Regardless of what family traditions dictate, few people's ideal holiday weekend would be one spent entirely at home--and in a city that turns out for this season in such style, it would be a shame to miss out on a jaunt on the town this weekend. So whether you're lighting candles or circling a tree between Friday and Monday, factor in a visit to one of our top picks for Chicago's holiday celebrations. (And perhaps it's time to start a new Second City tradition.)
A Night at the Ballet
Want a perfect holiday evening for two, from orchestra-level tickets to the Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker to a room at one of Chicago's leading hotels, without having to go to the trouble of planning it? The JW Marriott has got you covered with their "A Night at the Ballet" package, which also includes cocktails at the hotel's lounge and a pre-show bite to eat.
Where: JW Marriott, 151 West Adams Street, Chicago
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24
A Christmas Story: The Musical
Has watching "A Christmas Story" on repeat while banned from the kitchen become an ad hoc holiday tradition since they started running marathons on TBS? Us too. Commit to it this year and take in the acclaimed musical version at the Chicago Theater.
Where: The Chicago Theater, 175 N. State Street, Chicago
A Klingon Christmas Carol
QISmaS DatIvjaj 'ej DIS chu' DatIvjaj! If this means anything to you, your presence is requested at "A Klingon Christmas Carol." Scrooge has no honor, nor courage, but must become a true warrior to save Tiny Tim. Performed in the original Klingon with English supertitles, the performance includes narrative analysis from The Vulcan Institute of Cultural Anthropology.
Where: Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23
A Depeche Mode Christmas
If you "Enjoy the Silence," then your ideal holiday weekend includes a not-so-silent night. Get your British electronic fix with a Depeche Mode Christmas, and boogie to your favorite hits to kick off your Christmas spirit.
Where: Debonair Social Club, 1575 N. Milwaukee, Chicago
When: 10 p.m. - 2 a.m. Friday, Dec. 23
Looking for a place to spend not-my-holiday's eve without losing touch with your own cultural heritage? Hub 51's got you covered with their tongue-in-cheek Hubukkah. Signature chicken egg rolls and Sangria made with Manischewitz commemorate your own Christmas Eve traditions, and DJs Poptastic will bring the party til 2 a.m.
Where: Hub 51, 51 W. Hubbard, Chicago
When: 10 a.m. - 2 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 24
Christkindlmarket: Last Day
You've been meaning to swing by Daley plaza for a hot, spiced drink, some last-minute gift-buying and an indulgent, sugary treat, right? Plan a trip today, because the German holiday fair packs up at 4 p.m. Saturday. Don't let the season pass you by without adding to your ceramic boot-mug collection.
Where: Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington St., Chicago
When: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
La Cage Aux Folles
Though not decidedly a Christmas story, anyone bringing home a significant other with some trepidation can relate to the comedy of errors that unfolds in "La Cage Aux Folles." Bring all relevant parties and embrace it as an ice-breaker.
Where: Bank of America Theater, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24
Christmas Eve Party at Spy Bar
Are your traditional Christmas Eve plans seriously lacking in dance music and attractive partygoers? Relocate to Spy Bar, where they're rolling out a Christmas Eve party spun by Dino G and Agent 47. No word on if they'll serve eggnog, but its key ingredient is sure to be flowing.
Where: Spy Bar, 646 N. Franklin St., Chicago
When: 10 p.m. - 4 a.m.
Price: Free before 12 a.m., $20 after
Yuletide Cheer Seasonal Martini Bar at Conrad Chicago
Do you find your Christmas day rolls out more evenly with something to take the edge off? Grab Christmas dinner at the Conrad Chicago and upgrade to a holiday package with a seasonal martini bar, special parking privileges and an after-dinner sweets station. Coming home to a clean kitchen never felt so good.
Where: Conrad Chicago, 521 N. Rush St., Chicago
When: 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 25
Hannukatz: The Musical
Imagine if the angsty felines from "Cats" faced the added stressors of burning candles, dreidel gambling and latke-frying duty. They'd probably turn to rock 'n roll music to deal with it, too. Inspired by Terry Abrahamson's best-selling "Mad Magazine Meets the Talmud," "Hannukatz" retells the story of history’s first oil crisis.
Where: National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago
When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 25
Jingle Your Bells at Sushisamba Rio
Looking for a more exotic experience to serve with your Americana Christmas? 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)
Christmas Dinner at C-House
Get all your classic Christmas flavors shaken up at C-House's Christmas dinner, where your gingerbread will be served as a torte and your main bird's a roasted goose with foie gras. If you can stand to pass on your great aunt's mashed potatoes this year, you'll be rewarded with a goat cheese souffle substitute--we think that's a suitable tradeoff.
Where: C-House Restaurant, 166 E. Superior St.
When: 4 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 25