Dashing to the shows: Our Guide to holiday concerts, plays, dance and more

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When children visit Santa in Chicago’s Daley Plaza this Christmas season, he will be in brand new digs.

Santa’s Midwest Headquarters has been redesigned to look like a gingerbread house-meets-snow globe, provided by Ecodome.

“We thought he deserved a new house,” said Mary May, spokeswoman Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Santa officially opens up shop for the season on Nov. 28. People are welcome to come in and take pictures and visit with him. He will be in residence every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 21, and daily Dec. 22-24.

Santa, or course, is just one facet of Chicago’s holiday happenings.

Here’s a compilation of some fun holiday shows and events in the Chicago area:


Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic: Weekends Dec. 6-21 and 26-31. Chicagoland’s largest lights festival includes more than 1 million twinkling LED lights, ice carvings, light shows, Santa and Mrs. Claus, themed Zoo Chats, nightly music and live entertainment, a magic show, costumed characters, a model railroad display, a 38-foot Talking Tree and decorated community and corporate trees. 8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield. (708) 688-8000; CZS.org.

Lincoln Park Zoo’s Zoo Lights: Brilliant displays shine Friday to Sunday through Dec. 12; then nightly to Jan. 4 (except Dec. 24-25.) Seasonal activities and family fun abound. Inaugural Brew Lights beer tasting event Dec. 3. Ice skating rink open through March 1. Parking, $20. 2001 N. Clark. (312) 742-2000; lpzoo.org.

Cosley Zoo’s Festival of Lights and Tree Sales: The zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland through Dec. 30 with 20,000 twinkling lights, displays, a selection of Christmas trees and holiday gifts. 1356 N. Gary Ave.,Wheaton. (630) 665-5534; Cosleyzoo.org.


Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light: The Museum of Science and Industry displays trees decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities representing their holiday customs to Jan. 5. 5700 S. Lake Shore, (773) 684-1414; msichicago.org.

Snowflakes and Stories At the Adler Planetarium: Dec. 13, make paper snowflake and hear stories inside the “World’s Largest Snow Globe.” 9:30-11 a.m. 1300 S. Lake Shore, (312) 922- 7827; adlerplanetarium.org.

Shedd Holiday Breakfasts: Dec. 7, 13 and 20 at Shedd Aquarium. Breakfast, a screening of “The Polar Express 4-D Experience,” a visit to the Polar Play Zone, a meet-and-greet with Santa and reserved seats to the Holiday One World show. 1200 S. Lake Shore, (312) 939-2438; sheddaquarium.org.

Legoland Discovery Center’s Holiday Bricktacular: Winter-themed Miniland, Lego gingerbread house in the Master Builder Academy, festive factory tours and photos with life-size Santa and snowman LEGO models. Dec. 6-Jan. 4 at Legoland Discovery Center, Streets of Woodfield, 601 N. Martingale Rd., Schaumburg, (866) 823-9546; legolanddiscoverycenter.com.

Christmas at the Clarke and Glessner House Museums: Both are decorated for a traditional 19th century Christmas. Christmas Candlelight Tours are at both houses Dec. 13-14. Clarke House Museum, 1827 S. Indiana; Glessner House Museum Glessner House Museum, 1800 S. Prairie. (312) 326-1480; cityofchicago.org.


Vienna Boys Choir: Nov. 29 at the Symphony Center. 220 S. Michigan, (312) 294-3000; cso.org. $25-$55.

“Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Night Out”: 4 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Star Plaza Theatre, 8001 Delaware Place, Merrillville, Ind. (219) 769-6311; starplazatheatre.com. $39-$49.

93XRT/Bud Light Big Holiday Concert Series: St. Vincent on Dec. 2 and Counting Crows on Dec. 3 at the Chicago Theatre. 175 N. State, (312) 462-6300; thechicagotheatre.com. $40.

A Chanticleer Christmas: Traditional Christmas music ranging from Baroque classics to 21st-century favorites Dec. 2-3 at the Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut. (312) 294-3000; cso.org. $39-$56.

The Nelsons and Cowsills Christmas with The Cadillac Casanovas: Dec. 5 at the Arcada Theatre, St. Charles. 105 E. Main St., St Charles. (630) 962-7000; Oshows.com. $39-$59.

Vero Voce Holiday Concert: Featuring the Vero Voce chorale performing Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” and other selections. Dec. 5-6 at Vero Voce Black Box Theatre, 951 State St. Suite F, St. Charles. (630) 584-0139; verovoce.com. $10.

101.9 The Mix Presents Miracle on State Street: starring Sam Smith, Fitz & The Tantrums and Mary Lambert. Dec. 6 at the Chicago Theatre. 175 N. State, (312) 462-6300; thechicagotheatre.com. $49.50-$79.50.

The Apollo Chorus performs Handel’s “Messiah”: Dec. 6 at Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, and on Dec. 20 at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. (312) 427-5620 or visit apollochorus.org. $18-$75.

Danu — A Christmas Gathering– Feile Na Nollag: Danu’s new show is a celebration of Christmas and Wren’s Day from their native Ireland. Dec. 6 at the McAninch Center for the Arts, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. (630) 942-400; Atthemac.org. $40-$60.

Johnny Mathis Christmas: The legendary singer brings his holiday classics to town, 8 p.m. Dec. 6, Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont. Visit ticketmaster.com. $65-$95.

Holiday Pops: Chicago Chamber Orchestra with cabaret duo Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael. Dec. 7 in Buchanan Chapel in the Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut. (312) 857-3094; chicagochamberorch.org. $25-$35.

Highland Park Strings Concert: 3 p.m. Dec. 7 at Highland Park High School, 433 Vine Ave., Highland Park. HPStrings.org. Free.

Sweet Honey in the Rock — Celebrating the Holydays: The famed African-American a cappella ensemble presents a program honoring the holiday spirit, from Christmas to Kwanzaa Dec. 7 at the Symphony Center. 220 S. Michigan. (312) 294-3000; cso.org. $25-$55.

Whispers of Winter Christmastide Carols: The Elgin Children’s Chorus performs holiday classics Dec. 7 at Elgin Community College’s Blizzard Theatre, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin. (847) 697-1000. Tickets.elgin.edu. $12-$15.

Lakeside Singers: Perform a Winter Concert at four venues in Chicagoland in December: Dec. 5 at Nichols Hall at the Music Institute in Evanston; Dec. 8 at the Metropolis in Arlington Heights; Dec. 19 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut; and Dec. 20 at Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College, Naperville. All concerts begin at 8 p.m. (847) 382-5085; lakesidesingers.com.

The Ronnie Specter Best Christmas Ever: 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Arcada Theatre, St. Charles. 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. (630) 962-7000; Oshows.com. $39-$79.

City Hall Holiday Concerts: Children’s choirs perform free noontime shows weekdays Dec. 8-12 at City Hall, first floor lobby, 121 N. LaSalle. (312) 744-3316; cityofchicago.org.

“Feliz Navidachi”: Musical improv group Los Improviachis present a show about family traditions Dec. 11 and 18 at Stage773, 1125 W. Belmont. (773) 327-5252; salsation.org. $10-$12.

Gary Hoey — Ho Ho Hoey featuring T.D. Clark: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Arcada Theatre, St. Charles. 105 E. Main St., St Charles. (630) 962-7000; Oshows.com. $29-$39.

Clint Black Christmas Show: Dec. 12 at the McAninch Center for the Arts, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. (630) 942-400; Atthemac.org. $60-$70.

Welcome Yule! The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus: Holiday music Dec. 13-14 and 20-23 at the Symphony Center. 220 S. Michigan. (312) 294-3000; cso.org. $38-$69.

Jim Peterik & The Ides of March Christmas Show: 8 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Arcada Theatre, St. Charles. 105 E. Main St., St Charles. (630) 962-7000; Oshows.com. $39-$49.

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Christmas Show: Dec. 13 at North Central College’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. (630) 637-7469; northcentralcollege.edu/show. $40-$50.

Dave Koz and Friends Christmas Tour: Chicago Theatre Dec. 13 with Jonathan Butler, Christopher Cross and Maysa. 175 N. State. (312) 462-6300; thechicagotheatre.com. $35.50-$99.50.

The Lira Ensemble Joyous Jubilee! Polish Carols, Song and Dance: Dec. 14 at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. (312) 334-7777; HarrisTheaterChicago.org. $25-$50.

Trans Infinity Orchestra: Popular tribute act Infinity goes Christmas with a 5 p.m. show Dec. 14 at the Arcada Theatre, St. Charles. 105 E. Main St., St Charles. (630) 962-7000; Oshows.com. $29-$59.

<em>Caroling at Cloud Gate in Millennium Park</em>

Caroling at Cloud Gate in Millennium Park

Caroling at Cloud Gate: 6-7 p.m. Fridays to Dec. 19. Free. At Millennium Park, Chase Promenade Central, Michigan and Randolph. (312) 744-3316; Millenniumpark.org.

LeAnn Rimes — One Christmas: 8 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Arcada Theatre, St. Charles. 105 E. Main St., St Charles. (630) 962-7000; Oshows.com. $24-$79.

Chicago a cappella: Six venues host the group this season, which will perform holiday tunes, Renaissance carols, Hanukkah songs, Christmas spirituals and contemporary classics. “Holidays a cappella” will take place Dec. 5 at St. Michael Catholic Church, 310 S. Wheaton Ave., Wheaton; Dec. 6 at St. Clement Church, 642 W. Deming Place, Chicago; Dec. 7 at Pilgrim Congregational Church in Oak Park; Dec. 12 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, Michigan Avenue at Delaware in Chicago; Dec. 13 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago; and Dec. 20 at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston. See website for times. (773) 281-7820; chicagoacappella.org.

Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus: The choir performs its holiday show, “Yule Tube,” three times: Dec. 5 at Harris Theater, Chicago; Dec. 6 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie; Dec. 20 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. (773) 296-0541; cgmc.org.

Tuba Christmas: Six Chicago-area locations host the annual tuba concert; see web site for times and locations. TubaChristmas.com. $10 for tuba players; free for audiences.

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas: Dec. 20 at the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont. (847) 671-5100; rosemonttheatre.com. $39-$95.

Celtic Woman “Home For Christmas — The Symphony Tour:” Featuring music from the all-female Irish music ensemble’s second Christmas album. Dec. 20-21 at North Central College’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. (630) 637-7469; northcentralcollege.edu/show. $75-$95.

Do-It-Yourself Messiah: Handel’s “Messiah” is performed by a chorus of thousands, world-class soloists and a full orchestra of local professional and amateur volunteer musicians. Dec. 21-22 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph (312) 334-7777; HarrisTheaterChicago.org. $15.

Christmas with Tower Brass: Dec. 21 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut. Tickets not required; donations suggested. Towerbrassofchicago.com.


“A Charlie Brown Christmas”: Nov. 28-Dec. 21 at the Chicago Street Theatre, 154 W. Chicago St., Valparaiso, Ind. (219) 464-1636, ext. 1; chicagostreet.org. $17-$28.

“Twist Your Dickens, or Scrooge You!”: The Second City and Goodman Theatre combine for a holiday improv send-up featuring Scrooge and Tiny Tim, the Peanuts holiday gang, residents of the Island of Misfit Toys and Little Orphan Annie. Dec. 5-28, The Goodman Theatre’s Owen Theatre, 10 N. Stte. (312) 443-3800.; goodmantheatre.org. $15-$45.

“It’s a Wonderful Santaland Miracle, Nut Cracking Christmas Story… Jews Welcome!”: A family-friendly show with original Christmas carols, dance numbers, spoken word, puppets and more. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 28 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. (773) 327-5252; Stage773.com. $25.

“The Christmas Schooner”: To Dec. 28 at The Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport. (773) 325-1700; mercurytheaterchicago.com. $25-$65.

“Burning Bluebeard”: Dec. 13, 2014-Jan. 4, 2015. The critically acclaimed production by The Ruffians weaves a tale inspired by Chicago’s 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire. At Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. (773) 975-8150; www.theaterwit.org. $36-$45.

“It’s a Wonderful Life Live Radio Play:” Five actors bring the holiday classic to life as they play 50 different characters and create all the sound effects and music. Runs Friday to Sunday Nov. 28-Dec. 14 at the Theatre at Meiley-Swallow Hall, North Central College, 31 S. Ellsworth Ave., Naperville. (630) 637-7469; Tickets.noctrl.edu. $22-$25.

“Dee Snider’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Tale”: Written by Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. Runs to Jan. 4 at Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place. 175 E. Chestnut, (800) 775-2000; broadwayinchicago.com. $32-$77.

Chicago Tap Theatre, “Tidings of Tap!”: Interpretations of songs of the season Dec. 12-14 at the UIC Theater. New opening and closing numbers this year. 1044 W. Harrison. (800) 838-3006; chicagotaptheatre.com. $22-$35.

Redmoon Theatre “Winter Pageant”: Dec. 12-21. A cast of more than 40 performers explore love and honor the four seasons of the human heart. 2120 S. Jefferson, (312) 850-5440; redmoon.org. $15-$25.

Cirque Dreams Holidaze: Dec. 17-21 at Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. More than 20 acts and 30 artists combine elements of a cirque show, a Broadway musical and a family holiday show along with original music and seasonal favorites in a winter wonderland of enchantment. (800) 745-3000; cirqueproductions.com. $25-$75.

“It’s a Wonderful Life”: The American Blues Theater presents a 1940s radio broadcast of Frank Capra’s holiday classic Thursdays to Sundays through Dec. 28 at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. (773) 404-7336; AmericanBluesTheater.com. $19-$49.

“HoliDaze”: A collection of one-acts that both celebrate and lament the holiday season. Through Dec. 21 at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago. (312) 316-8355; stepupproductions.org. $30.

“A Klingon Christmas Carol”: Performed in the “Star Trek”-ian language of Klingon with English subtitles and a Vulcan narrator. Dec. 4-21 at Athenaeum Theatre, Studio Two, 2936 N. Southport. (773) 935-6875; athenaeumtheatre.org. $20-$32.

“A Christmas Memory:” Based on Truman Capote’s touching memoir of his childhood, this new musical is set in a small Southern town in the 1930s runs through Dec. 14 at the Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Rd., Munster, Ind. (219) 836-3255; Tickets.com. $40 – $44.

“Christmas on Broadway:” The holiday musical revue runs through Dec. 31 at the Fox Valley Repertory Theater at Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 E. Main St., St. Charles. (630) 584-6342; foxvalleyrep.org. $42-$51.75.

“The Santaland Diaries”: Based on David Sedaris’ experiences as one of Santa’s elves at Macy’s Department Store, runs to Dec. 28 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. (773) 975-8150; TheaterWit.org. $24-$36.

“Holiday on Ice:” The original ice production combines figure skating and theater, 5 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St Charles. (630) 962-7000; Oshows.com. $29-$49.

The Second City’s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue: A live comedy revue that pokes fun at the foibles of the holiday season runs Thursday through Sunday Dec. 5-21 at the Copley Theatre, 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, (630) 896-6666; ParamountAurora.com. $35.

“Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose”: A fully staged dramatization with music of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s only Sherlock Holmes mystery set around the holidays runs Dec. 12-Jan. 4 at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark. (773) 338-2177; raventheatre.com. $15-$20.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”: It’s Mom and Dad and the church Christmas pageant versus the unruly Herdman kids in a G-rated adaptation of the classic kids’ book. Dec. 5-7 and 12-14 at the Albright Theatre, 100 N. Island Ave., St. Charles. (630) 406-8838; albrighttheatre.com. $9-$12.

“Ultimate Christmas Show”: The fruitcakes of the Reduced Shakespeare Company take you on an irreverent yet heartwarming trip through the holidays. 8 p.m. Dec. 6 at Fermilab, 1117 N. Washington Ave., Batavia. (630) 840-2787; fnal.gov. $15-$30.

Sing-Along with Santa: All heck breaks loose when the Snow Queen and her sisters visit the North Pole for a girl’s weekend. Saturdays and Sundays Dec. 6-21 at Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. (630) 587-8521. Steelbeamtheatre.com. $10.


“A Christmas Carol”: Larry Yando reprised his role as Scrooge in the critically acclaimed production. To Dec. 28 at the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. (312) 443-3800; goodmantheatre.org. $35-$96.

College of DuPage presents “A Christmas Carol”: The family-friendly version features cast of more than 40 local actors and children. Five performances, Nov. 28-30 at the McAninch Center for the Arts, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. (630) 942-400; Atthemac.org. $12-$15.

“A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol”: Through Dec. 31. The Ghosts of Hip-hop Past, Present and Future lead Scrooge on a journey filled with rhythm, rhyme and redemption. At the Chicago Shakespeare Theater; 800 E. Grand. (312) 595-5600; chicagoshakes.com. $20-$38.

“A Christmas Carol:” Runs through Dec. 23 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. (630) 530-0111; drurylane.com. $12-$15.

“If Scrooge Was a Brother”: Fridays and Saturdays Dec. 6-20. Kennedy King College Theater, 740 W. 63rd St. (708) 926-4641; etacreativearts.org. $15-$35.

“Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol”: Dec. 11-21 at Steel Beam Theatre, 111 W. Main St., St. Charles. (630) 587-8521. Steelbeamtheatre.com. $23-$28.

“A Christmas Carol — an Evening of Dickensian Delights”: Three actors portraying all of the characters in this family-friendly show running Fridays through Sundays until Dec. 21 at Dream Laboratory, 5026 N. Lincoln, Chicago. (773) 552-8616; dreamtheatrecompany.com. $10-$20.

TheatreWorks USA “A Christmas Carol”: Noon and 3 p.m. Dec. 14 at North Central College’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. (630) 637-7469; northcentralcollege.edu/show. $6-$12.

“A Christmas Carol”: Dec. 12-21 at Riverfront Playhouse, 13 S. Water St., Aurora. (630) 897-9496. riverfrontplayhouse.com. $15-$17.

Organic Theater Company presents “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol”: Dec. 18-21 at North Central College’s Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St., Naperville. (630) 637-7469; northcentralcollege.edu/show. $20-$30.


The Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker: 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Rd., Rosemont. (847) 671-5100; rosemonttheatre.com. $28-$122.

The House Theatre of Chicago presents “The Nutcracker”: This original, family-friendly play uses puppetry and songs in the narrative. Through Dec. 28 at the Chopin Theatre Upstairs Theatre, 1543 W. Division. (773) 769-3832; thehousetheatre.com. $25-$45.

“Dance-Along Nutcracker:” Amateur ballerinas can dance alongside the pros Dec. 7 at the Chicago Cultural Center. There will be a rehearsal an hour before each noon and 3 p.m. performance. Preston Bradley Hall, 3rd Floor South, 78 E. Washington. Free. cityofchicago.org.

“The Nutcracker and Petrushka”: Hear excerpts from this beloved ballet alongside Stravinsky’s Petrushka, which depicts the misadventures of a hapless puppet in pursuit of a beautiful ballerina. Dec. 4-6, 9 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. (312) 294-3000; cso.org. $29-$110.

The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago presents “The Nutcracker”: Dec. 5-28 at the Auditorium Theatre. 50 E. Congress, (312) 739-0120; Joffrey.org. $32-$127.

“The Nutcracker”: 7 p.m. Dec. 3-4 at the Star Plaza Theatre, 8001 Delaware Place, Merrillville, Ind. (219) 769-6311; starplazatheatre.com. $24-$29.

Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet presents “The Nutcracker”: Chicago Festival Ballet and the New Philharmonic Orchestra bring this classic extravaganza to the MAC for four performances Dec. 20-21 at the McAninch Center for the Arts, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. (630) 942-400; Atthemac.org. $32-$43.

The Nutcracker Ballet with Berkshire Ballet Theatre: Dec. 20-21 at Raue Center, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. (815) 356-9212; rauecenter.org. $27-$30.


Santa Claus in Daley Plaza: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday to Dec. 21; extra hours Dec. 22-24. 50 W. Washington, (312) 744-3316; Cityofchicago.org.

Christkindlmarket Chicago: Daley Plaza to Dec. 24. 50 W. Washington. (312) 494-2175; christkindlmarket.com.

Breakfast with Santa at Soldier Field: Breakfast with the man of the season is Dec. 13. 1410 S. Museum Campus Dr., (312) 235-7063 or Email SoldierfieldCatering@Chicago-365.com; soldierfield.net. $25-$55.

Chicago Botanic Garden’s Wonderland Express: The holiday-themed miniature train exhibit runs through Jan. 4. $8-$10. Seasonal events include Holiday Cheers! Seasonal Tastings on Dec. 10; Breakfast with Santa, Dec. 13-14; Christmas concert, Dec. 20; Hanukkah concert, Dec. 21; and Hot Chocolate with Mrs. Claus, Dec. 22. Family drop-in activities, caroling, a holiday market and ice sculpting on select days. Parking is $20/car, $25/van. 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, (847) 835-5440; chicagobotanic.org.

Morton Arboretum’s Illumination: The grounds will glow and the trees respond to touch and sound through Jan. 3. Eight chances for Breakfast with Santa. Illumination event $11-$17; includes admission. 4100 Illinois 53, (630) 968-0074; mortonarb.org.

Garfield Park Conservatory’s Holiday Flower Show “Silver Linings”: Nov. 29 to Jan. 4 in Horticulture Hall. 300 N. Central Park, (312) 746-5100; garfieldconservatory.org.

Lincoln Park Conservatory’s Winter Flower and Train Show: Nov. 29 to Jan. 4. Trains wind through a miniature village surrounded by poinsettias. 2391 N. Stockton, (773) 742-7736; chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Holiday Lights Gift & Craft Fair: Lambs Farm holds its annual shopping extravaganza benefiting people with developmental disabilities, Dec. 5-7 at the Arlington Park Racecourse. 2200 W. Euclid, Arlington Heights, (847) 385-7500; holidaylightslambsfarm.com. $8; parking $6.

Music Box Christmas Show: Santa leads the audiences in Christmas carols before watching “White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Dec. 12-14, 18-24. Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, (773) 871-6604; musicboxtheatre.com. $10-$15.

Light Up the Park: The Village of Rosemont celebrates the season tonight with a tree lighting ceremony, horse-drawn sleigh rides and appearance from Santa. The ice rink also opens today and runs through March 1. New Polar Peak four-story tubing hill opens Dec. 12 and runs through Jan. 19. 5501 Park Place, Rosemont. (847) 349-5008; Rosemont.com.

Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier: Runs Dec. 5 to Jan. 11. Ice skating rink and 25 indoor rides highlight this fest, including an indoor tube ride, an outdoor toboggan roller sled ride and winter-themed mini golf. Visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus and a giant decorated tree. 600 E. Grand, (312) 595-7437; winterwonderfest.com. $5-$25.

Chicago Skating Rinks: The skating season opens Nov. 28 at all city ice rinks and runs through March 1, 2015, weather permitting. The rink at McCormick Place closes March 8. The new Maggie Daley Park ice skating ribbon in Grant Park will open December. Hours, skate rentals and admission fees vary by rink. (312) 742-7529; chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Santa at Water Tower Place: Santa will have daily visiting hours through Dec. 24 at the Water Tower Place. He will even see pets on Monday evenings through Dec. 15. At 835 N. Michigan, (312) 440-3166; shopwatertower.com.

Voices in Harmony Sing-Along Messiah: Raue Center, 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. (815) 356-9212; rauecenter.org.

Annie Alleman is a local freelance writer.

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