, 915 E. 60th St. Call (773) 595-1318.

Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., will present its Christmas Spectacular 2016 on Sun., Dec. 18, at 3 p.m. Enjoy traditional and new Christmas carols performed in English and Polish, and sing along with a new medley featuring the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra conducted by Philip Simmons, with soloists from the Chicago Chopin Society. The program includes popular and classical holiday works by Fryderyk Chopin, Jaroslaw Golembiowski, Leroy Anderson, Gaetano Schiassi, Cesar Franck, and Edward Pola. For ticket information, call (877) 987-6487 or visit www.copernicuscenter.org.

The Lakeside Singers will perform their 18th annual Christmas concert, Let There Be Peace, featuring Josie Falbo, cantor at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii. All evening concerts are at 7:30 p.m. Concert dates and locations are Fri., Dec. 2, Nichols Concert Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston; Sun., Dec. 4, 3 p.m., Barrington’s White House, Barrington, IL; Mon., Dec. 5, Metropolis, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, IL; Sat., Dec. 17, Wentz Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, IL; and Sun., Dec. 18, Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St. Ticket costs are adults, $35; seniors, $25; and children younger than 12, $10. For tickets for Chicago, Evanston, or Naperville, call (847) 382-5085 or visit www.lakesidesingers.com. For tickets for Arlington Heights and Barrington, visit www.metropolisarts.com or www.barringtonswhitehouse.com.

The Lira Ensemble will perform Lira! Polish Carols, Songs, and Dance on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, program narrated in English. Tickets range from $30 to $80. Tickets can be ordered through Orchestra Hall at (312) 294-3000 or the Lira office by calling (800) 547-5472.

Musichorale, a Chicago area community choir, will host its Christmas Noel concert, Gala 70th Noel, 1947-2016, at Trinity Christian College, 6601 W. College Dr., Palos Heights, IL, at 3:20 p.m. Sun., Dec. 11. Tickets are $15 in advance or $17 at the door. Call (312) 239-6279 or visit www.musichorale.org.

Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Ave., will offer a sing-along Messiah on Sun., Dec. 11, at 3:30 p.m. featuring the Sounds of the South Loop Players. Admission is free, but offerings for the Greater Chicago Food Depository are welcome. A holiday reception will follow. The church is located at 1936 S. Michigan Ave. Call (312) 225-4951 or log on to www.2ndPresbyterian.org.

The Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibit features a grand tree, 50 trees decorated to represent different ethnicities’ traditions, and falling snow in the rotunda.

The Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibit features a grand tree, 50 trees decorated to represent different ethnicities’ traditions, and falling snow in the rotunda.

MUSEUMS

The Thorne Miniature Rooms (Gallery 11) at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Avenue, are back. The rooms will be decorated in all of their holiday finery. Also, the museum will host an event with Marianne Malone, author of the children’s book series The Sixty-Eight Rooms, which were inspired by these miniatures, on Thurs., Dec. 15. Malone will discuss her writing with the Art Institute’s curator of the Thorne Rooms, Lindsay Mican Morgan. Call for time.

Begin a visit to the museum with a visit to the Vitale Family Room inside the Ryan Learning Center. The space offers an encyclopedic collection of hands-on multi-sensory activities, books, puzzles of masterpieces, colorful building blocks, and interactive stories and games. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Children younger than 14 always receive free admission to the Art Institute. For more information about holiday events or permanent and traveling exhibits, visit www.artic.edu or call (312) 443-3600.

Throughout December, the Chicago Children’s Museum offers a fun interactive winter experience for children of all ages. Starting Fri., Dec. 2, create a picture at one of the museum’s Winter Scenes events or play with the mechanics of paper to make a 3-D cards. Ready a pitching arm by joining into the snow ball toss, watching the balls fly, zip, float, and dip. Don’t forget to come for one of the museum’s five snow globe parties in the Great Hall, where kids dance through the flurries of a snowfall. The museum is located at Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave. Hours are daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Christmas Day. Tickets are $14 for adults and children, $13 for seniors, and free for military personnel. For more information, visit www.chicagochildrensmuseum.org or call (312) 527-1000.

The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie St., features festively decorated galleries and themed programs and will host its third annual holiday brunch, Glitter and Gold, on Sat., Dec. 3; doors open at 10 a.m. During December weekends, enjoy seasonal live music performed by pianist John Cebastian, complimentary with the ticket price. Admission is $10 for children and students, $12.50 for seniors, and $20 for adults. For more information, call (312) 482-8933 or log on to www.driehausmuseum.org.

The DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl., will host a Kwanzaa celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 27, from noon to 2:30 p.m. Enjoy performances by the Najwa Dance Corps, Maggie Brown, Amen Rah, and the Thunder Sky Drummers. Call (773) 947-0600, ext. 255, or log on to www.dusablemuseum.org.

Begin the first December holiday weekend with free admission days on Sat. and Sun., Dec. 3 and 4, at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. For family fun, explore the Crown Family Play Lab, an interactive, hands-on space where visitors can learn and experience science through play: dress up and pretend to be a woodlands creature or dig for fossils. China’s First Emperor and his Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit is at the museum through Sun., Jan. 8. Saunter through the museum’s ongoing natural history exhibits such as Sue, the dinosaur; an insect exhibit, Underground Adventure; or 3-D films. An additional December free admission day is Sun., Dec. 18. All-access passes range from $25 to $35. For information, call (312) 922-9410 or visit www.fieldmuseum.org.

Now in its 75th year, the Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibit features a grand tree, 50 trees decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities, and falling snow in the rotunda. Holiday events include photos with Santa, holiday ornament making, and cultural performances that exhibit ethnic traditions from around the world. The museum is located at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. Museum entry is $11 for children, $17 for seniors, and $18 for adults. Call (773) 684-1414 or visit www.msichicago.org.

Explore nature at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Dr., through the museum’s exhibits and events. Leap into the month with Frogs: A Chorus of Color and encounter more than 70 frogs in this awe-inspiring ex-ribbit that runs through Sun., Jan. 22, 2017. Want to overcome your fear of snakes? Then come to the Cold-Blooded Weekend on Sat. and Sun., Dec. 3 and 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. sponsored by the Herpetological Society and obtain hands-on experience with reptiles and amphibians. An annual favorite on Thur. Dec. 29, 11 a.m. to noon is the Flying Fox Animal Show, where visitors can interact with a menagerie of creatures from around the world. Learn about reptiles, bats, and other mammals and conservation, too. Close out the year on Sat., Dec. 31, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration. Create your own ecofriendly party favors, play games, rock out at a dance party, and ring in the “Noon Year” with an apple juice toast and a visit from this year’s Nature Museum Party Animal. Entry fees run from $6 to $9. Visit www.naturemuseum.org or call (773) 755-5100.

Lincoln Park Zoo is hosting the ZooLights winter festival featuring two million lights, holiday activities, and crafts.

Lincoln Park Zoo is hosting the ZooLights winter festival featuring two million lights, holiday activities, and crafts. (Photo by Todd Rosenberg / Lincoln Park Zoo)

The John G. Shedd Aquarium invites its guests to explore and connect with marine mammals: Pacific white-sided dolphins, beluga whales, sea lions, and penguins. Enjoy a holiday breakfast on Sat., Dec. 10; Sun., Dec.11, and Sat., Dec. 17. Catch a showing of the Polar Express 4-D movie and visit with Santa, where you can snap a photo and receive a free gift or explore Shedd’s Polar Play Zone. The aquarium is located at 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. General admission is $8 for adults and $6 for children. Call (312) 939-2438 or visit www.sheddaquarium.org.

OUTDOOR FAMILY FUN

Take a break from shopping with Chicago Greeter tours, which are free and can accommodate up to six guests; tours are customized for you and your group and offer orientation to the City’s public transit system. Choose from more than 25 diverse neighborhoods or more than 40 interests including art and architecture, food, local history, family-friendly destinations, gay Chicago, and ethnic Chicago. Register ten days in advance. Interested persons also can join hour long Instagreeter free tours that highlight downtown, Millennium Park, and the Mag Mile, available year round, Fri. and Sat., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sun., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. No registration required, and all tours depart on the half hour from the Chicago Cultural Center visitor center at 77 E. Randolph St. Call (312) 945- 4231 or visit www.chicagogreeter.com.

The Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co. celebrates the season with its 2.5 hour Holiday Lights Tour, Friday through Sunday evenings through Mon. Dec. 26. Select weekday dates also available. The trolley makes two stops so you can explore. Begin the tour with a special holiday cupcake from Sprinkles. Beginning and ending the tour at the John Hancock Plaza tree at 875 N. Michigan Ave., the trolley takes passengers through winter holiday spectacles, including views of the Magnificent Mile, Christkindlmarket, Macy’s holiday windows, and the Lincoln Park ZooLights. Tickets are $29 for adults and $18 for kids ages five through 15, children under five must sit on a parent’s lap; advance purchase recommended. Log on to www.chicagotrolley.com or call (773) 648-5000 for details.

Lincoln Park Zoo is hosting the ZooLights winter festival featuring two million lights, holiday activities, and crafts throughout this month on Dec. 2-4, 9-23, 26-31, and Jan. 1, 2017. This year’s activities include photos with Santa through Fri., Dec. 23, free crafts for children, educational chats, 3-D displays, warm wine, train rides, and ice carving. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Also, get ready to ice skate at the rink in the Farm in the Zoo, welcoming skaters of all ages now through Sun., Feb. 26 (select days). For dates and times, check website. Admission is $5; skate rental is $5 per pair. Warm up afterward in the main barn with special refreshments. The zoo is located at 2200 N. Cannon Dr. Call (312) 742-2000 or visit www.lpzoo.org.

The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., now in its 16th season, draws more than 100,000 skaters annually. Located on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets, it remains open through Sun., March 5 (weather permitting). Admission is free and open to the public; skate rental is $12. Skating lessons are offered at 11 a.m. Fri. and 9 a.m. on Sat. and Sun. Visit www.millenniumpark.org for schedule.

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., hosts its 16th annual Winter WonderFest, which presents a 170,000-square-foot holiday-themed winter playground with more than 25 rides featuring music, indoor ice skating, hang gliding, a ropes obstacle course, inflatable slides, carnival rides, an indoor Ferris wheel, a create-a-cookie cottage, and a reindeer express train ride. Guests younger than 18 must be accompanied by parent or guardian. Guests 18 or older must present a valid ID. The fest runs Fri. Dec. 2, through Sat., Jan. 7. Enjoy a fireworks show Sat., Dec. 31, at midnight. Mini Pass is $10 for admission and select rides and activities; full admission is $25 for all rides and activities. Call (800) 595-7437 or visit www.navypier.com.

Polar Adventure Days will be held at Northerly Island the Saturdays of Dec. 10, Jan. 21, and Feb. 25 from noon to 4 p.m. Enjoy outdoor and indoor events featuring animals, crafts, and winter activities. The park is at 1521 S. Linn White Dr. Call (312) 745-2910.

The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park, which draws more than 100,000 skaters annually, is free and open to the public.

The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park, which draws more than 100,000 skaters annually, is free and open to the public.

THEATER AND STAGE PERFORMANCES

The American Blues Theater will present It’s A Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago through Sat., Dec. 31. The play is set during a 1940s-style radio broadcast of Frank Capra’s holiday classic, with live sound effects and an original score. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. every Thurs. through Sat., with a 4:30 p.m. performance every Sat. and a 2:30 p.m. matinee every Sun., at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Ticket prices are $19 to $49. Call (773) 404-7336 or visit www.americanbluestheater.com.

Chicago Tap Theatre presents Tidings of Tap! featuring dances and music to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and winter. Performance is at 7:30 p.m. Sun. Dec. 18, 3 p.m., at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL, Tickets are $24 to $40. Call (847) 673-6300 or go to www.
chicagotaptheatre/tidingsoftap. Emerald City Theatre’s production of A Charlie Brown Christmas runs through Sun., Jan. 8, at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St. This heartwarming classic features live music, animal puppets, and familiar Peanuts characters to tell the story of Christmas. Tickets are $18 to $27. Call (773) 529-2690 or log on to www.emeraldcitytheatre.com.

For the 38th year, the Goodman Theatre brings Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol to the stage with an all-Chicago cast of 28. This holiday classic tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, who will be played for the eighth time by Larry Yando. Performances run through Sat., Dec. 31, in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre.

Goodman teams with Second City to present Twist Your Dickens, a hilarious send-up of the Dickens holiday classic. Performances run Fri., Dec. 2, through Fri., Dec. 30, in the Goodman’s Owen Theatre. Get tickets for both shows by calling (312) 443-3800 or at the theater’s box office at 170 N. Dearborn St. Visit www.goodmantheatre.org.

The Joffrey Ballet will once again host The Nutcracker, newly choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon to present the Chicago 1893 World’s Fair through the eyes of a child and featuring live accompaniment by the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. There will be 27 performances from Sat. Dec. 10, through Fri. Dec. 30; times vary from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. All performances take place at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Pkwy. For tickets, call (312) 386-8905 or visit joffrey.org/nutcracker.

Lil’ Buds Theatre Co. will present Santa…Deux? Santa’s new hire is New Elf, who promises a faster, more efficient Christmas and creates a clone of Santa, Santa Deux, to help out. The corporate, savvy Santa Deux begins automating and downsizing the entire town, thus threatening the very essence of Christmas. The show runs Sat., Dec. 3, through Mon., Dec. 19. Show times are Fri., 7 p.m, Sat., 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.; Sun. 1 p.m.; and Mon., 6 p.m. Performances take place at the Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway. Tickets are $10 to $15 plus a processing fee. Call (773) 334-4543 or log onto www.lilbudstheatre.org.

The heartwarming tale The Christmas Schooner, about the first ship to sail to Chicago bringing Christmas trees, runs Wed. through Sun. until Sat. Dec. 31 at the Mercury Theatre, 3745 N. Southport Ave. Tickets are priced from $30 to $40. Call (773) 325-1700 or log on to www.mercurytheatrechicago.com.

Late Nite Catechism/Bible Bingo by Vicki Quade returns to the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. In this interactive comedy, audience members play bingo while answering questions about Christmas. Another holiday favorite returns for its 11th year, Amahl and the Night Visitors, about a disabled shepherd boy and his mother who meet three kings. Call (312) 988-9000 for performance times and prices or log on to www.theroyalgeorgetheatre.com.

Second City’s Holidazed and Confused Revue runs through Mon. Dec. 26, featuring songs and new and classic sketches. Also for the holidays is Do You Fear What I Fear? a holiday sketch revue that sets out to examine the darkest parts of the holiday season; every Fri. and Sat. in December through Dec. 31 at 10:30 p.m. The theater is located at 1616 N. Wells St. Call (312) 337-3992 or visit www.secondcity.com.

SPECIAL TREATS

At the Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave., take a stroll around the annual holiday flower show, Sky Forest, which evokes a walk through wintery woods and highlights the towering beauty of the Fraser fir tree. This holiday celebration is filled with botanical beauty and winter-inspired decor. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and Wed. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free. Call (312) 746-5100 or log on to www.garfield-conservatory.org.

Since 2003, the office of Cook County treasurer Maria Pappas has shown more than 80 three-foot Christmas trees and religious items reflecting Chicago’s ethnic diversity. Join Pappas as she opens her holiday display party on Fri. Dec. 2, 5 to 6:30 p.m. with a special Brazilian Christmas tree donated by the Brazilian Cultural Center of Chicago.

The family friendly festivities include light refreshments, music, and dance. The event is free. Location is 118 N. Clark St, Ste. 112, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the trees will be on display throughout December. Call (312) 603-3826 or log on to www.cookcountytreasurer.com.

Tree House Humane Society will host its annual Lights of Love open house and lighting ceremony at its new location at 7225 N. Western Ave. Purchase a tribute light in honor or memory of a loved one or beloved pet, with all proceeds supporting Tree House’s efforts to rescue stray cats. The event will be held Sat., Dec. 10, from 4 to 8 p.m. Suggested donation is $5 or cat or dog food. Call (773) 784-5488, ext. 225, or log on to www.TreeHouseAnimals.org.

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