Here it is: our big, bold guide to the holiday season’s entertainment throughout the Chicago area. From theater and dance to concerts and outdoor fun (and even if you want to escape the holiday programming altogether), we’ve got plenty of suggestions for things to see and do in the coming weeks.
The Chicago holiday entertainment kicked Nov. 16 with the 105th lighting of the city’s always very large and always beautifully adorned Christmas tree in Millennium Park. Holiday activities in Millennium Park include the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink and the Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon (both to mid-March) and Caroling at Cloud Gate (Fridays, Nov. 23-Dec. 14). Admission is free to all park events.
Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington) rings in the holiday season with the annual Christkindlmarket (through Dec. 24), which brings a European tradition to Chicago. Inspired by a 16th century market in Nuremberg, Germany, it is know for its wide array of quality gifts and food vendors. It’s a great spot for a hot beverage on a chilly day or to find a unique gift for that person who has everything. Cuckoo clock anyone? There’s also a Christkindlmarket suburban location (Nov. 23-Dec. 24) at Naper Settlement, 523 Webster, Naperville. Free admission to all three markets.
Now in its 18th year at Navy Pier, Winter Wonderfest features lots of indoor family fun with carnival rides, giant slides, climbing walls, holiday themed activities, Chicago Blackhawks ice-skating rink, rides on the Centennial Wheel and more. Nov. 30-Jan. 6 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, $10-$20.
Gallagher Way at Wrigley transforms into a winter wonderland for the holiday season with an ice skating rink (Nov. 24 to Jan. 27), Santa’s Workshop (Nov. 23-Dec. 23), wreath making (Dec. 2-16; $25), outdoor movies (Nov. 23-Jan. 4) at Clark and Addison.
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at Museum of Science & Industry: An annual tradition began in 1942, Christmas Around the World features a 45-ft Christmas tree covered in 30,000 lights, surrounded by 50 smaller trees and displays representing holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. Holidays of Light is a display that celebrates enlightenment including the Chinese New Year, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Hanukkah and St. Lucia Day. Nov. 15-Jan. 7 at the Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., included with museum admission.
Holiday Happenings at the Art Institute of Chicago: Christmas events begin with the annual “Wreathing of the Lions” (Nov. 23) and continue with Holiday Choirs (Dec. 3-7), Holiday Throne Rooms and Neapolitan Creche (Nov. 17-Jan. 8), the Annual Holiday Treasure Hunt and Tea Party (Dec. 9, $25-$75), Lecture: Celebrating the Christmas Story in Art (Dec. 14, free with admission), Gingerbread House Decorating (Dec. 15, $55, $70) at Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan, included with admission except where noted.
Richard H. Driehaus Museum: The museum is adorned with vintage decorations for the season. Holiday Carolers on the Porch (Nov. 17), Gilded Age Traditions includes a visit to historic landmarks and tea at The Drake Hotel (Nov. 30-Dec. 15, $105), visit with Santa includes art projects, story time and sing-a-longs (Dec. 8-16, $15, $20), Holiday Cabaret with Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael (Dec. 14, $60) at Driehaus Museum, 40 E. Erie.
Holiday Breakfast at The Shedd Aquarium: Includes breakfast, a screening of “The Polar Express 4-D Experience” and a meet-and-greet with Santa. Follow these with a visit to the Polar Play Zone exhibit and the aquatic presentation. Sat-Sun, Dec. 2, 9, 15-16, 22-23 at Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. $29.95-$54.95, children under 3 free.
Lincoln Park Zoo’s ZooLights: The zoo grounds are transformed into a land of twinkling lights Nov. 23-Jan. 6. There are also photos with Santa, 3D displays, strolling carolers, ice sculpture carving and musical light shows. Other events include a Holiday Market (Nov. 27, $10) features local artisans; Holidaze (Nov. 29), an after-hours event for adults with music and cash bar; Brewlights (Dec. 6, $40), an evening to enjoy seasonal and international craft beers; Chris White Trio (Dec. 9, $25) with a tribute to Vince Guaraldi’s “Charlie Brown Christmas”; Breakfast with Santa (Dec. 16) at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark, Free unless otherwise indicated.
Brookfield Zoo’s Holiday Magic: The zoo is lit with more than one million twinkling lights, animated light displays and a video light show. Plus there’s entertainment in the Holly Jolly Theater, a train display, caroling to the animals, ice carving demonstrations, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Plus Chicago Wolves Skating Rink (to Jan. 27), Reindeer Run (Nov. 24, $25), a run/walk event throughout the zoo; Lights & Lagers (Nov. 30, $45), sample beers and stroll the zoo at Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W. 31st St., Brookfield, Free with admission unless otherwise indicated.
Morton Arboretum’s Illumination: Tree Lights: Enjoy a festive walk through the woods where tree lights respond to your touch and voice. The one-mile path is surrounded by trees decked out in bright LED lights with treelike sculptures that spread intricate designs of life. Nov. 17–Jan. 1 at Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL Route 53, Lisle, $12-$23.
Chicago Botanic Garden— Wonderland Express: A family-friendly, made-for-memoires experience featuring an exhibit of miniature trains in a mini-replica of Chicago and light show (Nov. 23-Jan. 6), a holiday market (Dec. 1-2), Chicago Brass Band (Dec. 8, $20, $23), Hanukkah Concert with Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, (Dec. 9, $20, $23) at Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook, Glencoe, $8-$13, children under 2 free (parking $25).
Lincoln Park Conservatory – Winter Flower & Train Show: Transforms the conservatory into a winter wonderland with festive plant arrangements and a model train exhibit. Nov. 23-Jan 6 at Lincoln park Conservatory, 2931 N. Stockton. Free.
‘A CHRISTMAS CAROL’
Larry Yando returns as Ebenezer Scrooge in the annual Goodman Theatre staging that has become a holiday tradition. Nov. 17-Dec. 30 at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, $25-$119.
“Q Brothers Christmas Carol”: A hip-hop reinterpretation of the holiday classic. Nov. 20-Dec. 31 at The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare at Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, $30-$52.
A music and dance filled staging of the holiday classic. Nov. 23-Dec. 22 at Drury Lane Theatre for Young Audiences, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, $13.
William J. Norris’ adaptation of Charles Dickens classic ghost story. Nov. 23-25 at College of DuPage Theater at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn, $14, $16.
Celebrate the holidays with Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and three magical ghosts. Nov. 29-Dec. 24 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights, $15, $30.
“A Klingon Christmas Carol”: This is the classic tale of ghosts and redemption adapted to reflect the Klingon values of courage and honor. In Klingon, with English supertitles. Nov. 29-Dec. 16 at Edge Theatre, 5451 N. Broadway, $22.
The Joffrey Ballet’s staging of Christopher Wheeldon’s re-imaging of the classic tale now set at the Chicago Columbian Exposition. Dec. 1-Dec. 30 at Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, $35-$199.
The family-friendly, ballet-free version of the classic story has become a holiday tradition. To Dec. 30 at The House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, $30-$50;
“The Nut Tapper:” Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin’s annual staging of the holiday classic recreated with rhythms of tap, Spanish flamenco and Mexican zapateado. Nov. 25 at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, $15.
“The Art Deco Nutcracker”: Set in 1920s America, this is a fresh take on the holiday favorite. Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at A&A Ballet at Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan, $30-$50.
“The Hip Hop Nutcracker”: Family show that re-imagines the classic score through hip-hop choreography. Dec. 1 at Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River, Rosemont, $25-$75.
“Dance-Along Nutcracker”: Dancers of all ages and abilities are invited to take part in this annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic. Ballet Chicago offers optional beginner lessons before each performance. Dec. 2 at Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington. Free.
The holiday favorite performed by Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet. Dec. 2 at Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago, Joliet, $22-$38; rialtosquare.com. Dec. 15-16 at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn, $34, $44.
The Ruth Page Civic Ballet performs Page’s original staging of the holiday classic. Dec. 1-2 at Northeastern Illinois University, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr, $20, $32.
“Great Russian Nutcracker”: Moscow Ballet’s staging of the classic features world-class Russian dancers, hand-painted sets, Russian Snow Maidens and Nesting Dolls. Dec. 2 at Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River, Rosemont, $28-$89.
Ballet Chicago presents the holiday classic filled with beautiful music and charming choreography. Dec. 7-16 at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, $17-$47.
“Duke It Out! Nutcracker”: The Music Institute of Chicago collaborates with Dance Chicago for this family dance concert. Dec. 8 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago, Evanston, $5.
“The Magic of the Nutcracker:” Dancenter North’s 30th anniversary staging of the classic. Dec. 8 at Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee, Waukegan, $15-$36.
“The Nutcracker”: Ballet Legere’s staging features guest artists from the Cincinnati Ballet. Dec. 8-9 at Dominican University, 7900 W. Division, River Forest, $24, $29.
Presented by Hyde Park School of Dance, more than 175 dancers perform in this version of the classic that features ballet, modern dance and hip-hop. Dec. 14-16 at Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th, $10-$40.
“The Steadfast Tin Soldier — A Christmas Pantomime”: Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s story, director Mary Zimmerman concocts a spectacle about the unlikely adventures of a little tin soldier. To Jan. 13 at Lookingglass Theatre, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan, $45-$85.
“’Twas the Night Before Christmas”: Ken Ludwig’s modern take on the classic tale. To Dec. 30 at Broadway Playhouse, Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut, $12-$29.
“Holiday Inn”: Inspired by the classic film, the musical features a score by Irving Berlin. To Jan. 6 at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire; $50-$60.
“Miss Saigon”: Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of the legendary musical set during the last days of the Vietnam War. To Dec. 8 at Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, $35-$110.
“The Snow Queen,” Tyler J. Monroe’s adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about a young girl who must save her best friend from a wicked Snow Queen. To Dec. 23 at Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee, $14, $17.50.
“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”: The musical based on the popular animated film; directed by Alan Souza. To Jan. 27 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, $60-$75.
“The Good, the Bad & the Ugly Sweater”: A festive holiday mix of material from The Second City archives. To Dec. 13 at UP Comedy Club, Piper’s Alley, 230 W. North, $31-$56.
“Miracle on 34th Street: The Musical”: Musical version of the classic holiday film. To Dec. 23 at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge, Munster, Ind., $42, $46.
“The Annoyance Christmas Pageant”: A hilarious family-friendly retelling of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” To Dec. 23 at The Annoyance, 4830 N. Broadway, $14, $20.
“The Wizard of Oz”: Musical version of L. Frank Baum classic story; directed by Amber Mak. Nov. 14-Jan. 6 at Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena, Aurora, $36-$69.
“It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!”: A live 1940s radio broadcast of the holiday classic. Nov. 15-Jan. 5 at American Blues Theater at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, $19-$59.
“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical”: Broadway actor Gavin Lee in the holiday story about the mean and scheming Grinch. Nov. 16-Nov. 25 at Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, $35-$125.
“The Long Christmas Ride Home”: Chicago Fringe Opera’s staging of Paul Hindemith’s opera based on Thornton Wilder’s play. Nov. 16-Dec. 1 at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, $15-$40.
“The Book of Mormon”: The Tony Award-winning musical about a pair of mismatched missionaries sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. Nov. 20-Dec. 2 at Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, $45-$125.
“The Second City’s Holidazed and Confused”: The Second City’s holiday show is naughty and nice. Nov. 29-Dec. 23 at Copley Theatre, North Island Center, 8 E. Galena, $37.
“The Santaland Diaries”: Matt Crowle stars in David Sedaris’ hilarious take on the holidays. Nov. 30-Dec. 30 at Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, $15-$45.
“El Stories: Holiday Train”: Waltzing Mechanics present true stories from Chicagoans’ experiences riding the CTA that feature adventure and yuletide cheer. Nov. 30-Dec. 22 at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, $25.
“Hellcab”: Will Kern’s Chicago classic about a cab driver who journeys through the city on Christmas day picking up a cast of bizarre characters. Nov. 30-Dec. 30 at Agency Theater Collective at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark, $20 suggested donation.
“Christmas Mubarak”: A musical/theatre interplay of the Quranic and New Testament stories that celebrate the birth of Jesus as told by Muslims and Christians. Nov. 30-Dec. 11 at Silk Road Rising, First United Methodist Church, 77 W. Washington, $25, $35.
“It’s Christmas, God—-t!”: Nostalgic family get-togethers get a comedic twist in Charley Carroll’s play. Nov. 30-Dec. 28 at The Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont, $20.
“Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins”: A new stage adaptation of the classic children’s holiday book by Eric Kimmel. Dec. 1-Jan. 5 at Strawdog Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice, $20-$25.
“Yippee Ki-Yay Merry Christmas: A Die Hard Musical Parody”: Musical numbers and ’80s references in a parody about a grizzled cop who must foil a terrorist plot. Dec. 1-Jan. 12 at Yippee Productions at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, $45.
“Cendrillon (Cinderella)”: The storybook kingdom of Cinderella in operatic form. Opens Dec. 1-8, Jan. 11-20 at Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker, $49-$299.
“The Play That Goes Wrong”: The madcap comedy about the opening night at a theater where nothing seems to want to go right. Dec. 4-Dec. 16 at Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, $25-$98.
“Noel”: A new family holiday musical from children’s author Eoin Colfer and Irish composer Liam Bates. Dec. 4 at Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago, Joliet, $33-$48.
“Stomp:” The percussion troupe that finds the beat in everyday objects. Dec. 5-Dec. 30 at Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut, $39-$84.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — The Musical”: The holiday classic that speaks to the misfit in us all. Dec. 7 at Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River, Rosemont, $25-$75.
“A Magical Cirque Christmas”: Illusions and acrobatics performed to holiday music. Dec 7 at Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago, Joliet, $39-$73; rialtosquare.com. Dec. 9 at Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee, Waukegan, $43-$103.
“The Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday”: Seasonal satire from the comedy troupe. Dec. 8 at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn, $32-$46.
“That’s Weird, Grandma Rings in the Holidays”: A mix of classic stories from the repertoire along with new sketches and songs. Dec. 10-Dec. 22 at Barrel of Monkeys at Neo-Futurists Theater, 5153 N. Ashland, $5-$25.
“Cirque Dreams Holidaze”: A blend of Broadway musical and a Cirque adventure with singers, illusions and gravity-defying feats. Dec. 12-16 at Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, $25-$125.
“Barney the Elf”: Chicago drag queen Dixie Lynn Cartwright takes the lead in this cheeky musical twist on the holiday favorite. Dec. 14-Jan. 6 at The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, $20, $30.
“Fiddler on the Roof”: The classic musical tells the story of Tevye and his family of five daughters who yearn for a better life. Dec. 18-Jan. 6 at Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, $25-$98.
American Girl Live: A new musical inspired by the popular characters from the American Girl series. Dec. 21-23 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie, Skokie, $37-$47.
The Second City’s Nut-Cracking Holiday Revue: The magic, mystery and mayhem of the season via song and sketches. Dec. 22-31 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights, $30-$60.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas Live on Stage”: The timeless story of Christmas in a classic telling. Dec. 22 at Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River, Rosemont, $25-$65.
“Burning Bluebeard”: The Neo-Futurists in a coproduction with The Ruffians present Jay Torrence’s play inspired by the 1903 Iroquois Theatre Fire. Dec. 26-31 at Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland, $25-$35.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago: The company performs works by choreographers Alice Klock, Florian Lochner and Rena Butler. Dec. 6-9 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, $25-$110.
“Carol of the King, The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular”: An age-old tradition is turned into an exciting Irish Dance holiday spectacular. Dec. 9 at Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River, Rosemont, $25-$75.
“Tidings of Tap”: Chicago Tap Theatre’s celebration of tap and the holiday season. Dec. 9 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie, Skokie, $25-$41.
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater: Performing Kevin Iega Jeff’s “Nia Keii – A GIft of Life” and “Flack,” Gary Abbott’s “Parallel Lives” and “Somewhere,” and Jeff and Abbott’s “Heaven.” Dec. 15-16 at Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th, $35-$55.
Shen Yun: Classical Chinese dance along with a live orchestra that combines Eastern and Western instruments. Dec. 26-30 at Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker, $80-$200.
93XRT Holiday Concert for Kids with Freddy Jones Band: Concertgoers are urged to bring a new or like new toy or book for the children in Chicagoland hospitals during the holiday season. Sean Kelly of The Samples opens. Nov. 21 at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, $35.
Vienna Boys Choir — Christmas in Vienna: The choir performs popular folk songs, classical masterpieces and holiday favorites. Nov. 24 at Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, $25-$85.
“Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back” in Concert: A screening of the movie as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs John Williams’ score. Nov. 23-25 at Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, $71-$222.
93XRT Holiday Concert for Kids with Crash Test Dummies: Concertgoers are urged to bring a new or like new toy or book for the children in Chicagoland hospitals during the holiday season. Nov. 24 at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, $48.
ChillFest: During small business Saturday, music performances by Hugh Lee and the Pariahs, The Fox & the Hounds, Jonathan Fin, Elle Casazza, Matt Griffo and many more. Nov. 24 in stores throughout Wicker Park/Bucktown. Free
“Amahl and the Night Visitors”: Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera about a young shepherd boy whose life is forever changed when he follows a very special star. Performed by Chamber Opera Chicago with dancers from Ensemble Espanol and Ruth Page Center. Nov. 24-25 at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, $10-$20
The Oak Ridge Boys – Shine the Light on Christmas: A mix of traditional and contemporary songs for the holidays plus personal thoughts from each band member about Christmas. Nov. 25 at Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago, $43-$73.
The Christmas Oratorio: Music of the Baroque performs Bach’s musical interpretations of the Christmas story. Nov. 26 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, $10-$64.
Joel Paterson’s Hi-Fi Christmas: The Chicago guitar ace celebrates the release of “Hi-Fi Christmas Guitar” with Beau Sample, Chris Foreman and Oscar Wilson. Nov. 28 at Space, 1245 Chicago, Evanston, $15-$25.
Kenny G — The Miracles Holiday: The contemporary jazz saxophonist performs holiday tunes and songs from his catalog. Nov. 29 at Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago, Joliet, $44-$69.
WKQX’s The Nights We Stole Christmas: With Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Houndmouth, Alice Merton (Nov. 29), The Smashing Pumpkins, Grandson, Albert Hammond Jr. (Nov. 30), Walk the Moon, Chvrches, Flora Cash (Dec. 1), Death Cab for Cutie, Elle King, Lovely the Band (Dec. 2) at The Aragon, 1106 W. Lawrence, ticket prices vary.
Jane Lynch’s “A Swingin’ Little Christmas”: The singer/actress/comedian rings in the holidays with songs from her new Christmas album. Nov. 30 at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph. Sold out.
Jingle Bell Rock with Rosie and the Rivets: A family-friendly holiday music show. Nov. 30, Dec. 14, 21 at Hard Rock Cafe, 63 W. Ontario, Free.
Chris and Heather’s Country Calendar Show: Chris Ligon and Heather McAdams celebrate Heather’s new 2019 calendar (featuring her great drawings of singers and musicians) with a live show featuring a variety of music acts including The Flat Five, Jodee Lewis, Phil Angotti, Dennis J. Leise and Tiny Horse, Robbie Fulks and more. Dec. 1 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn, $20.
Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus — Holiday Hullaballoo: The annual holiday concerts featuring seasonal favorites. Nov. 30 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, $25-$40. Dec. 1 at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie, Skokie, $25-$40. Dec. 2 at Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th, $25-$40.
Irish Christmas in America: Fiddler Oisin Mac Diarmada’s holiday show features Irish song, music and dance with singers Niamh Farrell and Seamus Begley. Dec. 1 at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, $28.
Canadian Brass: Holiday tunes and more from this group and their gold-plated instruments. Dec. 1 at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn, $30-$49.
Holiday Swing!: The JAM Orchestra, a 30-piece orchestra, performs holiday favorites. Dec. 1 at Skokie Theatre, 7924 Lincoln, Skokie, $25.
Jennifer Knapp & Margaret Becker’s “Hymns of Christmas”: The singer-songwriters and longtime friends perform songs from their new album, which features their take on familiar carols. Dec. 2 at City Winery 1200 W. Randolph, $18.
The Colors of Christmas: Holiday classics and greatest hits with Peabo Bryson, Taylor Dayne, Jon Secada and Deniece Williams. Dec. 2 at Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee, Waukegan, $48-$68
Chicago Grandstand Big Band Christmas Show: Annual family holiday show with Singing Saucy Santa. Dec. 2 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn, $10.
Highland Park Strings: Holiday music and more with guest soloists David Cunliffe and Desiree Ruhstrat. Dec. 2 at Highland Park High School, 433 Vine, Highland Park, Free
Evanston Symphony Holiday Concert: Performing with area instrumentalists, singers and dancers. Dec. 2 at Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge, Evanston, $10, $25.
Oak Park Concert Chorale: A festive Christmas concert. Nov. 18 at St. John Lutheran Church, 305 Circle, Forest Park; Dec. 2 at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 1025 W. Lake, Melrose Park, $12-$20.
A Chanticleer Christmas: The male chorus presents its annual concert of holiday classics from medieval to modern. Dec. 4-5 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut, $39-$61.
Somethin’ About Christmas with Kris Allen and Sawyer: The Season 8 “American Idol” winner welcomes the holidays with special guest Sawyer. Dec. 4 at City Winery 1200 W. Randolph, $25-$35.
The Lakeside Singers: A mash up of traditional choral and contemporary holiday songs. Dec. 4 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights, $25, $35.
93XRT Holiday Concert for Kids with The Head and the Heart: Concertgoers are urged to bring a new or like new toy or book for the children in Chicagoland hospitals during the holiday season. Mt. Joy opens the show. Dec. 6 at Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, $39.50-$75.
The Empty Pockets Holiday Concert: Holiday songs and originals flavored with the band’s folk-soul sounds. Dec. 6 at City Winery 1200 W. Randolph, $28-$42.
Ron and Naomi’s Christmas Special: One part Andy Williams, one part Garrison Keillor, one part Pee Wee’s Playhouse, this is a holiday party you won’t want to miss. Dec. 6 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn, $15.
A Doo Wop Christmas Show: Stars from “Jersey Boys” and “Motown: The Musical” perform doo-wop hits and holiday tunes. Dec. 7 at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn, $50-$60,
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” in Concert: A screening of the movie as members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs John Williams’ score. Dec. 7-9 at Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, $55-$145.
Chicago a cappella Holiday Concerts: Beloved carols plus others from around the world. Dec. 7 at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake, Oak Park; Dec. 8 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago, Evanston; Dec. 9 at St. Clement Church, 642 W. Deming Place; Dec. 14 at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut; Dec. 15 at Wentz Concert Hall, North Central College, 171 E. Chicago, Naperville; Dec. 16 at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago, Evanston, $20-$43.
93XRT Holiday Concert for Kids with Richard Thompson Electric Trio: Concertgoers are urged to bring a new or like new toy or book for the children in Chicagoland hospitals during the holiday season. Dec. 7-8 at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, $35-$150.
Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Show: The 21th edition of this holiday show promises fresh renditions of holiday classics as well as a Hanukkah medley and hits from his songbook. Dec. 7 at Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, $29-$115.
Brendan Bayliss & Jake Cinninger Holiday Show: The Umphrey’s McGee guitarists with a mix holiday tunes and McGee originals. Dec. 7 at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, $37.50.
Ingrid Michaelson’s “Songs for the Season”: The singer performs tunes from her new holiday disc. Dec. 7 at Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield, $44.50, $54.50.
B96 Jingle Bash: With performances by Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, Mike Posner, Why Don’t We, Lauv. Dec. 8 at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont, $70-$125.
The Piano Guys — Christmas Together: The duo that created an Internet phenomenon with their original blend of classical and pop turns their attention to holiday songs. Dec. 8 at Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, $53-$193.
Harry Shearer & Judith Owen’s Christmas Without Tears: A reverent and irreverent antidote to the most stressful of seasons. Dec. 8-9 at Space, 1245 Chicago, Evanston, $20-$75.
West Towns Chorus Christmas Show: The award-winning barbershop chorus has a long history of entertaining audiences with its harmonies. Dec. 8-9 at Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main, St. Charles, $20-$26.
Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players with “A Christmas Carol”: Charles Dickens classic is brought to life via narrator Frank Babbitt and the Chamber Players plus mezzo-soprano Maureen Davies. Dec. 9 at City Winery 1200 W. Randolph, $25.
Jazz Community Big Band Holiday Show: Annual holiday show with vocalist Ava Logan and an opening set by Jones College Prep Jazz Combos. Dec. 9 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn, $10.
The Weepies Holiday Acoustic Tour: Singer-songwriters Deb Talan and Steven Tannen celebrate a song-filled holiday. Matt the Electrician opens the show. Dec. 9 at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, $32, $35.
Paddy Homan & the Noble Call: A trip back to a traditional Irish Christmas via songs, stories and dance. Dec. 9 at Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N, Knox, $20, $22.
Tony Orlando & Dawn’s “A Christmas Reunion”: The iconic group reunites to celebrate the holidays. Dec. 11 at Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main, St. Charles, $59-$125.
She’s Folks’ Holiday Hootenanny: Story, song and sass with a seasonal twist. Dec. 11 at Hey Nonny, 10 S. Vail, Arlington Heights, $10-$22.
Pentatonix – Christmas Is Here! Tour: The a cappella group celebrates the holidays and the release of a fourth album of modern and classic seasonal tunes. Dec. 11-12 at Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River, Rosemont, $35-$150.
103.5 Kiss FM’s Jingle Ball: With performances by Shawn Mendes, Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Alessia Cara, Bebe Rexha, Bazzi, Sabrina Carpenter. Dec. 12 at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont, $30-$125.
Chris White Trio’s – Vince Guaraldi Christmas: A performance of Guaraldi’s holiday music from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” plus holiday favorites. Dec. 12 at Hey Nonny, 10 S. Vail, Arlington Heights, $15, $18.
An O Sole Trio Christmas: Classic songs to put you in the holiday spirit. Dec. 12 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W Campbell, Arlington Heights, $35, $40.
The Oh Hellos Christmas Extravaganza: Siblings Tyler and Maggie Heath’s holiday event features carols, bad jokes, sing-alongs and more. Dec. 12 at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, $21-$45.
The King’s Singers: The vocal group performs medieval and Renaissance music, pop songs and holiday favorites. Dec. 13 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, $35-$135.
“60 Songs in 60 Minutes”: An ensemble of musicians and artists uses anything they can find to write and perform 60 songs in 60 minutes. Dec. 13-15 at Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N. Ashland, $10-$15.
John Legend – A Legendary Christmas Tour: The multi-platinum singer-songwriter tours behind his first holiday album. Dec. 13 at Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker, $45-$250.
The Tenors – Home for the Holidays: Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters and Victor Micallef add holiday tunes to their repertoire of classical and pop music. Dec. 14 at at Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago, $43-$73.
The Newberry Consort – A Mexican Christmas: A performance of 17th century Mexican Christmas music. Dec. 14 at St. Clement Church, 642 W. Deming; Dec. 15 at Bond Chapel, University of Chicago, 1050 E. 59th; Dec. 16 at First United Methodist Church, 516 Church, Evanston, $40-$50.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra ’s Merry, Merry Chicago!: Family-friendly show with members of the CSO and guest vocalist Storm Large performing festive favorites. Dec. 14-23 at Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, $38-$120.
20 Bands of Christmas: A three-day event featuring an array of bands and holiday music. Dec. 14-16 at The Wire, 6815 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn, $20, $50 3-day pass.
Brave Combo Holiday Spectacular: The Texas quintet’s annual rollicking holiday party. Dec. 15 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn, $20.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas: This year marks the 34th anniversary of the Christmas tour which features classic Christmas hits as well as a selection of compositions from Mannheim Steamroller, along with dazzling multimedia effects. Dec. 15 at Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River, Rosemont, $39-$95.
Anthony Bruno Christmas Spectacular: Bruno and his orchestra perform classic holiday tunes. Dec. 15 at Hey Nonny, 10 S. Vail, Arlington Heights, $12-$30.
Michael McDonald – Season of Peace: The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter with holiday favorites plus classics from The Doobie Brothers and his solo career. Dec. 15 at Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee, Waukegan, $44.50-$102.50.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party: A jumpin’ and jivin’ party featuring the band’s originals and reworked holiday classics. Dec. 15 at at Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago, $28-$48.
Ides of March Christmas Show: Jim Peterik welcomes the holidays with his classic tunes and seasonal favorites. Dec. 15 at Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main, St. Charles, $39-$59.
Handel’s “Messiah”: The oratorio performed by the Apollo Chorus of Chicago. Dec. 15-16 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, $35-$70.
The Rock and Roll Playhouse Holiday Party with the Music of the Beatles for Kids: The family concert series that allows kids to “move, play and sing.” Dec. 16 at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, $15.
The Lira Ensemble: Singers, dancers and chamber players present Polish and American carols and folk dances. Dec. 16 at Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee, $45.
An Evening with Pigpen Theatre: The rootsy, soulful actor/musicians from New York-based Pigpen Theatre provide musical cheer for the holidays. Dec. 16-17 at Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor, Glencoe, $25-$40.
Pat McCurdy Holiday Show: The singer-songwriter celebrates the holidays. Dec. 17 at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, $6.
Do-It-Yourself Messiah: Now in its 43th year, amateur volunteers are joined by a professional orchestra for a DIY version of the choral masterpiece. Dec. 17-18 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, $15.
An Unforgettable Nat King Cole Christmas: Musical theatre actor Evan Tyrone Martin performs songs from Cole’s repertoire including holiday tunes. Dec. 18 at Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire, $55.
Rob Parton Big Band – A Swingin’ Christmas: Holiday show filled with seasonal tunes as well as the best of Count Basie, Duke Ellington and more. With vocalist Leslie Beukelman and the Riverside-Brookfield High School Jazz Band. Dec. 19 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, $15.
Peace in Chicago – An Intergenerational Celebration: Fulcrum Point New Music Project presents a festive confluence of new art music, poetry and hip-hop. Dec. 19 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, $15-$30.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass: Performing traditional favorites and symphonic masterworks including a suite from “The Nutcracker.” Dec. 19 at Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, $33-$130.
The 12 Dames of Christmas: Angela Ingersoll sings the iconic music of Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, Eartha Kitt, Brenda Lee and more. Dec. 19 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights, $45, $50.
Kurt Elling with guest Marquis Hill: The jazz artists ring in the holidays. Dec. 19-20 at City Winery 1200 W. Randolph, $45-$58.
Brandenburg Concertos: Bach’s six masterpieces performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Dec. 20 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, $30-$70.
98 Degrees at Christmas: The quartet applies its R&B harmonies to holiday tunes and more. Dec. 20 at Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago, $44-$69.
Handel’s “Messiah”: The oratorio performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with a cast of soloists. Dec. 20-23 at Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, $37-$254.
93XRT Holiday Concert for Kids with Michael McDermott’s Mischief and Mistletoe: The popular local singer rings in the holidays with tunes new and old. Concertgoers are urged to bring a new or like new toy or book for the children in Chicagoland hospitals during the holiday season. Dec. 21-23 at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, $32-$42.
The Redmonds Christmas Show: The annual holiday show featuring music by The Redmonds, Cold Water Mystic, Romeo Brothers, 24/7 plus guest Jimy Sohns of Shadows of Night and more. Dec. 21 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn, $12 or $10 with a non-perishable food item.
Anderson Holiday Jamboree: An evening of music with Lauren Erik and Mark Anderson to benefit Guitars Over Guns. Dec. 21 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, $15.
A Million Dollar Christmas: The music of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash plus holiday tunes. Dec. 21 at McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn, $45-$65.
ELLAbration: Dee Alexander and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra with a set of Ella Fitzgerald’s favorite holiday tunes plus a performance of Duke Ellington and Bill Strayhorn’s jazz interpretation of “The Nutcracker.” Dec. 21 at Studebaker Theater, 410 S. Michigan, $35-$45.
A Christmas Soul Party: Featuring Rahsaan Patterson, Dante Hall and Slique Jay Adams, Dec. 22 at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, $40-$80.
Shen Yun: Classical Chinese dance along with a live orchestra that combines Eastern and Western instruments. Dec. 26-30 at Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker, $80-$200.
Annual Mobetta Holiday Party/Jam: Maurice “Mobetta” Brown brings a blend of jazz, blues-rock and hip-hop to the holiday season. Dec. 22 at Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln, $20, $25.
93XRT Holiday Concert for Kids with Shemekia Copeland: Concertgoers are urged to bring a new or like new toy or book for the children in Chicagoland hospitals during the holiday season. Dec. 26-27 at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, $38-$52.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra – The Ghosts of Christmas Eve: The best of TSO and more. Dec. 28 at Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont, $47-$80.
Johnny Cash/Neil Diamond Holiday Tribute Show: Nashville recording artist Doug Allen Nash pays tribute to two of music’s greatest. Dec. 28 at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, $25-$45.
Salute to Vienna Concert: Celebrate the holidays with a program featuring Strauss waltzes and melodies performed by the Strauss Symphony of America featuring the Chicago Philharmonic. Dec. 30 at Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, $33-$131.
Holiday Market at Randolph Street Market: An indoor market featuring 125 vendors with an array of new and vintage items. Nov. 17-18 and Dec. 15-16 at 1341 W. Randolph, $10.
Lincoln Park Zoo Holiday Market: Features local artisans and crafters throughout the zoo grounds. Nov. 27 at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark, $10.
Lambs Farm Holiday Lights Gift & Craft Fair: Hundreds of vendors selling a wide array of items for holiday shoppers. The event benefits Libertyville’s Lambs Farm, an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities. Nov. 29-Dec. 2 at Arlington International Race Course, 2200 W. Euclid, Arlington Heights, $8 (parking $7.
Renegade Holiday Craft Fair: One of the best holiday markets where you can find affordable, handmade items for everyone on your Xmas list (including yourself). Dec. 1-2 at Bridgeport Arts Center, 1200 W. 35th, Free.
Holiday Market at Chicago Botanic Garden: Vendors offer locally made jams, soaps, spice blends and more. Dec. 1-2 at Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook, Glencoe, $8-$13, children under 2 free (parking $25).
Christmas Bazaar: Craft and bake sale plus music, dance and children’s activities. Breakfast is also offered ($5, $15). Dec. 2 at Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox, Free for sale and activities.
One of a Kind Holiday Gift Show: The popular market is the place to find unique gifts with more than 600 artists selling jewelry, household items, food, clothes, art and other items. Dec. 6-9 at Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, $12.
Krampus Fest: An artisan market featuring local artists, crafters and bakers plus German food and beer. Dec. 8 at Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln. Free
The Hideout’s Last Chance Holiday Sale: Features handmade items by local handcrafters including edibles, hand-knit items, books, artwork, jewelry, home goods and wearables. Dec. 18 at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia. Free
Uncle Dan’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: The 85th annual holiday parade includes marching bands, floats equestrian groups, cultural organizations and more. From 8- 11 a.m. Nov. 22, on State from Congress to Randolph. Free
Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co. Holiday Lights Tour: Showcases the holiday lights at popular destinations up and down the Magnificent Mile and State St. with two stops at Christkindlmarket and Lincoln Park Zoo’s ZooLights. Nov. 23-Dec. 23, tours begin and end at John Hancock Plaza, 875 N. Michigan, $20-$52.
Long Grove Home for the Holidays: Four weeks of holiday happenings include horse-drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa, strolling carolers and musicians, Christmas tree parade, Victorian buildings trimmed with lights. Nov. 23-Dec. 23 in downtown Long Grove, Old McHenry Rd and Robert Parker Coffin Rd. Free.
Light Up the Park: Holiday tree lighting plus Santa, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice carving (Nov. 24) and the Chicago Wolves Ice Rink (Nov. 24-Feb. 25) at Parkway Band Park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont. Free.
A John Waters Christmas: The legendary filmmaker, raconteur and author offers his take on the holidays. Nov. 28 at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, $35-$55.
Home for Hanukkah with Bubbe – An Interactive Holidays Experience: Bubbe and Zayde are having a Hanukkah open house, along with their family and special visits from friends, featuring stories, songs and good old-fashioned schmaltz! Wednesdays, Nov. 28-Dec. 19 at ComedySportz, 929 W. Belmont, 410.
The Buttcracker – A Nutcracker Burlesque: A variety show meets holiday party via burlesque, drag, magic, fire spinning, ballet and more. Nov. 28-Dec. 26 at Reggies Music Joint, 2105 S. State, $20-$40.
Cornelia Arts Building Holiday Open Studios: Explore studios and purchase artwork directly from the artists. Nov. 30 at Cornelia Arts Building, 1800 W. Cornelia. Free.
Toys for Tots Motorcycle Parade: The annual toy drive culminates in Chicago’s biggest motorcycle parade bringing gifts to children across the city. Dec. 2, beginning at Dan Ryan Woods, 83rd and Western.
“It’s A Wonderful Life” Pop Up Movie Night: FitzGerald’s reprises its popular pop-up nights with a screening of the classic Christmas movie, themed drinks (Flaming Rum Punch, ZuZu’s Petals), on-theme decor and period costume is encouraged. Dec, 3, 10, 17 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn, Free but reservations are suggested.
“White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” Screenings: Sing-a-long with the classic Irving Berlin tunes in “White Christmas” and enjoy the heartwarming tale of Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Dec. 7-24 at The Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, available in double feature or single screenings, advance tickets $10-$20, day of show $10-$24.
TBOX 12 Bars of Xmas Pub Crawl: Wrigleyville’s claim to fame after the Cubs? This pub-crawl said to be the world’s largest. Dec. 8 at various locations, $31.50-$39.99.
“It’s a Wonderful Life – Live Radio Broadcast”: Local radio talent performs the holiday classic, which will be aired on WJOL-AM (1340). Dec. 8 at Rialto Square Theatre, 102 N. Chicago, $10.
Erik and Jessie and Everyone You Know – Annual Holiday Party: Local actor/musicians Erik Hellman and Jessie Fisher present their version of a classic variety hour with music, comedy, magic and improv. Dec. 17 at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted, $20.
Jamie Allan’s iMagician: The British magician’s show features high-tech illusions, laser levitations, death-defying water chamber escapes and magic. Dec. 22-Jan. 6 at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph, $79.99-$159.99.
Christmas for the Jews: An evening of humor with Joel Chasnoff, Moody McCarthy and Rabbi Barry Schechter. Dec. 25 at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph, $28, $32.