Page 1


SW H o li da y

cooki e







recipes for the overwhelmed

yed o j r e v and o




























HOW TO REACH US 332 S. MICHIGAN AVE., 9TH FLOOR, CHICAGO, IL 60604 (708) 386-5555 ChicagoParent.com EDITORS chiparent@chicagoparent.com TO FIND A COPY circulation@chicagoparent.com ADVERTISING maggie@chicagoparent.com


Real Life .................... 10

19 Season’s Eatings

Failing with Gusto ..... 12

A Christmas cookie fix for the grinchy or gleeful

Viva Daddy ................ 13 Around Town ............. 16

24 One of a kind

Calendar .................... 28

The world needs more kids like these seven


Nutty for Nutcrackers? There’s one for every family

Parenting Dilemma.... 48

On the Cover: Photography and styling: Lauren Jeziorski

Design: Kelly Buren

Chicago Parent is published monthly by Zoe Communications Group. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Chicago Parent, 332 S. MIchigan Ave., 9th Floor, Chicago, IL, 60604. © 2019 Zoe Communications Group Inc. All rights reserved.


EditoR’s Note

Holiday spirit


t the start of November, my holiday spirit level is usually pretty high; I’d say it’s a solid seven. By the end of December, though, it might be teetering closer to a three. I’m determined to hit a 10 this year. Last year, on the heels of our successful NYC trip over the holiday break, I decided to find more experiences the kids would enjoy rather than stuff to clutter my house. The gifts included two piano lessons for one to try it out, a spa day for another and even a pizza-making class downtown for

TAMARA L. O’SHAUGHNESSY my pizza-loving son. I’m thinking about doing another quick family trip this year. After all of these years of trying to find the perfect gifts, I think I finally have it figured out—at least for my little pack—and that has my holiday spirit level on the rise already. This month, we have a special surprise inside for you that I think will fuel your own holiday spirit: yum-worthy cookies to help slow down time and bond with your kids, whether the cookie is in the shape of a


gingerbread man or a meltin-your-mouth sugar cookie dreidel. Content Director Julia Elliott shares some of her family favorites to match your spirit. I can’t wait to try them out myself with my kids. (I already accept that they won’t look as pretty as Julia’s.) From the cookies to our annual story on some of Chicagoland’s kind kids to pages and pages of family fun, I hope this issue takes your holiday spirit level to a 10, too. Happy holidays.

our village

Holiday magic


You can’t deny that the holidays in Chicagoland are magical (and make us forget that winter is coming). This month, take advantage of the jolly season by trying out some holiday activities — new and old — with the entire family. We’re gathering all the best holiday happenings on ChicagoParent.com. While you’re out exploring, share your holiday photos with us on Instagram by using #sharechicagoparent.

Enter to win 2020 is only a few weeks away and our contests this month will get you excited for the New Year. We’re giving away tickets to Disney On Ice presents Road Trip Adventures at Allstate Arena and Trolls Live! at The Chicago Theatre. Enter to win these prizes and more at ChicagoParent.com/Contests.


Aurelia from Crystal Lake, Instagram: @oplaceswego

our village

Holiday traditions Since we’re in the holiday spirit, let’s talk about your family’s favorite traditions. What do you cook for the holidays? Where do you go? What are your favorite holiday activities? We’ll be talking about holiday traditions and sharing our favorites in our Facebook group — Chicago Parent Village. Join the conversation at ChicagoParent.com/OurVillage.

ICYMI Bake with us On page 19, take a look at our cookie feature to see what to bake this holiday season. We’ll be showing you how to make these cookies over on our Instagram Stories on Monday, Wednesday and Friday this month. We’ll even sprinkle in a few bakeries to make the holiday cooking a little easier for you. Follow us on Instagram @ChicagoParent.

Don’t worry, there’s still time to finish your holiday shopping this year! We’ve gathered the best new toys for kids of all ages and where to shop them locally in our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide. Find the complete guide at ChicagoParent.com/GiftGuide.


Real life | mom



erging motherhood with a whole lot of humor and down-and-dirty reality is Alyssa Goldwater, the mom behind the Instagram handle @aglassofgoldwater. A Glass of Goldwater has become a community and support network of more than 20,000 women across the world. Many moms struggle to be the “perfect social media mom.” Why is it important for you to just be you— real and raw—on social media? I saw there was a need to show the good, the bad and the ugly of motherhood and what it’s like to be a woman, trying to build a business and have her own career at the same. We’re all just trying to make it work, and I think there are far too many people in this world, and this space, who take themselves far too seriously. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves, and I do this by being myself. What would you say to the moms who feel bad about themselves when they see these perfect social media moms? I’d tell them to hit the unfollow button. Social media mom shaming is a real problem. As moms, how can we support versus judge one another? I love the mantra “You do you.” Let’s try and remember that a little bit more. This doesn’t have to be a

10 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

A glass full

Alyssa Goldwater ■ Hometown: Chicago ■ Day job: Social media personality, CEO of AG Creative Consulting, a boutique digital marketing and brand strategy agency ■ Spouse: Adam ■ Children: Miri, 3, and Azi, 2. ■ Parenting must-haves: Nose Frida Snotsucker, indestructible Yeti Tumbler for mom, Boon high chair, and a great therapist ■ Favorite things to do in winter in Chicago: Ice skating at Maggie Daley Park, riding the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, and visiting the butterfly exhibit at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum mom-eat-mom world. We’re all parenting our kids in different ways, choosing different tactics to enhance our careers, eating different diet shakes, wearing different colored Lululemon leggings, and ordering different drinks at Starbucks, but at the end of the day, don’t we all just want to be good moms, happy wives and fulfilled women? Your candle never gets extinguished by lighting another flame. That’s something to remember. As a social media influencer, how does it feel to be approached by followers in real life? I love it! Instagram is only one avenue where we start to get to know each other, and it’s so important to remember that there are real people behind that screen. Some of my favorite relationships have started just

from a follower approaching me in real life. What's your parenting style? My kids aren’t complete savages, and they’re both growing and are healthy. So I guess my style is “keep them alive and make sure they’re not complete a-holes.” I think I’m doing OK so far. As a mom juggling a career, kids, marriage and everything in between, what are some of your mom hacks to make life easier? Leave breakfast on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to buy you an extra 15 minutes in bed. Throw things in bins and pretend it’s not there. Don’t sweat the teeny stuff, and learn to live with sweat, because you will be sweaty from now until eternity. #causemomlife. CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 11


Tony the Turtle



y father often tells the story of his childhood turtle, “Snappy.” Snappy was well on his way towards a good, long turtle life. He was fed hamburger meat daily by my Lithuanian grandfather. Meat, the Lithuanians will tell you, is the key to longevity. My father recently turned 80, so I’m going with it. Meat and Scotch = immortality. And maybe the occasional pepperoni stick.

Anyway, my father was at school one day when his toddler brother decided to offer Snappy an enticing new menu option: milk. He filled the small tank to the brim. Snappy didn’t survive the day. My youngest son, Joey, recently turned 12. Every year for his birthday, he begs for a pet. We surrendered one time and got him hermit crabs, but they’re not the most engaging of animals, hiding in their shells every time you enter the room. But this time? We purchased Tony the Turtle. Joey immediately began his research. We needed more stuff! A heating lamp! A basking platform! A filter! Occasional live goldfish! Fine. I told myself this wasn’t going to be forever. How long can turtles live? That’s when my social media friends gleefully pointed out that Sylvester Stallone’s turtles from Rocky, Cuff and Link, are 44 freaking years old. When I read that, I thought of filling Tony’s tank with milk and calling it a day. Shaking off my instincts to commit turtlecide, I prepared mentally for having a pet for the next four decades, or at least until Joey moves out. 12 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

We all know Joey is never moving out. Tony adores Joey, mostly because he’s the main food provider. But when Joey walks into a room? I’ll be damned if Tony isn’t smiling. In doing his turtle research, Joey also learned about the legendary Longville, Minn., turtle races. My three sons are now obsessed with constructing a workout facility to get Tony into tip-top shape for next summer’s events. They’re discussing mazes and a possible turtle treadmill. Tony, for his part, has been a good sport. People wonder why I am not a pet person. For a busy family of five with multiple athletic events, jobs and commitments, animals just never made sense. There’s no running home to let the dog out when you’re in South Bend facing game six of a tournament. So now we’re GPSing how many miles away Longville, Minn., is. To race our turtle. And I’m trying hard not to eyeball that gallon of 2 percent. Marianne Walsh, mom of three boys, is married to a Chicago firefighter and lives on the South Side.


The great baking bicker off   



ecember is a month of magic. A month of warmth in the cold, of lights in the darkness, of families coming together to commemorate, to celebrate, and (for some) to make cookies as a treat for a jolly old elf. My daughter Viva and I enjoy an annual Christmas Eve tradition of laying out yummy ingredients, dragging out the mixer, setting down a big red plate and then getting into a fight with one another until we are both resentful and agitated and the batter tastes of bitter tears.

I don’t know why we always duke it out over Santa cookies. It started the Christmas she was 1 and has been consistently unpleasant ever since. She never wants to finish, or to write the note. I insist that making cookies together is a beautiful bonding experience and demand she have a good time. She accuses me of being a tyrant, I tell her she’s being ungrateful, then Mommy tells us we’re all tired and shouldn’t have started baking so late after such a big day. What sets us off every year right when we should be hunkering down to contemplate frolicking sugarplums? Perhaps it is the pressure to make indelible memories. Perhaps it is density of mandated jollity packed into these last weeks of the year. Likely it is the unspoken anxiety of the father/ daughter dynamic: the pressure for Dad to be the perfect provider, protector, confidant and clown, while Daughter must be the ideal scion, scholar, princess and muse. These stressors, fueled by exhaustion, expectation and peppermint bark, come crashing together into a cinnamon-dusted donnybrook

at the kitchen island. I hope this year will be different. I hope this year I’ll be more patient, she’ll be more amenable, and we’ll begin the process much sooner before bedtime. Someday perhaps it’ll sink in that we needn’t bake to form a bond, because our bond is unbreakably forged and to one another we will always be enough. If our family is together, we will always be home, it will always be a holiday… and Santa can just eat a stack of Oreos or something. Viva Cookies. Viva Viva. Viva Daddy. Viva is 8 years old. Daddy is about 5x that age. They live happily with Mommy in Chicago.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 13

Life in Chi


Photos and ideas by Jennifer Pallay

The Elf on the Shelf (or the newer Mensch on a Bench) tradition isn’t going anywhere soon—so let’s share the best of Chicago with our magical friends. Try these ideas this month to ensure those morning giggles.

Grab a piece of fan gear from your fave Chicago team for an easy set up.

Forget to put your Elf out one night? Write an apology note with this pic explaining he or she was called to help Chicago’s finest with a big emergency.

Even your Elf can’t choose sides. Print out some Chicago coloring pages and let the creativity flow.

A Chicago-style dog makes a great hiding spot.

Sweet tooth! Chicago’s famous chocolates make a great addition to the Elf’s gift list.

Incorporate the Elf into your family pics from a favorite tourist spot.

Choose your favorite Chicago pizza box and create a memorable party scene.

Your beloved Mold-A-Ramas can bring a touch of Chicago to any Elf scene.

Let the sight-seeing begin.

14 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Show off your Chicago Elf or Mensch on Instagram with our hashtag #sharechicagoparent.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 15

Around town


CHICAGO’S SOUTH LOOP ■ Find more family fun at ChicagoParent.com/ neighborhood-guides


EXPLORE: Harold Washington Library. The Thomas Hughes Children's Library is a welcoming, fun space with plenty of building blocks, puppets and puzzles. It also offers a wide range of programs for families to learn and play together. Take a trip up to the Atrium for an indoor garden oasis with stunning architecture. PLAY: Sod Room. The play space creates a Zen play atmosphere by using earth tones and sustainable materials. It also hosts a plethora of weekly classes and seasonal events, perfect for Chicago’s winter. 

A great place to be for families BY TIANA KUBIK



he South Loop is a neighborhood with questionable borders. While many other city neighborhoods have clear boundaries, this area south of Chicago’s Loop was once said to only go down to Roosevelt, but residents living there believe growth has fueled its expansion to a more undefined area. Ultimately, this just means there is more to love for residents and visitors alike in this diverse and exciting area.

16 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

EAT: Akhirah’s Praline Candy. Beignets are a New Orleans treat worth the powdered sugar explosion and Akhirah’s nails them, transporting you to New Orleans with every bite. The location is perfect for a yummy dessert following a meal at nearby The Burger Point. HIDDEN GEM: Chicago Women’s Park and Garden. This garden is a resident favorite. Grab a coffee at The Spoke & Bird and find a spot in the spacious garden or go inside the fieldhouse for an indoor playground and Kids Science Labs.




he stockings can go unhung. The artificial tree can sit this season out. And even the holiday spending can get scaled back. But a December without cookies? Bah, humbug! If we don’t get to indulge in a sweet, buttery holiday confection—preferably a variety made for this time of year—then it just isn’t the season. They are the “fa” in

our “fa-la-la-la,” the Christmas Star in our holiday galaxy and the Red Ryder BB gun in our Christmas Story. But while having your house filled with the smell of ginger and spice is nice, it’s not always feasible. No worries! Whatever your holiday spirit level, we’ve got a cookie that will knock everyone’s ugly sweaters off and make the season sweeter for the whole family. CONTINUED ON PAGE 20


Season’s Eatings


Quick tip

Pace yourself. Make the dough ahead of time and freeze, then thaw out in the fridge 24 hours before you want to finish making your little men.

Gingerbread M an Sandwich

Gingerbread cookies are want grand, but if you really ndard to sta ay lid ho s thi e tak to Insta a whole other level—and sider con s— nd frie r you ss impre ies. bab se the of making a batch ra ext le litt a in t pu to e You’ll hav cut and l rol seasonal sweat to butterthe dough, plus make but m, the cream icing to fill y the are boy ger boy oh gin worth it!



Quick tip

Forget those messy pastry bags! Fill a plastic squeeze bottle with royal icing for kids to help create the gingerbread faces.

eci pes at r e h t Get

Chicago 20 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM


ie k o o C / m o c . t n ar e


Cherry Cordials

It’s love at first bite wit h these decadent devil’s food drops. As if their chocolatey essence wa sn’t enough, they’re stuffed with maraschino cherrie s and drizzled with white chocolate. Trust us: No one will have these at the cookie exchange!

Quick tip

Swap out maraschino cherries for candied cherries. Or, try the natural variety of maraschino cherries if you want to avoid artificial coloring.


Quick tip

Let little hands help roll the dough around the cherries while you watch The Polar Express.

Better Baking Tips 1


Cool cookies sheets before each batch to ensure the last cookie comes out as perfect as the first.

Don’t overbeat your dough. It reduces the air and makes cookies flatter.

3 Eggs and butter should be room temperature, so they incorporate into the dough better.




Rotate cookie sheets half-way through baking for a more uniform browning.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats; don’t grease them.

Cookie dough scoops are helpful, but if you want each cookie the exact same size, a kitchen scale is even better. Weigh 1 to 2 oz. portions, depending on the recipe. CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 21

Season’s Eatings


Chewy Sugar Cookies have Frosted sugar cookies vawy che s nothing on thi g icin d nee ’t esn do t riety tha der ten , eet to dazzle. It’s a sw t’s way take on the classic tha e we easier to make and, dar am Cre r. tie tas n say it, eve ret sec the of e on is ese che s thi kes ma t tha ingredients cor a in t ou nd sta ipe rec nucopia of sugar cookie options.

Quick tip

Get creative with toppings— colored sugar, edible glitter or even crushed candy cane would make a nice addition.



Quick tip

Add cocoa powder to the dough for a chocolate version of this Christmas classic.

22 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

i p e s at c e r e h Get t

r a P o g a c C hi

s e i k o o C / m o c . t en

Quick tip

Trader Joe’s Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate bars are extra delicious but traditional Nestle Crunch Bars still make this recipe a family fave.

‘Krisp’ Kringles

If Rice Krisp ies Treats make your heart go pit ter pat, their C hristmas co okie cousins wil l make you swoon. Imagine: Ch op rice candy ba ped chocolate rs ies mixed in + Rice Krispa butter y d rop cookie dough . They are chewy, choc olatey and a big hit with kid dos of all ag es.

A 1 on the Holiday Spirit Scale We know how busy things get around the holidays—and the dozen reasons making cookies might fall to the very bottom of the holiday to-do. Sometimes it’s just easier to buy the cookies. We get it. Not just any place will do, though. For our money, we want wow-worthy cookies that make us look like a holiday hero.

Topping our list is: HOLIDAY SPIRIT SCALE

The sugar cookies at Sweet Mandy B's, 1208 W. Webster Ave., Chicago, which are topped with the same delicious buttercream that adorns their beloved cupcakes. Not an icing fan? They’ve also got butter cookies shaped like snowmen, candy canes and dreidels.


Bake Chicago, 2246 W. North Ave., Chicago, clearly knows what it’s doing when it comes to holiday cookies, whether you prefer a more traditional aesthetic or the party-on-a-plate that is the sprinkle cookie. They tell us they might have some surprises in store this year.

Quick tip

Kid task: Unwrap the candy bars and put in a large plastic bag. Use an ice cream scoop to pound into chunky pieces.

Go large at Dinkel’s Bakery, 3329 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Their yummy cookies are covered in fondant for the total professional look. If you want to venture outside the norm, they also have pfeffernusse, speculaas and Linzer cookies, plus decorated butter cookies. CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 23


There are some amazing kids out there. Kids who are selfless, compassionate and empathetic, kids who look at the world and do their part to be the change they want to see. Meet seven of them.

The2 Little2 Elve2s

CONNOR & JACK DARGE, 9 Every September, when twins Connor and Jack Darge’s birthday rolls around, they don’t expect presents. Since they were 3, the Chicago brothers have been using their birthday money to buy toys for children in Swedish Covenant Hospital. Every year around the holidays, they wear elf hats and hand deliver the toys with their nanny Darin Ortmann. “It makes me feel good to deliver the toys, because these children may not get to have Christmas,” Jack says. “It is our duty to deliver them.” Darin, who shops with the boys in the fall for Legos, Barbies, books, action figures and more, says they’ve donated more than 2,500 toys in the last six years. “It has taught them the true meaning of the holidays,” he says. Last year, they even expanded their efforts to involve their classes, who made cards for adult patients. This holiday season, they will work with the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce to collect new, unwrapped toys. Toy or monetary donations may also be made at Loafer’s Bar, where Darin works. “We’re basically kid Santa Clauses,” Connor says. “And our parents are proud of us because we showed them that we love to give and not just get.”

A He2art of Gold SOFIA SANCHEZ, 12

Sofia Sanchez stole the world’s hearts when a video she made singing to Drake’s music from her hospital room went viral. At the time, Sofia was at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital awaiting a new heart after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle that often leads to heart failure. Shortly after making the video, she received the two biggest shocks of her life: a surprise visit from Drake himself and the new heart she had been praying for. “I felt so happy when I heard I was getting a new heart because I knew I was going to survive and be able to go home,” Sofia says. Now, 16 months after her nine-hour surgery, Sofia is thriving. The Downers Grove girl is on two cheerleading squads and plays softball. She’s also made it her mission to spread the word about organ donation, as she starred in an ad campaign to encourage people to sign up for the Illinois Secretary of State’s Organ/Tissue Donor Registry. “Organ donation is so important because it saves lives and gives people like me a second chance,” Sofia says. About 300 people in Illinois die each year waiting for an organ transplant. “I am making my donor’s gift matter by staying healthy and living my best life,” Sofia says.

The2 Magic of Unicorns

GALILEA GONZALEZ, 10 When Galilea Gonzalez was 6 and visited her grandfather in the hospital, she drew him a picture of a unicorn. Noticing it made him feel better, she decided that every child patient needed something to make them happy, too. So Galilea, with help from her mom, Carmina, began making and selling bath salts. The Des Plaines girl used all of the proceeds to buy stuffed unicorns, and she hand-delivered more than 300 of them to patients at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago. “Unicorns are my spirt animal,” Galilea says. “They are magical, courageous and strong, and I think they will make people who get them feel that way, too.” Galilea’s Unicorn Project has been recognized nationally: she is the recipient of Disney Channel “Lead like Elena” award, and she has earned a Reflecting Excellence award from Reflejos bilingual newspaper in Chicago. “I tell her every day that I’m proud of her,” Carmina says. “... She’s done so much in her short life to be proud of." Over the holidays, Galilea plans to create and distribute baggies for the homeless, stuffed with personal hygiene products. “I want to always make everyone smile,” she says. CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 25


Re2ading for a Purpose2 PRISCILLA VILLARREAL, 9

Priscilla Villarreal has loved reading books since she was a baby. Her mom, Kristal Leon, says she always carries a book. Earlier this year, Priscilla, of Bellwood, launched her own YouTube channel, “Storytime with Priscilla,” where she reads children’s books from up-andcoming authors. They pay a fee of $30, and Priscilla donates all of the proceeds to Magnificent Mutts & Meows Rescue, a nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter. In addition, Priscilla visits the shelter to read to the animals. Studies have shown that reading brings comfort to animals and reduces anxiety in shelter pets. Priscilla, an animal lover who rescued two hound dogs—6-year-old Honey Bee and 2-year-old Lady Bird—says she’s lucky she gets to combine her love for reading and animals to make a difference. “I feel happy that I can help encourage kids to read more and I can help rescue animals feel safe and loved,” Priscilla says. After reading the books in shelters, Priscilla donates them to the Family Life Center at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago so the young patients can enjoy the books. “I am so proud of Priscilla and her big heart,” Krystal says. “I love that she is doing something she BELAYE HUGHES, 12 loves and is helping change lives.” Ask anyone in Evanston who the mayor is, and likely, they’ll tell you it is Belaye Hughes, a sixth-grader who seems to know everyone. Hughes was adopted from Ethiopia when he was 3. When he and his mother, Kristine Nesslar, visited his extended family in Ethiopia this summer, there was a political uprising and a mob looted the lodge they were staying in, forcing them to escape into a forest. While they made it back safely, their driver and translator, Abreham Gebre, wasn’t so lucky. The young father’s car was set on fire, putting him out of a job. Upon returning to Chicago, Belaye made it his mission to raise money for Abreham. Every day for 10 days, he set up a lemonade stand at Lee Street Beach, where he encouraged people to donate via Facebook Live. He and his mom also spearheaded a GoFundMe effort. “He was really impacted by what he saw,” Kristine says. “He wanted to find a way to not feel helpless.” In late September, Belaye’s efforts paid off. More than $45,000 was wired to Abreham to buy a new van. "I hope Abreham feels like he has someone he MOLLY PINTA, 13 can rely on and that we have his back,” Belaye says. After attending a Pride parade in 2018 with her mother, Molly Pinta decided on the drive home that her community of Buffalo Grove needed to host its own parade. Molly, who had only come out to her parents, recorded a video publicly coming out and asking for monetary assistance via GoFundMe to organize a parade in Buffalo Grove. “It spread like wildfire,” says Molly, who initially raised more than $15,000. “People from all over the place supported us. And I say ‘us’ because this wasn’t just about me. It was about everyone in the LGBT community.” Molly saw her dream come true on June 2 when Buffalo Grove hosted its first Pride Parade. An estimated 9,000 marched in and attended the event. Since then, Molly’s family started a nonprofit called The Pinta Pride Project. The organization hosts monthly events for LGBT families who want a place to connect. “I live in a privileged bubble where my family loves and accepts me, but not everyone is as lucky as I am,” she says. “... We want to provide connections to people who will hear, accept and lift them up. Everyone deserves that.”

The2 Fundraise2r

A Voice2 for3 Al

26 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION // Bring the family to MSI for Christmas Around The World Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light is a wonderful family tradition from Nov. 14-Jan. 5. Have your picture taken with Santa on select weekends. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago; (773) 684-1414. msichicago.org

JINGLE BELL, JINGLE BUY - GIFT IDEAS Give the gift of theater this holiday season! Get a $20 bonus for every $100 in Goodman Theatre gift certificates purchased Nov. 29 through Dec. 25. goodmantheatre.org/gifts; goodmantheatre.org

Bring the Zoo home this holiday season

Your kids will love a Codeverse membership

Give the gift of a Lincoln Park Zoo membership! Connect with nature in the heart of Chicago, support wildlife, and enjoy free or discounted parking! Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago; (312) 742-2322. lpzoo.org/membership

Gift the gift of coding! Codeverse is offering one month of membership and Codeverse: Explorer (at-home coding program) for kids ages 6-13 for $175. Three convenient locations, Lincoln Park, Naperville and Wilmette. (844) 644- CODE. codeverse.com

Downtown Oak Park gift certificates are sure to please!

Chicago’s Indoor Winter Playground

Gift certificates are good at more than 70 shops and restaurants. Purchase at Downtown Oak Park’s office, 1010 Lake St., Suite 114, Oak Park, or online at downtownoakpark.net/giftcertificates.

Give the gift of an unforgettable winter experience – Navy Pier’s Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest. A ticket bundle is the perfect gift for any family! Navy Pier, (800) 595-PIER (7437). navypier.org/winter-wonderfest

Experience opera for the whole family

Give the gift of year-round learning and fun

Chamber Opera Chicago’s hit of the season, Amahl and the Night Visitors, will be a hit with your whole family! This one-act opera opens with a spectacular prelude of holiday music and dance at the Athenaeum Theatre, Nov. 30-Dec. 1. (773) 935-6875. chamberoperachicago.org

Check an entire family off your holiday shopping list with a museum gift card available in any amount for admissions, annual memberships, or birthday parties! Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago, 2100 Patriot Blvd, Glenview;  (847) 832-6600. kohlchildrensmuseum.org

Salt Creek Ballet creates great family memories Introduce kids to the power and beauty of dance with this affordable holiday tradition performed in the grand Russian style with special guest soloists. Salt Creek Ballet The Nutcracker, Dec 21 & 22, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie; (847) 673-6300. northshorecenter.org

Find the perfect gift at Yorktown Center Shine this holiday season with the perfect gifts under the tree by shopping at any of Yorktown Center’s 150 specialty stores and 20 restaurants! Yorktown Center, Highland Avenue and Butterfield Road, Lombard; (630) 629-7330. yorktowncenter.com

Give a gift that lasts a lifetime This holiday season, give the gift of Spanish. It will be something they’ll never forget. Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, Inc., 31 W. Ohio St., Chicago; (312) 335-1996. chicago.cervantes.es/en

Give the gift of family moments Find dozens of ideas for family fun this month in our calendar beginning on Page 28.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 27


25 family-friendly

events you can’t miss

DECEMBER Way every day and a oneday market in Beverly on Dec. 7.

Illumination: Tree Lights

Teddy Bear Tea. Children and adults can indulge in a pot of housemade hot chocolate, tea sandwiches and delectable sweet treats before a guest storyteller arrives weekends through Dec. 29 at Hotel Zachary.

Hyde Park HollyDay. Enjoy cookie decorating, costumed characters, Soul Santa and more at the free Hyde Park event on Dec. 7.

Spaghetti with Santa. Meet with Santa,

Brookfield Zoo Annual Holiday Magic. The zoo will be lit with more than one million twinkling LED lights as guests enjoy caroling to the animals, professional ice carving demonstrations, light shows and special visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus on weekends.

FREE ZooLights. More than two million lights illuminate the Lincoln Park zoo with visits from Santa,

Homewood Holiday Lights

ice sculptors, holiday crafts and activities, and sweet treats of all kinds. FridaysSundays.

Holiday Lights Tour. Catch a trolley to see the city under holiday lights with stops at the Christkindlmarket and Lincoln Park's ZooLights through Dec. 23 from Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Bus Company.

The Polar Express. Ride the Polar Express through the neighborhoods along the Chicago River after boarding at Union Station through Dec. 29.

Merry, Merry Chicago! A holiday concert of carols, a sing-along of favorites and a special guest. Ring in the holidays with Symphony Center’s annual spectacular on weekends Dec. 14-15 and 20-23.

28 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. Live music helps tell the fantastical story of Hershel of Ostropol defeating a series of goblins over the eight days of Hanukkah during weekends Dec. 14-29 at Strawdog Theatre Company.

Illumination: Tree Lights. On Morton

gingerbread house inspired by Chicago’s bungalows with pastry chef Gale Gand Dec. 7 at Chicago Architecture Center.

Christkindlmarket Chicago. A traditional holiday market in the heart of Chicago runs daily in Daley Plaza until Christmas Eve. Also check out a new one at Gallagher

Santa HQ at Fashion Outlets of Chicago. Experience Santa's workshop in the digital and social media age through Dec. 24 at Fashion Outlets of Chicago.

Beat Kitchen Concerts for Kids! Every Sunday a new artist performs at a concert geared for ages 0-12 at

{ }

Arboretum’s Illumination trail, sing to trees to make them change color and hug trees to see how they respond, then warm up at a toasty fire pit through Jan. 5.

The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Enjoy

Gingerbread Bungalows. Build a

visit the "Candy Bar" and the whole family will enjoy a buffet of spaghetti and Italian food on Dec. 7 at Maggiano's Little Italy.

hot cocoa and spend an enchanting hour with Peter Rabbit and other beloved Beatrix Potter puppet characters weekends at Chicago Children's Theatre.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

Barnes & Noble Mellody Farm (Dec. 18).

rides, movies and carnival rides.

Musical Brunch with Santa. Enjoy a

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Christmas Eve and Other Stories. The

brunch with Santa featuring live Christmas music on Dec. 15 at Fitz's Spare Keys in Elmhurst.

Lightscape. The Chicago Botanic Garden will debut its mile-long path of color, imagination and sound on Tuesdays-Saturdays this month.

Brookfield Zoo Annual Holiday Magic

Beat Kitchen in Chicago.

Family DropIn Days at the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Spend a Saturday morning exploring the exhibition at Chicago Cultural Center this month.

The Elf On The Shelf-A Christmas Musical. This all-new musical and stage production gives audiences a glimpse into the

magical lives of Scout Elves in Waukegan on Dec. 20.

Jewish Holidays 101: Hanukkah Storytime— These Little Lights of Mine. Learn about the Jewish holidays with stories, songs and activities especially for babies and toddlers at Barnes & Noble Deerfield (Dec. 17) and at

Holiday Lights in Homewood. The South Suburbs’ hot spot features a tree lighting, reindeer petting zoo, arrival of Santa and more on Dec. 6.

Holiday Happenings in Downtown Tinley Park. The weekend of fun on Dec. 6-8 includes multiple parades, a tree lighting, carriage

multi-sensory extravaganza of music and staging will highlight the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's roots on Dec. 30 at Rosemont Theatre.

Holiday Hoopla. Discovery Center Museum in Rockford becomes post-holiday headquarters with hands-on arts and crafts Dec. 26-30.

New Year's Eve at Noon Party at Lincoln. The Lincoln Park Cultural Center will help your family ring in the ‘noon year' with balloons, music and crafts on Dec. 31.

The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party

Reach new heights this winter


or the adventure seekers in your family, take a trip to Navy Pier this month to try a pair of new thrills on the lake. At the Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest, guests can try climbing the Polar Extreme Obstacle Course and soar to the 40-foot Cliff Hanger. If your littles have already tried the mini climbing walls at the park, they’ll love trying to scale the Polar Ice Peaks Climbing Walls at Winter WonderFest. Those who like to stay close to the ground can marvel at the Aerial Ataraxia group that performs in the afternoons on Tuesdays and Sundays. While at Navy Pier, check out Cloud Buster, a new climbable at Chicago Children’s Museum. The structure is 37 feet tall and helps fearless kids try new risks reaching the top of Navy Pier. Made of steel, wood, rope, turf, wire, acrylic and fiberglass, kids can touch, feel and climb their way through routes, tubes and bridges. Hillary Bird

Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest Where: Navy Pier When: Dec. 6-Jan. 12 navypier.org/winter-wonderfest


Santa HQ at Fashion Outlets of Chicago

Cloud Buster Where: Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier When: Daily Cost: Included with Chicago Children’s Museum admission, $19, free 1 year and under. CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 29

calendar 1 | SUNDAY

Stroller Tours


Secret Agent Storytime. Sing, dance, read books and make crafts with Agent Zach and your friends, parents and siblings. Recommended for junior agents ages 0-4 and their families. 11 a.m.-noon. The Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. (646) 239-9625, facebook.com.

4 | WEDNESDAY Stroller Tours. Caregivers discover the MCA’s exhibitions with a docent, exploring galleries without concern that their baby or stroller will disrupt the tour. Free with admission. 11:30 a.m. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. mcachicago.org. 6 | FRIDAY Drop-In Small Wonders Art for Kids. On the first Friday of each month, artists ages 4-12 will take part in a variety of visual and performing arts activities. Drop off can begin at 4:10 p.m., and artists should wear appropriate painting clothes. $5 donation. 4:15-6:15 p.m. Side Street Studio Arts, Elgin. sidestreetstudioarts.org.

Pottery: Parents’ Night Out. Children ages 7-12 have fun learning basic hand-building techniques at pottery class. $27, $18 residents. 6-8 p.m. Studio One, Naperville. apm.activecommunities.com.


Once Upon a Symphony: The Boy & The Violin. Vibrant music, storytelling and enchanting visuals blend together in a playful concert experience designed especially for youngest audience members. $17. 10 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. Chicago Symphony Orchestra. cso.org.

Family First Saturdays. Learn about your favorite animals through hands-on activities, games, crafts and time behind the scenes with Shedd’s animal experts. December topic: Beluga Whale Wonders. $49.99, $29.99 members. 10 a.m.-noon. Shedd Aquarium. sheddaquarium.org.


Snowflakes and Icicles Character Breakfast. Enjoy breakfast with the Ice Queen and her family, crafts, photos and music. All proceeds benefit the Pediatric Program of Joliet Area Community Hospice. $20, $25 ages 2-12. 9-11 a.m. Morris Country Club, Morris. joliethospice.org.

Pottery: Parents’ Night Out.

Preschool & Daycare Fair. Attend this open house to talk one-on-one with teachers and staff about their school’s or daycare’s specialties and your family’s needs. 1-3 p.m. Vernon Area Public Library, Lincolnshire. (224) 543-1486, vapld.info.

9 | MONDAY Auditorium Theatre Birthday Celebration. Tours, birthday cake and champagne toast ring in the 130th birthday of The Auditorium Theatre. Preregistration required for tours. 10:30 a.m. & noon tours, 4-7 p.m. celebration. Auditorium Theatre, Chicago. tickets.auditoriumtheatre.org.

See Dec. 6.

Build and make a take-home craft project, too. Themes and activities change each month. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center. (312) 922.3432, architecture.org.

Spa Chemistry: Holiday Gifts. Grab safety goggles to create unique, scented products perfect for giving. $40, $20 members. 6:15-8 p.m. The Laboratory Collective. thelaboratorychi.com

SUBURBS Lego Train Show Party. Enjoy the Lego Train Show and meet the creative builders from the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club. Free with $5 parking; parking is free with new unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Cantigny Park, Wheaton. cantigny.org.


Cold Blooded Weekend. Learn about reptiles with an immersive experience. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. naturemuseum.org.



Cold Blooded Weekend. See Dec. 7.

30 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM


CAC Family Day. Families with kids ages 3 and older can explore the galleries to learn fun facts, find hidden gems and participate in hands-on demonstrations.


Made. Indoor shopping event with the newest, best, quirkiest, exciting sampling of

calendar art, food, drinks, décor, accessories, and fashion. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Morgan MFG. (847) 926-4300, amdurproductions.com.


Lego Train Show Party. See Dec. 14. Today’s times: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 20 | FRIDAY Asleep with the Fishes: Winter Wonderland. Explore how animals survive in chilly temperatures and discover how living things illuminate the icy depths with bioluminescence, fluorescence, and more with a sleepover. Include animal and science activities, an aquatic presentation, animal encounters, aquatic crafts, a scavenger hunt and the chance to observe a Caribbean Reef feeding dive. $85-$130 overnight, $70-$110 members; $40 evening only, $30 members. 6 p.m.-8 a.m. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago. sheddaquarium.org.


Chicago Holiday Princess Ball. Little ones ages 3-7 can participate in princess games, story time sing-along, learn some ballroom dance moves and more. $32-$47. 9 a.m.-6:15 p.m. Chicago Marriott Northwest, Hoffman Estates. eventbrite.com.

Winter Solstice Family Hike. Learn how the trees, animals and insects change in the fall. End your adventure with a cozy fire and marshmallow roasting. $14. 1-2:30 p.m. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 719-2468, mortonarb.org.


Lego Build Workshop. Build with Lego, solve a design problem and learn the fundamentals to create your own designs. All ages are welcome, but 14 or younger must have adult. $20, free members. Noon-3 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center. architecture.org.

Countdown to Fun!



The Jason Kollum Juggling Show. Features big

31 | TUESDAY Countdown to Fun! Track


Great Train Show. See Dec. 28.

stunts with balls, frisbees, spinning rings, clubs and more. 2-3 p.m. Morton Grove Public Library, Morton Grove. (847) 929-5102, mgpl.org.

Today’s cost: $9.

30 | MONDAY Teenie Weenie New Year’s Eve Ball. Countdown to noon, danc-


ing, crafting, games and a balloon drop. Appropriate for ages 1-5 years. $12-$18, $8-$12 residents. 10 a.m.-noon. Simkus Recreation Center, Carol Stream. (630) 7846100, csparks.org.

Great Train Show. Model train show for hobbyists, modelers and families. $10, kids free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Lake County Fairgrounds, Grayslake. (847) 680-7200, greattrainshow.com.

The deadline for submitting listings for the January issue is Dec. 23. All events are subject to change. Please confirm before you go. Events taking place on four or more dates during the month are listed in Ongoing Events, beginning on page 42. Searchable listings updated daily ChicagoParent.com/calendar

New Year’s Eve At Noon Party at Lincoln. Ring in the ‘noon year’ with balloons, music and crafts. 10:30 a.m.-noon. Lincoln Park Cultural Center, Chicago. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Noon Year’s Eve. The festivities include crafts, games, food, and a balloon drop at noon. 10 a.m.-noon. Palos Heights Parks and Recreation Department, Palos Heights. palosheights.org. Itsy Bitsy New Year’s Eve Countdown. Kids ages 1-6 will

About the calendar

the New Year across the globe and count down to fun. Free with museum admission. Noon-4 p.m. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford. (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org.

enjoy inflatables, riding toys and areas to play a variety of activities. $20 family, $15 resident family. 10 a.m.noon. Sport Center, Schaumburg. (847) 891-1266, parkfun.com.

Happy Noon Year. Games, music, massive balloon drop and sparkling grape-juice toast. $2 per person, pre-registration required. 11 a.m.12:15 p.m. Wheeling Community Recreation Center, Wheeling. (847) 465-3333, wheelingparkdistrict.com.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 31

32 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM


Caroling at Cloudgate


Twas the Night Before... A new spin on the beloved Christmas poem, as only Cirque du Soleil can imagine. $30+. Through Dec. 7. Chicago Theatre. msg.com.

A Christmas Carol. Join Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys through his past, present and future—with plenty of jubilant musical numbers, spectacular costumes and hilarious Bah Humbugs! $35+. Through Dec. 29. Goodman Theatre, Chicago. goodmantheatre.org/carol#.

Christkindlmarket Chicago. A traditional holiday market in the heart of Chicago. Special events include appearances by the Christkind and the annual Children’s Lantern Parade. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday through Dec. 24. Daley Plaza. (312) 494-2175. christkindlmarket.com.

Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville. A Wrigleyville edition of the Chicago GermanAmerican Holiday Market. 3-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 24. Gallagher Way. christkindlmarket.com.

ZooLights. More than two million lights illuminate the zoo and includes visits from Santa,

ice sculptors, holiday crafts and activities, and sweet treats of all kinds. 4:30-9 p.m. Friday-Sunday in December and Dec. 26-31. Lincoln Park Zoo. lpzoo.org/zoolights.

Hanukkah Workshop. Kids

Holiday Lights Tour. Trolleys

Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light. The

transport passengers through a lightly narrated 2 ½-hour tour, making stops at the Christkindlmarket and Lincoln Park’s Zoo Lights. $20 ages 3-15, $32 adults. Through Dec. 23. Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Bus Company. chicagotrolley.com.

Breakfast with Santa. Enjoy a special holiday-inspired buffet while Jolly Old Saint Nick visits with children near the fireplace. $60 adults, $20 2-12. 8-11 a.m. Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 22. Hotel Zachary. hotelzachary.com. Teddy Bear Tea. Children and adults can indulge in a pot of house-made hot chocolate, tea sandwiches and delectable sweet treats before a guest storyteller arrives. $55 adults, $35 2-12. 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 29. Hotel Zachary. hotelzachary.com. Ceramic Gingerbread House. Children will assemble, decorate and paint a Ceramic Gingerbread House. Recommended for ages 5 and older. $35. 10:30 a.m.-noon Dec. 1. Kids Clay Room. kidsclayroom.com.

ages 4 and older make and glaze Hanukkah-themed projects. $35. 1-2:30 p.m. Dec. 1. Kids Clay Room. kidsclayroom.com.

museum’s 45-foot Grand Tree takes center stage in the Rotunda, surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities. Free with museum admission. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily; extended hours on select days. Museum of Science and Industry. (773) 684-1414, msichicago.org.

The Polar Express. Ride The Polar Express through the neighborhoods along the Chicago River. Santa and his helpers board the train to greet passengers and each guest is given the first gift of Christmas: a silver sleigh bell. $38+, see website for details. Time varies by date, through Dec. 29. Union Station. chicagothepolarexpressride.com.

Wonderland Tea. Holiday afternoon tea service. $80. 1-5 p.m. Mondays-Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, through Jan. 1. The Langham Hotel. langhamhotels.com.

Chicago Kids Company presents Mrs. Claus! A Holiday Musical. Join the new Elf Class of

2019 to team up with Mrs. Claus to try to find the missing “list.” Recommended for ages 2-10. $14-$18. Dec. 5-23. Beverly Arts Center, (773) 205-9600, and Stahl Family Theater, (773) 205-9600. app.arts-people.com.

Caroling at Cloud GateMillennium Park. Hear choral groups and join them in a holiday sing-along. Santa comes at 5 p.m. and caroling starts at 6 p.m. Fridays through Dec. 20. Millennium Park. millenniumpark.org.

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier. Indoor ice skating, entertainment, rides and inflatable slides. Costs vary, check event website. Dec. 6-Jan. 12. Navy Pier. navypier. com/winter-wonderfest.

Holiday on Southport at Sheil. Enjoy the annual party with a visit with Santa, arts & crafts and community spirit. 5-7 p.m. Dec. 6. Sheil Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Gingerbread Bungalows. Build a gingerbread house inspired by Chicago’s bungalows with pastry chef Gale Gand. This workshop is recommended for ages 5 and older. $25 per kit (good for 1-4 people), $20 members. 1-3 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center. (312) 922-3432, architecture.org. The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Enjoy hot cocoa and

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 33

holiday spend an enchanting hour with Peter Rabbit and other beloved Beatrix Potter puppet characters. Best for ages 2-6. $47. 11:30 a.m. & 2 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays, Dec. 7-29. Chicago Children’s Theatre. chicagochildrenstheatre.org.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas PHOTO CREDIT ANEESAH MUHAMMAD

Santa at the Driehaus Museum. Art projects, lively storytime and sing-alongs provide fun for the entire family. $15, $8 kids 3-12, Free 2 and under. Weekends Dec. 7-15. Driehaus Museum. driehausmuseum.org.

Hyde Park Holly-Day. Enjoy cookie decorating, costumed characters, Soul Santa and more. Fees for some activities. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 7. Harper Court & The Promontory. hphollyday.com.

Lunch With Santa. As carolers sing in the dining room, adults and kids enjoy a three-course lunch. $40, $20 kids under 12. 11:30-2:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 14 & 21. Lawry’s The Prime Rib. lawrysonline.com.

Cookies with Santa at Vittum. Enjoy cookies with Santa.

Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish - The Musical.

Recommended for ages 1-12 years. Noon-2 p.m. Dec. 7. Vittum Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Spaghetti with Santa. Meet with Santa, visit the “Candy Bar” and the whole family will enjoy a buffet of spaghetti and Italian food. $25. 5 p.m., 6 p.m. & 7 p.m. Dec. 7. Maggiano’s Little Italy. eventbrite.com.

Young Families Celebrate Chanukah. Join jBaby Chicago

The story of a rag doll who lives at the North Pole and wishes for a best friend. Recommended for ages 3 and older. $29.50, $100 family four-pack. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and weekends through Dec. 29. Greenhouse Theater Center, Chicago. eleanorswish.com.

Christkindlmarket Beverly. One-day holiday market inside heated greenhouse with food, visits with Santa, face painting and shopping. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 7. Olivia’s Garden. facebook.com.

Breakfast with Santa. Santa and his helpers will arrive while guests are treated to Mrs. Claus’ Holiday Buffet. $25, $14.95 children. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 7. Roanoke Restaurant. (312) 9403760, theroanokerestaurant.com.

and PJ Library to celebrate the Festival of Lights. Enjoy full access to the museum with a fun Chanukah twist. $25 per family. 9-11 a.m. Dec. 8. Chicago Children’s Museum. juf.org.

Holiday Craft Workshop. Kids ages 6-9 are invited for a fun-filled evening of holiday arts and crafts. $5. 6-7 p.m. Dec. 9. Eugene Field Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com. House Music with Santa at West Pullman. Arts & crafts, fun & games, music and a picture with Santa. Recommended for ages 6 and older. 5-8 p.m. Dec. 19. West Pullman Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Santa Suite. Enjoy a letter-writing station for holiday wish lists, face painting and kids’ crafts, as well as a complimentary hot chocolate bar and gourmet food offerings. $15, free 2 and under. Noon-6 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays, Dec. 7-22. Swissotel. eventbrite.com.

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Full of dancing,

Santa at the Berghoff. Enjoy a Berghoff meal with Santa and bring a book benefiting the SOS Villages of Illinois. Free with food purchases. Dec. 7, 14, 20-21 & 23. The Berghoff. theberghoff.com.

ages 3-6 will make a super-secret present for someone very special, then learn to wrap it and make a card/gift tag. $10. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 10. Horner Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com,

romance, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever. $20+. Dec. 10-15. Cadillac Palace Theatre. broadwayinchicago.com.

Santa’s Secret Workshop (Preschool). Santa’s little helpers

34 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Holiday Party at Commercial Club. Enjoy a holiday movie, visit from Santa, arts & crafts, marshmallow roasting, music and refreshments. 5-8 p.m. Dec. 13. Commercial Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Deaf Teen Holiday Party. Enjoy a fun-filled night of holiday games and activities for deaf and hard-of-hearing teens. 4-9 p.m. Dec. 13. Sauganash Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Merry, Merry Chicago! A holiday concert of carols, a sing-along and a special guest. $40+. Dec. 14-15, 20-23. Chicago Symphony Orchestra. cso.org. Santa’s Secret Workshop (Early Elementary). Santa’s little helpers ages 6-9 will make a super-secret present, then learn to wrap it. $10. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 14. Horner Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Santa’s Secret Workshop (Tweens/Teens). Santa’s little helpers ages 9-13 will make a super-secret present, then learn to

wrap it. $10. 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Dec. 14. Horner Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Skate with Santa. Skate with Santa on The Ribbon. All participants must provide or rent ice skates. Skate rental $15. 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 14. Maggie Daley Park. maggiedaleypark.com. Brunch with Santa. Enjoy a train ride, bouncy house, brunch, petting zoo, arts and crafts, and more. $55, $20 kids. 9-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-3 p.m. Dec. 14. Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. eventbrite.com. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. Live music will help tell the fantastical story of Hershel of Ostropol defeating a series of goblins over the eight days of Hanukkah. $20-$25. Weekends Dec. 14-29. Strawdog Theatre Company. strawdog.org.

Community Holiday Party at West Lawn. The community is invited to a holiday party with activities for ages 3-12. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 14. West Lawn Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Breakfast with Mr. & Mrs. Deaf Santa. Children with all types of hearing loss will meet Santa. $5, free 5 and under. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 14. Archer Park. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Breakfast with Santa. Pose for pictures, decorate cookies and sing Christmas carols. $10 in advance, $15 at the door ages 2

holiday and older; free under 2. 11 a.m. Dec. 15. Josephinum Academy. (773) 292-3964, josephinum.org/ santabreakfast.

Breakfast with Santa. Enjoy zoo views, cookie decorating and time with the man in red. $45 ages 13 and older, $20 ages 1-12, Free 12 months and younger. Four seatings Dec. 15. Lincoln Park Zoo. lpzoo.org. SUBURBS

Home for the Holidays at the Rialto. Festivities include holiday movies, concerts and plays. Cost varies by event. Rialto Square Theatre, Joliet. (815) 726-7171, rialtosquare.com.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Holiday Exhibit. A historic look at the Christmas story written in 1823. Free with museum admission. TuesdaysSundays through Dec. 22. Naper Settlement, Naperville. (630) 4206010, napersettlement.org.

Brookfield Zoo Annual Holiday Magic. The zoo will be lit with more than one million lights as guests enjoy caroling, professional ice carving demonstrations, light shows and special visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus (through Dec. 17). Free with zoo admission. Evenings Saturday-Sunday through Dec. 29 and Dec. 26-27 & 30-31. Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield. czs.org.

Santa HQ at Fashion Outlets of Chicago. Experience Santa’s workshop in the digital and social media age. Through Dec. 24. Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Rosemont. (773) 969-5039, fashionoutletsofchicago.com.

The Polar Express. Visit Santa and ride the rails in the forest preserve. $35-$50. Time varies by date, Nov. 24 & 30, Dec. 1, 13-15, 24, 28-29. Fox River Trolley Museum, South Elgin. foxtrolley. org/polarexpress. ‘A Christmas Story’ Comes Home. Gaze at animated window displays depicting scenes from the holiday movie classic. Visit event website for activity calendar. Fees for some activities. Indiana Welcome Center, Hammond, Ind. achristmasstorycomeshome.com.

Long Grove Holiday Festivities. Victorian buildings trimmed in lights, a covered bridge and cobblestone walkways lined in luminaries. There will be costumed carolers, strolling musicians and Santa and Mrs. Claus on weekends. Free horse-drawn carriage rides on Sunday. Check website as activities

vary. Downtown Long Grove. (847) 634-0888, longgrove.org.

Naper Lights. A magical holiday lights celebration. 4-9 p.m. through Dec. 27. Naper Settlement, Naperville. (630) 4206010, naperlights.com. Naperville Park District Santa House. Kids can visit and have their photo taken with Santa. Selected nights through Dec. 23; see website. Naperville Park District, Naperville. (630) 848-5000, napervilleparks.org/santahouse.

Breakfast with Santa. Enjoy breakfast, decorate cookies and share gift wishes with Santa. $24.95; $12.95 kids 5-12; free kids under 5. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays, Dec. 1-22. Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles. pheasantrun.com/ breakfast-with-santa.

Aurora Festival of Lights. Drive through more than a mile of spectacular lighted displays. Donations accepted. Through Dec. 26. Phillips Park, Aurora. aurorafestivaloflights.com.

Christmas Town at Summerfield Zoo. Check out

Santa’s Reindeer Barn with Santa’s entire sleigh team of reindeer, then visit with Santa Claus. Kids can earn a “stable elf” diploma. $10. 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 23. 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 24. Summerfield Farm & Zoo, Belvidere. (815) 547-4852, summerfieldfarmandzoo.com.

Gingerbread Houses. Parent and child pairs work together to design and decorate their very own gingerbread house. Recommended for children ages 2 and up. $39, registration is required. Weekends through Dec. 22. Taste Buds Kitchen, Bannockburn. tastebudskitchen.com. Brunch with Santa. Enjoy Sunday brunch while the little ones get their pictures taken with Santa. $39.95 adults, $19.95 ages 6-12, Free 5 and younger. 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 22. The Clubhouse, Oak Brook. theclubhouse.com.

Dessert with Santa. Oldfashioned games, songs, a craft and hear a story, then enjoy cookie decorating and a visit with Santa.

Brunch with Santa. Highlights include a photo with Santa, balloon artist and face painters. $38, $33 kids 4-11, $5 kids 3 and under 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Dec. 1 & 22. Cantigny Park, Wheaton. cantigny.org. Lightscape. Along a mile-long path, the night comes alive with color, imagination and sound, from a playful choir of singing trees to a spectacular waterfall of light. $17$25, $8-$13 ages 3-12, free under 3. 4:30-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, closed Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe. chicagobotanic.org.

Gingerbread Festival. Includes tree lighting, Gingerbread Man Hunt, visits with Santa and more. Check website for schedule, Dec. 1. Downtown Downers Grove. downtowndg.org

Illumination: Tree Lights CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 35

holiday Holiday Lights in Homewood

Sundaes with Santa. Build a sundae while Santa makes a special visit. Children will make a holiday craft to take home. $5 per person in advance, $10 at the door. 6-7 p.m. Dec. 6. Iowa Community Center, Villa Park. (630) 834-8970, invillapark.com.

Jolly Old St. Nicholas Concert. Children are encouraged to wear pajamas. Cash donations to support Yorkfield Food Pantry accepted. 6:30-8 p.m. Dec. 6. Yorkfield Presbyterian Church, Elmhurst. elmhursthistory.org.

Brunch with the Grinch. A Grinch-themed buffet and movie viewing. $38 adults, $33 ages 4-11, $5 3 and under. 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Dec. 7 & 14. Cantigny Park, Wheaton. cantigny.org.

Celebrate the Season Holiday Festival. Enjoy horsedrawn “sleigh rides,” reindeer and Santa visits. Small fee for some activities; $5 parking or free with unwrapped Toys for Tots donation. 1-7 p.m. Dec. 7. Cantigny Park, Wheaton. cantigny.org. $23, $18.50 residents. Weekends through Dec. 8. The Grove, Glenview. glenviewparks.org.

Breakfast with Santa. Children can interact with Santa and his helpers at breakfast. $43 for adults, $38 for children 3-12, free under 3. 9-11 a.m. weekends Dec. 1-22 and Dec. 23. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 725-2066, mortonarb. org. Illumination: Tree Lights. On the Illumination trail, sing to trees to make them change color and hug trees to see how they respond, then warm up at a toasty fire pit. $13-$23 adults, $7-$15 children. 4:30-9:30 p.m. through Jan. 5. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, mortonarb. org.

Special Kids Holiday Party. Party for special needs children includes visit with Santa, cookies, arts and crafts and a Lego room. Every child goes home with a keepsake photograph with Santa and a gift bag. 3:30-8 p.m. Dec. 4. Wilder Mansion, Elmhurst. specialkidsday.org.

Holiday Express. See Lake Gregory and Blackberry Farm in all its holiday glory. Don’t miss Adventure Playground decorated as Candy Cane Village. $5. Weekends Dec. 5-22. Blackberry Farm, Aurora. foxvalleyparkdistrict. org/facilities/blackberry-farm.

Christmas Walk. Features animated characters, ice carvers, live reindeer and giveaways. 5-8 p.m. Dec. 6. Downtown Hinsdale. hinsdalechamber.com. Holiday Walk & Festival of Windows. Features live-action displays, sleigh rides, face painting and Santa. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 6. Main Street, Forest Park. exploreforestpark.com.

Geneva’s Great Tree Lighting and Christmas Walk. Enjoy carolers, tree lighting, candy cane pull, Swedish cookies and shopping. Santa Lucia arrives by horse-drawn carriage and Santa arrives to open the Gingerbread House. 6-9:30 p.m. Dec. 6. Geneva Court House, Geneva. (630) 2326060, genevachamber.com.

Holiday Lights in Homewood. Features a tree light-

36 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

ing, reindeer petting zoo, arrival of Santa and more. 5-9 p.m. Dec. 6. Downtown Homewood. village. homewood.il.us.

Kris Kringle Market. Children’s activities, crafts and a visit from Santa. Dec. 6-7. Municipal Parking Lot, Palos Heights. palosheights.org.

Holiday Happenings in Downtown Tinley Park. Enjoy tree lighting, parades, carriage rides, movies and carnival rides. Dec. 6- 8. Oak Park Avenue Train Station, Tinley Park. (708) 4445678, tinleypark.org.

Holly the Elf Saves Xmas Eve. Santa, the reindeer and all the caribou have come down with a nasty case of the Candy Cane Flu. $16-$20. Dec. 6-8. Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles. (630) 584-6300, pheasantrun.com.

Root Beers and Reindeer. Kids ages 1-7 will enjoy a scavenger hunt in Safety Park with root beer floats, treats, crafts and games. $12, $8 residents. 6:45-7:45 p.m. Dec. 6. Safety Park, Schaumburg. parkfun.com.

Breakfast with Santa. Eat a buffet breakfast and have a photo taken with Santa. The event concludes with a performance by Those Funny Little People. $20 ages 11+, $10 3-10, $5 under 3; pre-registration required. 10-11:30 a.m. Dec. 7. Chevy Chase Country Club, Wheeling. (847) 465-3333, wheelingparkdistrict.com/events.

Santa’s Craft Corner. See the animals, visit with Santa, make a craft or two and enjoy refreshments. $5 per family. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 14. Cosley Zoo, Wheaton. cosleyzoo.org. Holiday Afternoon Tea. Featuring freshly baked breads and scones, holiday tea sandwiches, enticing desserts, as well as an assortment of seasonal teas and hot chocolate for the kids. $40, $30 kids under 12. 3 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 7-28. Drury Lane Theater, Oak Brook. lucillerestaurant.com.

Tree Lighting Ceremony Evergreen Park. Fun includes Sounds of Christmas, Those Funny Little People and the tree lighting ceremony. 2-7 p.m. Dec. 7. Klein Park, Evergreen Park. evergreenpark-ill.com.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 37

holiday Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea PHOTO CREDIT CHARLES OSGOOD

Holiday Bricktacular. Celebrate the holidays with themed builds, photo ops and more. Kids also receive a free, exclusive holiday-themed factory Lego brick. Free with admission. Dec. 7-29. Legoland Discovery Center, Schaumburg. (847) 592-9700, chi cago.legolanddiscoverycenter.com.

Yuletide Festival & Fair. Experience live entertainment, art and craft vendors, twinkling lights and more. Fridays-Sundays, Dec. 5-22. Naper Settlement, Naperville. (630) 420-6010, napersettlement.org.

Christmastime in Palos. Children’s crafts and games, Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt, live music, storybook readings and a visit with Mr. & Mrs. Claus. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 7. Palos Heights Library, Palos Heights. palosheights.org.

The North Pole Holiday Spectacular. Enjoy a live stage show, cookies and a visit with Santa. $6, $8 kids; day of $8, $10 kids. 1-3:30 p.m. and 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 7. Schaumburg Park District, Schaumburg. parkfun.com.

Christmas in the Valley. Activities include holiday treats and crafts. $12 family, $3, free kids 3 and under. Noon-4 p.m. Dec. 7-8. Spring Valley Nature Center & Heritage Farm, Schaumburg. parkfun.com.

Living Wheaton Christmas Parade & Christmas Festival. Enjoy carriage rides and visits with Santa every Saturday through Dec. 21. Other events include cookie decorating and visits with reindeer. Fees for some activities. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. visits with Santa. Town Square, Wheaton. downtownwheaton.com.

Holiday Train Ride. All ages can ride the train in their PJs to the North. On-board activities include caroling and a visit with Santa. $25, free under 1; pre-registration required. 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Dec. 7. Iowa Community Center, Villa Park. (630) 834-8970, invillapark.com. Wauconda Holiday Walk and Tree Lighting. Enjoy tree lighting, caroling, a parade, a gingerbread house contest, face painting and sleigh rides. 2-6 p.m.

Dec. 7. Wauconda Park District, Wauconda. waucondachamber.org.

Santa’s Secret Workshop. A place for kids to buy inexpensive Christmas gifts. 1-4 p.m. Dec. 7. Wilder Mansion, Elmhurst. (630) 993-8900, epd.org.

The Hidden History of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Author Rochelle Pennington shares the stories and history behind A Christmas Carol. $7-$10. 4-5 p.m. Dec. 8. Naper Settlement, Naperville. (630) 420-6010, napersettlement.org.

Santa’s Flight to Schaumburg. Guests wait for Santa to arrive by helicopter, enjoy breakfast and make crafts. $24 ages 13+, $12 3-12, Free 3 and younger. 9:3011:30 a.m. Dec. 8. Schaumburg Regional Airport, Schaumburg. (847) 490-7020, parkfun.com.

Jingle Bell Rock Kids Rock. Toddlers and preschoolers will kick off the holiday season with Kid Rock’s Jingle Bell Rock music and dance party. $12, $10 members; preregistration required. 6-6:45 p.m. Dec. 10. Cantigny Park, Wheaton. cantigny.org.

Flashlight Candy Cane Hunt. Hundreds of candy canes will be

38 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

hidden. Hunt begins at 6 p.m. $5, $3 residents; preregistration by Dec. 6. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 11. Alsip Park District, Alsip. alsipparks.org.

adults at door. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 14. FireZone, Schaumburg. (847) 824-3473, squareup.com/store/ firezoneschaumburg.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. A musi-

Breakfast with Santa at Lambs Farm. Enjoy brunch with

Claus, plus crafts and activical based on the time-honored Anne Frank, Santa May 1942. ties. Reservations required. $17.95. song. $33.50+. 7 p.m. Dec. 11. Courtesy AFF/AFS. $7.95 kids 23 months and under Rialto Square Theatre, Joliet. Ruby Bridges, with1960. activities. Seatings at 9 a.m., rialtosquare.com. Donated by10:30 Corbis. a.m. and noon, Dec. 14-15 Gingerbread Train. Decorate & 21-22. Lambs Farm, Libertyville. a gingerbread train and ginger(847) 362-5050, lambsfarm.org. bread cookies with children ages Waddles Winter 3-6. $8-$22. 10-11:30 a.m. Dec. Wonderland. Enjoy holiday 13. Bolingbrook Park District, games, decorate cookies, make Bolingbrook. bolingbrookparks.org. holiday decorations and more. Kids’ Night Out: Gingerbread Bring a toy to donate in lieu of Hunt. Make Santa hats, decorate admission. 10 a.m.-noon, Dec. 14. cookies and go on a Gingerbread Palos Heights Parks and Recreation Hunt. Dinner provided. $39, Department, Palos Heights. $26 resident. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 13. palosheights.org. Naperville Park District, Naperville. Christmas on the Farm. apm.activecommunities.com. Families will enjoy holiday carolers, Breakfast with Santa. $10, $8 visits from Santa & Mrs. Claus, ice residents. 9:30-11 a.m. Dec. 14. sculptors, hot cocoa and more. Apollo Recreation Center, Alsip. Fees for some activities. 4:30-6:30 alsipparks.org. p.m. Dec. 14. Peck Farm Park, Geneva. genevaparks.org.

Santa Visit at FireZone.

Enjoy pictures with fire-fighting Santa, holiday treats, crafts, a free Christmas fire helmet and a firefighter gear demo. $15 kids, $10 adults in advance; $20 kids, $15

Brunch with the Grinch. Enjoy a ‘green-inspired’ brunch, games, crafts and a visit from the Grinch himself. $15, $12 resident. 10-11:30 a.m. Dec.


Trans-Siberian Orchestra PHOTO CREDIT BOB CAREY

14. Schaumburg Park District, Schaumburg. parkfun.com.

Gingerbread House Workshop. Decorate a keepsake, light-up, chipboard gingerbread house. $13, $7 per gingerbread home. 10-11:30 a.m. or 2-3:30 p.m. Dec. 14 & 15. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 719-2468, mortonarb.org.

Breakfast with Santa. Enjoy a hearty holiday breakfast with Kris Kringle. Prices vary, reservations required. 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 14. Town Square Wheaton, Wheaton. (630) 260-9001, townsquarewheaton.com. Holiday Movie at the York: The Polar Express. Enjoy a movie, then stop by Elmhurst City Centre plaza to see the festive holiday display, take photos with Santa, and hear holiday tunes. 9 a.m. doors open, 9:30 a.m. movie. Dec. 14. York Theatre, Elmhurst. (630) 833-1457, elmhursthistory.org.

Musical Brunch with Santa. Enjoy brunch with Santa featuring live Christmas music. $20. 11 a.m. Dec. 15. Fitz’s Spare Keys, Elmhurst. eventbrite.com.

Tidings of Tap! A celebration of tap dance and the winter holidays, celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s and the winter season. $25-$41. 3 p.m. Dec. 15. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie. (847) 673-6300, chicagotaptheatre.com.

Holiday Tea at The Grove. Enjoy the company of friends, a comforting cup of tea and a three-course “high tea” menu of sandwiches, scones and sweets. $45. 2-4 p.m. Dec. 15. The Grove, Glenview. glenviewparks.org.

‘Tis the Season. The DSO’s Annual Holiday concert includes Christmas and seasonal works. $20. 2-3 p.m. & 4-5 p.m. Dec.

15. Wentz Concert Hall of North Central College, Naperville. northcentral.vbotickets.com.

Jewish Holidays 101: Hanukkah Storytime - These Little Lights of Mine. Learn about the Jewish holidays with stories, songs and activities especially for babies and toddlers. Resources for celebrating the holidays provided. 10-10:45 a.m. Dec. 17. Barnes & Noble, Deerfield, & 10:3011:15 a.m. Dec. 18. Barnes & Noble Mellody Farm, Vernon Hills. juf.org.

The Elf On The Shelf-A Christmas Musical. This all-new musical and stage production includes an exclusive invitation to Santa’s North Pole and engages audiences with a glimpse into the magical lives of Scout Elves. $39+ 6:30 p.m. Dec. 20. Genesee Theatre Waukegan, ticketmaster.com.

Supper with St. Nick. Join Santa for family supper in the historic

Thornhill Mansion. $95 adults, $80 ages 12-20, $65 3-12, free under 3. 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-Dec. 23. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 725-2066, mortonarb.org.

Pelican Harbor Holiday Festival. Once you’ve seen Santa, enjoy time in the pool. $10, $7 residents. 9-11:30 a.m. Dec. 21. Pelican Harbor Aquatic Park, Bolingbrook. bolingbrookparks.org.

Holiday Hoopla. A post-holiday headquarters that merges hands-on arts and crafts with math and science. Free with admission. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 26-30. Discovery Center Museum, Rockford. (815) 963-6769, discoverycentermuseum.org. Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Christmas Eve and Other Stories. The multi-sensory extravaganza of music and staging. Visit website for tickets. 2:30 p.m. & 8 p.m. Dec. 30. Allstate Arena, Rosemont. trans-siberian.com.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 39

nutcrackers Ruth Page Civic Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

Performing Arts Center, River Forest. (773) 237-1874, balletlegere.org.

The Nutcracker and PreBallet Holiday Show. Annual

The Nutcracker. Students from Chicago Ballet Conservatory, along with professional dancers from around the world, perform the classic ballet. Also, enjoy the option of a Sugar Plum Tea party at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 7, giving participants the chance to meet cast members, take pictures with characters and dine. $25-$50. Dec. 7-8. Hemmens Cultural Center, Elgin. cbcnutcracker.com.

performances featuring more than 150 dancers. Prior to each performance, the Pre-Ballet Holiday Show showcases 70 of HPSD’s youngest ballet students. $25, $10 kids 6-18, free kids 5 and under. Dec. 13-15. Mandel Hall, Chicago. (773) 4938498, hydeparkdance.org.

Do-It-Yourself Nutcracker. Wear your tights, slippers and holiday best for this interactive presentation where the audience joins the dancers on stage. 2-3 p.m. Dec. 7. Indian Boundary Park & Cultural Center, Chicago. chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Peanut Cracker. Dance showcase for the “pre-” classes at the North Shore School of Dance. $7. 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. Dec. 7. Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest. northshoredance.com.

Duke It Out Nutcracker.

The Fox Valley Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker. Schaumburg

Showcases students and families from local dance studios alongside professional dancers. $20+. 2 p.m. Dec. 1. Batavia Fine Arts Center, Batavia. (630) 232-0683, foxvalleynutcracker.com.

Dance Ensemble’s production with dancing snowflakes, leaping Russians and battling mice. $22-$30. Dec. 6-8 & 13-15. Prairie Center for the Arts, Schaumburg. (847) 895-3600, prairiecenter.org.

The Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Journey to Chicago’s

The Art Deco Nutcracker.

The Nutcracker. A ballet-free version of the holiday classic. $15-$45. Through Dec. 29. Chopin Theatre, Chicago. thehousetheatre.com.

Featuring talented young dancers from A&A Ballet’s Conservatory and Youth Company, and guest artists from the San Francisco Ballet Conservatory, Kremnev’s Nutcracker is set in 1920s America and is a fresh, albeit more traditional, take. $30 and up. Dec. 6-Dec. 8. Studebaker Theater, Chicago. aacenterfordance.org.

Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” This production

Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” A holiday tradition

features the 48-piece Chicago West Chamber Orchestra. $22-$43. 1 p.m. Dec. 1. Hinsdale Central Auditorium, Hinsdale. (630) 7691199, saltcreekballet.org.

plus take photos with Santa at 3 p.m. $40-$45, $20 ages 16 and under. 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 7. Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University, University Park. (630) 769-1199, saltcreekballet.org.

1893 World’s Fair for the telling of the holiday story. $35+. Through Dec. 29. The Auditorium Theatre, Chicago. auditoriumtheatre.org.

Chicago Festival Ballet’s The Nutcracker. $30.50+, $22.50 12 and under. 1 p.m. & 5 p.m. Dec. 1. Rialto Square Theatre, Joliet. rialtosquare.com.

Ballet Legere’s Nutcracker. Weekend performances of the Nutcracker include guest artists. $24$34. Dec. 7-8. Dominican University

40 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Performance pairs the classical and jazz versions of the holiday favorite. $10. 2 p.m. Dec. 7. Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston. nicholsconcerthall.org.

Ruth Page Civic Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” Promises worldclass entertainment and holiday joy. $25, $20 kids 3 & under. Dec. 7- Dec. 8. Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago. (312) 337-6543, ruthpage.org.

Dance-Along Nutcracker. Wear tutus and dance alongside professional dancers. Before the show, Ballet Chicago teaches basic ballet positions and movements. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 8. Chicago Cultural Center. balletchicago.org.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Brings world-class artists, more than 200 dazzling costumes, towering puppets and soaring birds. $29+. 2 & 6 p.m. Dec. 8. Rosemont Theatre, Rosemont. rosemont.com.

The Nutcracker. Ballet Chicago presents an unforgettable journey with young Marie. $18-$43. Dec. 13-22. Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago. (312) 251-8838, balletchicago.org.

The Nutcracker. Alma Dance Theater production features Anima Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus, professional dancers and actors from around the world and an inclusive program for children with special needs. $20-$35. Dec. 14-15. Elgin Community College Visual & Performing Arts Center, Elgin. (630) 580-9784, almadancetheater.org.

Ballet Makkai Nutcracker. $20. Dec. 14-15. Gorton Community Center, Lake Forest. (312) 330-3908, balletmakkai.com.

North Shore School of Dance: The Nutcracker. A portion of the proceeds are donated to organizations and charity groups. $24, $18 kids 12 and under. Dec. 14- 15. Lake Forest Academy, Lake Forest. (847) 432-2060, northshoredance.com.

Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” This production includes a Christmas tree that grows nearly 60 feet tall, internationally recognized guest soloists and live music by New Philharmonic. $22-$43. Dec. 14-15. McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn. (630) 769-1199, saltcreekballet.org.

The Nutcracker. Illinois Youth Dance Theatre’s production is in its 20th season, using the talents of local dancers and professional guest artists. $17-$27. Dec. 19-22. Lake Zurich Performing Arts Center, Lake Zurich. iydt.org.

The Nutcracker. This DanceWest Ballet production is a holiday tradition. $36, $32 children. Dec. 20- 22. Pfeiffer Hall, Naperville. (630) 263-3575, northcentral. vbotickets.com/events. Salt Creek Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” An affordable full-length holiday production performed in the grand Russian style. $20.40+. Dec. 21-22. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie. (630) 769-1199, saltcreekballet.org.

ongoing Art on the Mart PHOTO CREDIT BOB GROSSE

and activities. Free with admission. 11 a.m. daily. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago. (773) 755-5100, naturemuseum.org.

Winter Play. A self-guided glimpse into the world of outdoor play. Free with admission. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, mortonarb.org.

SUNDAY Family Build Lab. Join experts in the studio for themed stations to introduce you to architecture basics, a design challenge and a take-home project. Recommended for families with kids 3 and up. $12, free members. 10 a.m. Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago. architecture.org.


Amazing Pollinators. Featuring a colorful maze, Amazing Pollinators immerses visitors in diverse environments in need of pollination, including gardens, farms, rainforests and deserts. Free with museum admission. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago. naturemuseum.org.

Art on theMart. Curated digital art installation across 2.5 acres of theMART’s river façade. About 4-6 p.m. WednesdaysSundays. The Merchandise Mart, Chicago. artonthemart.com. Bixbee Imagination Station. Rooms inspired by Bixbee product design themes, each providing Instagrammable backdrops with engaging activities. $30, $23 ages 3-11, free 2 and under. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. North Avenue Collection, Chicago. bixbeeimaginationstation.com.

Fantastic Bug Encounters. Told from a bug’s point of view, Fantastic Bug Encounters! invites you to take a closer look at the beauty, diversity and abilities of these resourceful creatures. $6+. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The Field Museum, Chicago. fieldmuseum.org.

Nature Cat: Backyard and Beyond. In collaboration with WTTW, Nature Cat and his friends encourage kids to explore the natural world. Free with museum admission. Kohl Children’s Museum, Glenview. kohlchildrensmuseum.org.

On the Right Track: By Rail to Chicago & Beyond. Visitors will discover how Chicago-area railroads helped create the suburban transportation landscape as we know it. Free with museum admission. 1-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays & Sundays and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays. Elmhurst History Museum, Elmhurst. (630) 833-1457, elmhursthistory.org.

The Pigeon Comes to Chicago! A Mo Willems Exhibit. Many familiar characters are featured including best friend duo Elephant and Piggie, faithful companion Knuffle Bunny and The Pigeon and the wily city bird best known for his antics in Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Free with museum admission. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago. chicagochildrensmuseum.org.

Remembering Dr. King: 19291968. Walk through a gallery of key moments in Dr. King’s work and Civil Rights Movement. Free with museum

42 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

admission. Chicago History Museum, Chicago. chicagohistory.org/visit.

Stunning Stories in American Indian Jewelry. For thousands of years, artisans have expressed their cultural stories in a wide range of jewelry. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. TuesdaysSaturdays, Noon-4 p.m. Sundays. Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, Evanston. (847) 475-1030, mitchellmuseum.org.

Troll Hunt. The 15- to 20-foottall trolls invite visitors to interact with them. Free with arboretum admission. Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, mortonarb.org. Wired to Wear. The first-ever exhibit dedicated to wearable technology—smart clothing and devices designed to extend the human body’s capabilities. Recommended for ages 6 and older. $12, $9 ages 3-11, $6 members. Timed ticket required. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. (773) 684-1414, msichicago.org.


DAILY Story Time. Listen to a story selected for the littlest visitors, and then keep the fun going with games

Fiddleheads. Join the conservatory for activities and projects that get kids and families wondering about the plants and the natural world. Each week is a different science-based activity. Noon-4 p.m. Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. (773) 638-1766, garfieldconservatory.org. Weekend Crafts. Explore the Native American culture with crafts for different age groups. Crafts change monthly. Free with admission. 12:30-1:30 p.m. Mitchell Museum of the American Indian, 3001 Central St., Evanston. (847) 475-1030, mitchellmuseum.org Beat Kitchen Concerts for Kids! A series of concerts geared for ages 0-12. $6 advance, $7 door. Noon; doors open at 11 a.m. Dec. 1, Mary Macaroni and the Impastas; Dec. 8, Ben Tatar and the Tatar Tots; Dec. 15, Wendy and DB. Beat Kitchen, Chicago. facebook.com/ concerts4kids.

MONDAY Morning Glories. Children and their caregivers can explore different areas of the Children’s Garden. Educators provide storytime, imaginative play and sensory activities. Recommended for 5 and younger. Free, donation requested. 10 a.m.-noon. Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. (773) 6381766, garfieldconservatory.org.



Artistic Gymnastics Preschool Gymnastics • Recreational Classes Winter Break Camps • Rock Climbing


40 years of professional gymnastics instruction!


CHICAGO RIVER WEST 312-563-9400 Mount Prospect 847-376-8826 lakeshoreacademy.com

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 43

ongoing Troll Hunt

Art Games. Children create art through playing games and play games while creating art. 10:30 a.m.4:30 p.m. Wonder Works, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815, wonder-works.org. TUESDAY Kido Books Storytime. The story time specializes in books that feature multicultural characters and encourage empathy and inclusivity. 10:30-11 a.m. KIDO, 1137 S. Delano Court, Chicago. kidochicago.com. Little Playtimes. Legoland opens early for toddlers and their parents. $10 in advance; $12 at door; free kids 2 and under. 10 a.m.-noon. Legoland Discovery Center, Schaumburg. chicago. legolanddiscoverycenter.com.

WEDNESDAY Wild Wednesdays. Kids explore nature, get their hands dirty and discover new things about plants, animals and nature. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 4-7 p.m. Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago. (773) 6381766, garfieldconservatory.org. Mindfulness and More. Oral storytelling and mindful aware-

ness games. Free with museum admission. 3:30 p.m. Wonder Works Children’s Museum, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815, wonder-works.org.

tion staff provide project supplies and offer suggestions for teens working on design projects. 5-7 p.m. Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago. architecture.org.

THURSDAY Slot Car Free Play. Enjoy racing slot cars, hot chocolate, a coloring station and a game room. 5-9 p.m. Fieldhouse Jones, Chicago. fieldhousejones.com.

Play Late Thursdays. On the first Thursday of each month, kids take center stage with programs including open mic nights with guest MCs to run the show, themed dance parties for the whole family, kid-friendly and kid-starring performances and more. The rest of the month on Thursdays, entrance late in the day is $14.95 for up to four people, $5 each additional person. 4-8 p.m. Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, Chicago. (312) 527-1000. chicagochildrensmuseum.org.

Songs and Stories. Attend every Thursday afternoon for songs and stories. Entry includes cost for open play. $12, free enrolled families. 3:30 p.m. Bubbles Academy, Chicago. bubblesacademy.com. Teen Open Studio. Design professionals and CAC educa-

44 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

FRIDAY Juicebox. A music and performance series for the stroller set. 11 a.m. first and third Friday. Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago. chicago.gov. Garden Story Time. Gather for story time and fun in the Children’s Garden amphitheater. Free with arboretum admission. 11 a.m. The Morton Arboretum, Lisle. (630) 9680074, mortonarb.org.

Slot Car Free Play. See Thursday.

SATURDAY Kids Pokémon League. The Cat & Mouse Games Kids’ Pokemon League brings together kids 6-12 serious about learning how to play the game. Participants need to understand the official rules and be able to play independently. For those who need to learn, there is a drop-in group instructional session 10-10:30 a.m. Must have a deck of 60 cards. 10:30 a.m.-noon. Cat &

Mouse Games, Chicago. cat-n-mouse.com.

Little Squirrels Storytime. Stories and songs celebrating classic literature for preschoolage kids. Free with admission. 10:30-11:30 a.m. American Writers Museum, Chicago. (312) 374-8790, americanwritersmuseum.org.

S.T.E.A.M. Saturdays. Each week, kids get a chance to learn more through play focusing on chemistry, geometry and physics. Free with museum admission. 3:304:30 p.m. Wonder Works, Oak Park. (708) 383-4815, wonder-works.org. Family Drop-In Days. Explore the exhibition with the kid-friendly Young People’s Guide, which offers activities and learning tools for Biennial installations. Noon-3 p.m. Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago. chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org.

Juicebox. See Friday. Saturday location: Garfield Park Conservatory. Slot Car Free Play. See Thursday, Saturday times: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Fiddleheads. See Sunday. Weekend Crafts. See Sunday. Saturday times: 11 a.m.-noon.

CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 45

performances Mean Girls

Annie. Little orphan Annie charms everyone’s hearts despite a nextto-nothing start in 1930s New York City. $40-$45. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 22. Citadel Theatre, Lake Forest. (847) 7358554, citadeltheatre.org.

Beauty and the Beast. One of Disney’s most beloved animated films comes to life. Recommended for ages 5 and older. $34-$75. Check website for schedule. Paramount Arts Centre and Theatre, Aurora. paramountaurora.com.

Blue Man Group Chicago New Year’s Eve Performances. Each show will feature a “midnight” countdown after the performance with party hats, noisemakers and a special rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” by the Blue Men. $64-$94. 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. & 10 p.m. Dec. 31. Briar Street Theatre, Chicago. (773) 348-4000, blueman.com.

ComedySportz. Chicago’s longest-running, game-based improv comedy show is recommended for ages 7 and older. $25. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, plus 6 p.m. Saturdays. Sensory-friendly performances Dec. 29. ComedySportz

Theatre, Chicago. (773) 549-8080, cszchicago.com.

Audiences, Lincolnshire. (847) 6340200, marriotttheatre.com.

Palace Theatre, Chicago. broadwayinchicago.com.

Corduroy. Based on Corduroy

Mary Poppins. An enchanting show containing unforgettable songs and breathtaking dance numbers that will appeal to fans of all ages. $30 and up. Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m., Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Drury Lane Theater, Oakbrook Terrace. (630) 530-0111, drurylanetheatre.com.

Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience. The fast-paced show

and A Pocket for Corduroy, by Don Freeman, the play is recommended for ages 3 and older. $17.50-$25. 10 a.m. Saturdays-Sundays. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, Chicago. emeraldcitytheatre.com.

Home Alone in Concert. This beloved comedy classic performed live. $45+. 7 p.m. Dec. 6, 3 p.m. Dec. 7-8. Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago. cso.org. Love, Chaos, and Dinner. Dinner and unique circus event. $123 and up, includes four-course meal. 7 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays, noon Saturdays & Sundays. The Cambria Hotel Loop-Theatre District, Chicago. broadwayinchicago.com.

Madagascar - A Musical Adventure. Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the Hippo and the penguins as they bound onto the stage in this musical adventure. All performances are followed by a Q&A with the cast. $18.23. 10 a.m. most Wednesdays through Sundays. Marriott Theatre for Young

46 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

Mean Girls. Musical based on the movie about a naïve newbie who falls prey to a trio of lionized frenemies. $31+. Begins Dec. 25. James M. Nederlander Theatre, Chicago. broadwayinchicago.com.

Oliver! The streets of Victorian England come to life for the story of Oliver, a malnourished orphan, in the musical version of Charles Dickens’ tale. Through Dec. 29. Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire. marriotttheatre.com. Phantom of the Opera. Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical makes a return to Chicago as part of its North American tour. $42+. Beginning Dec. 18. Cadillac

is perfect for the entire family. $39.95 - $79.95 7:30 p.m. TuesdaysFridays, 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays & 8 p.m. Saturdays beginning Dec. 11. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, Chicago. broadwayInchicago.com.

Sequence Ch!cago. Performances from Chicago’s gifted musicians, handcrafted works by local artisans and special events. Times vary by event. Dec. 7 & 14, free concert. Dec. 20, a Blues Christmas. Navy Pier, Chicago. (312) 595-5073, navypier.org.

Storytown. Kids design the setting and help shape the story, and the Storytown actors, artists, and musicians bring it to life. $10. 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. Stage 773, Chicago. storytownimprov.com.

The Sound of Music Sing-ALong. Enjoy a costume contest, goodie bag and interactions with the film. $13, $9 kids. Dec. 1, 7-8. Music Box Theatre, Chicago. musicboxtheatre.com.



Pediatric Ophthalmologists Medical and Surgical Eye Care for Infants, Children and Teens


Deena F. Leonard, M.D. Dana L. Kolton, M.D. Kathy Anderson, M.D. PEDIATRIC EYE CARE

Pediatric Ophthalmologists Medical and Surgical Eye Care for •Infants, and Teens PEDIATRIC OPHTHALMOLOGISTS Muscle Imbalance (Lazy Eye) • Blocked Tear Ducts PrematureChildren Infants • Routine Eye Exams

Buffalo Grove 847-459-6060 • Barrington 847-382-4116


Deena F. Leonard, M.D. Dana L. Kolton, M.D. Kathy Anderson, M.D.

Muscle Imbalance (Lazy Eye) • Blocked Tear Ducts • Premature Infants • Routine Eye Exams Buffalo Grove 847-459-6060 • Barrington 847-382-4116 Muscle Imbalance (Lazy Eye) • Blocked Tear Ducts • Premature Infants • Routine Eye Exams

Buffalo Grove 847-459-6060 • Barrington 847-382-4116


CHICAGOPARENT.COM December 2019 47

L ast word


y ex and I will be spending Christmas (our first one as a divorced couple) together as a family for the kids. However, he is bringing his new wife, saying she is part of the family now. How do I get through the entire awkward day without losing my mind or ruining the special day for the kids?

As a single parent, my son lights up when both parents are enjoying the same event together even if they bring someone. You have to put your big girl panties on and show your kids that they have a family that loves them. Candace W. ■ Don’t do it! You should split the holidays every year. One gets Eve and one gets Day. It’s really bad to spend it together with a new spouse. It’s not right for the kids to do this combination Christmas. They are now in two distinct families. You are divorced and no longer a whole family in terms of holidays. Peggy R. ■ Try to get to know her. As tough as it may be, she will be spending a lot of time with your children and you will want to know the person who is helping shape your kids into the people they will become. Stay strong, mama. Kyra P.

distraction of the holiday, lack of interaction should work. Good luck. The first one is the worst. Savannah G. ■ Set your emotions aside and remember how much love is in the room for your kids. You are a team, like it or not. Suck it up, have a drink (but not too many) and make it through the day. Jessica D. 

■ That sounds ridiculous. First Christmas after a divorce and he’s already remarried and wants you and the kids to just deal? Forget that. Jenny B. ■ Props to you on making the effort for the children! I would just ignore her – not rudely or disrespectfully – but don’t go out of your way to include her either. Focus on the kids and their joy. With the hustle, bustle, and

■ It is too soon for your ex to flaunt your replacement in front of you. This is a situation of triangulation at its worst – the children will be positioned to choose between “moms.” Why are you being forced to be around someone who makes you feel “awkward” on such a joyous day? Why should your insecurity be on full display just so this woman can shine as “wife” and new “mom” while you sit by as the outsider? Not cool. Lala P.

48 December 2019 CHICAGOPARENT.COM

She’s there to stay, it sounds like, so I’d say keep an open mind – you might make a new friend and your kids will be so much better off if the whole holiday is peaceful. Catherine C. ■ Life will be so much easier if everyone just gets along. Don’t fake it, be genuine. Kids see everything and you never know what they’ll take away from this day. Laura B. ■ Be yourself and comfortable in your skin! Focus on the kids and have a good friend that has your best interest at heart right there with you. Kandice S. ■ Which is stronger – your love for your kids and your desire for them to have a nice Christmas, or your hatred for your ex/his new

wife and the awkwardness that brings? If your love for your kids is stronger, you suck it up, bite your tongue and make the best of it. If the hate/awkwardness is stronger, you’re not doing your kids any favors, nor are you making things easier for them and you should probably call it off. Lisa B. ■ It’s not about the parents, it’s about the kids. I’d happily welcome them into my home if I were in that situation. The past is in the past and the ex’s new wife is the kids’ family. Bite your tongue, deal with it, and show your kids what good co-parenting is. Amanda L. ■ You don’t focus on him at all!! You focus on the kids. Distract yourself with games, crafts, and laughs with the kids, after all it is for them. Elle L.

Profile for Chicago Parent

Chicago Parent - December 2019  

Make holiday memories with the kids over cookie dough this year with some great new additions to your baking repertoire. Plus, read about se...

Chicago Parent - December 2019  

Make holiday memories with the kids over cookie dough this year with some great new additions to your baking repertoire. Plus, read about se...


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded