Variety of events create a holiday wonderland
November 30, 2017

The Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Light exhibit is just one of the many indoor and outdoor events to enjoy this holiday season. Enjoy our “Christmas in Chicago” guide to all the fun for the entire family, beginning on page 18.

By Susan Fong

No matter what your age or your areas of interest, the Chicago area offers fun events for the whole family that can make new holiday memories. So find a little time to experience both outdoor and indoor entertainment that will make the season bright.

For more information on holiday programs and events, check the websites or call the phone numbers provided throughout this guide.

HOLIDAY HIGHLIGHTS

360 Chicago, 875 N. Michigan Ave., formerly the John Hancock Observatory, offers TILT, the moving 360 degree thrill ride available on the 94th floor. Through Sunday, Dec. 31, kids of all ages can enjoy the 94th floor observation deck’s festive holiday décor; holiday treat bags; and Sunday Funday programming that includes half price admission for kids from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., kid-friendly entertainment from 1 to 3 p.m. featuring Myster AJ’s magic, and storytelling led by Super Epic Story Time.

This year, 360 Chicago has teamed with Chicago Hopes for Kids to donate part of this season’s ticket and drink prices to that charity, which provides support for Chicago’s children living in homeless shelters.

On New Year’s Eve, 360 Chicago wraps up the season with a 21-and-older New Year’s Eve celebration on Sunday, Dec. 31, beginning at 9 p.m. The $70 package includes general admission, unlimited rides on TILT, DJ entertainment, party favors, two glasses of sparkling wine, and—weather permitting—a grand view of the New Year’s Eve fireworks display.

For more information, go to www.360chicago.com.Buy tickets online or in person at 360 Chicago’s ticketing desk, based on availability.

Add some excitement to the holidays as 360 Chicago offers TILT, the moving 360 degree thrill ride on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building.

More than 120 voices in the Apollo Chorus of Chicago will perform Handel’s Messiah, complete with an orchestra. This year’s soloists are Jessica Cooper, soprano; Julie Miller, mezzo-soprano; Steven Soph, tenor; and Paul Max Tipton, bass-baritone. Performances will be held Sat., Dec. 16, at 7 p.m., and Sun., Dec. 17, at 2 p.m. at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St. Tickets range from $30 to $70. Join professional and amateur singers and musicians in their two-day performance of Do It Yourself Messiah on Mon. and Tues., Dec. 18 and 19, at 7 p.m Call the box office (312) 334-7777 or visit https://my.harristheaterchicago.org.

The Chicago Transit Authority Holiday Train, a six-car train decorated in a Christmas motif, runs now through Sat., Dec. 23, along all of the CTA’s tracks. Log on to www.transitchicago.com for exact dates, times, and rates.

The year’s City of Chicago Christmas Tree will shine in Millennium Park at Washington Street and Michigan Avenue through Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018.

Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., offers several holiday events. Inspired by the Nuremberg Christmas Market that began in 1545, Christkindlmarket is celebrating its 22nd 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 vendors.

The popular Kinder Club features 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., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fri. and Sat., and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Sun., Dec. 24. Admission is free. Visit www.christkindlmarket.com.

Santa will be on hand at the UL Santa house at Daley Plaza during Christkindlmarket on Fri., Sat., and Sun. through Dec. 17, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sun., Dec. 24, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Glessner House Museum, 1800 S. Prairie Ave. On Sat., Dec. 2, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the museum, Glessner House and the American Institute of Architects of Chicago will offer their second annual gingerbread architecture competition. Come watch as contestants construct and decorate their own mini gingerbread houses. All supplies included. The museum will display two winning entries in its visitors center. Registration is $10 per child and includes one adult; member registration $8.

Glessner House will hold its annual Christmas candlelight tours on Sat. and Sun., Dec. 2 and 3, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tours start every 15 minutes and last 90 minutes, showcasing Christmas decorating and customs of the mid- and late 19th century. Enjoy light refreshments afterward in the coach house. The cost is $15 per person, or $12 for members. Call (312) 326-1480 or visit www.glessnerhouse.org for more details.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the window displays at Macy’s on State Street. Macy’s gets the ball rolling on the holiday magic with its window theme, “Reasons to Believe,” marking ten years of the store’s Believe campaign. The holiday windows will remain on view through Sunday, Jan. 7.

The windows are not the only holiday tradition at Macy’s. Drop by Santaland on the fifth floor, where folks of all ages can visit Santa Claus on weekends through Christmas Eve. Or simply wander over to Mrs. Claus’s Bakery for beverages and holiday treats such as candies, cupcakes, and cookies.

On Sat. Dec. 23, write a letter to Santa and drop it off at Macy’s or send online at macys.com/believeMacy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for every letter collected, up to $1 million. Since 2007, Macy’s has partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to fulfill wishes for thousands of children and their families.

This year marks the 110th anniversary of the Great Tree in the Walnut Room, Macy’s nostalgic in-store restaurant. To celebrate 50 years of the window displays and 110 years of the Great Tree, Macy’s is decorating with ornaments and animated figures that date back to the 1960s.   

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

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.

CONCERTS

The Chicago a capella classical vocal ensemble will perform Holidays a cappella: Tales and Legends, featuring traditional European and American carols, Christmas spirituals, folk songs, and Hanukkah tunes, Fri, Dec. 8, 8 p.m., at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville; Sat. Dec. 9, 8 p.m. at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Michigan Avenue at Delaware Place, Chicago; Sun., Dec. 10, 4 p.m. at First Unitarian Church, 5650 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago; Fri., Dec. 15, 8 p.m. at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston (enter on Grove Street; front steps under construction); Sat. Dec. 16, 8 p.m. at St. Clement Church, 642 W. Deming Pl., Chicago; and Sun. Dec. 17, 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 weekly holiday concerts and performances in Preston Bradley Hall, produced by the International Music Foundation. The Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. present solo and ensemble performances of classical music by emerging musicians: Dec. 6, Benedict Kloeckner, cello, with Andrew Armstrong, piano; Dec. 13, Drew Petersen, piano; Dec. 20, Naria Kim, violin, and Kuang-Hao Huang, piano; Dec. 27, Sohyun Ahn, piano. For more information about the music, check the IMF website, http://imfchicago.org/calendar/dame-myra-hess-memorial-concerts-calendar.

The 14th annual Dance-Along Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, takes place Sun., Dec. 3. Performances are at noon, 2, and 3 p.m. Dance lessons, provided by Ballet Chicago, begin one hour before performances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Lessons include basic ballet positions and movements. The Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band will provide the music. Young and old are encouraged to dress in their finest tutus and hit the dance floor alongside professional dancers from Ballet Chicago. This event is free.

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 the Fridays of Dec. 1, 8, and 15 from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park. Join in on holiday classics at these festive events that are part concert, part sing-along as local Chicago choral groups lead hundreds of celebrants in song. Santa Claus will join the crowd beforehand. In case of extreme weather, hours will be shorter. Check the City of Chicago website at https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca for more details.

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 220 S. Michigan Ave., will perform Merry, Merry Chicago! with Broadway vocalist Ashley Brown and the 160-voice Chicago Children’s Choir, along with Santa. Performance dates are Fri., Dec. 15, at 7 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 16, at 3 p.m.; Sun, Dec. 17, at 1 and 4:30 p.m.; Fri., Dec. 22, at 7 p.m.; and Sat., Dec. 23, at 3 p.m. For further information, call (312) 294-3000 or visit www.cso.org.

The Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., will present its Christmas Spectacular 2017 on Sun., Dec. 17, at 3 p.m. Join the Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra and Chicago Chopin Society as they perform an international sing-along and Messiah with songs in English, Polish, and Czech. The program includes popular and classical holiday works adapted for this event. For ticket information, call (877) 987-6487 or visit www.copernicuscenter.org.

The Hyde Park Youth Symphony, featuring the Hyde Park Neighborhood Choir, will perform a free concert from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sun. Dec. 17, at the Logan Center for the Arts in Performance Hall, 915 E. 60th St. Call (773) 595-1318.

The Lakeside Singers will perform their 19th annual Christmas concert, Love and Joy Come to You, featuring Josie Falbo, cantor at the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. Concert dates and locations are Fri., Dec. 1, Nichols Concert Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston; Mon., Dec. 4, Metropolis, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights; Fri, Dec. 8, Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St; and Sat., Dec. 9, Grace United Methodist Church 300 East Gartner Rd., Naperville. Ticket costs: adults, $35; seniors, $25; and children younger than 12, $10. Preferred seating available in Chicago and Evanston for $45. For tickets for Chicago, Evanston, or Naperville, visit www.lakesidesingers.com. For Metropolis, call (847) 577-2121 or go to tickets.metropolisarts.com. Tickets also are available at the door for all performances.

The Lira Singers and Chamber Players will perform Polish and American carols at various locations throughout the holiday season.

The Lira Singers and Chamber Players will perform Polish and American carols; narration is in English. Performances are Sun., Dec. 17, at 3 p.m., at St. John Brebeuf Church, 8307 N. Harlem Ave., Niles, and Tue., Dec. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at Metropolis Performing Arts Center, 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights. A January concert on Sun., Jan. 7, will be at 3 p.m. at St. Andrew the Apostle Church 768 Lincoln Ave. in Calumet City, with programs in Polish, Czech, and English. Tickets range from $30 to $35 and can be ordered through Orchestra Hall at (312) 294-3000 or the Lira office by calling (800) 547-5472. Email lira@liraensemble.org

Musichorale, a Chicago area community choir, will host its Christmas Noel concert, Gala 71st Noel, 1947-2017, on Sun., Dec. 10. Performed under the direction of Sarah Silhan Koehler, the choir will entertain with holiday classics. Doors open at 3:20 p.m. in Ozinga Hall at Trinity Christian College, 6601 W. College Dr. (near Rt. 83), Palos Heights, IL. 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. 10, at 3:30 p.m. Bring your own score or purchase one at the door. The music of Handel comes alive, directed by Maestra Kim Diehnelt, accompanied by organist Jay Yau, and featuring members of the Second Church Quartet as soloists. Admission is free, but offerings for the Greater Chicago Food Depository are welcome. A holiday reception follows. Call (312) 225-4951 or log on to www.2ndPresbyterian.org.

MUSEUMS

The Thorne Miniature Rooms (Gallery 11) at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Avenue, are back, decorated in all their holiday finery. See the Thorne Room tree and its accoutrements, the Tannenbaum tree in the Albert and Victoria room, the Virginia entrance hall with mistletoe and wreath, and the French provincial bedroom with a fireplace. Another holiday highlight is the 15th century Neapolitan crèche, with more than 200 figures placed into a Baroque cabinet with a painted backdrop.

Also at the Art Institute, visit 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 (CCM) offers a fun interactive winter experience with Very Eric Carle, which opened this fall. A play-and-learn exhibit, it features activities inspired by five classic stories: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, and The Very Busy Spider. In the installation, it’s possible to become the very hungry caterpillar or the very busy spider weaving a web. The museum is located at Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave. Open 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. This year, Holly Jolly Jazz Concert happens on Friday Dec. 8. Gather with family and friends for the annual Glitter and Gold holiday brunch on Sun., Dec. 10; doors open at 10 a.m. During Santa Saturday, Dec. 2, 9, and 16, enjoy art projects, story time, and sing-a-longs for the family. Sounds of the Seasons, a selection of live music performances, begins Sat., Dec. 2, and runs Wed., Sat., and Sun. afternoons through Sat., Dec. 23. 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: Remembering our Ancestors and Building on Their Legacy on Tue. and Wed., Dec. 26 and 27, from noon to 2:30 p.m. Enjoy performances by the Thunder Sky Drummers, Maggie Brown, Sax Preacher, and Najwa Dance Corp. Be sure to check out the museum’s current exhibits: Rewriting History: Paper Gowns and Photographs and Chicago: A Southern Exposure. The free admission day has changed from Sunday to Tuesday. Call (773) 947-0600, ext. 255, or log on to www.dusablemuseum.org.

The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., has fun for the whole family. Discover the scientist within and explore the Crown Family Play Lab, an interactive, hands-on space where visitors can learn and experience science through play. On Sat., Dec. 16, the museum invites children to Sensory Saturday, a sensory friendly morning of hands-on exploration and discovery.  Free admission to the museum on the Sundays of Dec. 3 and 24. For information, call (312) 922-9410 or visit www.fieldmuseum.org.

The Museum of Science and Industry’s Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light exhibit features a four-story grand tree, surrounded by 50 other trees decorated by volunteers highlighting holiday traditions from around the world, as well as crèche displays. Join Santa this year and then explore some of the temporary or permanent exhibits such as the Lego structures in Brick by Brick or descend into a mining shaft over at the Coal Mine. The museum is located at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. Admission 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. Enjoy Slightly Fractured Fairy Tales, a comedic play based on a series of familiar fairy tale favorites, on Wed. Dec. 27, 11 a.m. to noon. A hands-on art workshop will be held Fri. and Sat, Dec. 29 and 30, 11 a.m. to noon; participants can take home their self-made ornaments celebrating nature, winter, and the New Year and even participate in Hogwash: An Improvised Tall Tale, where participants spin their own interactive nature adventure. To close out the year, on Sun., Dec. 31, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. enjoy a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration, Noon Year Eve. Create your own 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. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.naturemuseum.org or call (773) 755-5100.

The John G. Shedd Aquarium invites guests to explore and connect with marine mammals such as Pacific white-sided dolphins, beluga whales, sea lions, and penguins. Enjoy a holiday breakfast on the Saturdays of Dec. 9, 16, and 23 or Sun., Dec. 10. 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 $39.95 for adults and $29.95 for children (three to 11 years). Call (312) 939-2438 or visit www.sheddaquarium.org for detailed program information.

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

OUTDOOR FAMILY FUN

Take a break from shopping with Chicago Greeter tours, which are free and can accommodate up to six guests; docents customize tours for you and your group and offer orientation to the City’s public transit system. Tours are offered in more than a dozen languages. Choose from more than 25 diverse neighborhoods or more than 40 interests. For customized tours, register ten days in advance of arrival date. Join the hour long Instagreeter free tours that highlight downtown, Millennium Park, and the Magnificent Mile, which are 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 Sat., Dec. 23. 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. Tickets are $29 for adults and $18 for kids ages five through 15; children younger than five must sit on a parent’s lap. Advance purchase recommended. If you’d like to get to know Chicago, then choose from one-, two-, and three-day tours as well as other specialty offerings. Log on to www.chicagotrolley.com or call (773) 648-5000 for details.

Lincoln Park Zoo is hosting the ZooLights winter festival featuring 2.5 million lights plus holiday activities and crafts throughout this month. It starts Fri. through Sun., Dec. 1-3, and runs nightly from Fri., Dec. 8, through Sun. Jan. 7, 2018 (excluding Dec. 24 and 25). This year’s activities include photos with Santa through Sat., Dec. 23, free crafts for children, educational chats, 3-D displays, warm wine, train rides, and ice carving. Hours are 4:30 to 9 p.m.

On the Mondays of Dec. 11 and 18 and Jan. 1, Lincoln Park Zoo offers free rides on the Carousel and Lionel Train Adventure for families with children as well as one free limited kids’ menu item with paid adult entrée or combo meal at Park Place Café. Get ready to ice skate at the rink in the Farm in the Zoo, welcoming skaters of all ages, now through Sun., Feb. 25 (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 draws more than 100,000 skaters each year. It will be open through March 4.

The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., now in its 16th season, draws more than 100,000 skaters annually to this multipurpose venue with food, entertainment, and vendors. Located on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets, it remains open through Sun., March 4 (weather permitting). Also open at the same time this year is the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park. Hours vary slightly on both, so check schedules for exact times. Admission is free and open to the public; skate rental is $12 and stops 30 minutes before close. Skating lessons are offered at 11 a.m. Fri. and 9 a.m. on Sat. and Sun. Visit www.millenniumpark.org and http://maggiedaleypark.com.

Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., hosts its 17th 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. A parent or guardian must accompany guests younger than 18; guests 18 or older must present a valid ID. The fest runs Fri., Dec. 1 through Sun, Jan. 7. Enjoy a fireworks show Sun., Dec. 31, at midnight. Admission prices range from $12 for children to $27 for adults for all rides and activities. Call (800) 595-7437 or visit www.navypier.com.

Polar Adventure Days will be held at Northerly Island on the Saturdays of Dec. 16, Jan. 20, and Feb. 24 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.

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

THEATER AND STAGE PERFORMANCES

The American Blues Theater (ABT) will present It’s A Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago through Sat., Jan. 6. For 16 years, ABT has treated Chicago audiences to a live 1940s radio broadcast that recreates the entire town of Bedford Falls with Foley sound effects, an original score, and holiday carols. 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 Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Ticket prices are $19 to $49. Call (773) 327-5252 or visit www.americanbluestheater.com.

Chicago’s Cadillac Theatre at 151 W. Randolph St. presents Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, a stage adaptation of the classic film. The story follows two showbiz buddies who find their perfect mates while putting on a show in a Vermont inn. Bring your loved ones for a heart-warming celebration of Americana that runs through Sunday, Dec. 3. Tickets range from $18 to $100 and are available through the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000 and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.  

Emerald City Theatre’s production of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas runs through Sun., Jan. 7, at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St. Kick off your family’s yuletide season with this comic take on the classic poem with a couple of dancing mice, a spunky girl, and Elf-B-I agent. Tickets start at $17.50. Call (773) 529-2690 or log on to www.emeraldcitytheatre.com.

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, played for the ninth time by Larry Yando. Performances run through Sun., Dec. 31, in the Goodman’s Albert Theatre. Obtain tickets by calling (312) 443-3800 or at the theater’s box office at 170 N. Dearborn St. Visit www.goodmanthatre.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. Choose among more than 30 performances from Fri., Dec. 1, through Sat. 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.

The Joffrey Ballet will once again host The Nutcracker, which features dazzling costumes and an extravagant set.

Lil’ Buds Theatre Co. will present Those Silly Reindeer. It’s almost Christmas Eve at the North Pole and something is wrong! Will Christmas be saved? Will Santa burn the hot dogs at his BBQ fest? The show runs Sat., Dec. 1, through Mon., Dec. 17. Show times are Fri., 7 p.m., Sat., 1 and 6:30 p.m.; and Sun., 2 p.m. at the Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway St. 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 Sun., Dec. 31, at the Mercury Theatre, 3745 N. Southport Ave. Tickets are priced from $30 to $45. 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 12th 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 presents Holidazed and Confused Revue: Mandatory Merriment, a completely new holiday revue. Performances run through Sun., Dec. 31, at the Second City Theatre, 1616 N. Wells St. See the group’s touring show, the Non-denominational Christmas Show, at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W.111th St., on Sat., Dec. 30, at 8 p.m. Obtain tickets by calling (312) 337-3992 or log on to www.secondcity.com.

SPECIAL TREATS

At the Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave., take a stroll around the annual holiday flower show. This year’s theme, Fire and Ice, tells a conservation story about the regenerative power that fire and frost can provide to ecosystems. The show features poinsettias in fiery colors, conifers, and other plants that evoke both fire and ice. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with extended hours to 8 p.m. on Wed. 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.1, 5 to 6:30 p.m. The family friendly festivities include light refreshments, music, and dance. The event is free. Location is 118 N. Clark St., Ste. 112. The trees will be on display throughout December from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (312) 603-3826 or log on to www.cookcountytreasurer.com.

Tree House Humane Society will host its annual Holiday Open House and Shelter Lighting Ceremony on Sat., Dec. 9, from 5 to 8 p.m. 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 evening begins with a lighting ceremony, followed by guided tours, light refreshments, and live music by Music House, Inc. students. Suggested donation is $5 or cat or dog food. Call (773) 262-4000 or log on to www.TreeHouseAnimals.org.