The MART's One of a Kind Show and Sale®, 2021.
The MART's One of a Kind Show and Sale®, 2021.

Whether stuffing your stockings with unique gifts or filling your life with enjoyable experiences, a host of holiday options await Chicagoland residents.

More than 500 artists and artisans, as well as musicians and chefs, will be on hand at the MART for the One of a Kind Show and Sale®. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to once again connect the show’s enormously gifted artists and makers with such a loyal community that values and supports hand-crafted work,” says Kathleen Hogan, sales director of the show. A portion of the ticket sales ($15 for four days, Dec. 1-4) benefit the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

The second annual Andersonville Winter Market (Dec. 2-4) features free trolley rides as well as vintage items and handcrafted goods from local artisans. Concurrent events include the Swedish American Museum’s annual Christmas bazaar Julmarknad (Dec. 3-4) for all, as well as JOY On Clark Street (Nov. 29) for adults (60+). The festivities include food, drink, entertainment.

From Nov. 25 through Jan. 6, Greektown visitors can enjoy blue and white lights decorating Halsted Street and the Karavákia display of illuminated boats in area businesses. On Dec. 15, Artopolis Café welcomes shoppers to a cocktail tasting of Metaxa Greek Brandy with live music (5-8pm). Thanks to Greektown Chicago, a Holiday Shopper’s Reward Program (offering a $50 rebate for shopping diners) is available through Dec. 31. Live Love Shop Rogers Park will also offer $50 rebates to shoppers who patronize independently-owned businesses in Rogers Park from Nov. 26 through Dec. 31.

Dear Sophie, Love Sophie” is a visual memoir of diary entrees, letters, and lists by Sophie Lucido Johnson. Through words and graphics, the Chicago author, New Yorker cartoonist and ChiArts teacher talks to her teenage self about body image, queer identity, first love, and other poignant topics. Young women may also want to explore “Somebody to Love: The Story of Valerie June’s Sweet Little Baby Banjolele” written by Grammy-nominated musician Valerie June and illustrated by Marcela Avelar.

Presented as a children’s book, “QAnon A thru Z: My Baby’s First Conspiracy Theories” by Chicago-based performers Tierza Scaccia and Nicholas Bernardi is designed for grownup voters as it humorously recaps some alternative facts from 2022. “Everyone who flips through this book laughs,” says co-author Bernardi, who plays Bret Hart on NBC’s Young Rock. “I think the book does a good job of making light of a serious and scary moment in modern American history.”

The Driehaus Museum celebrates the season with festive events, including Make Your Own Gingerbread Mansion (Dec. 10) and Holiday Tea Time at the Murphy Auditorium (Dec. 17), while Mary Zimmerman directs her adaptation of The Steadfast Tin Soldier (through Jan. 8) at Lookingglass Theatre in the Water Tower Water Works building. 

Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre welcomes Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, a reinvented rendition of Handel’s Christmas classic with soloists Alfreda Burke, Karen-Marie Richardson and Rodrick Dixon (Dec. 3-4), and Celtic Woman (Dec. 11). The all-female group will perform A Christmas Symphony with a full orchestra of Chicago Philharmonic musicians. “The Auditorium Theatre is proud to host performers from across globe,” notes CEO Rich Regan. “We are excited for Celtic Woman to share Christmas traditions from their home country of Ireland with the greater Chicago community this holiday season.”

Good tidings descend into chaos in Ray Cooney’s British farce It Runs in the Family at the Citadel Theatre (through Dec. 18). Pat Murphy directs the holiday comedy featuring Aimee Kleiman, Tim Walsh, and David Whitlock.

Meghan Babbe, Jordan Savusa, E.J. Cameron, Vernon Mina, Jackie Southee, Alison Banowsky in Jingle Bell Ruckus. Photo by Tim Schmidt

The Second City presents a Holiday Improv Brunch (Sundays at noon); an original sketch, improv and variety show entitled What the Elf? (Thursdays-Saturdays 8pm; Sundays 7pm) and The Best of Holidays musical and comical celebration (Mondays 8pm, Saturdays 3pm) at its Chicago digs. The Second City will also perform Jingle Bell Ruckus at the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) in Glen Ellyn on Dec. 10 (5pm, 8pm). 

Connie Canaday Howard and Amelia Barrett respectively direct Season’s Greetings (through Dec. 18) performed by the Buffalo Theatre Ensemble and the College of DuPage Theater’s A Christmas Carol at the MAC. The venue will also ring in 2023 with three New Year’s Eve Concerts (Dec. 31). Each performance includes the Glen Ellyn New Philharmonic, guest artist Mischa Bouvier, the members of the electric violin group The CoverGirls, party favors and a champagne toast.

Ms. Arvia is a Rebellious columnist and movie critic; entertainment ghostwriter; award-winning artist; and grant-winning filmmaker.