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I know what you’re thinking.  It’s too early to talk about holiday stuff.  Halloween just ended, right? Well you may not want to participate, but next thing you know, you’ll be hearing “Let it Snow” on LITE FM. In between searching for the perfect gifts for your loved ones, take a break to enjoy some Chicago holiday classics.

Christkindlmarket, November 20-December 24th  Daley Plaza transforms into a German wonderland for a month.  Get unique gifts, eat some amazing German food (Spaten and Struedel, naturally), and meet up with Santa Claus.  Don’t forget about the tree! The 99th Annual Tree Lighting will take place November 20th at 5pm.

Want to mix aerobic exercise with awesome architecture? Ice-skating at Millennium Park is for you! I’ve been doing this since 2001 when it started.  It’s so much fun because it is FREE. The biggest tip is to bring your own skates. I know, you never use them, but seriously.  The line for rentals can be an hour long, so have a pair ready.  Don’t have any? A lot of thrift shops will have them this season.  Scrounge around and you’ll have them forever!

Here’s another oldie but goodie: lunch at the Walnut Room.  It really doesn’t get better having great food under the beautiful tree.  It’s something everyone in Chicago enjoys doing.  Something Chicagoans don’t like doing is waiting.  So my little tip is to not eat lunch there.  It can be a 2 hour long line on a weekend to get your hands on some of Mrs. Herring’s pot pie.  Here’s what my family likes to do: put our name in, have lunch, shop and have dessert in the afternoon.  Think about it: their desserts are the best part of their menu.  Enjoy some of their Frango cheesecake and skip the craziness!

Even the least festive person can’t say no to this next one: A Christmas Carol.  You’ll go in saying “Bah Humbug” and leave saying “God bless us, everyone!” It’s the 35th year the Goodman has performed this classic Dickens Play.  The run starts November 17th and ends December 29th.

Lights! Animals! Action! Another great tradition is a little north of the Loop at the Lincoln Park Zoo.  ZooLights features warm drinks, holiday crafts, and a light show.  Get some food on Clark Street (there are so many classic restaurants…Chicago Oven and Pizza Grinder anyone?) and head over to see the amazing lights! You can see the animals too, but for some reason that darn polar bear is never out…

Grace Rickert 

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