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It’s a wonderful time of year, indeed, but also one that poses many questions. Such as: What in Santa’s name do I do with my family for five whole days? From milk-and-cookies pedicures to catching a Thanksgiving comedy, here’s what. (You may even have fun.)


See a Holiday Play

You could see The Nutcracker at the Joffrey Ballet (always lovely) or take in A Christmas Carol at the Goodman (it’s a true classic). But if you really want to bond with your family, see if you can score tickets to Pilgrim’s Progress. A Red Orchid Theater’s latest play takes place on Thanksgiving and makes the August: Osage crew look downright functional. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe and--we can pretty much guarantee--you’ll appreciate the family you have. Oh, and did we mention it stars Michael Shannon?

Through December 13; A Red Orchid Theater, 1531 N. Wells St.; 312-943-8722; ticket info here


Get a Milk and Cookies Pedicure

Every holiday season, the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago turns its elevator into a gingerbread house paved with actual cookies. Take a sweet-smelling ride to the hotel spa, which is offering a seasonal Milk and Cookies Pedicure for both kids and adults starting on December 1. The service includes a milk bath soak and a snack of warm cookies, naturally.

401 N. Wabash Ave.; 312-588-8000 or


Check Out All the Twinkly Sights

Fact: Visitors to Chicago need an architectural tour, and the boat cruise isn’t happening this time of year. But the Chicago Trolley Double Decker’s Holiday Lights Tour is a fine (and sparkly) substitution. Starting and ending at the John Hancock Plaza, the two-and-a-half-hour tours travel past lights decking the Mag Mile, Macy’s holiday windows, State Street and nearby neighborhoods. The tour also stops at two must-see holiday events: the German-style marketplace Christkindlmarket and ZooLights. Sweeter yet, each guest gets a free Sprinkles cupcake.

Holiday Lights Tours run November 27 through January 3; tickets must be purchased 24 hours in advance at


Sip Fancy Hot Chocolate

NoMi at the Park Hyatt Chicago gives a gorgeous view of Michigan Avenue and the lake, which means it?s great for tourists. It also has the best hot chocolate in town, which means it?s great for?everyone. Now open for the holiday season, the restaurant?s cocoa bar serves bittersweet drinking chocolate with toppings like candied orange peel, cinnamon sticks and homemade marshmallows.

800 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-239-4030 or


And Why Not Have a Doughnut for Brunch?

Since one can never have too many sweets (especially during the holidays), take the family to La Briola Chicago, which is in the middle of the holiday-shopping madness on Michigan Avenue. The restaurant’s fine dining room, La Stanza Ristorante, has a new Sunday brunch that offers--prepare yourself--a DIY doughnut bar. You’ll top glazed cakes with seasonal extras like pumpkin pie crumbles. There are also Bloody Marys made tableside and savory entrées like lobster thermidor Benedict.

535 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-955-3100 or

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