Count down the days until Christmas (or Hanukkah or Festivus) with TOC's answer to the Advent calendar. Just cut out the icon for each day's event and stick it on the all-inclusive holiday bush. Sorry, no nativity lessons included.
Kick off the season with a fa-la-la at the Art Institute’s Holiday Choral Series. Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave (312-443-3600). Through Dec 5, 12:30–1pm; $12, seniors and students $7, kids under 12 free.
Meander through Christkindlmarket while sipping glühwein from a boot mug. Daley Plaza, Washington St at Dearborn St. Sun–Thu 11am–8pm; Fri and Sat 11am–9pm; through Dec 23. Dec 24, 11am–4pm. Admission free.
Need gifts? Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale deals only the hippest homemade goods. Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, 1419 W Blackhawk St (773-227-2707). Dec 6–7, 11am–7pm; admission free.
Ready your fake Brit accent for the Drake Hotel’s Holiday Tea. The Palm Court, 140 E Walton Pl (reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org, 312-787-2200). Daily 11am–5pm; through Jan 15. $31.95, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day $35.
Witness the old-timey splendor of the Glessner House Museum decorated for the holidays. 1800 S Prairie Ave at 18th St (312-326-1480). Glessner House tours Wed–Sun, 1, 3pm; through Jan 4. $10, seniors and students $9, kids $6.
During Mistletoe Mixology, Paul, the seasoned (har, har) bartender, gives cocktail-making tips and recipes. Four Seasons, 120 E Delaware Pl (312-280-8800 ext 2363). Dec 10, 6:30–8:30pm; $98.
Celebrate the holidays as your grandmother might have: lunching at the Walnut Room. Macy’s, 111 N State St, seventh floor (312-781-3125). Mon–Sat, 10am–7pm; Sun 11am–5pm; through Dec 24; average entrée $11.
The Swedish Lucia Celebration (a.k.a. the perilous parade of lit-candle crowns) hits the streets. Procession starts at Swedish American Museum, 5211 N Clark St (773-728-8111, samac.org). Dec 13 at 4:45pm; free.
Rudolph Ramble 8K lets you run—or stroll—off the holiday cookies. Lincoln Park, between Fullerton Pkwy and Diversey Ave (registration: 773-404-2372, caprievents.com). Dec 14 at 9am; $35.
The Seafarer puts you in the drama of the holidays (as if they weren’t already psychologically challenging enough!). Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N Halsted St (312-335-1650). Through Feb 8, $20–$70.
Weather’s frightful: Time for Chinese-food and a movie. Our most-anticipated winter flick: The Wrestler. Opens today. Just don’t take your mom to it. See timeoutchicago.com/nowplaying for showtimes.
Hit the ice and try not to make an ass out of yourself. Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink, Michigan Ave between Washington and Madison Sts (312-742-1168, millenniumpark.org). 10am–10pm, skate rental $10.
The Impressionist and Postimpressionist art returns! Take the fam for an early Christmas treat. Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave (312-443-3600). Mon–Wed 10:30am–5pm; Thu 10:30am–8pm; Fri 10:30am–5pm; Sat, Sun 10am–5pm; $12, seniors and students $7, kids under 12 free.
Get a primer on Kwanzaa (or pick up some holiday merch) at WVON Pre-Kwanzaa Fest. DuSable Leadership Academy of Betty Shabazz International Charter School, 4934 S Wabash Ave (773-247-6200, wvon.com). Dec 20, 21, 11am–6pm; free.
Opera buffs can give Handel a try at the DIY Messiah. Civic Opera House, 20 N Wacker Dr (tickets: 312-902-1500). Dec 21, 3pm; Dec 22, 7pm. Free.
The rest of us (read: skeptics, atheists and freethinkers) can hit up the Center For Inquiry meeting for a beer-filled nod to Festivus. Exchequer, 226 S Wabash Ave (centerforinquiry.net). 7–9pm; admission free.
Now that Hanukkah has begun, fry up some latkes. For your holiday treat, we recommend only the best potatoes: heirlooms from Green City Market. Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 Cannon Dr (chicagogreencitymarket.org). Wed, Sat 8am–1pm; admission free.