Chicago's Jewish Christmas Guide: Alternatives For Dec. 24th And 25th (PHOTOS)
Hanukkah may overlap Christmas this year, but menorah-lighters aren't expecting that to diminish Santa's power over this season.
Luckily, that fact helps preserve a parallel tradition: yuletide abstainers painting the otherwise red-and-green town. Particularly for Chicago's Jewish residents, the two days Christmas revelers spend holed up with family, reenacting eggnog- and tinsel-drenched rituals, are two days to dominate the city's nightlife. Check out a host of events citywide to entertain the stocking-free, or poach plans from some notable, elfless Chicagoans.
SATURDAY, DEC. 24 (CHRISTMAS EVE)
Ever wish you could do your b'nai mitzvah over again? Similar crowd, similar playlist, but after your awkward phase and with a better-stocked bar? Hit up Rockit Bar & Grill for a do-over filled with food, drinks and tunes, and stay out later than last time for the official after party at The Underground.
Where: Rockit Bar and Grill River North, 22 W. Hubbard, Chicago
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24
Price: $30 GA, $350 VIP
Hot, tasty and tightly-packed can describe a good matzo ball floating in soup, or one of the biggest annual Christmas parties for young, urban Jews. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Matzoball goes down this year in eight cities. Chicago's is hosted at Mercadito, and VIP tickets come with a Canastita sharing menu and signature drinks.
Where: Mercadito a la Planxa
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24
Price: $30 GA, $65 VIP
SUNDAY, DEC. 25 (CHRISTMAS DAY)
Chinese food and a movie has long been a Jewish-Christmas staple outing, and this year, Aria makes it easy. The chic Asian-fusion restaurant and bar in the Fairmont Hotel is offering a special "Sticks-n-Flicks" package: a special three-course Chinese menu comes with a ticket for the AMC River East Theater a block and a half away. (Check out their showing schedule here.)
Address: Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus Drive, Chicago
Christmas Hours: 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Cost: $45 per person
Into the idea of holiday carols but looking for lyrics you can better relate to? Rockapella founder Sean Altman is performing "Jewmongous: Unkosher Comedy Songs" at the Skokie Theater, an acclaimed comedy song concert debuted in 2006 that has sold out 25 U.S. cities. Sing along with new classics, like "Reuben the Hook-Nosed Reindeer" and "They Tried To Kill Us (We Survived, Let's Eat)."
Where: Skokie Theater, 7924 N. Lincoln Ave, Skokie
When: 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 25
If you revel in the freedom to eat more exotically while your Christian friends chow through Thanksgiving: The Sequel, Sushisamba Rio's Christmas Day cuisine mingles Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian flavors for a meal with more miles on it than Santa's sleigh.
Where: Sushisamba Rio, 504 N. Wells Street, Chicago
When: 12 p.m. - 2 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 25
Price: Free (Entrees $20-40)
Here's what some notable Jewish Chicagoans have planned for this weekend: