In Chicago, Christmas can never come too soon

SantaFrom the Saturday, Nov. 7, editions of The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …


By Dave Wischnowsky

When it comes to the pecking order of America’s holidays, I’ve long thought that Thanksgiving gets something of a short shrift.

Sure, we embrace Turkey Day and all its gravy-laden gluttony once it actually arrives. But it also seems that as soon as we settle into our sugar comas following a month (or more) of Halloween decorations, costumes and hype, our eyes also immediately turn toward Christmas, leaving Thanksgiving to desperately flap its wings for equal attention.

This month in Chicago, Thanksgiving certainly gets some love. But in the battle for November supremacy, it also has to duke it out with Christmas, which can never come too early – especially in the Windy City.

But whatever your seasonal tastes might be, Chicago is filled with plenty of holiday stuffing this month. And here’s how you can take part in the revelry.

A Christmas Carol
Nov. 14-Dec. 27

The Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future start their haunting early as Goodman Theatre on Nov. 14 stages Charles Dickens’ holiday classic “A Christmas Carol” for the 38th year.

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

Christmas Around the World
Nov. 19-Jan.3

Christmas might not technically arrive until Dec. 25, but the Museum of Science & Industry doesn’t subscribe to the calendar. On Nov. 19, MSI debuts “Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light,” a holiday spectacle that dates back to 1942 when a singe 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

Nov. 20-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. 20 through Christmas Eve at Daley Plaza, you can explore a German bazaar and feast on brats, potato pancakes and spiced wine and shop for handmade gifts while surrounded by skyscrapers.

For more information, visit

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Nov. 21

Billed as the nation’s largest evening holiday celebration, the BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival begins at midday on Nov. 21 with free family events at Lights Festival Lane in Pioneer Court.

At 5:30 p.m., 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

Tree Lighting Ceremony
Nov. 24

After nearly five decades in Daley Plaza, Chicago’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony – now in its 102nd year overall – relocates this month to Millennium Park, the city’s new “winter campus.”

The holiday program featuring seasonal music and entertainment will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 24 with the official lighting of the city’s towering tree set for 6 p.m. sharp.

For more information, visit

Thanksgiving Parade
Nov. 26

Finally, on Turkey Day, November’s big holiday gets its chance to elbow out Christmas, as Chicago hosts its annual Thanksgiving Parade up State Street.

Headlined this year by grand marshal David Arquette, who’s in town for the week playing the lead role in “Sherlock Holmes” at the Oriental Theatre, the parade runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and will be broadcast live on television on WGN-Channel 9.

Try not to stuff yourself on Christmas too much before then, and leave some room for Thanksgiving once it arrives.