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194 merry makers


2016 | FREE


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holiday events Storytime with Mrs. Claus — Saturday, December 10 — 1PM at Barnes & Noble Visits with Santa — Saturdays, December 3, 10, 17 at Brilliant Sky Toys & Books Stuff the Squad for Toys for Tots — Saturday, December 10 — 12PM-3PM near Noodles & Co. Visit for holiday hours and more event details.

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Making Holidays


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contents IN THIS ISSUE 13











DECEMBER 2016 | VOLUME 32 | NO. 12

Reindeer fun, Junior Ninja Warriors Chicago and the best sports experiences for gifts New family shows for new family memories, plus a chat with Charlie Brown and Lucy The unexamined yule Shimmering stars More than 100 ways to have fun this month

FEATURES UNIQUELY CHICAGO 28 Holiday traditions your family


will love keeping

Cover kid: Susannah Schoeny, 5, of Chicago

PAY IT FORWARD 33 Pick a cause as a family and give back this holiday season


Photography: Thomas Kubik of TK Photography

COOKIES! Get out the tins, phone a friend and get baking MOM’S GUIDE TO 41AWINTER BREAK

Design: Claire Innes

Fun ways to keep the kids entertained while they are out of school

Ballet Legere December 2016 7

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Animals in winter Brrr, it’s cold outside! Time to wear your warm coat and stay inside where it’s comfy, out of the chilly wind. What do animals do in the winter? They have two problems: how to stay warm and how to get enough food. They solve those problems in different ways. Some mammals just sleep until spring. That’s called hibernation. Woodchucks, for instance, eat all summer until they’re very, very fat. Then they waddle into their underground burrows and doze off. Their bodies can live off their fat until they wake up in February or March. Squirrels, on the other hand, are wide awake all winter and always on the hunt for food. They do stock up: They spend the fall burying acorns and other nuts to save them for later. During the winter, while they take shelter in holes in trees, they still have to go out in the cold to dig up nuts or find other food. Sometimes they forget where they buried an acorn, and it gets to sprout and become an oak tree. Thank you, squirrels! Other animals just take naps, like chipmunks. In fall, they stash lots of seeds and nuts in the little holes in the earth where they live. They snuggle in and doze off, but they wake up every few days for a snack. Then they curl up again and snooze.

Traditions to treasure Ever since the kids were little, we’d hop in the car on Christmas Eve morning and head to the Museum of Science and Industry. It is the most wonderful place to capture the holiday spirit from all religions and cultures around the world. They’d marvel at the falling “snow” and the Grand Tree—this year the TAMARA L. theme is Legos in honor of its great O’SHAUGHNESSY Brick by Brick exhibit—but then they’d head straight to what they consider their tree, the one bedecked in traditions from the Emerald Isle, for a photo op I always treasure. The last few years we’ve added another tradition to the day that probably most of you will think is incredibly odd: We eat out, then stop by Cabela’s for fudge samples and the shooting gallery. At first, I fought making g the shooting gallery a “tradition,” especially since we’re not a guntoting or killing-sweet-an-imals kind of family. Then n I realized that it doesn’t matter what we do or how people view it. What really matters is that the kids look forward to it every year and that we’re having fun together. This month, we are sharing some uniquely Chicago holiday traditions that some of you may already do, but others might love to adopt. All of them offer especially magical moments to be together with family. That’s truly what this time of year is all about.

Holiday fun

 This month we are hosting a cookie exchange at Send your favorite cookie recipe to me at tamara@chicago and check back often through the month to see all the yummy recipes.

I wish each and every one of you many magical moments this month that fill your heart with happiness.

4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle, Ilinois 60532 • 630-968-0074 8 December 2016

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Our favorite things about Chicago in December EDITOR

Tamara L. O’Shaughnessy SENIOR EDITOR

Elizabeth Diffin DIGITAL EDITOR




Jacquinete Baldwin, Javier Govea IT AND DIGITAL DEVELOPER


Matt Boresi, Megan Murray Elsener, Keely Flynn, Cortney Fries, Katie Niekirk, Lori Orlinsky, Emily Paster, Marianne Walsh DISPLAY ADVERTISING SALES

Annette Coffee, Christine Griffith, Lourdes Nicholls, Karen Skinner ADVERTISING PRODUCTION MANAGER

Christmas in Chicago is my absolute favorite time of year. All the lights, decorations and holiday music make it hard not to feel the magic of the season. Megan Murray Elsener

The weather—the colder the better! I think Chicago shines the brightest when it’s blanketed with a dusting of fresh snow. Lori Orlinsky

I love the holiday lights in Chicago— the huge displays on private homes, zoo lights, trolley tours. So festive! Cortney Fries

Philip Soell


Nothing says Chicago-style Christmas like figgy pudding with pickle spear, tomatoes, atomic relish, sport peppers, mustard, poppy seeds and celery salt. No ketchup. Matt Boresi

Andrew Mead


Debbie Becker, Mark Moroney CIRCULATION MANAGER







Center in Skokie

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Contact Us to Schedule A Visit! Bright Horizons at Skokie Chicago Parent is published monthly by Wednesday Journal, Inc. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Chicago Parent, 141 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL, 60302. © 2016 Wednesday Journal, Inc. All rights reserved.

9877 Woods Drive, Skokie, IL 60077 (847) 583-1052 | December 2016 9

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Connecting Students To Tomorrow’s World Lakeshore East

At GEMS World Academy – Chicago, we prepare today’s students for next-generation challenges. Our accredited International Baccalaureate curriculum, innovative approach to technology and commitment to service learning give students the insight, passion and skills they need to transform the world. Visit GEMS to learn more about our new Upper School program and our expanded world language offerings. See how we collaborate with our Early Years campus to create a cohesive international education experience from early childhood to college, preparing students to become tomorrow's global leaders.

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The happiest time of year at Baby, it’s cold outside The snow is falling (maybe), friends ends and family are gathering and there’s that hat unmistakable twinkle in your little’s eye. Discover iscover all of the holiday happenings at, CPGoodCheer, including where to find the brightest testt lights, how to bake the yummiest treats and tips to stay stressfree amid all the chaos.


Dear Santa

10-9-8 …

We’ve got an in with the big guy himself by way of our Holiday Gift Guide elf, Senior Editor Elizabeth Diffin. She found the 50 best gifts under $50 that are going to be on all the kids’ wish lists this year. RegisEnter to win them, plus a Snow Toboggan and Snow Brick teredMaker, sign and tickets to the movie “Sing,” on our Contests page. Talk about a merry Christmas!

NYE celebrations aren’t limited to the 21 and over set anymore. Send off 2016 as a family at one of many kidfriendly “noon” year’s eve parties in the Chicagoland area. Find the entire list at Cheers!



Tiptoe into our enchanting world of Dance! Our Nationally Recognized ballet class combines literature with costumes & props. Winter forming now!

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12 December 2016

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hen you think about it, Christmas is pretty dependent on Dasher and Dancer and all the rest. After all, without the magical reindeer, there’d be no flying sleigh—and thus, no happy children opening presents. So in honor of these unsung heroes of the holidays, here are five places to see real [flightless] reindeer. Santa may arrive on a firetruck, but the reindeer are there just in case of a stalled battery (we’re guessing). Holiday Lights in Homewood features a tree lighting ceremony, ice sculpting demos and a hands-on activity involving circuits and snowflakes. Afterward, visit the reindeer petting zoo. Free. 5-9 p.m. Dec. 2. Inside, the conservatory is decked out in its holiday best, but outside, you can visit with Blitzen’s second cousin (once removed). The Holiday Open

Holiday Lights in Homewood

House includes music and dance performances, a hayride, and cookies and cider to warm you to the tips of your toes. Free. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 3. Friendship Park Conservatory, 395 W. Algonquin Road, Des Plaines. (847) 298-3500, While carolers sing about “reindeer games,” you can have your own fun visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus and their cohort of caribou. At Celebrate the Season Holiday Festival, shop in the Mistletoe Market, watch ice carving and see your kids’ eyes light up as the huge tree does the same. Free, small fee for some

Best in Ch

Reindeer games for all

parking. 4 4-7 p.m. activities; $5 parking 7p m Dec. 3. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. (630) 668-5161, At the Tree Lighting in Wilder Park, decorate cookies, then sneak them to Santa when you tell him your wishes. Plus, enjoy holiday entertainment, kids’ activities and the opportunity to see holiday trees— yes, that’s plural!—throughout the park, as well as the Big Kahuna. Free. 5:30-8 p.m. Dec. 8. Wilder Park, 175 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. (630) 739-1071, With the help of Santa @ the Settlement, the reindeer just might come to you! Visitors can make a magical treat in the Reindeer Food Factory, decorate cookies in Mrs. Claus’ Bakery and build ornaments in Santa’s Workshop. And be sure to leave a letter to let Santa know your holiday wishes. $15, $13 members; free kids 1 and under. 9-11 a.m. Dec. 3 and 17. Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. (630) 420-6010, Elizabeth Diffin December 2016 13

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New family shows, new family memories



ure, you’ve checked your list (twice!) and made all the appropriate holiday plans, but don’t forget about all of the shows your elves are jingling and jangling to see! Chicagoland is stuffed with as much theatrical merriment as the jolly guy’s toy bag, but here are three family-friendly productions perfect for making memories sweeter than gingerbread.

The Magic Flute While not a traditional “holiday” show, Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” has more whimsy, adventure and, well, magic, than you can shake a decorated branch at. You’d be hard-pressed to find any other December show that features a captive princess sought after by a dedicated prince, not to mention a dragon or a band of genies (played by Chicago child actors Casey Lyons, Parker Scribner and Asher Alcantara). The score is gorgeous,

the comedy rich, and if your kids have never before experienced an opera, let alone one at the unparalleled Lyric Opera, this is definitely the one for the whole family. (Moms and dads: Giving your kids the culturally wonderful gift of opera this holiday? You’ve just earned yourself another candy cane.) Dec. 10-Jan. 27 Lyric’s Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago

The House Theatre’s Nutcracker

Photo by Michael Brosilow

Intrigued by the premise of the famed Nutcracker story but not necessarily feeling all of that orchestration or those twirling moves? The edgy sstorytellers at The House have you covered with their returning—and

totally ballet-free—version of this tale. (While not a new production, it gets nowhere near as much holiday cred as it richly deserves for the younger crowd.) This one starts with a slightly darker spin (FYI, it centers on grief and loss), but the modernized classic will spellbind your whole family, from the first moment the inventive and heroic Clara battles the Rat King to the last ounce of incredible stage magic featuring more than a few puppets. Through Dec. 30 Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago

Annie Warbucks Did you know that “Annie,” the story of everyone’s favorite redhead, has a sequel? Directed and choreographed by Jeff Award-winning Linda Fortunato, the Theatre at the Center’s new artistic director, the show opens on the morning of Annie’s first Christmas morning in the Warbucks household. While the premise is slightly dated—Daddy Warbucks has 60 days to find a “proper mother” for Annie or risk the terms of her adoption—there’s no end to the timeless joy that these characters bring to the stage. (Another reason to love this production? S’Wheats, the pup taking on the role of Annie’s faithful Sandy, spends his non-actorly time working as a local therapy dog.) Through Dec. 18 Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind.

14 December 2016

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Charlie Brown and Lucy tell all


verybody and their four-legged friend loves the 1965 tale of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” I recently spoke with Charlie Brown and Lucy Van Pelt (with a little help from their actor counterparts Jason Goff and Veronica Garza) about this festive endeavor. So what’s this show really about? Charlie Brown: It’s about the true spirit of Christmas and not all that commercial nonsense. Lucy Van Pelt: …And about realizing that you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Christmas is about everyone. Can you tell me something about yourselves? CB: I’m not too good at many things but I sure like baseball and flying kites. Well, at least I

try to fly a kite. It doesn’t always work, but it’s the trying that counts. LVP: I enjoy referencing my daily planner, writing in spreadsheets and purple lollipops. What’s something people might not guess about you? LVP: I own a small business. And I’m a partner of a prestigious law firm. CB: I’m really good at thumb wrestling. I’ve only ever played against myself, but I win every time!

If you had to pick one star of A Charlie Brown Christmas, who would it be? LVP: Am I allowed to pick myself? I pick myself. CB: I would say the people who come see it. But don’t tell Snoopy I said that. How do you really feel about dogs? CB: Oh boy, I love my pal Snoopy. Sure, he can be a showoff sometimes. But when you are feeling down, man’s best friend always proves to be

exactly that. LVP: Hmmm. Dogs can be talented, but they really are quite unruly, and ICKY. I prefer a pet rock. Low maintenance. Keely Flynn

A Charlie Brown Christmas u Through Jan. 8

u Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago u

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Ninjas welcome Popular TV show gets live in Chicago BY MARIANNE WALSH PHOTOS BY BECKY HEALY


hen it comes to the legendary television shows of my generation’s youth, few can compare to “Battle of the Network Stars.” The real draw was the amazing obstacle course: the monkey bars, the tires, the high wall.

Thirty-some years later, my motherly instincts were alerted when the house suddenly fell silent. I found my three sons mesmerized in front of the TV, watching a bare-chested cowboy swinging from his fingertips in front of a cheering crowd. “American Ninja Warrior.” Before I knew it, my house was facing daily abuse as the boys tried recreating the show’s most epic obstacles. Thankfully, that was when I heard about Chicago’s new 12,500-square-foot Junior Ninja Warriors gym in the Albany Park

Junior Ninja Warriors Chicago

u 2915 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago

u Open Gym: ages 6-15, Saturday 9 a.m.-noon and 7-9 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-noon. One hour: $12. Two hours: $20 u neighborhood. Back in mid-2015, owner Jackie Piejak noticed a similar fascination in her young daughters, Izzy and Hadley. After consulting course experts across

the country, she was then able to secure former contestant Ethan Swanson, a Tinley Park native, as course operations director. Along with its myriad of obstacle course offerings (Rope Alley, Peg Board, Ring Slider, Tumble Track, Rock Wall and Jumping Spider, to name a few), the gym also provides designated basketball and dodgeball areas for special events.

16 December 2016

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December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18 $10.00 per person

Many obstacles can be adjusted (resistance, height, etc.) as children progress, adding a fun component of conquering an obstacle in multiple ways. For birthday parties, areas are sectioned off so groups experience a set of obstacles in two 45-minute increments. “The response has been overwhelming,” Piejak says. “We are booking 22 birthday parties a weekend. Our open gyms are often at capacity. We are constantly listening to feedback and making important changes as we go.” Some of those changes include providing options for younger children. Diehard fans of the show clamored for a higher Warped Wall and a revised Salmon Ladder. Piejak is also considering adding classes

for adults. Safety remains a key component. For classes, there is one instructor per every eight kids, with a maximum capacity of 32 kids. For open gyms, that ratio is 10:1. The most difficult obstacles are surrounded by 8-inch mats (with 2-inch mats everywhere else). With plans to open more facilities in Libertyville, Schaumburg, Naperville, Orland Park and Crown Point, Ind., Piejak is delighted that kids are looking for unique alternatives for being active. During my recent visit, the biggest obstacle I faced felt truly insurmountable: It was getting the three moms I brought along to finally come off the climbing wall and drive home.

Just 20 minutes north of Gurnee December 2016 17

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Courtesy of Chicago Wolves


Struck out while shopping?

Score with Chicago sports experiences BY CORTNEY FRIES


hicago is universally considered one of the best sports towns in America, so if you’re looking for a memorable gift you won’t find in the local mall, we’ve got just ticket!

Chicago Bulls

Courtesy of Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls offer a host of awesome Fan Experiences that also give back through Chicago Bulls Charities. Get your message on the scoreboard at halftime, have Benny the Bull visit your seats for a photo op or hit the court pre-game with Benny and an official Bulls photographer for a group photo. There’s even an Honorary Rebounder Experience, where kids ages 10-18 can rebound on-court for players during pre-game warmup. nba. com/bulls/community/fan-experiences

Chicago Wolves For affordable, familyfriendly entertainment, you can’t go wrong with Chicago Wolves tickets. The Howliday Gift Pack is sure to get your whole pack howling: Get 10 vouchers to use for games of your choice, a commemorative holiday puck, knit hat and scarf and a 30-minute GameWorks play card. Don’t forget to sign your mini fans up for the Skates Mates Kids Club. Upgrade to the All-Star Club for $9.95 and get one free ticket per month to the Skates Mates Kids Club games.

Photo by Cortney Fries

You also get an exclusive invite to a party with the players, a chance to shoot against Skates on the ice after a game, a T-shirt and a free meal.

Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago White Sox

If your future Stanley Cup champ can’t get enough Chicago Blackhawks action, download the free Club Blackhawks app. This first-ofits-kind app connects young fans with the Blackhawks in a safe, interactive environment. When downloading on the Apple App Store and, add on a paid membership to Tommy’s Crew, the Blackhawks kids club that provides access to cool opportunities, like the chance to shoot the puck at a home game.

The Slugger Membership comes with two tickets and special offers while the All-Star Membership includes invitations to three special events and exclusive Kids Club gear. cws/fan_forum/kidsclub_index.jsp

Chicago Fire Get your little soccer enthusiasts excited for the season with a Holiday Pack. For $65, you receive two opening night corner kick tickets and a Chicago Fire backpack. Kids will feel super cool sporting their new backpack in school in January.

18 December 2016

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Courtesy of Chicago Bears

It’s not school, it’s Quest

Chicago Bears The noon game at Soldier Field on Dec. 24 sounds like a fabulous gift to kick off the holidays. First-time Bears game attendees can get a customized “My First Bears Game” certificate in the mail if they stop by the Fan Services booth. The new Chicago Bears Crib Club is a great way to share your fandom with little ones

under age 5. Those 0-2 can receive items like a baby bib, rattle and “Bears Fan On Board” sticker, while kids ages 3-4 get a Bear bank, growth chart and personalized locker room photo. Or give the gift of a great summer, with a week at Chicago Bears Youth Football Camps, offered in more than 20 locations around Chicagoland. chicagobears. com/kid-zone/kids-club.html

An independent school for gifted children from Preschool through Eighth Grade.

OPEN HOUSE SCHEDULE 2016-2017 GRADES K-8 Wednesday, February 15 5:30-7:00 pm

Meet our teachers and administrators. Tour our campus and learn more about our curriculum and the admission process.

PRESCHOOL & PRE-K (Ages 3-4) Saturday, January 21 & March 18 9:00-10:30 am

Courtesy of Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs You don’t have to wait for summer to get your [World Champion!] Cubs fix. The 2017 Cubs Convention is Jan. 13-15. Passes and hotel packages are available, and kid-friendly activities are scheduled throughout the weekend. Join Clark’s Crew for $30 plus shipping and receive exclusive discounts and free admission to special events, gear and fast-pass privileges

for Kids Run the Bases following Sunday day games. The Newborn Fan Club is a great gift for soon-to-be-sluggers, with an adorable Cubs “Rookie of the Year” onesie and Cubs beanie cap, custom-made birth certificate and personalized Wrigley Field Marquee photo. kids_index.jsp Cortney Fries is a Chicago mom of two and frequent Chicago Parent contributor.

Parents will have an opportunity to meet our teachers and learn about curriculum, observe your children as they interact with our teachers for fun activities.

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Tours available by appointment. Contact our Admission Office at or call 847.202.8035, ext. 438 today. 500 North Benton, Palatine, IL 60067 December 2016 19

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Be part of our special day! Chicago Parent brings our popular Playdate event to families with special needs.

Swimming! (first come, first serve) • Bouncy Houses • Entertainment Stage • Quiet Room • Vendors

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Visit for advance tickets and info!

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It began around the time we scored our third red-light camera ticket in a month. A few days later, Joe and I learned our property taxes were going up 20 percent. A new city garbage bill ate what was left of the kids’ college fund and we started having serious conversations about the nobility of the boys opting for a trade. Chicago was killing us. MARIANNE Desperate to avoid full-blown depression WALSH and an obsession with pre-selling our marketable internal organs, I started playing my own version of Julie Andrew’s “Favorite Things.” But I wasn’t singing about raindrops on roses or warm woolen mittens. Instead, it was about escaping my own hometown: Florida in white flip-flops with red shiny sunglasses, Kentucky and its lakes and indigenous blue grasses, Montana’s cheap insurance and natural hot springs, these are a few of my favorite things. When the private school bill comes, when the city stickers are due, when they try to make cops and firemen all seem bad, I simply remember the places I’ll go, and then I don’t feel sooooooo sad. It is simply astonishing that I am not a billionaire writing on Broadway. Despite growing up in the suburbs, most of my adult life has been spent as a proud resident of the city of Chicago. I’ve been a Northsider, a Gold

Coaster and a Southsider. Before I converted to White Sox Fanaticism for marriage, I bled Cubbie blue. I hold sacred my choice of favorite deep-dish pizza (Pizano’s) as well as a nostalgic love for all the free parking that once existed on Lower Wacker Drive. Growing up, my dad used to take us to Navy Pier before it was the tourist mecca it is today. Back then, it was dark and scary and there was something almost mythical about it. When the new Comiskey (and I won’t call it anything

else ever) was being built, I watched and thought that they were silly to put those seats so high. I remember the snowstorm that got Jane Byrne elected, and I remember the day Harold Washington died. I remember it all. When I spent a year in New York, I realized how much of a Chicagoan I truly am. I was baffled when employers sent their people home from work early in “anticipation” of snow. Wusses. I could never figure out what the big deal was over the floppy, triangular-cut pizza and calling pop “soda.” Men in New York got freaking manicures. So I went home and married a fireman. With calloused hands. For me, Chicago is like those calloused hands. It is a hard-working city with more than its fair share of bumps, bruises and scrapes. When you look into the eyes of its people, you will often find a dichotomy. There is a strong element of fight, but also an understanding that defeat comes more often than not. And yet many continue to battle. Not me. I’m sick of callouses. I want well-manicured nails painted bright pink with sparkles. Even if it means crappy pizza forever. I love you Chicago, but there’s an expiration date on our relationship. If you really care, now is your chance to woo me. In the meantime, you can find me on Zillow.

Life in Chi

My kind of town, for now December 2016 21

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Holiday truths

A vow to make this year different


y family has never been a quiet, reserved one—we are loud and quick to laugh and we love to tease each other. Growing up in a family with nine children, I’m immune to the noise levels we produce. Truth be told, I’m one of the main contributors. But sometimes when we gather for holiday parties and special occasions with all our children running amok, I find myself longing for the quiet, cozy holiday moments I see in Hallmark movies. You know those perfect moments you see elsewhere—the quiet time sitting by a roaring fireplace, the immaculate, uncluttered house, the Christmas cookies expertly decorated, the juicy turkey sitting on an impeccably dressed-up table, the Stepford children smiling in their holiday clothes without a hair out of place, the married couple stealing kisses under the mistletoe, the professionally wrapped presents under a gorgeous Christmas tree and the parents who wake up looking refreshed on Christmas morning. I’ve finally wised up and realized something that has eluded me for years: It’s a lie. It’s like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. There’s no such thing as a perfect holiday. They simply don’t exist, except in movies and my imagination. Here’s what I’ve experienced throughout the years as I chased holiday perfection: u Well behaved, tidy children: Overall my children are well behaved, but from moment to moment that can change drastically. They are frenemies—the best of friends at times and the bitterest of enemies at others. As far as tidy goes, my 9-year-old daughter thinks brushing her hair is overrated. I’m trying to teach her responsibility by making her do it herself. So for now,

she looks like a child who has been raised by wolves. u Looking well rested and refreshed on Christmas morning: If you want to see what I look like on Christmas morning, Google “Nick Nolte mug shot.” u Turkey dinner: Giblet bags are the bane of my existence. Why do they make them so hard to locate? And inevitably, I become convinced my turkey hasn’t cooked long enough and will give everyone food poisoning. I turn the turkey into a pin cushion by stabbing it repeatedly with a meat thermometer. u Quiet moments by the fire: I was ridiculously excited when I bought my house because it had a fireplace. My dream soon became a nightmare. At our holiday gatherings, I became chained to that fireplace once I realized my family is a bunch of pyromaniacs who think it’s fun to burn everything that isn’t nailed down. I would sit, sweating by the fire, afraid to leave it, knowing I would return from grabbing a snack to find 20 pounds of wadded-up wrapping paper stuffed in there. u Romantic moments: Most days, I am so busy, frazzled and distracted, I don’t think I could pick my husband out

There’s no such thing as a perfect holiday. They simply don’t exist, except in movies and my imagination. of a police line-up, let alone arrange a romantic date without the kids. u Perfectly wrapped gifts: I am one of the worst wrappers on this planet. Every gift I wrap looks like it was dropped and stepped on repeatedly. This year, I’ve vowed, will be different. I’m giving up on perfection. As I sit at my dinner table for the holiday, munching on potentially uncooked turkey and listening to the sweet sounds of my children arguing, I’m going to focus on what I do have—a strong stomach, a family who loves me, a roof over my head and Photoshop technology that will quickly do away with those pesky realistic-looking photos. Shannon Serpette is an award-winning journalist who lives in Illinois. Her obsession with trivia nights and the 1980s has been inherited by her children.

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Underwritten by William and Mary Lane Additional support from the Max and Sunny Howard Memorial Foundation

EXPLORE NATURE’S WAY OF TEACHING. In Kohl Children’s Museum’s newest exhibit Animal Secrets (open through Dec 30), families can uncover the hidden habitats and secret lives of forest animals to see nature from the point of view of our furry and feathered friends. Let curiosity be your guide as you discover why we’re The Place Where Awesome Lives.


2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview | (847) 832-6600 | CommunityCalendarEducationBabiesWebExtrasFamilyMuseums PartyPlanningSpecialNeeds TravelNewsletters ...and much more! Visit us today. December 2016 23

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December is the most hectic of months. Holidays and their attendant travel, decorating, shopping, events, parties and Pinterest projects make it an exhausting time of year. It’s also the month when people reflect on the year past: We dissect our parenting and examine our values systems and meditate on the true meaning of it all. What a terrible way to spend four weeks.

Look, I’m a blogger and podcaster—handwringing and navel-gazing are my stock-in-trade. I understand the impulse to put every aspect of life under a microscope, and I’m just as susceptible as any modern parent to over-analysis of parenting methods. Are we sharing the spiritual lessons of our chosen holidays with our children? Are we turning them into materialistic monsters through too many gifts, too much shopping and other hallmarks of rapacious capitalism? Are we overeating? Are we hot-glueing cranberries and gold leaf to enough pinecones? How many days like these do we have left (40 years’ worth if we’re lucky)? Are we making the most of every minute of this precious holiday? It’s no wonder everyone gets depressed. This year I’m taking a different tack. I’m going to let the peppermint-scented wave of December crash over me and buffet me where it will. I will buy as many gifts as needed. I will attempt to enjoy the carols without introspection of which ones are overplayed, obnoxious or outdated. I’m going to eat what’s put in front of me and add some time at the gym. As for my daughter Viva,


I’m not going to pressure her into wanting less or praying more or celebrating other cultures’ holidays any more or less than they naturally come up in our already diverse circles. She’s probably old enough to learn more about charity and service, but she can do that without developing a guilty conscience about Santa arriving. I’m going to attempt to shield her from the ridiculous angst we’ve all imposed upon ourselves with our overthinking of a month mostly dedicated to putting fake holly everywhere. This year we’ll go with the flow, listen to the jingle bells and pass the gravy. Hopefully this will help us better enjoy a few magical moments while we’ve got them. Viva December. Viva Viva. Viva Daddy. Viva is 4. Daddy is about 10x that age. They live happily with Mommy in Chicago.

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Shimmering stars Deck the halls with these paper roll creations STORY AND PHOTOS BY MEGAN MURRAY ELSENER


ook no further than your own home to create stunning and shining stars to decorate your tree or home this holiday season. Rather than recycle or toss, save those toilet paper and paper towel rolls for this fun and easy craft.

Materials u Paper towel or toilet paper roll u Glitter u Mod Podge u Glue u Scissors u Clothespins u Ribbon or string



Gently fold an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll in half. Use scissors to slice the paper roll into five half-inch thick strips.


Apply glue to the creased tip of one end of each of the five pieces, then glue in a star formation. Secure the five points of connection with clothespins and allow to dry completely.

3 4

Coat the entire star in Mod Podge and sprinkle completely with glitter until fully covered. Once dry, attach a ribbon or string for hanging, then deck the halls with your glittery stars.

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Uniquely Chicago Holiday traditions your family will love keeping



etween shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating, traveling and checking the box on holiday mandatories, the holidays can be a hectic time of the year for busy moms. By the end of the season, we’ve spent so much time and energy worrying about accomplishing everything on our never-ending to-do lists that we often lose sight of what really matters—making memories together as a family. We’re lucky to live in a city that offers so many options for holiday fun—there’s plenty to see, do and eat in Chicago that you can’t find anywhere else. This year, take a step back from the hustle and bustle of the season and try something new with your family that you can look forward to every year. Here is a list of our favorite ‘uniquely Chicago’ holiday happenings:

Christkindlmarket Modeled after the famous Nuremberg Christmas market in 1545, Christkindlmarket gives visitors the chance to experience authentic German traditions without leaving Chicago. Shop unique handmade trinkets (cuckoo clocks, beer steins, ornaments) from more than 60 vendors—many of whom flew in from Germany. Nosh on German delicacies like schnitzel, brats and potato pancakes and warm up with some glühwein, hot spiced wine that comes a cup shaped like a boot. Live music and dance performances take place on select days. Free; through Dec. 24; Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago,

The Walnut Room A beloved Chicago staple since 1907, The Walnut Room provides the perfect backdrop to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. The restaurant combines traditional elegance (wood paneling imported from Russia, Austrian chandeliers) with the warmth of the holidays, as guests dine around a 50-foot Christmas tree. Make sure to try a piece of the famous Mrs. Hering’s Chicken Pot Pie, a dish that dates back to 1890. Reservations are not accepted, but while you wait for a table, catch a glimpse of the animated window scenes featuring DreamWorks’ Trolls, and pick up a box of Frango Mints, a Chicago confectionary that’s been around since the original Marshall Field’s. Holiday hours through Jan. 2; Macy’s, 111 N. State St., 7th Floor, Chicago, walnut-room 28 December 2016

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CTA Holiday Train Oh what fun it is to ride (or spot) the CTA Holiday Train! Adorned with colorful lights, strands of garland and holiday imagery, this six-car train embodies the spirit of the season. Inside, Santa’s helpers spread the holiday cheer by passing out candy canes and serenading passengers. As the holiday train pulls into each station, catch a glimpse of Santa as he waves to boarding passengers from his sleigh. Normal CTA fares apply; the Holiday Train will travel all L lines through Dec. 23; (for full Holiday Train schedule)

Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park At a quarter mile long, this unique venue looks like a lazy river of ice. Twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink, the ribbon—which also features changes in elevation—can hold up to 700 skaters at once. As you skate your way around the ribbon (with stopping points for hot chocolate), you’ll be immersed in breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline. Free (skate and locker rental additional); through March; Maggie Daley Park, 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago, maggie

Caroling at Cloud Gate No two events are ever the same, as a different local choir group leads Friday evening caroling at The Bean each week. Bundle up for this part-concert, part-singalong featuring everyone’s favorite seasonal tunes. Free; 6 p.m. Fridays through Dec. 23, Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago; CONTINUED ON PAGE 30 December 2016 29

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Santa Saturdays at the Museum

Saturdays, December 10 & 17 Timed tickets for 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., & Noon Adults $15; Children 3-12 years $10; 2 years & younger are free For more information and tickets visit

40 East Erie Street Chicago, IL 60611

Saturdays: Nov. 26, Dec. 3, 10, 17; 2pm to 7pm Sundays: Nov. 27, Dec. 4, 11, 18; 1pm to 6pm

Wonderland Express at Chicago Botanic Garden

Embark on a magical 40 minute train ride through the winter countryside with Santa Claus himself! Treats will be served and gifts will be given to children on Santa’s “good list.” Trains leave hourly.

Admission $18 per person

America’s Largest Railway Museum


Directions: Take 190 to Hwy 20 Exit - Follow the Signs

Visit the website to reserve your tickets

Boasting one of the most intricate model train shows, the Chicago Botanic Garden showcases a miniature version of the city. The 10,000-squarefoot indoor model train show weaves through Chicago’s most iconic landmarks (Soldier Field,

Marina City, the Art Institute)— all of which are handcrafted using natural elements like pinecones, bark and gourds. Wonderland Express also features a light show, greenhouse extravaganza and display of one-of-a-kind wreaths. $10 kids 3 and up, $13 adults; through Jan. 2; 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe; chicagobotanic. org/wonderland

LatkeFest The magic of Hanukkah wouldn’t be complete without deep fried potato pancakes, otherwise known as latkes. Join the Bernard Horwich Jewish Community Center in Rogers Park for an annual Hanukkah celebration centered around this favorite holiday dish. The event features Hanukkah crafts, music and a latke bar, complete with all the fixings (applesauce, sour cream). $25 per family; Dec. 18; Bernard Horwich JCC, 3003 W. Touhy, Chicago;

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ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo Nearly 2 million glittering lights shaped into holiday- and animal-inspired displays transform the zoo into the ultimate winter wonderland! Take in musical light shows, animal encounters and hop aboard the Endangered Species Carousel and Lionel Train Adventure. The kiddos will enjoy holiday crafts, photos with Santa, live ice sculpture carving and more. Free; Dec. 2-4, 9-23, 26-31 1 and Jan. 1; 2001 N. Clark St., k St t., ., Chicago;

Sauganash Holiday Lights Crank up the holiday tunes and take a 15-20 minute drive through the far northwest corner of the city, where the whole family will “ooohh”and “ahhhh” at dozens of houses decked out in twinklinglights. A must-see is the Noonen

family Christmas tree (6601 N. LeRoy Ave.) that stands three stories high and goes through the roof of the house. Free; about Dec. 1-Jan. 1; Devon Avenue just west of the Edens Expressway

Noon Year’s Eve Party at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum Let the little ones experience the excitement of ringing in the New Year without staying up past bedtime! Raise a glass of apple juice and count down to a balloon drop at noon at this green-themed celebration. This family-friendly

event includes lunch, a dance party, eco-friendly party crafts, games and access to all exhibits. $10 kids 2 and up, $25 adults; 11 a.m. Dec. 31; 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago; naturemuseum. org

Friday, November 18, 2016 through Monday, January 2, 2017 See trees in a different light. Make memories as you stroll a mile-long paved path through the winter woods. Enjoy innovative lights, projections, and music. Hug or sing to trees, and they respond!

Tickets are limited. Advance purchase recommended: 630-725-2066


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Pick a cause as a family and give back this holiday season

Christopher House

Pay it forward



t’s easy to get wrapped up in all the holiday hoopla of gifts, shopping and parties for your family. Yet the holiday season is often one of the hardest times for many families who struggle to put food on the table, let alone presents under the tree. Make giving back as a family a priority this year and teach your kids the value of giving rather than receiving. Decide your cause as a family and how you want to contribute. Here are some fantastic organizations and ideas for paying it forward this holiday season:

Greater Chicago Food Depository One out of every six people in the city of Chicago go hungry each day. Thanks to the Greater

Chicago Food Depository, more than 800,000 men, women and children receive food from one of its grocery or meal programs. Get your kids involved to teach them that not

Greater Chicago Food Depository every family always has enough food to go around. Each month the Food Depository offers a “Kids Day” where children 5 to 13 may volunteer with an adult to help with food repacking. The Food Depository also allows you to create

your own food drive, whether it’s a traditional food drive or a virtual one where donors can shop online. Go to chicagofood to register for your own food drive.

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Christopher House

Christopher House If you are looking to adopt a family for the holidays, Christopher House’s Familyto-Family program is a great option. Christopher House,, has five locations throughout Chicago and serves more than 5,000 low-income children and their families annually. The Family-to-Family program

matches a family or multiple families to provide gifts, food and goods for the December holidays. Once paired, donors receive the families’ wish lists. You could request to adopt a family with children similarly aged to your kids so that they can be involved with the shopping and selection of the wish list items. For information or to be paired with a family, call (773) 922-7544.

The Hope List at Lurie Children’s Hospital The gift of health is one that should never be taken for granted. Yet we all know many families struggle with illnesses, and a child’s illness can literally devastate a family’s finances. The Hope List at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago provides many ways you can donate to a cause that suits you. Select from a toy store gift card, a meal for a family or even a winter coat to donate to a family enduring hardship. You can help provide critically ill preemies and newborns with comfort items such as tiny pacifiers or sleep positioners, or by adding books to the NICU’s sharing book library.

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Donors Choose If you have school-age children, Donors Choose can be a great choice. It allows teachers all over the country to post projects and classroom needs. Donors can search and choose what projects interest them and donate. Select the same grade

classrooms as your kids or pick your child’s favorite subject to contribute to schools less fortunate. The scope of the projects ranges from needing books and art materials to requesting computer and technology equipment. Donors Choose, donorschoose. org, allows you to make a big difference even with a small monetary donation.

31 . c e -d 2 1 . Nov Donors Choose

Heartland Alliance As one of the world’s leading anti-poverty organizations, Heartland Alliance serve those who are homeless, living in poverty or seeking safety. Each year the popular Adopt-A-Family program pairs families with an individual or family to buy specific gifts based on a wish list. While the Adopt-A-Family program often quickly fills up, Heartland Alliance,, also has

a Stuff-A-Stocking campaign where donors can sign up to stuff stockings for adults or children who celebrate the holidays alone. The stocking items range from toiletries and socks to toys and winter gloves. A stuffed stocking typically costs between $25-$40. And if you don’t have time to shop, Heartland Alliance always accepts donations to support families through the holiday season. CONTINUED ON PAGE 36

A CHRISTMAS STORY and all related characters and elements © & ™ Turner Entertainment Co. WB SHIELD: TM & © WBEI. (s16)

Heartland Alliance

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PAWS Chicago If your children are pet lovers, PAWS Chicago,, may be the organization for you. Your family can save the lives of homeless animals by creating your own fundraiser in your community, extended family or school this holiday season. You can also donate your time to help with animals in shelters, whether by walking dogs or giving animals some extra love. The Youth Volunteer program allows kids 12-17 to volunteer with a parent to help homeless pets together.

Ronald McDonald House Every little bit can help, and it’s a great lesson to teach your kids. Ronald McDonald House,, knows a dime here and a quarter there can add up and mean a lot to families in need. Stop by your local McDonald’s to get a Ronald McDonald House Donation Box to collect your spare change. Last year, the Donation Boxes collected more than $54 million worldwide. So get the kids digging in the couch cushions and

under the car seats and see how much your family can gather. Another way to give back is to organize a wish list drive for household items needed at local Ronald McDonald Houses. Many families spend weeks or months away from their homes to get treatment for their ill children and stay at Ronald McDonald Houses “home-awayfrom-home.” You can provide them simple but necessary items to make their stay easier.

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othing brings a family together like skiing, and at Cascade Mountain kids 12 and under

ski free when accompanied by a paid adult. Cascade is an easy drive, and is just a few minutes from the indoor water parks and hotels of Wisconsin Dells. Make this a winter well spent!

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Dig out the tins, phone a friend and get baking


ookie swaps are a great way to cut down on time in your kitchen this busy time of year: You make your family’s favorite cookie and end up with many other kinds you may love just as much (or even more!). This year, we are hosting a cookie recipe exchange at to help families across Chicagoland not only discover a new favorite treat for the holidays, but also learn about other cultures and traditions. Here are just a few of the recipes you should definitely try as a family this month. Share your own at

Cream Cheese Rugelach Rugelach is a traditional Jewish cookie that continues to be popular today. These flaky, delicate cookies are the perfect vehicle to showcase homemade jams and fruit butters. Emily Paster Makes two dozen cookies Ingredients Dough 1 cup all-purpose flour ¼ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. cinnamon Zest of ½ orange 4 oz. cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes 4 oz. cold cream cheese, cut into cubes

Filling ½ cup jam or fruit butter ¼ cup dried fruit, such as raisins or dried cranberries, or mini chocolate chips ¼ cup nuts, finely chopped 2 Tbsp. cinnamon sugar

Topping 1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water 1 Tbsp. cinnamon sugar

Directions Place the flour, salt, cinnamon and orange zest in a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse several times until well broken up. Process the dough in short intervals, stopping to scrape down the sides as

necessary, until large clumps of dough form. Turn the dough out onto a cutting board and gently knead it into a ball. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, flatten and wrap each portion in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two sheet pans with silicone baking mats. On a well floured surface, roll out the dough until it is 1/8-inch thick, about a 12-inch circle. If the edges of your circle are ragged, trim them with a knife until smooth. Leaving a slight plain edge, spread 1/4 cup of jam over the dough. Evenly sprinkle 2 Tbsp. dried fruit or chocolate chips over top of the jam, followed by 2 Tbsp. of the nuts, avoiding the center of the circle. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of the cinnamon-sugar over the entire dough portion. Cut the dough into 12 wedges for rolling into crescents. As if cutting a pie or pizza, cut the dough round into sixths, and then halve each portion until you have 12 pieces. Starting at the outside edge, carefully roll up each wedge into a crescent, and place on the parchment-lined pan, with


Our cover girl, Susannah Schoeny, 5, of Chicago. the end point on the bottom side. Chill the formed cookies for 15-20 minutes prior to baking. Repeat the process with second disk of dough. When ready to bake, lightly brush the tops with the egg wash, and sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Let cool on the pan for five minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.

Dutch Flaky Almond Bars My grandmother was born and raised in Orange City, Iowa, a small town known for its rich Dutch heritage. When my sister and I were kids, she’d make us these sweet almond bars for birthdays, holidays and everything in between. Katie Niekirk Ingredients Dough 2 cups all-purpose flour ½ tsp. salt 1 cup unsalted butter, cold ½ cup cold water

Filling 1 cup almond paste ½ cup and 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

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¾ tsp. almond extract 1 egg ½ cup of butter, melted

Topping 1 egg white, beaten ½ cup powdered sugar 1 Tbsp. milk 1 / 8 tsp. almond extract Sliced almonds

Directions Thoroughly mix flour and salt. Add chunks of butter and beat. Add water slowly while continuing to beat, just until mixture resembles dough. Divide dough into four rounds on plastic wrap. Wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Mix almond paste, sugar, almond extract and egg in a large bowl until smooth. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll each round of dough on a lightly floured surface to form rectangles. Spread 1-2 Tbsp. of melted butter on top of dough.

Spread 1/4 of almond paste mixture into each rectangle of dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Close dough by folding over each end, folding up sides and pinching tops to seal. Place dough with seams down on baking sheets. Brush beaten egg white over each; sprinkle sugar on top. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk and almond extract. Drizzle over each bar and place sliced almonds on top.

White chocolate and cherry holiday cookies My son loves these cookies we adapted from a recipe in All You magazine. My aunt, Chef Kyle Cooper Rogel, now shares them with clients. Cortney Fries Makes 3 ½ dozen Ingredients 1 cup butter, softened 2 / 3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 2 / 3 cup sugar 1 small egg 2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour ¾ tsp. baking soda ½ tsp. salt 1 cup white chocolate morsels 1 cup candied cherries, quartered (I use dry sour cherries)

Directions Combine butter, brown sugar, and sugar. Using an electric

mixer, beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until blended. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating just until blended after each addition. Sir in white chocolate morsels and chopped cherries. Drop dough by rounded Tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Place on wire cooling rack. December 2016 39

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Fun ways to keep the kids entertained while they are out of school



mom’s guide to winter break

BY MEGAN MURRAY ELSENER f you aren’t heading out of town this holiday season, the two-week break from school can be overwhelming. It’s cold and the kids easily get bored being cooped up inside. Spice up this winter break with some of these fun, adventuresome and unique opportunities that can only be done right here in Chicago.

Just go wild with animals

Try on hot chocolate mustaches

While many mammals hibernate in the winter, human children do not and need to be kept busy. Both Lincoln Park Zoo ( and and Brookfield Zoo (czs. org) offer winter break camps to explore the world of animals, both warm- and cold-blooded. Lincoln Park’s camp runs Dec. 27-30 and participants can do one, two, three or all four days. Brookfield Zoo’s camp is Dec. 26-30 with two great options for kids 6-12.

Warm your insides and delight your taste buds with a trip to Bucktown’s HotChocolate restaurant (1747 N. Damen Ave.). Stop in on a cold winter’s day for decadent hot chocolate with house-made marshmallows. The hot chocolate options are endless, from lemon to black & tan to chai and Mexican variations. Owner and pastry chef Mindy Segal has been awarded the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Pastry Chef,”

Zoo camps not only get your kids out of the house, but they also get them learning about animals and environmental conservation in one great opportunity. Spots fill up quickly so register soon.

and her desserts are not to be missed. This is one outing that will feel like a treat to both mom and the kiddos.

Throw strikes and balls Spend a day at Pinstripes (, an upscale chain that combines bowling, bocce ball and dining for a CONTINUED ON PAGE 42 December 2016 41

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heir Stockings T l l i F Positive Values


New Friends

Personal Growth

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Itty Bitty New Year Entertainers, balloon artists, games, prizes, New Year crafts, and a noon balloon drop!

Thursday, December 29, 10 a.m. to noon

4701 Oakton St., Skokie (847) 674-1500, ext. 2700

Play the day away

If you haven’t been yet, winter break is an awesome time to check out the Little Bean Café ean Ca C afé and Big Beans Family Activity complete family experience. mily Activ ivvit iy Center in Evanston With four locations in the n ((littlebeans liitt litt t leebe bean bean anss Chicago area (Northbrook, Oak The imaginative playy sspace Brook, South Barrington and pace pa cee 0-12 Chicago), this outing won’t break and rec center for kids ds 0 -12 12 iiss literally a place wheree kids can the bank since prices start at just an n play all day long. For yyour “Big $5 per person for bowling and Beans,” there is a basketball $5 per person per hour of bocce. court, floor hockey, zip line, Even the littlest family members pit and the super popucan get their bowlwon with easily ww.anokijig.cofoam m adjustable bumper lanes and ball lar Ninja Warrior Course. For your “Little Beans,” there is an ramps. Plan your visit around lunch or dinner to experience the interactive indoor playground, imaginative play village and kadelicious and kid-friendly bistro raoke room. Plus, there is a café menu of Italian-American cuisine. If you don’t want to sit for a with paninis, pizza and snacks, as well as coffee and Wi-Fi for meal, they even deliver food and parents. Daily passes are $14, drinks right to your lan lanes! Check a es! Ch then $10 for the first sibling and with your location early hour tion forr ear a lyy h o $6 for additional siblings. Prices kid specials. are also discounted after 5:30 p.m. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41

Become tree ee whisperers

If you haven’t been to Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum, it’s a must-do this winter break. Open through Jan. 2, the mile-long winter wonderland walk is filled with innovative lights, projections, music and delightful interactive effects that will leave you seeing trees in a totally different light. Hug or sing to trees and they will respond. Dazzling light shows are set to classic wintertime music and beams of light dance across the night sky. Plus, don’t miss Illumination’s new grand finale, Fantasy Forest, which took six months to design and test. Tickets are required and advance purchase at is recommended.

Glide, spin and twirl Nothing says winter quite like ice skating. If you are looking for a more traditional rink with a stunning city view, try Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink ( on Michigan Avenue between Washington Street and Madison Street. Skating is free and skate rental is available for $10. Plus, the city’s official Christmas tree is located directly next to the rink to add some festive ambiance. If you’re in need of a warm-up, head into the Park Grill Café for hot chocolate and other snacks. Megan Murray Elsener is a freelance writer and mother of three.

42 December 2016

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MARCH 5, 2017

OCTOBER 8, 2017

NOVEMBER 5, 2017

Join Team SOC for the Polar Plunge, Chicago Marathon, or Hot Chocolate Walk.

Help our SuperStar Athletes by Joining Team Special Olympics Chicago! CONTACT US TO REGISTER TODAY

312.527.3743 • • December 2016 43

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Discover Oak Park & River Forest // advertising

Home for the holidays


he holiday season is here and it’s the perfect time to celebrate all that we hold dear to us! You can start in Downtown Oak Park. Winterfest Saturday, December 3, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Hospitality tent located on Marion Street, south of Lake Street Participate in Downtown Oak Park’s annual Cookie Walk! A $20 participation fee includes a souvenir cookie tin and a map of over 45 participating shops and restaurants to collect a cookie or candy at each stop. (Purchase at hospitality tent while supplies last.) Catch a glimpse of Saint Nicholas on Marion Street, enjoy a variety of family-friendly acts in downtown businesses and warm up inside the hospitality tent with free hot chocolate & coffee.

Home for the Holidays Saturday, December 17, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Hospitality tent located at Marion Street and Westgate Catch the old-fashioned holiday spirit in Downtown Oak Park! Celebrate the season with free horse-drawn sleigh rides, a visit from Santa

When your shopping is complete, take the time to stroll down our streets! Indeed, our towns are not only

home for wonderful businesses, but wonderful people behind the businesses! Of course, before we know it, the New Year will be here. West Suburban Medical Center celebrates more than 100 years of caring for the community. At West Suburban’s Alternative Birthing Center every moment turns into a memory. Each pregnancy and every birth experience is as unique as the two people who become one in the process. That is why the midwives, nurses and physicians at the Alternative Birth Center put you in control of your experience and offer a variety of choices to deliver your baby in a safe and soothing environment. They help you manage pain naturally during delivery – including laboring in water, utilizing birthing balls and labor-easing positions.


Questions about Pregnancy? Discover your options for childbirth at PCC Certified Nurse-Midwives, Family Medicine Physicians, and OB/GYNs

Ask about out-of-hospital delivery at the Birth Center at PCC, the only freestanding birth center in the Chicagoland area!

Claus, and a special showing of “Polar Express” at Lake Theatre (at 10 a.m.). All events and activities are free. Visit for more details.

Free Pregnancy Tests Family Planning Free Childbirth Education Hospital and Out-of-Hospital Delivery Natural Birth & Pain Medicated Birth Water Birth VBAC

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For more information, please call:

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continued on page 46






Lake Street


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44 December 2016

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advertising // Discover Oak Park & River Forest

Client ID: WSMC Component: Space Ad WSMC_Parent_Hey_Baby_Natural_Birth_Print_ad_110515_JAD.indd 1 Project Number: WSMC110515 Colors: cmyk

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Discover Oak Park & River Forest // advertising continued from page 44 Our moms enjoy homelike setting with a queen-size bed for family bonding, along with many amenities, such as an in-room refrigerator and microwave. Certified nursemidwives surround families with exceptional care. Join one of the orientation classes and find out why more moms are choosing the midwife-led and physician-supervised alternative birthing experience. Orientation classes are led by the renowned doula Pamela Hayes. Visit naturalbirth or call (866) 9387256 for a complete schedule. At PCC Community Wellness Center (PCC), birth is centered around you. We provide a variety of birthing options conveniently linked within one health system. Our midwives and physicians are experts in natural birth, letting you labor and birth in the Birth Center at PCC or the Alternative Birth Center


at West Suburban Medical Center. They can also compassionately assist you if you desire pain medication or VBAC at our partner hospitals. The Birth Center at PCC is unique of its kind, being the only freestanding Birth Center in the Chicagoland area where mothers can deliver naturally in a home-like setting. Labor and deliver in one of two rooms complete with a full-size bed, birthing tub, and birthing stool. PCC also offers Maternal-Child health services such as free pregnancy testing, family planning, and childbirth education. Join us in January and February for “The Birth Series,” a set of two, free community events that will provide information on birth options and discuss special topics relating to pregnancy. Attendees will have the opportunity to tour the birth center and meet with PCC providers. Contact (708) 317-3035 for more information. For your young sports enthusiast, check out the River

River Forest Community Center Early Childhood Learning Center **Please join us at our **

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46 December 2016

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advertising // Discover Oak Park & River Forest Forest Community Center *WINTER BREAK BASKETBALL CAMP* (One, Two, Three‌or Six Day Options) for ages 6-14yrs. And, save the date for the DADDY DAUGHTER DANCE, Friday, February 10th 6:30pm- 9pm Preschool registration begins on Monday, February 6 and Summer Camp Registration begins on Wednesday, March 1. (708) 771-6159. Are you thinking about shaping up your exercise regimen for the New Year? Head on over to visit Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts in Oak Park to learn from a legend how martial arts can tone not only your body, but your

mind too! And for the moms out there‌martial arts can also be quite the stress relief! Contact (708) 383-3456 for

tural Montessori Language School, the Montessori method and dual-language immersion meet to develop citizens of the world. Students consistently demonstrate high levels of academic achievement as well as multicultural understanding, world-mindedness, confidence, compassion, collaboration, and independence -- all while becoming bilingual and biliterate. Schedule a private tour of the Oak Park campus to PHOTO COURTESY OF MASTER S.H. YU MARTIAL ARTS learn more about Chinese Mandarin/ English and Spanmore information. ish/English immersion programs for ages 3 to 6. www. Another jewel in the Oak Park landscape is Intercul-

Ready to Welcome your New Year!

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Celebrating 20 Years of Excellence Serving Our Community December 2016 47

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Jingle Bell, Jingle Buy - Gift Ideas // advertising Enjoy a winter wonderland Experience a nostalgic horse-drawn sleigh ride through our orchard and woods - a winter wonderland! Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa or cider around a cozy campfire. Call to reserve today!

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Find Your Gift at Deer Park Town Center With more than 70 shops & restaurants, a theatre and convenient parking, Deer Park Town Center has everything you need for a happy holiday season.

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Looking for that perfect gift for everybody on your list? Downtown Oak Park gift certificates are sure to please! Good at over 70 shops and restaurants, purchase at Visit Oak Park (1010 Lake Street) or online at

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Give a Year of SERIOUS FUN! Gift memberships to DuPage Children’s Museum provide SERIOUS FUN for an entire year – for the whole family! It’s serious because kids are learning, and fun because it’s play.

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Ready to roll into the New Year? A great place for family recreation and aerobic exercise. Lessons and party packages available. Host your fundraiser here!

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Goodman Theatre is an ideal gift this Holiday Season Receive a FREE $20 gift certificate for every $100 Goodman gift certificate purchased through December 25.

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Chugga Choo Choo into the Holidays! See, ride and experience America’s largest railway museum. A special Happy Holiday Railway event will be held on select days in November and December with Santa. See the website for dates and times.

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advertising //

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Give the gift of fun! Thousands of square feet of fun, a place of creative play for kids birth to age eight. Kids, their parents and caregivers can unleash their imaginations through art, performance, design, building and more. Family memberships start at $85.

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Salt Creek Ballet: The Nutcracker Dec 10 & 11 An affordable holiday tradition performed in the grand Russian style by Salt Creek Ballet with special guest soloists.

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Little Mermaid Sparkles for the Holidays! With exquisitely crafted larger-than-life creatures, Paramount’s live legendary orchestra and a stage transformed into an underwater wonderland, this sparkling musical is the perfect holiday treat for all ages.

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The Christkindlmarket is coming to Naper Settlement! November 25 - December 24 523 S Webster Street, Naperville

More exciting reasons to visit Naperville this Holiday season!

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Christkindlmarket Naperville 2016

52full December page ad chicago2016 parent.indd 1

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calendar DECEMBER


You’ve vee seen Clara pirouette and the Sugar Plum Fairy ry passé, but have you everr seen a Mouse Queen who o pops and locks? This year, the Hyd de Park School of Dance gives its staging of The Nutcracker a hip-hop twist, as the midnight battle with the mouse troops showcases traditional ballet as well as the more cutting-edge genres the school also teaches. Plus, stop by the Holiday Bazaar for a chance to meet some characters from o the ballet, build a cocoa mastter e piece and knock out those laast pesky items on your shopping list. t. $33 33,, $10 kids 6-18, free kids 5 an nd un unde der. 7 p.m. de Dec. 9; 1 and 6 p. p.m. m Dec m. ec.. 10; 2 p.m. Dec ec. 11 11. 1. Ma Mand ndel nd el Hal a l, 1131 E. 57th 57 th St. t.,, Ch Chic icag ic ago. ag o. (77 773) 493-8498, hyde hy depa de park pa rkda rk danc da nce. nc e or o g.


As if ZooLights, with its two million twinkling bulbs, ice sculpture artists and visits with Santa, wasn’t cool enough, the specially designed ZooLights Family Nights appeal to the kids inside all of us. These evenings include free rides on the Lionel Train Adventure, AT&T Endangered Species Carousel and Holiday Wagon, not to mention a complimentary kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult meal at Park Place Café. Mondays have never looked so merry! Free. 4:30-9 p.m. Dec. 12, 19 and 26. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. (312) 742-2000,


This is one holiday tree that doesn’t need lights in order to sparkle. At Create a Gem Tree, kids 9 and up and their adult companions (calling all grandparents!) learn how to create a small tree using just gemstones and wire. And fortunately for all the green thumbdeficient among us, a gem tree never needs to be watered! All materials are provided, so reservations are required. $25. 1-3 p.m. Dec. 3. Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, 220 Cottage Hill Ave. (in Wilder Park), Elmhurst. (630) 833-1616, lizzadro December 2016 53

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The North Pole Spectacular, visit with Santa and enjoy milk and cookies. Music, face painting and cookie decorating are included. $6, $8 kids; day of $8, $10 kids. 1:30-5 p.m. Schaumburg Park District, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg. (847) 490-7020,


Kids 3 ½-6 make and wrap holiday gifts, plus sing seasonal songs and enjoy a “mini” sweet snack. Come dressed in holiday clothes. $18, $12 resident. 1-2 p.m. or 6:15-7:15 p.m. Schaumburg Park District, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg. (847) 490-7020,



4-10, with adult, explore the different plants and plant parts needed to make gingerbread. Take home a future ginger plant, decorate cookies and mix up a batch of gingerbread. $24 per child. 9:30-11 a.m. or 1-2:30 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. (847) 835-5440,


can catch a performance of Free Street Theater’s 100 Hauntings while kids 3-12 enjoy storytelling, arts and crafts facilitated by staff artists. 7-8:30 p.m. Pulaski Park, 1419 W. Blackhawk Ave., Chicago.

Le ego go Tra rain in Show S Sh ho ow w Parrty ty See De Se D c. c 10


design outfits and seasonal jewelry for American Girl or similar-sized doll. Includes a trip to the beauty shop to find hair clips and ribbons. $56, $37 resident. 6-7 p.m. Naperville Park District, 305 W. Jackson Ave., Naperville. (630) 848-5000, naperville CHRISTMAS WALK. Take a

ride on the “Cookies Carousel” and the “Cookies Trackless Train.” Santa arrives by fire truck at 5 p.m. for the tree lighting at Village Hall. Plus, holiday characters, ice carvers, live reindeer and giveaways. 4-8 p.m. Downtown Hinsdale. (630) 323-3952, HOLIDAY WALK AND TREE LIGHTING. Features live-action

window displays, horse-drawn sleigh rides, a marshmallow roast, face painting, refreshments and Santa. 6-9 p.m. Madison Street, between Des Plaines and Harlem avenues, Forest Park. (708) 366-2543, exploreforest GENEVA’S GREAT TREE LIGHTING AND CHRISTMAS WALK. Santa Lucia arrives by horse-

drawn carriage and Santa arrives to open the Gingerbread House. Enjoy carolers, the tree lighting, oldfashioned candy cane pull, roasted


chestnuts, Swedish cookies and shopping. Check website for schedule. 6 p.m. Geneva Court House, 100 S. Third St., Geneva. (630) 232-6060,

science of archaeology. Includes an interactive tour of the galleries. $10, $5 member. 1-3 p.m. Oriental Institute Museum, 1155 E. 58th St. (773) 7029514,

HOLLY DAYS. Enjoy Santa’s Arrival Parade (6 p.m.), followed by the mayor lighting the city Holiday Tree, horse-drawn carriage rides, fire pits, performances and hot chocolate and cookies. Pizza, pop and water are available for purchase. 6-8 p.m. Warrenville Park District, 3S260 Warren Ave., Warrenville. (630) 3937279,

HOLIDAYS ON THE SQUARE. Businesses celebrate the


performances by members of the CSO accompanied by storytelling, sets, costumes and images. This story emphasizes the importance of caring for others in the face of challenging circumstances. Designed for kids 3-5. $17. 10 and 11:45 a.m. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. (312) 294-3000, JUNIOR ARCHAEOLOGISTS. Kids

5-12 and parents dig into a simulated excavation while learning about the

season with deals, sweets, treats, tastings, pop up shops, trunk shows, Santa, a tree lighting and more. Check website for schedule. 3100 Logan Blvd.


Performers communicate positive messages to kids 10 and under through interactive and imaginative songs showcasing live music and instruments. Participants can bring a picnic blanket and lunch. A light snack is provided. 11 a.m.-noon. Mundelein Park & Recreation District, 1401 N. Midlothian Road, Mundelein. (847) 566-0650, JINGLE PAWS. Activities include a treat hunt, agility course, photos with Santa, free play area and a costume contest. $7 dog, $3 person; $5 resident dog, $2 resident person. Noon-2 p.m. Meineke Recreation Center, 220 E. Weathersfield Way, Schaumburg. (847) 490-7020,

Donatello the turtle and his shelled friends join guests as they enjoy a pizza lunch. After lunch, touch the turtles and do a craft. $8. 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Pilcher Park Nature Center, 2501 Highland Park Drive, Joliet. (815) 741-7277, PRINCESS BALL. A celebration with ballroom dancing, crafts, mad science, antique coach and carriage rides, the queen’s buffet and an appearance by Princess Ariel and Prince Eric. $120 couple, $60 additional princess. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Double Tree by Hilton Hotel 5000 W. 127th St., Alsip. (708) 423-6709, DROP & SHOP GYMNASTICS.

A night of gymnastics, crafts and holiday fun. Kids 4-7 are divided into groups and assigned an instructor. $24, $20 residents. 6-9 p.m. Wagner Community Center, 615 N. West Ave., Elmhurst. (630) 993-8901, CHRISTMAS ON THE PRAIRIE. Kids can make Christmas

crafts, learn how to dip a candle, and see how the settlers did everyday tasks. Walk a luminary-lighted path and encounter volunteers who tell the history of St. Nicholas. The church will be open for hot beverages and special ethnic holiday cookies. 2-6 p.m. Annunciation Byzantine

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CALENDAR Catholic Church, 14610 S. Will Cook Road, Homer Glen. (708) 645-0241, christmas-on-the-prairie. CITY OF ELGIN TREE LIGHTING. Mayor David Kaptain,

City Council members and Santa Claus turn on the holiday tree lights. 5-6 p.m. Civic Plaza, Elgin. cityof HOMETOWN HOLIDAY. Enjoy merchant open houses, musicians, strolling carolers, trolley rides, petting zoo, pony rides, kiddie train and ice sculptures. 5-9 p.m. 53 S. La Grange Road, La Grange. Hometown-Holidays. SKATING WITH SANTA. Skate with

Santa, Anna and Elsa. Participants 2 and up enjoy private ice time, photos with Santa, holiday music and hot chocolate. A skating “trainer” device is available for children new to skating. $17, $11 resident. 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Rocket Ice Arena, 180 Canterbury Lane, Bolingbrook. (630) 848-5000,


Thousands of motorcyclists ride to bring toys to underprivileged children. 9:30 a.m. Dan Ryan Woods, 8300 S. Western Ave. (773)


Gymnastics Gymnastics skills skills that that improve improve independence and independence and coordination. coordination. Or Or as as they they see see it, it,


Ballet Chicago teaches basic ballet positions and movements. Audience members are encouraged to wear tutus and dance alongside professional dancers. Noon and 3 p.m.; lessons at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.


See Dec. 3. SANTA’S FLIGHT TO SCHAUMBURG. Wait for Santa

in the airport hangar and have a buffet breakfast provided by Pilot Pete’s. Check website for cost. 9:3011:30 a.m. Schaumburg Regional Airport, 905 W. Irving Park Road, Schaumburg. (847) 490-7020,

The Little Gym The Gym through 12 years reach their greatest potential. agesLittle 4 months ages 4 months through 12themes years reach greatest potential. Structured lessons, unique and a their nurturing environment Structured lessons, unique themes a nurturing environment build confidence during each stageand of childhood. build confidence during each stage of childhood. Don't Miss Out On the Fun! Sign Up Today!! Don't Miss Out On the Fun! Sign Up Today!! The Little Gym of Chicago The Little Gym of Chicago (773) 525-5750 (773) 525-5750

CHRISTMAS CHORAL & COOKIE FEST. Features area choirs,

refreshments, cookies for sale and a visit from Santa Claus. 1:30-4 p.m. Lemont Area Historical Society & Museum, 306 Lemont St., Lemont. (630) 257-2972,


Flamenco Dance Classes for Children Where?

Ensemble Español Center for Spanish Dance & Music

H nu Ha nukk kkah kk ah C nc Co ncer ertt at W nder Wo e land d Express See Dec. 29

Building J Dance Studios Northeastern Illinois University 5500 N. St. Louis Avenue Chicago, IL, 60625 773.442.5916


January 17th - May 2nd, 2017 Ages 4-6 6:00 pm - 6:45 pm Ages 7-12 Beginners 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Ages 7-12 Intermediate 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm Class rates: $190 Adult classes also available December 2016 55

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CALENDAR families with special needs to visit Santa in his house. Reservations are required. Photos $8 or 2 for $15. 5-8 p.m. Naperville Park District Santa House, Riverwalk at Jackson Avenue and Webster Street, Naperville. (630) 848-5000, santahouse. PLAYLAB ACCESSIBILITY DAYS. Individuals with disabilities

can enjoy hands-on learning and exploration when the PlayLab is closed to the public. Some adjustments, such as minimizing sound and lighting, are possible. Registration is required. 10 and 11 a.m. The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (312) 922-9410,

7 | WEDNESDAY NATURE SLEUTHS. Kids 6-10 work to solve mysteries about the natural world through weekly themes and experiments. $8, $5 members. 4 p.m. Midwest Museum of Natural History,

425 W. State St., Sycamore. (815) 895-9777, INCHWORMS PARENT-CHILD PROGRAM. Introduce kids 18-36

months to nature through songs, simple crafts and outdoor exploration. Today’s theme is Let’s Decorate! $6, free parking. 9:30-10:15 a.m. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. (630) 668-5161, SANTA HOUSE SPECIAL NEEDS NIGHT. Naperville. See

Dec. 6. SPECIAL KIDS DAY. A day for kids with special needs and their families to celebrate the holidays in an environment planned for their needs. Santa will be there for pictures. Plus, face painters, balloon blowers, a craft, music, story time, homemade cookies and a quiet room. 3:30-8 p.m. Wilder Mansion, 211 Prospect Ave., Elmhurst. (630) 530-7700,


Dec. 6.

9 | FRIDAY PARENT & ME HOLIDAY REINDEER. Kids 3-12 stuff reindeer,

add a star to make a wish, decorate a holiday T-shirt and create a rhinestone collar. Birth certificates are provided. $60, $40 resident. 6-7 p.m. Naperville Park District, 305 W. Jackson Ave., Naperville. (630) 848-5000, naperville BELIEVE DAY. Enjoy face painting, balloon twisting and more. At the craft station, create a “Yes, Virginia” coloring page to take home. Stop by the Believe mailbox and enjoy a sample of hot chocolate. Noon. Macy’s on State Street, 111 N. State St., Chicago. (312) 781-1000,

WINTER HOLIDAY HAYRIDE. Ride on a decorated hay wagon through the streets of Palos Heights singing Christmas carols, then return to enjoy food, crafts and activities. $10. 7-9:30 p.m. Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens, 7402 Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights. (708) 361-1873,


The Chicago Weaving School shares the basics of weaving. Create a small, expressive basket using natural rattan reed and various materials from the garden. Registration is required. 1-3 p.m. The Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, Columbus Drive and Monroe Street. (312) 228-1004, FAMILY BOOKBINDING.

Discover the materials, tools and methods used for making pamphlets,

TIMBER RIDGE WINTER FUN FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS Kids Love Timber Wolves, Timber Tykes and Sunday Kids for Fun on the Snow. Families learn to Ski or Snowboard together Special programs on Sun., Tues. or Wed. Racing for all (ages 5 thru Seniors) NASTAR most Sat & Sun. for medals Snowtubing for more fun!|269.694.9449

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56 December 2016

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CALENDAR stab bindings and other non-adhesive bindings. Participants will leave with up to five different books. Registration is required. 10 a.m.-noon. The Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, Columbus Drive and Monroe Street. (312) 2281004, NEWCITY LINCOLN PARK WINTER CARNIVAL. Enjoy a giant

Lite Brite, games, face painting, train rides and activities for all ages. Plus, visits with Santa. 4-6 p.m. NewCity, 1457 N. Halsted Street. (312) 5788444,


Johnson presents an introduction to rocks and minerals for kids 8 and up. Learn how to make a basic mineral test kit. All materials are provided. Reservations are required. $5, $3 members. 10:30 a.m. Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art,

220 Cottage Hill Ave. (in Wilder Park), Elmhurst. (630) 833-1616, lizzadro BRUNCH WITH THE GRINCH.

Enjoy a green-inspired brunch, games, crafts and a visit from the Grinch. $15, $12 resident. 10-11:30 a.m. Schaumburg Park District, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg. (847) 490-7020, CHRISTMAS CONCERT. Celebrate

the holidays with a concert and Wonderland Express exhibition. $20, $17 in advance. 2 and 4 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. (847) 835-5440, GINGERBREAD JUBILEE. Decorate

a gingerbread barn while listening to music, sipping hot chocolate and enjoying cookies. Up to six family members may decorate one barn. $62.50 family; $50 resident family.

About the calendar The deadline for submitting listings for the February issue is Dec. 26. All events are subject to change. Please call the event sponsor at the number listed to confirm before you go. Events taking place on four or more dates during the month are listed in Ongoing Events, beginning on page 69.

Searchable listings updated daily

9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. Historic Wagner Farm, 1510 Wagner Road, Glenview. (847) 657-1506, glenview BRUNCH WITH THE GRINCH.

Feast on a Grinch-themed buffet along with a viewing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The Grinch will make an appearance. $20, $14 kids 4-10, free kids 3 and under. 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. (630) 6685161, DONUTS WITH SANTA. While sipping hot chocolate, parents and kids decorate doughnuts provided by DeEtta’s Bakery, participate in a holiday story told by Santa and take pictures with him. $9, $6 resident. 9-10 a.m. Naperville Park District, 305 W. Jackson Ave., Naperville. (630) 848-5000, GINGERBREAD TEA PARTY.

Families with kids 2 and up enjoy


Experience a relaxed trip to DeKalb County where you’ll get personalized service, no waiting in lines, convenient parking, and a fun holiday trip away!


Call or visit our website for your free guide to plan your holiday experience!

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877/335-2521 December 2016 57

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CALENDAR a cup of tea and sweet treats and celebrate the holidays with a tea party. Discover which parts of trees and plants make teas, make a tea bag, and decorate a gingerbread cookie. $29. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 1-2:30 p.m. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, LEGO TRAIN SHOW. The Northern Illinois LEGO Train Club presents a model train show, displayed in a creative diorama that includes special items and pieces made by members. $5 parking (waived with a new, unwrapped toy donation). 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. (630) 6685161, LEGO TRAIN SHOW PARTY. Guests

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can enjoy the Lego Train Show without lines and meet the builders from the Northern Illinois Lego Train Club. Snacks, desserts and hot chocolate are served and a cash bar is available. Ticket holders also receive a holiday keepsake. $20, $15 kids 3-12, free kids 2 and under; free parking. 6-8 p.m. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. (630) 668-5161, SECOND SATURDAY: ENGINEERING. Learn about remark-

able feats of engineering and create one using Lego bricks. $5 parking. Noon-3 p.m. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. (630) 6685161,


noon of exuberant, social and holiday music for kids and “kid sympathizers.” $25, $20 in advance. 11 a.m. City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph St. (312) 733-9463, chicago. SECOND SUNDAY. Drop-in, hands-on art-making workshops for kids and families. 1-4 p.m. Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Ave. (773) 324-5520,


Dec. 10.


a procession starting at 4:45 p.m. from the museum and returns for a program at 5:15 p.m. At 7 p.m., the celebration continues at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster Ave., with holiday songs, readings and a final Lucia procession. Procession is free; admission to the museum is $1 or a canned food item. 5211 N. Clark St., Chicago.

14 | WEDNESDAY PRE-ENGINEERING: MINECRAFT & LEGO. Kids 5-6 build engineer-

designed projects such as a motorized Creeper, portal to the Nether and a moving Minecart. A builder from PlayWell provides instruction. $25; free parking. 4:30-6 p.m. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. (630) 668-5161, INCHWORMS PARENT-CHILD PROGRAM. Wheaton. See Dec. 7.

Today’s theme is Let’s Celebrate! INTERACTIVE KIDS CONCERTS. Enjoy an interactive

kids concert with Bubbles Academy. 3:30 p.m. Vanille, 3243 N. Broadway, Chicago. (773) 868-4574, vanille


snowflake scavenger hunt, followed by hot chocolate, snickerdoodles, crafts and games. Bring a flashlight and something to collect treats in. $12, $8 resident. 6:45-7:45 p.m. Schaumburg Park District, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg. (847) 490-7020, COOL SCIENCE: LET’S LEARN ABOUT CHOCOLATE. Kids 3-5 listen

to a book about chocolate, taste different kinds of chocolate, do counting and graphing and make a chocolate treat.

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CALENDAR Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg. (847) 490-7020, WEEKEND FAMILY CLASS: JOYFUL GINGERBREAD. Glencoe.

See Dec. 3.

CHICAGO TIDINGS OF TAP! A celebration of tap dance and the winter holidays. The performance includes a narrative about a young girl as she goes on a journey through the wintry woods. $24-$40. 3 p.m. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. (773) 655-1175,


S e Dec. 19 Se

morning exploring FireZone, plus a visit from Firefighting Santa. $15, $10 adult. 9-11 a.m. and noon-2 p.m. FireZone, 1100 National Parkway, Schaumburg. (877) 597-3473,

19 | MONDAY $27, $18 resident. 4-5:30 p.m. 95th Street Center, 303 2244 W. 95th St., Naperville. (630) 848-5000, naperville ENGINEERING: MINECRAFT & LEGO. Kids 7-12 explore concepts in

physics, engineering and architecture while building their favorite Minecraft objects using Lego bricks. A builder from Play-Well provides instruction. $25; free parking. 4:30-6 p.m. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. (630) 668-5161, MOUSE DISSECTION CLASS.

Look into the anatomy of the mouse. $18, $12 members. 7-8 p.m. Midwest Museum of Natural History, 425 W. State St., Sycamore. (815) 895-9777, THIRD THURSDAY. A time for

families of children with special needs to enjoy the museum. Accommodations are made so that all kids can participate in programs and resources are available

to help visitors structure the visit. Free with admission. 5-7 p.m. DuPage Children’s Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville. (630) 637-8000, dupage


craft for all ages. Reservations are appreciated. Free with museum admission. 11 a.m.-noon. Swedish American Museum & Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration, 5211 N. Clark St., Chicago. (773) 728-8111,




Ho H ot Ch Choc ocol olat ate e wiith w h Mrs rs. Clla au us us

95th St., Naperville. (630) 848-5000,

HOT CHOCOLATE WITH MRS. CLAUS. Includes hot chocolate and

cookies, a visit with Mrs. Claus and a reading of her favorite Christmas story, and Wonderland Express. $20, $17 in advance. 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. (847) 835-5440,


location is 2108 N. Clark St., Chicago. NATURE SLEUTHS. Sycamore. See

Dec. 7.


REINDEER WATCH. Kids 4-7 read

PARENT/CHILD GOODIES TO SHARE. Kids 4-11 work with parents

a story, make a craft and search for signs of deer on a winter hike, then come inside and warm up with hot chocolate. $12, $8 resident. 1-3 p.m. Schaumburg Park District, 505 N.

to create delicious dishes. Each pair will bring home a few creations to share. Recipes are provided. $39, $26 resident; free adults. 9:30-11 a.m. 95th Street Center, 2244 W.

about Kwanzaa with storytelling, songs and crafts. $5. 1-3 p.m. Bronzeville Children’s Museum, 9301 S. Stony Island Ave., Chicago. (773) 721-9301,

28 | WEDNESDAY HOLLIPLAY DROP IN. Activities include a gear demo, song/dance party with a princess, craft station, search and rescue scenarios, story time and more. $10. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. FireZone, 1100 National Parkway, Schaumburg. (877) 597-3473, THE MAGIC OF GARY KANTOR. Families will be spellbound

by the illusions created by magician Gary Kantor. 2-2:45 p.m. Morton Grove Public Library, 6140 Lincoln Ave., Morton Grove. (847) 929-5102, FAMILY BINGO & PIZZA. Event for

families with kids 6 and up includes 12 games of Bingo, a snack, pizza and a drink, and prizes. $15, $10 resident in advance. Noon-1 p.m. Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center, 305 W. Jackson Ave., Naperville. (630) 8485000,

29 | THURSDAY FLYING FOX ANIMAL SHOW. Join Scott and his menagerie of creatures from all over the world and learn about conservation. Free with museum admission. 11 a.m.-noon. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. (773) 7555100, HANUKKAH CONCERT AT WONDERLAND EXPRESS. Rabbi

Joe Black and the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band perform festive concerts in Alsdorf Auditorium. Includes a visit to Wonderland Express. $20, $17 in advance. 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. (847) 835-5440, December 2016 59

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NEW YEAR’S EVE EVENTS play, plus pizza, drinks, a sparkling beverage, countdown balloon drop and party favor. $13. 5:30-8 p.m. Dec. 30; 9-11:30 a.m., 12:15-2:45 p.m., 3:30-6 p.m. Dec. 31. Pump It Up Chicago, 821 W. Eastman St., Chicago. (312) 664-7867, pump


Fa F ami mily ly y New ew Year Ye arr’s a s Eve ve


down to the “new year” with a live DJ and dancing, pizza, mocktails and a balloon drop. $25 first child, $15 siblings; free adults. 6-8 p.m. Dec. 30. Little Beans Cafe - Evanston, 430 Asbury Ave., Evanston. (847) 8073731, PRE-NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY.

Dance, play games and take a night hike under the stars. Bubbles, hot chocolate and popcorn are provided. $5. 7-9 p.m. Dec. 30. Bartlett Park District, Nature Center, 2054 W.


See Se ee ppaage ge 63

Stearns Road, Bartlett. (847) 6083100, PRE-NEW YEAR’S EVE. Count

down to the “new year” with a live DJ and dancing, pizza, mocktails and a balloon drop. $25 first child, $15 siblings; free adults. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 30. Little Beans Cafe, 1809 W. Webster, Chicago. (773) 251-1025,

TEENIE WEENIE NEW YEAR’S EVE BALL. Families with kids 1-5

dance, enjoy crafts, games and a balloon drop. Includes snacks and a dessert. $9, $6 resident; $12, $8 resident after Dec. 25. 10 a.m.12:30 p.m. Dec. 30. Carol Stream Park District, 391 Illini Drive, Carol Stream. (630) 784-6100, NOON YEAR’S EVE PARTY. Enjoy

Come enjoy our expanded office We’re excited to see you & your family’s smiles!

Year with countdowns and balloon drops. Check website for cost. 9-11:30 a.m. Dec. 31. Lil’ Kickers Bradley Place, 2640 B W. Bradley Place, Chicago. (312) 409-2233, NEW YEAR’S EVE SHOWS. Kids are transformed into members of the Blue Man Group with pre-show face painting. Plus, a “midnight” countdown after the show with party hats and noisemakers and a special performance of “Auld Lang Syne” by the Blue Men. $49-$99.

Coming in January


Oakton Community Center and the Exploritorium are transformed into a miniature Times Square, complete with a DJ and a “countdown to noon” balloon drop. Check website for cost. 10 a.m.-noon. Dec. 29. Exploritorium, 4701 Oakton St., Skokie. (847) 929-7744,

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Presents Gian Carlo Menotti’s

And don’t forget to pick up a Reel Money Gift Card.

Great Opera, Made Affordable!

Amahl and the Night Visitors

Don’t miss the 11th anniversary of this treasured Chicago holiday tradition, perfect for all ages! Original direction by Francis Menotti, son of Gian Carlo, based on his father’s 1951 production Sung in English with orchestra. Featuring dancers from Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater. “This one-act work is one of those truly rare family works that is immediately accessible on every level—by both children and opera novices—and yet is still meaningful to the most seasoned opera-goers.” - Dennis Polkow, Newcity Stage “First rate.... The parting of mother and son at the work’s close was moving indeed.” - Richard Covello, NIB Foundation

Opening with the premiere of a new one-act children’s Hanukkah opera by Victoria Bond and Susan L. Roth! Directed by Kyle Dougan.

Sunday, December 11 - 3:00pm and Sunday, December 18 - 3:00pm


NEW LOCATION: The Royal George Theatre 1641 North Halsted Street, Chicago

Adults: $20 • Seniors (65+) and Students: $15 • Children: $10


For every day and 10% of special days -proceeds to benefit the charity classic clothes for of HIS choice growing guys. December 2016 61

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under the sea and into your hearts this holiday season


NOVEMBER 23 through JANUARY 15

tickets 630.896.6666 or PARAMOUNTAURORA.COM

Cut your own tree this year at


Christmas Tree Farm • (630) 279-0216 7719 Ryan Rd., Harvard IL

• Thousands of 6-14 ft. trees in 9 varieties of Firs, Spruces, & Pines • All trees organically grown • FREE Horse Drawn Wagon Rides, Santa, Farm Animals • Complimentary Hot Cocoa in our Warming Barn • Handmade Wreaths & Garland • Open Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays Nov. 25th thru Dec 18th • Hours: 9am-4:30pm We will take you out to the fields, provide you with a saw, bring your tree back from the fields after you have cut it down, and even help with tying to your vehicle. You just need to bring yourselves for a nice day in the country. 62 December 2016

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NEW YEAR’S EVE EVENTS receive a noisemaker and lei. $20 family, $15 resident family. 10 a.m.noon. Dec. 31. Sport Center 1141 W. Irving Park Road, Schaumburg. (847) 490-7020, NEW YEAR’S EVE BASH. Includes

a concert with Wendy Morgan & DB, dance party, hat making and horns, family photos, free hair styling from KidSnips, and a Times Square-style confetti drop. $32, $22 members. 8:30-11 a.m. or 12:30-3 p.m. Dec. 31. Kohl Children’s Museum, 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview. (847) 8326600, NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION.

Zoo Y Zo Ye ear ars E Ev ve SSeee th this hiiss pag age

1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 31. Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted St., Chicago. (773) 3484000, NOON YEAR’S EVE PARTY.

Create eco-friendly party favors, play games, and ring in the “Noon Year” with an apple juice toast and a visit from this year’s “Nature Museum Party Animal.” $25, $20 members; $10 kids 3 and up. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 31. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. (773) 755-5100, nature

sand painting, turtle shell weaving and more. $25, $20 member. 9 a.m.noon. Dec. 31. DuPage Children’s Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville. (630) 637-8000, dupage

Dec. 31. Glenview Park District Park Center, 2400 Chestnut Ave., Glenview. (847) 486-5385,


sundaes, swimming, carousel rides, photobooth fun and more. $12, $6 in advance. 3-6 p.m. Dec. 31. Elk Grove Park District Pavilion, 1000 Wellington Ave., Elk Grove Village. (847) 437-9494,

in 2017 with balloon drops, music and games. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 31. Legoland Discovery Center, The Streets of Woodfield (next to Woodfield Mall) 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg. (847) 592-9700, lego



a party hat, create a noise maker, and get showered with confetti each hour. Free with museum admission. 12:30-4:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford. (815) 963-6769, discovery

Features games, crafts, singing and snacks. Free with museum admission. Noon-5 p.m. Dec. 31. Wonder Works, 6445 W. North Ave., Oak Park. (708) 383-4815, wonder “NOON” YEAR’S EVE PARTY.

BUBBLE BASH 2016: UNDER THE SEA. Dive into an “Under The

Sea” voyage complete with fish kites,

Make crafts and play games, enjoy snacks, inflatables and a balloon drop at noon. $5. 10 a.m.-noon.

FAMILY NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY. Enjoy music, ice cream

FAMILY NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY. Skate in the New Year with

music, fun and games, a balloon twister and a kid-friendly toast at 7 p.m. $8, $4 skate rental. 5-7 p.m. Dec. 31. Glenview Ice Center, 1851 Landwehr Road, Glenview. (847) 724-2800, ITSY BITSY NEW YEAR’S EVE COUNTDOWN. The gym is filled

with inflatables, riding toys and areas to play for kids 1-6. Ring in the New Year at noon with a balloon drop. The first 200 registrants

Families with kids 2 and up enjoy a dinner and dessert buffet, live entertainment, inflatables, tot play area, miniature golf, and countdown to midnight (8 p.m.). $18. 5-8 p.m. Dec. 31. Park Ridge Park District, 2701 W. Sibley St., Park Ridge. (847) 692-5127, NEW YEAR’S EVE KIDS’ COUNTDOWN AND SKATE.

Guests receive a party hat and noise maker, and can enjoy raffles and music provided by a DJ. Plus, a balloon drop over the ice at noon. $9, $3 skate rental. 10:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Oak Lawn Ice Arena, 9320 S. Kenton Ave., Oak Lawn. (708) 857-5173, FAMILY NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY. Enjoy games, inflatables,

fitness demos and music. Plus, spin the prize wheel and check out the active toddler zone. Celebrate with a countdown and balloon drop at noon. $11, $8 in advance; free kids under 2. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 31. Vaughan Athletic Center, 2121 W. Indian Trail, Aurora. (630) 8987500, ZOO YEARS EVE. Includes music,

games, party favors, prizes and an early countdown at 8 p.m. At the Hamill Family Play Zoo, make a noisemaker and enjoy a kid-friendly countdown at 8 p.m. Free with zoo admission. 6-8 p.m. Dec. 31. Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. (708) 688-8400, December 2016 63

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a tree lighting ceremony, parades, carriage rides, movies and carnival rides. 6-9 p.m. Dec. 2; noon-6 p.m. Dec. 3; noon-5 p.m. Dec. 4. Oak Park Avenue Train Station Parking Lot, 173rd and Oak Park Avenue, Tinley Park. (708) 444-5678,

Santa. Afterward, enjoy crafts and activities, and take a photo with Santa. Reservations are required. $16.95, $7.95 kids 23 months and under with activities. 9 and 10:30 a.m. and noon. Dec. 10-11, 17-18. Lambs Farm, 14245 W. Rockland Road, Libertyville. (847) 362-5050,

POLAR PALOOZA. Features music, a synthetic ice skating rink, holiday shopping, and food and drinks. Plus, glitter crafts, face painting, cookie decorating and more. Noon-8 p.m. Dec. 3; noon-6 p.m. Dec. 4. 6500 N. Sheridan Road (Loyola Red Line Stop), Chicago. polarpalooza2016. ROSCOE VILLAGE WINTERFEST. Includes the tree

lighting and late night shopping on Saturday. Enjoy kids’ activities on Sunday plus trolley, choirs and Santa. 5-9 p.m. Dec. 3; 1-5 p.m. Dec. 4. Roscoe and Belmont, Chicago. (773) 327-5123, CHRISTMAS IN THE VALLEY.

See how German-American families in the 19th century celebrated Christmas. Includes refreshments, cookie decorating and crafts. $8 family, $2 person, kids 3 and under free. Noon-4 p.m. Dec. 3-4. Spring Valley Nature Center & Heritage Farm, 1111 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg. (847) 985-2100,


accented with magical details, including Santa’s red suits and boots. Tours are conducted by Santa’s elves, plus, a letter-writing station, treats and a keepsake. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10; 1-4 p.m. Dec. 17. Swissotel, 323 E. Wacker Drive, Chicago. (888) 73-SWISS, BREAKFAST WITH SANTA MORTON ARBORETUM. Enjoy a

buffet and a visit from Santa. Kids can leave with some sweet treats. $41, $35 kids 3-12. 9-11 9 11 a.m. Dec. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 21-23. Morton ton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, mortonarb. org.


buffet and meet Mr. Claus. Plus, a balloon artist and face painting. $29, $26 kids 4-10, free kids 2 and under. 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 4. Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. (630) 260-8260, cantigny. org. SANTA SUITE. Places for Santa’s VIP guests are set at the table, and Christmas trees are decorated in their honor. Seasonal décor is


breakfast and visit with Santa. Plus, decorate cookies, check out the “pocket-carnival” group and a train display, and bring a hand-made ornament to place on the Stadium Holiday Tree. Bring an unwrapped gift for the toy drive. $50, $25 kids 4-12, free kids 4 and under. 10 a.m. Dec. 10. Soldier Field, 1410 Museum

Campus Drive, Chicago. (312) 2357063, BREAKFAST WITH TOMTEN (SANTA). Includes Swedish

pancakes, crafts, dancing around the tree, and a visit with Tomten. $20, $15 members, $5 kids 1-2, free kids under 1. Prepaid reservations required. 9-11 a.m. Dec. 10-11. Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St., Chicago. (773) 728-8111, CANDLELIGHT WEEKEND. CANDLEL

Docen welcome visitors Docents the prairie homestead to th adorned in period ad decor. $3, $1 kids. d 2-6 p.m. Dec. 10-11. 2 Durant House D Museum, LeRoy M Oaks Forest Preserve, O 37W700 Dean St. 37 (about a mile west of (ab Randall Randa Road), St. Charles. (630) 377-6424, 377 durant-house/visitor-information. durant house/v SANTA SATURDAYS. Aunt Holly

tells stories and sings songs while families enjoy treats. Take home a family portrait and share wishes with Santa. $12, $10 kids 3-12. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17. Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie St., Chicago. (312) 482-8933, driehausmuseum. org.

Santa while taking in the golf course.. $19.95, $11.95 kids, free kids underr 2. 9 and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 10, 11 and 17; 9 a.m. Dec. 18. Glenview Park Golf Club, 800 Shermer Road, Glenview. (847) 724-0250, glenview BREAKFAST WITH SANTA AT BROOKFIELD ZOO. A buffet with

Santa and Mrs. Claus and some costumed characters. Reservations are required. $29.95, $21.95 kids. 9 and 11 a.m. Dec. 10-11, 17-18. Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. (708) 688-8355, BROOKFIELD ZOO HOLIDAY BRUNCH. Features Mr. and Mrs.

Claus, costumed characters and furry creatures. Reservations are required. $39.95, $29.95 kids 3-11. 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18. Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. (708) 485-0263, ext. 355, BREAKFAST WITH SANTA AT CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN.

Includes a buffet, visit with Santa, and Wonderland Express viewing. Check website for cost. 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Dec. 17-18. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. wonderland. HOLIDAY EXPRESS. Through Dec.

17. Enjoy storytelling, decorations, reindeer food bar, hay wagon rides and a visit with Santa. $5. 5-8 p.m.

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Fridays; 2-6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. Blackberry Farm, 100 S. Barnes Road, Aurora. (630) 892-1550, CITY OF CHICAGO SANTA HOUSE. Through Dec. 18. Santa sets

up shop for visits. Noon-6 p.m. weekends. Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue and Washington Street, Chicago. HOLIDAY MANSION TOURS.

Through Dec. 21. Take a guided tour of the Mansion and Carriage House. $7, $5 members. 3-7:30 p.m. FridaysSaturdays; 1-4 p.m. Sundays; 3-7:30 p.m. Dec. 19-21. Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. (630) 420-6010, SANTA’S MAGICAL TROLLEY EXPRESS. Through Dec. 21.

Program begins with a ride to the North Pole. Visit Santa’s workshop, where kids enjoy games and music, get a picture with Santa, and receive a surprise. Includes entry


$40-$74. Check website for schedule. Oakbrook Center, 100 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook. adventuretosanta. com

to Little Beans Evanston. $55. Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Little Beans Cafe, 430 Asbury Ave., Evanston. santasmagicaltrolley. com.



Dec. 23. Hear choral groups and join in a holiday sing-along. Santa comes at 5 p.m. and caroling starts at 6 p.m. Fridays. Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Monroe streets, Chicago. (312) 744-3316, NAPERVILLE PARK DISTRICT SANTA HOUSE. Through

Dec. 23. Kids can visit Santa and have their photo taken. Photos are $8 or two for $15. 4-8 p.m. Dec. 2-4; 9-11; 14-23. Riverwalk at Jackson Avenue and Webster Street, Naperville. (630) 848-5000, santahouse. SANTA’S MAGICAL TROLLEY EXPRESS. Through Dec. 23.

Program begins with a ride to the North Pole. Visit Santa’s workshop, where kids enjoy games and music, get a picture with Santa, and receive a surprise. Includes entry to DuPage Children’s Museum. $55. Thursdays and Fridays. DuPage Children’s Museum, 301 N. Washington St., Naperville. ADVENTURE TO SANTA. Through Dec. 24. Join Po and Friends for an immersive, cinematic journey that transports guests to the North Pole for a meeting with Santa. Reservations can be made online or at the Guest Services Lounge.

Discover a traditional holiday market that features vendors of hand-crafted ornaments, toys and gifts as well as German foods and beverages. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago. (312) 494-2175, christkindl SANTA HQ AT FASHION OUTLETS OF CHICAGO. Through Dec. 24.

Families can experience Santa’s workshop in the digital and social media age. This visit uses digital tools to offer an augmented reality environment. $34.99. Check website for schedule. Fashion Outlets of Chicago, 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont. (847) 928-7500, fashion



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24. Enjoy a suburban edition of the Chicago German-American Holiday Market. Includes beverages, food and shopping. Check website for schedule. Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. christkindlmarket. com.

Dec. 26. Trolleys transport passengers on a tour showcasing the lights of the city, with stops at Christkindlmarket and ZooLights. $29, $19 kids 3-11. Check website for schedule. Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Bus Company, Chicago. (773) 648-5000, chicago

ZOOLIGHTS. More than two million lights to illuminate the zoo. Plus, visits from Santa, ice sculptors, holiday activities and treats. 4:30-9 p.m. Dec. 2-4; 9-23; 26-31. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. (312) 742-2000,


NAPER LIGHTS. Through Dec. 24.


Stroll the grounds and experience holiday lights. 5-9 p.m. ThursdaysSaturdays; 5-7 p.m. Sundays. Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. (630) 420-6010,

Through Dec. 30. See Miniland covered in snow, take pictures with a life-size Lego Santa and learn how to build ornaments. Free with admission. Legoland Discovery Center, The Streets of Woodfield (next to Woodfield Mall), 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg. (847) 5929700, chicago.



through more than one mile of lighted displays. This year features a 10-foot-tall singing Christmas tree. 5-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 5-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Phillips Park, 1000 Ray Moses Drive, Aurora.


with more than one million lights. Enjoy caroling, ice carving, light shows, and visits with Santa. Plus, music, a magic show, costumed characters, a model railroad and more. Free with zoo admission. 4-9 p.m. weekend Dec. 3-18; daily Dec. 26-31. Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. (708) 688-8000,


WINTER WONDERFEST AT NAVY PIER. Features indoor ice skating,

Through Dec. 30. Twinkling lights and hand-decorated trees transform the zoo. 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. Cosley Zoo, 1356 Gary Ave., Wheaton.

entertainment, rides and inflatable slides. Plus, thousands of glistening lights and trees. $10-$23. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. (312)

Marvel at illuminated trees. Sing to the trees to activate LED lights that rain down like shiny strands of tinsel and watch as lights dance to music from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. $12-$22. 5-9:30 p.m. Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD AND HOLIDAYS OF LIGHT. The 45-foot Grand Tree

takes center stage in the Rotunda, surrounded by smaller trees decorated by Chicago’s ethnic communities. This year’s theme is inspired Lego, the focus of the museum’s temporary exhibit, Brick by Brick. Free with museum admission. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily; extended hours on select days. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (773) 684-1414,





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Above Abov e An And d Beyo Be yond nd Seee th Se this is pag age


30. Families learn where chipmunks sleep, how an eagle feeds its young and more, as they explore the hidden habitats and secret lives of forest animals. Kids can discover nature from an animal’s point of view in naturalistic environments, including a stream, woodland, meadow and cave. Free with museum admission. Kohl Children’s Museum, 2100 Patriot Blvd., Glenview. (847) 832-6600, ZOOM ROOM. Through Dec. 31. Send

toy cars hurtling through race jumps, long runs, loops, dips and super spirals within a colossal, multilevel race course. Free with museum admission. Chicago Children’s Museum, 700 E. Grand Ave. at Navy Pier, Chicago. (312) 527-1000, chicagochildrens

WHAT IS A PLANET? Witness how

astronomers and the media reacted to Pluto’s demotion; learn the current definition of a planet; voice your opinion about Pluto through an interactive voting poll. Free with museum admission. Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (312) 922-STAR, ABOVE AND BEYOND. Learn about

the scientific principles that allow us to fly; visit a space elevator that transports visitors to the edge of space; and try a virtual design challenge that allows visitors to create and race supersonic fighter-jets and more. Free with museum admission. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (773) 684-1414, BRICK BY BRICK. Features more

than a dozen giant Lego-built structures, including a 60-foot long Golden

Gate Bridge. Learn how architects and engineers push the limits of design, materials and location; witness how form follows function; and explore Chicago’s impact as the birthplace of the skyscraper. Requires a separate, timed-entry ticket. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (773) 684-1414, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE: THE WORKS OF MAURICE SENDAK. Explore original artworks

by Sendak, including sketches, illustrations and works on paper. Presidents, illustrators, friends and celebrities share about the renowned author—how he inspired them, influenced their careers and touched their lives. Free with museum admission. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (773) 684-1414,


This interactive exhibit explores the history of rock and roll, uncovers the fundamental building blocks of music, demonstrates how instruments work, investigates how sounds are produced, reveals the science of sound recordings, and sheds light on careers in the music business. $14.95, $9.95 kids. Northbrook Court, 1515 Lake Cook Road, Northbrook. (847) 205-3333, FROGS: A CHORUS OF COLORS.

Get eyeball to eyeball with 70 vibrant and vocal frogs from around the world. The hands-on, family-friendly adventure includes opportunities to glide like a flying frog on a mini-zip line, test jumping skills against various frogs and play dress up in colorful frog costumes. Activate recorded frog calls, view frog videos, spin a zoetrope and perform a virtual dissection. Free with museum admission. December 2016 69

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Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. (773) 755-5100,

Ice Center, 1851 Landwehr Road, Glenview. (847) 724-2800, glenview


TODDLER TUESDAYS. Legoland opens early on the second floor exclusively for kids 5 and under. This year’s lineup includes Lego-inspired arts, crafts and minifigure masks, a visit from exotic animals, gymnastics and yoga classes, creative building and drawing classes, scavenger hunts, obstacle courses and an interactive Magic Show. No sessions Dec. 20 and 27. $7 in advance; $9 at door. 10 a.m.-noon. Legoland Discovery Center, The Streets of Woodfield (next to Woodfield Mall), 601 N. Martingale Road, Schaumburg. (847) 592-9700,

Explore the life of the ruler who vanquished his rivals, unified China’s states, constructed the first Great Wall, built roads, and standardized China’s script, currency, weights and measures. Included with All-Access and Discovery passes. The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. (312) 922-9410, DAVINCI MACHINES EXHIBITION.



JAN 25 – 29 FEB 1 – 12

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in all official arena parking lots with ticket purchase. Visit arena website for details.


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See hand-crafted inventions built from Leonardo DaVinci’s 500-year-old designs. Main features include the “bicycle,” “spring powered car,” “hang glider” and the “air screw” (a precursor to the helicopter). $18.95, $16.95 seniors, students and military, $14.95 kids 4-12, free kids under 4. Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

OTHER EVENTS WINTER CARNIVAL. Activities include family public skate sessions, two charity hockey games, hockey/figure skating lessons and more. Some events are free and several require pre-registration. Check website for schedule. Dec. 16-Jan. 8. Glenview

ARBOR READING ADVENTURES. Enjoy interactive story time and fun crafts indoors before heading out on the grounds for an adventure walk. Themes change each week. $5. 1111:45 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, ANIMAL TALES. Each week, an interactive sensory experience accompanies the nature-based story for kids 2 and under. Program consists of 10 minutes of story and activities and 10 minutes of social time for adults.

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ONGOING EVENTS Free with museum admission. 10:15 a.m. Thursdays. Midwest Museum of Natural History, 425 W. State St., Sycamore. (815) 895-9777, FRIDAY NIGHT OUT.

Each night includes games, craft, lesson and snack for kids 5-10. 6-8 p.m. Dec. 2, 9 and 16. Smith Park Gymnasium, 2526 W. Grand Ave., Chicago. (224) 616-7099, village

Naperville. (630) 848-5000, naperville ICE SKATING AT LINCOLN PARK ZOO. Whiz past the goats and cows

at the rink in Farm-in-the-Zoo. Snacks and winter warming drinks available for purchase. $5; $5 skate rental. Daily, except Dec. 24 and 25. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago. (312) 742-2000,

Wiint W nte err Play Pl y See th Se this is paagge

GNOME HUNT. Search for gnomes GNOME HOMES. After taking a hike

through the Children’s Garden to hunt for the hiding gnomes, create a keepsake, light-up gnome home of your own. $10. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. weekends. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, NATURE DISCOVERY DAYS.

The River Room is open for families to participate in self-guided activities. December features evergreens. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays. Naperville Park District, 305 W. Jackson Ave.,


in the Children’s Garden using “I Spy” skills. Checklist provided. Free with arboretum admission. 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 968-0074, WINTER PLAY. A self-guided

glimpse into the world of outdoor play will depend on the day. Possibilities include painting snow or building a fort. Free with arboretum admission. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle. (630) 968-0074,


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Evenings and Saturdays available. Practice limited to infants, children and adolescents. December 2016 71

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Winter Break rescue


nce the presents have been unwrapped and the cookies baked (and gobbled up), you face—as generations of moms and dads have before you—the dreaded Winter Break. But, intrepid parent, never fear. Because with just a quick road trip to Rockford, your Winter Break worries are a thing of the past, thanks to Holiday Hoopla at Discovery Center Museum. The popular program, which takes place during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, uses the traditions of the season to teach important math and science concepts (and give parents a little, and much-needed, break). So kids can do things like vote for their favorite Christmas cookie or snip a lacy snowflake, amongst other

festive activities. Plus, Holiday Hoopla includes holiday planetarium shows and live science demonstrations, not to mention Discovery Center’s more than 250 hands-on exhibits, which range from faves like the traintastic Tot Spot and an oversized Lite Brite wall to the Illinois-focused Ag-Zibit and an area focused on Rockford’s very own astronaut. And best of all—at least for your wallet suffering from holiday-based fatigue— most of the activities are free with admission to the museum (planetarium shows cost $1). So while you’re writing out those thank-you notes for your family’s holiday haul, you might want to include one for Discovery Center Museum. We’re thinking you’ll want to voice your gratitude to those brave folks who rescued you from Winter Break Purgatory yet again. Elizabeth Diffin

Holiday Hoopla u 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Dec. 26-30 u $8 admission u Discovery Center Museum, 711 N. Main St., Rockford u



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stories inspired by the holidays, winter and the spirit of giving. $12; $6 for children under 12. 2 p.m. Sundays; 8 p.m. Mondays. Dec. 4-26. Barrel of Monkeys, The Neo-Futurarium Theater (2nd Floor), 5153 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago. (312) 409-1954, barrel THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. The magical world

of Narnia returns with the Evanston Dance Ensemble’s unforgettableproduction. $24, $16 kids 17 and under. 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9; 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 10-11. The Louis Theater at Northwestern University, 20 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston. (847) 3286683, SIX STORIES UP IN A SNOWSTORM. This winter mystery

finds kids on an adaptive ski trip in the mountains of Utah haunted by an abominable snow beast. The musical whodunit is peppered with personal stories of overcoming difference told by students and adults with special

needs as well as their non-disabled peers. $22, $17 students. 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Dec. 9-18. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6875, THE MAGIC FLUTE. Opens Dec.

10. A family-friendly tale of a prince searching for a captive princess. $34, $20 kids. Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. (312) 8275912, MERRY, MERRY CHICAGO! The

Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Children’s Choir perform a holiday concert filled with carols, a sing-along and a special guest from the North Pole. Recommended for families with kids 5 and up. $38-$135. 7 p.m. Dec. 16; 3 p.m. Dec. 17, 21 and 22; 1 and 4:30 p.m. Dec. 23. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. (800) 223-7114, (312) 294-3000, A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL. Through Dec. 18. This

musical is based on the movie

classic. $35-$38, $15 kids. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays. Citadel Theatre, 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. (847) 735-8554, ANNIE WARBUCKS. Through Dec.

Mrs. Claus as she teams up with the new Elf Class of 2016 to find Santa’s missing list. Recommended for families with kids 2-8. $12. Check website for schedule. Beverly Arts Center, 111th and Western, Chicago. (773) 205-9600,

18. The story begins on Christmas morning when Child Welfare Commissioner Harriet Doyle informs Daddy Warbucks that he must marry in 60 days. Recommended for families with kids 7 and up. $40-$44. Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind. (219) 836-3255,

A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Through Dec. 23. Families can have breakfast, brunch or dinner with Santa Claus on select performance dates. $15 and up. Check website for schedule. Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. (630) 5300111,

TWELFTH NIGHT. Through Dec. 18. This play takes the audience to Illyria, where a shipwrecked Viola disguises herself as a boy, goes to work for the Duke Orsino and falls in love with him, who in turn loves the fair lady Olivia. Donations are accepted. 7:30 p.m. Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 N. Stockton Drive, Chicago. MRS. CLAUS! A HOLIDAY MUSICAL. Through Dec. 23. Join

A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Through Dec. 31. Join Ebenezer Scrooge as he journeys through his past, present and future. $25-$102. Call or check website for schedule. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. (312) 443-3800, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: LIVE IN CHICAGO! Through Dec. 31.

After each performance, milk and cookies are served. $19-$49. 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; 4:30 and 7:30 December 2016 73

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Diiis D sney y’s s The Litt Li ttle e Mermaid maid d

Sunday, January 22nd, 4pm ..................................... Jim Gill Sunday, February 26th, 4pm .................................. Jeanie B Sunday, March 19th, 4pm................................ The Boogers Sunday, April 9th, 4pm....Laura Dogherty & the Heartbeats Tickets: $8 for members and $11 for non-members Tickets are available in person at Wonder Works Children’s Museum or over the phone by calling 708.383.4815 SERIES SPONSOR: CHICAGO PARENT MORE INFORMATION AT WONDER-WORKS.ORG


See tthhiss page Se See aagge

p.m. Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays. Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 4047336,

schedule. Paramount Arts Centre and Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora. (630) 896-6666, paramountaurora. com.

SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. Through Dec. 31. A light-hearted spoof of frantic Hollywood as the advent of sound revolutionizes the movie industry. $50-$55. 1 and 8 p.m. Wednesdays; 8 p.m. ThursdaysFridays; 4:30 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 1 and 5 p.m. Sundays. Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. (847) 634-0200,



D E C 1 0 & 11 S AT: 1 P M & 5 P M | S U N : 2 P M An affordable holiday tradition performed in the grand Russian style by Salt Creek Ballet with special guest soloists.

‘Tis the season to celebrate everyone’s favorite Peanuts pals. Recommended for families with kids ages 3-13. Call or check website for cost and schedule. Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago. (800) 775-2000, broadway



Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! | Feb 11

show explores the challenges of giving selflessly through humor and holiday joy. Recommended for families with kids 4-10. $19 and up. Check website for schedule. Emerald City Theatre Company, Apollo Theatre, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 9356100,

Odd Squad - Live! | Mar 04 Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart | Apr 09




The blockbuster Disney movie comes to life. $44-$59. Check website for

sic fairy-tale heroine in a completely new light. $36, $15 students. 8 p.m. Fridays; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays. Treehouse at The Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. JACK AND THE BEANSTALK.

Jack and his cow Carmelita try to save their village from the giant. Recommended for families with kids 2-12. $12. Check website for schedule. 10:30 a.m. weekdays. Stahl Family Theater, 5900 W. Belmont, Chicago. (773) 205-9600, LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD. Sing

along with Red and her friends as she travels to visit her grandma. Recommended for families with kids 2-12. $12. 10:30 a.m. weekdays. Chicago Kids Company, Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St., Chicago. (773) 205-9600, chicagokids DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER & A FLY. Through rap, hip-hop, pop,

and Broadway standards, this choral comedy humanizes the life cycles of insects to celebrate the differences in every child. Recommended for families with kids 3-9. $19 and up. Check

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PERFORMANCES website for schedule. Emerald City Theatre Company, Apollo Theatre, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. (773) 935-6100, THE SNOW QUEEN. This frozen fairy tale comes to life in an all-new adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson classic. Performances at Joliet Junior College, North Central College, Museum of Science & Industry, Tivoli Theatre, Prairie Center for the Arts and more. $8.50. 10:30 a.m. Check website for schedule. AlphaBet Soup Productions, P.O. Box 85, Lombard. (630) 932-1555, PIGPEN. An interactive, musical story time for kids 6 months to 3 years. Free coffee is included for parents. 10 a.m. Thursdays. Bughouse Theater, 1910 W. Irving Park, Chicago. JUICEBOX. Parents and young children can enjoy Chicago’s best music, dance and theater in a

A Ch Charrlilie Bro ow wn Chrriistmas Ch Seee pa page 74

kid-friendly setting. 11 a.m. first and third Friday at Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago; 11 a.m. first and third Saturday at Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park

Ave., Chicago. HOGWASH: AN IMPROVISED TALL TALE. An improvised children’s

show full of music and audience

participation. Recommended for families with kids 2-12. $10 kids, adults free. 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. Bughouse Theater, 1910 W. Irving Park, Chicago.


THE HUNDRED DRESSES Adapted by RALPH COVERT and G. RILEY MILLS From the book by ELEANOR ESTES Directed by SEAN GRANEY Arrangements and Music Direction by ANDRA VELIS SIMON Choreography by TOMMY RAPLEY



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THE NUTCRACKER. BYDE presents The T e Nutcracker, featuring profesTh sional ssiion onal guest stars and more than 80 80 student student performers. $15-$28. 7 p.m. p m. p. m Dec. 2; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dec. 3; 3; 2 p.m. Dec. 4. Barrington Youth Dance Danc Da nce Ensemble, 616 W. Main St., Barrington. (847) 382-6333, byde. Ba Ba org. org. or

Von Heidecke Chicago Festival Ballet


Ballet Ba B llet performs The Nutcracker annually on the campus of North Central College. $32, $25 children. 7 pp.m. p. m. Dec. 2; 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Dec. 3; 1 p.m. Dec. 5. Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton, Naperville. (630) 778-1303, dancewest


Arts Limited celebrates its 10th annual production of The Nutcracker. Recommended for families with kids 3 and up. $8-$30. 2 p.m. Dec. 3-4. Northside College Prep, 5501 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago. (773) 2623262,

Judith Svalander Dance Theatre


The story of Clara and her Nutcracker prince as they fight the Mouse King and journey to the Land of Sweets, told by ballet dancers. Performance takes place at Lake Forest Academy, 1500 W. Kennedy Road, Lake Forest. Recommended for families with kids 3 and up. $22, $16 kids 12 and under. 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 3; 2 p.m. Dec. 4. North Shore School of Dance, 505 Laurel Ave., Highland

Park. (847) 432-2060, northshore THE MAGIC OF THE NUTCRACKER. The largest version

of the holiday ballet in Lake County. This production features more than 100 performers, including internationally renowned guest artists. $12-$33. Check website for schedule. Dec. 3-4. Dancenter North, 540 N.

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Salt Creek Ballet

Lake Zurich Performing Arts Center, 300 Church St., Lake Zurich. (847) 438-4500,

Ballet Légere


This Nutcracker performance pairs the classical (Tchaikovsky) and jazz (Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn) versions of the holiday favorite. $7. 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 10. Nichols Concert Hall, Music Institute of Chicago, 1490 Chicago Ave., 905-1500, Evanston. (847) 90 05-1500, m mu sicinst.orgg.

Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville. (847) 367-7970, 70, dancenter-north. rth. com.

Buren St., Woodstock. (815) 3385300,

Joffrey Ballet


tion features amazing sets, vibrant costumes, a 42-piece ensemble and internationally recognized guest dancers. $15 and up. Performances are at Center for Performing Arts, Governors State University (Dec. 3) and North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (Dec. 10-11). Check website for schedule. Salt Creek Ballet, 98 E. Chicago Ave., Westmont. (630) 769-1199, THE NUTCRACKER. This joyous celebration of the 17th production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is sure to please the whole family. Recommended for families with kids 3 and up. $17-$27. 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9; 1 and 7 p.m. Dec. 10; 3 p.m. Dec. 11.


Ballet Legere’s 32 32nd annuall production d ffeatures a cast of 120, spectacular scenery and costuming, and dazzling special effects. $20-$30. 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 10; 2 p.m. Dec. 11. Dominican University Performing Arts Center, 7900 W. Division, River Forest. (773) 2371874, JUDITH SVALANDER DANCE THEATRE PRESENTS THE NUTCRACKER. Tchaikovsky’s

world-renowned music is brought to life through Svalander’s ballet company. Experience Clara’s magical journey through a performance that has come to represent holiday joy. Recommended for families with kids 6 and up. $25, $18 student. Check website for schedule. Dec. 10-18. Woodstock Opera House, 121 Van

inspiring story, beautiful music, and charming choreography, The Nutcracker is a celebration of the season. $15-$32. 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17; 2:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18; 7 p.m. Dec. 16. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, Chicago. (312) 251-8838, THE NUTCRACKER. A lavish,

beloved holiday tradition, with Tchaikovsky’s score performed live by The Chicago Philharmonic. Check website for cost and schedule. Dec. 10-30. Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago. (312) 902-1500, THE NUTCRACKER. Join Clara on her adventure with the Prince through The Land of Snow and The Land of Sweets. This production is in conjunction with The Berkshire

Ballet Theatre. $27 and up. 3 p.m. Dec. 17; 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 18. Raue Center for the Arts, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. (815) 356-9212, VON HEIDECKE CHICAGO FESTIVAL BALLET: “THE NUTCRACKER.” In this classic

ballet, Tchaikovsky’s beloved score is performed by New Philharmonic and is sure to be a highlight of the holiday season. $43; $32 kids. 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 17; 1 and 5 p.m. Dec. 18. McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. (630) 942-4000, THE NUTCRACKER. Through Dec. 30. When Marie’s Nutcracker comes to life, it’s a magical journey to reach the Sugar Plum fairy before the wicked Mouse King. All performances are followed by a Q&A session with the cast. $17.23. Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. (847)634-0200, December 2016 77

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Make your lil’ pup’s Holiday complete with tickets to PAW Patrol Live!

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I play for my pay...You can too! Eager to make a difference for children & families? Discovery Toys needs consultants in the Chicago area

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Visit for advance tickets and info! December 2016 79

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Ring in 2017, family style


ew Year’s Eve is better known for its drunkenness and decadence than for being especially family-friendly. But thanks to Chi-Town Rising’s Family Countdown Celebration, the littles can join in some big-time New Year’s merriment—without any of that stuff that makes you want to cover their eyes. The Family Countdown Celebration takes place in Wrigley Square at Millennium Park, right in the center of the bustling city. The theme, “Around the World for New Year’s Eve,” means that families can experience New Year’s customs from places like Thailand, Denmark, Egypt and Scotland and try their hand at special activities. Be sure to stop by The Monroe Building (104 S. Michigan Ave.) to pick up a passport that can be stamped at each location. Throughout the afternoon, you can also sip complimentary hot chocolate and enjoy music from Bizar Entertainment DJ and a performance by WTTW’s Dr.

Family Countdown Celebration u 3-6 p.m. Dec. 31 u Free u Wrigley Square at Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street, Chicago u chi-townrising. com/chi-town-central/ family-countdown-celebration

Cool & Pride: The Big Show (ever heard of educational hip-hop?), all leading up to the Official Kids’ Countdown Spectacular, just six hours before the Chicago Star rises over the city. In other words, you can get the kids home with the sitter and still have plenty of time for your own brand of more grown-up celebration. Elizabeth Diffin

80 December 2016

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Make your own warm, family memories as you explore a forest of dazzling trees. Have your picture taken with Santa on select dates. Now through Jan. 8 | Save time, buy online at The Museum of Science and Industry gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the citizens of Chicago.

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Chicago Parent December 2016