So Merry & Bright

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In Chicago there’s more than 12 days of Christ­mas with plenty of fes­tive the­ater, daz­zling lights, joy­ful car­ol­ing and vis­its with Santa all month long. Whether you’re with fam­ily or treat­ing your­self to a va­ca­tion be­fore all the big gath­er­ings, here are the ways to re­ally cel­e­brate the sea­son.

Make your first stop at one of the Christ­mas tree or light dis­plays in town. The Mu­seum of Science & In­dus­try hosts its an­nual Christ­mas Around The World & Hol­i­days Of Lights ex­trav­a­ganza in the main ro­tunda fea­tur­ing 50 pine trees dec­o­rated with col­ors and tra­di­tions of dif­fer­ent coun­tries around the world. Through Jan­uary 5. www. There’s also the of­fi­cial city tree at

Mil­len­nium Park; here too you can join in Car­ol­ing at Cloud Gate at 6 pm on Fri­day nights, De­cem­ber 6, 13 and 20.

If you’re look­ing for daz­zling light dis­plays, head to Lin­coln Park Zoo where more than 2.5 mil­lion bulbs and an­i­mated fea­tures il­lu­mi­nate the park in a col­or­ful win­ter won­der­land. Spe­cial events in­clude BrewLights (Dec. 12) with craft beer ven­dors. Through Jan­uary 5. www.lp­ New this year, Chicago Botanic

Gar­den presents Lightscape, a mile-long path­way brought to life with il­lu­mi­na­tion, sound and scent like the frank­in­cense-filled gar­den and a choir of singing trees. Through Jan­uary 5. www.chicagob­

Christ­mas in Chicago wouldn’t be

com­plete with­out a great the­atric show and there’s plenty to choose from this month in­clud­ing peren­nial fa­vorites like Dick­ens’ clas­sic “A Christ­mas Carol” at the Good­man Theatre ( www.good­manthe­atre. org) and the daz­zling de­light of The Bal­let’s “The Nutcracker” ( www. jof­ set at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Both run through Dec. 29. Cirque Du Soleil also presents “‘Twas The Night Be­fore” ac­ro­batic spec­ta­cle at the Chicago Theatre, through Dec. 8 ( www.tick­et­mas­ter. com). And for jolly laughs check out David Sedaris’ wickedly funny “San­ta­land Diaries,” also at the Good­man Theatre through Dec. 29. For a chance to see Santa Claus, head to the 900 N. Michi­gan Ave

nue Shops where good old St. Nick will set up ev­ery day through Dec. 24 to see vis­i­tors and take part in spe­cial photo ops (with the help of a vir­tual queue).

One of our fa­vorite hol­i­day tra­di­tions is the Christkind­l­mar­ket, mod­eled af­ter Ger­man Christ­mas mar­kets in Mu­nich with au­then­tic food, spiced wine and hol­i­day gift ven­dors; find it at Da­ley Plaza and in Wrigleyvil­le. www.christkind­l­mar­



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