Wisch list: Christmas comes early (again) in Chicago this November

November 11, 2018

There’s a pecking order for American holidays.

And in many ways, Turkey Day ends up with the short (drum)stick.

Sure, we embrace Thanksgiving and all its gravy-laden gluttony on the actual holiday itself. But, think about it. As soon as we settle into our sugar comas following a month of Halloween decorations, costumes and hype, our eyes almost immediately turn toward Christmas.

And Thanksgiving? It’s left desperately flapping its wings in a futile attempt for equal attention. That happens once again in Chicago this month, where in the battle for November supremacy, Turkey Day has to duke it out with Christmas, which can seemingly never come too early.

But no matter your seasonal tastes, the Windy City is filled with plenty of holiday stuffing this month. Here’s how you can get your fill.

Christmas Around the World

Nov. 15 to Jan. 6

Christmas doesn’t technically arrive until Dec. 25, but the Museum of Science and Industry likes to get things started early. On Nov. 15, MSI again unveils “Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light,” its annual holiday spectacle dating back to 1942 when a single decorated tree was dedicated to the Allies of World War II.

This year, the museum’s 45-foot Grand Tree will again take center stage in the Rotunda, surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees decorated to represent Chicago’s varied ethnic communities.

For more information, visit msichicago.org.


Nov. 16 to Dec. 24

Inspired by the Christkindlmarket in Nuremburg, Germany, which dates back to 1545, Chicago’s delightful version of the open-air market and festival has been a city institution since 1996.

From Nov. 16 through Christmas Eve, explore the magical German bazaar in Daley Plaza and feast on bratwursts, potato pancakes and hot spiced wine while browsing stands filled with handmade gifts.

For more information, visit christkindlmarket.com.

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Nov. 16

Now in its 105th year, Chicago’s annual holiday tradition will set a towering Christmas tree aglow in Millennium Park against the backdrop of the city’s sparkling skyline. Set for 6 p.m., this year’s holiday program will be emceed by actor Miguel Cervantes, who plays Alexander Hamilton in Chicago’s “Hamilton.”

For more information, visit cityofchicago.org.

A Christmas Carol

Nov. 17 to Dec. 30

The Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future start their haunting early on Nov. 17 when Goodman Theatre (170 N. Dearborn St.) stages its milestone 40th anniversary edition of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic “A Christmas Carol.”

If you’ve never seen the Goodman’s magical interpretation of Ebenezer Scrooge’s timeless tale of hope, redemption and “Bah, humbugs,” it’s worth it — for both you and the kids.

For more information, visit goodmantheatre.org.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Nov. 16-17

Billed as the nation’s largest evening holiday celebration, the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is now a two-day affair. The event runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 16, with free family events in Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Ave.), and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 17.

At 5:30 p.m. Nov. 17, the annual Tree-Lighting Parade kicks off at Oak Street and runs the length of the Mag Mile south to the Chicago River, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display.

For more information, visit themagnificientmile.com.

Thanksgiving Parade

Nov. 22

Finally, on Turkey Day itself, November’s primary holiday gets its chance to push Christmas aside when Chicago hosts its annual Thanksgiving Parade up State Street from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street.

Featuring a variety of floats and inflatables, the parade runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and will be broadcast live on television on WGN-Channel 9.

For more information, visit chicagothanksgivingparade.com.

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