All presents accounted for
Find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list at December's best bazaars
Art of the Ornament Benefit
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, eighth floor, between Orleans and Wells Sts (312-527-7555). Fri 2, 5–8pm. Admission: $25
Nibble hors d'oeuvres as you check out handmade holiday ornaments by more than 80 Chicago artists at this event benefiting Pediatric AIDS Chicago and the Chicago Art Foundation, a newly formed museum celebrating Chicago art. For a twist, see whether Chicago Bulls Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon should stick to jump shots as you examine pieces from the three hardwood stars.
Lillstreet Art Center HolidayExhibition and Sale and Two-Day Open House
4401 N Ravenswood Ave at Montrose Ave (773-327-3830). Open House: Sat 3, 10am–8pm; Sun 4, 10am–6pm. Sale: Sat 3–Dec 31: Mon–Thu 10am–7:30pm; Fri, Sat 10am–6pm; Sun 10am–5pm. Admission: Free
The kids can make handmade holiday cards and ornaments while you load up this sale's numbers game: Nearly 100 local artists showing off more than 3,500 handcrafted items, a broad selection that includes more than 2,000 ceramic pieces, 1,500 pieces of jewelry and 200 textile pieces. While you're filling your basket with items priced between $14 and $3,000, stop by the booth of Hasnat Karim, a Bangladesh-born Chicago artist and potter who specializes in functional art inspired by the architecture of the Windy City.
The One-of-a-Kind Show and Sale
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, eighth floor, between Orleans and Wells Sts (800-677-6278), Spree!: Thu 1, 4–9pm. First Look Evening: Thu 1, 6–9pm. Show: Fri 2, 11am–8pm; Sat 3, 10am–8pm; Sun 4, 10am–5pm. Spree! admission: $100. First Look Evening admission: $10. Show admission: $10 adults, $7 students and seniors, kids under 12 free
Meet and greet the artists as you shop for one-of-a-kind everything—paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry, clothing, furniture, home accessories and more—at Chicago's largest indoor art sale. Admission to the sale and Thursday-night preview is $10, but $100 gets you into Spree!, a special preview party hosted by the Women's Board of Children's Memorial Hospital that includes cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a two-hour jump start on the shopping floor, with exclusive access for party attendees from 4 to 6pm.
Irish American Heritage Center Christmas Bazaar and Bake Sale
4626 N Knox Ave between Wilson and Leland Aves (773-282-7035, ext 10). Sun 4, 9am–4pm. Admission: $8 adults, $4 children (admission charges are for breakfast only; all other events are free)
Brush up your brogue as you munch away at a traditional Irish breakfast of eggs and black-and-white pudding. The Irish Heritage Singers will entertain you while you dine at this holiday heritage event. If you're still hungry, pick up some homemade pies, bread, scones, cakes or cookies to snack on while you browse the bazaar of Irish-American crafts and imports. Don't skip Santa Claus, who pops into the pub from 1 to 3pm. No word yet on whether he'll be wearing green.
Julmarknad Holiday Bazaar
Swedish American Museum, 5211 N Clark St between Foster and Farragut Aves (773-728-2995). Sat 3, 10am–5pm; Sun 4, 11am–4pm. Admission: $2
Shop for hand-painted glass, Swedish antiques, stuffed animals, handmade straw weavings and holiday food at this annual Swedish bazaar. Enjoy traditional Swedish folk music and dancing as you view wares from vendors and the museum store. Little ones can enjoy the third-floor Children's Museum, which features games, crafts and other activities, including a special visit from Jultomten (that's Swedish for "Santa").
HotHouse Annual Holiday Market31 E Balbo Ave between State St and Wabash Ave (312-362-9707). Dec 17, 18; 11am–6pm. Admission: Free
HotHouse, the Center for International Performance and Exhibition, hosts this annual weekend market of artisan gifts. Shop for handmade soaps from Luv A Dub Dub, hand-wire jewelry from Fleur de Girl, handbags from Zola Jones Designs and hand-knit scarves from Nelson Sears. If your hands aren't tired from all the browsing, enjoy a glass of cider while waiting to get your palms read by Jenine Esco, an on-site tarot-card reader.
Pediatric AIDS Chicago Purse Bazaar
Mystic Celt, 3443 N Southport Ave at Newport Ave (773-469-4009). Wed 7, 6:30–9:30pm. Admission: $20
Spend an afternoon shopping on Southport before perusing purses and handbags at a fraction of their retail value. Drink wine or beer and nosh on light appetizers—which are included in the admission price—as you shop for unique offerings from local and national designers, with all proceeds benefiting Pediatric AIDS Chicago.
WomynArt Art Show & Craft Bazaar
Kindred Hearts, St. James Presbyterian Church, 6554 N Rockwell St between Arthur and Albion Aves. Sat 3, noon–6pm. Admission: Free
WomynArt, Chicago's only all-LGBT women's art show, offers arts and crafts from self-identified nonstraight women artists, with all proceeds benefiting Chicago Rainbow and Kindred Hearts, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the lesbian and bisexual community. Shop among the wares, or commission a piece from one of the event's jewelers, goldsmiths or apparel makers. If you're feeling especially wild, tattoo artists will be on hand to consult you on your next spot of ink.
And don't miss...
Bring this page to receive free admission (regularly $2) to the Bucktown Holiday ArtShow. 2200 N Oakley Ave at Palmer St (312-409-4658). Dec 10, 11; 11am–5pm.Find hundreds of hip handmade goods at DEPART-ment. Open-End Gallery, 2000 W Fulton St at Damen Ave. Fri 2, 7–11pm; Sat 3, Sun 4, 11am–5pm.Shop, meet Santa and raise funds for the Frances Xavier Ward School. 751 N State St at Chicago Ave. Sat 3, 10am–4pm.European goods and food abound at Christkindlmarket. Daley Plaza, Washington St at Clark St. Through Dec 22. Hours vary.The Thai Holiday Market brings hundreds of Asian gifts and snacks to town. The Golden Triangle, 72 W Hubbard St (312-755-1266). Dec 10, 17; 10am–5pm.Shimmy, sing and square-dance after shopping the Old Town School of Folk Music's bazaar. 4544 N Lincoln Ave (773-728-6000). Fri 2, 6:30–10pm.