Family Friendly Holiday Activities You Can't Miss

Written by: Christina Canright

I don't know about you, but I really like this time of year. There are more people everywhere--and I'm not someone who likes crowds. The parades of people seem to bother me less during what could be a frantic December. I feel friendlier. And even when I see others stressed because they couldn't find the gift they wanted to buy, they seem friendlier. Like, the season encourages a sense of "We're all in this together." I think of this as a season of sharing and connecting—so I look for special events to go to. Here are some around Chicago:

A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre

Now - Dec 28th, Goodman Theater, Chicago, Times & Prices Vary

This is both a Holiday and a Chicago favorite. Get your fix of 100% Christmas tradition and feel your inner Scrooge just melt away. Full disclosure: I helped art direct and produce The True Tale of Dasher for the author, Alan Jania, who resides in Chicagoland. He's a first-time author who wrote this children's book for his grandkids. I'm a bit biased, but I think it's adorable, and you can take a peek at it in the Goodman Gift shop after the show!

Renegade Craft Fair

Dec 7th + 8th, 11am - 6pm, Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, Free

Chicago's Renegade Craft Fair gets better and more creative every season. They'll be at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse this winter, so it's a great place to stop by to stock up on truly unique holiday gifts, great food (Black Dog Gelato is our local favorite!) and live music. While plenty of young parents come to this with their kids every year, be aware that it does get seriously packed around lunch time (think 1-3pm), so better to go early if junior is easily overwhelmed. There's even a helpful trolley to and from the blue line stops to ease the trip.

Jingle Bell Run/Walk

Wheaton and Chicago, Dec 7th : Cantigny Park, Wheaton, IL, Dec 14th: Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago IL, Free, 9:00am  

Come out to support a good cause – this charity is fighting to find a cure for arthritis! And if you don’t love to run don’t worry, you can support just by walking with the family, too. Get outside!           

Old Orchard Tree Lighting Ceremony

Dec 7th, Old Orchard Mall, Skokie, Free, 5:00pm

Looking to squeeze in some last-minute Christmas shopping? Swing by Westfield Old Orchard in Skokie for their annual tree lighting ceremony. Festivities include ice skating, sweets, Santa, and (of course) a little retail therapy for mom & dad. Want to make a full outing of it? Get there early for a matinee movie showing, pick up a snack at the extensive and remarkably delicious food court, then enjoy a treat from the sinfully delicious Godiva store as you enjoy the tree lighting festivities.

Lincoln Park ZooLights

Free but standard zoo parking fees apply, Weekends until the 23rd, 5pm - 9pm

This is great yearly tradition -- not only do the kids get to enjoy the bright lights and animals, but there are crafts, picture with santa, and displays out as well. Even some spiced wine and lager to add to the holiday cheer for mom & dad! There's also a coat drive running, which is a great chance to give back while enjoying the sights.

Posted on December 03, 2013 at 5:48 PM