The big picture: Nutcrackers, Scrooges and carolers abound

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. For to quick links to specific topics of interest, we’ve got that for you below.

Winter WonderFest will run Nov. 30, 2018 through Jan. 6, 2019 at Navy Pier. | Nick Ulivieri Photography

Winter WonderFest will run Nov. 30, 2018 through Jan. 6, 2019 at Navy Pier. | Nick Ulivieri Photography

What’s on stage? Our guide to what’s playing around town

From beloved classics such as “Holiday Inn” and “Miracle on 34th Street” to hugely innovative fare such “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” and “Burning Bluebeard,” here’s a look at what’s playing on area stages this holiday season.

“The Steadfast Tin Soldier — A Christmas Pantomime” runs through Jan. 13, 2019, at Lookingglass Theatre. | Liz Lauren

“The Steadfast Tin Soldier — A Christmas Pantomime” runs through Jan. 13, 2019, at Lookingglass Theatre. | Liz Lauren

‘The Nutcracker’: There’s likely one dancing near you

From the traditional to the offbeat, classic tale somewhere in the Chicago area.

Joffrey Ballet dancers Miguel Angel Blanco and Amanda Assucena in "The Nutcracker." | Cheryl Mann/File

Joffrey Ballet dancers Miguel Angel Blanco and Amanda Assucena in “The Nutcracker.” | Cheryl Mann/File

‘A Christmas Carol’: Our guide to the area’s productions

The beloved Charles Dickens tale is coming to life on stages across the Chicago area.

Larry Yando stars as Scrooge in Goodman Theatre's production of "A Christmas Carol," directed by Henry Wishcamper. | Liz Lauren

Larry Yando stars as Scrooge in Goodman Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” directed by Henry Wishcamper. | Liz Lauren

Holiday music in Chicago: John Legend, Pentatonix, Camila Cabello and more

Ring in the holidays by attending concerts across the area.

John Legend performs onstage at Q85: A Musical Celebration for Quincy Jones at the Microsoft Theatre on September 25, 2018 in Los Angeles. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

John Legend performs onstage at Q85: A Musical Celebration for Quincy Jones at the Microsoft Theatre on September 25, 2018 in Los Angeles. | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Hubbard Street, Shen Yun and more dance programs in store

Fancy footwork abounds on Chicago-area stages. Here are some dance programs to check out in the coming weeks.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in "Clan(device)" by Alice Klock. | © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in “Clan(device)” by Alice Klock. | © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Plenty of holiday fun at Chicago’s museums, zoos, gardens

Here are a few entertainment suggestions the whole family will enjoy this holiday season throughout the Chicago area.

"Illumination: Tree Lights" at Morton Arboretum.

“Illumination: Tree Lights” at Morton Arboretum. | Michael Hudson