Christmas, Hanukkah events, food and celebrations in Chicago

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While perhaps not quite meeting the breakneck production pace of Santa’s elves, we at the Chicago Tribune have been merrily working away to share all the best and brightest elements of the holiday season in Chicago.

Whether it’s finding the best light shows in town, helping to plan your holiday party with easy snack recipes, offering gift ideas or roundup up the most delicious holiday dinner specials around, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our complete list of 2022 holiday coverage.

People take in the scened as Chicago’s Christmas tree is lit in Millennium Park on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.

The city’s first official Christmas tree was lit on Christmas Eve 1913 by Mayor Carter H. Harrison Jr., as heralding trumpets played atop the balcony of the Chicago Athletic Association building on Michigan Avenue.

Though the tree’s location has been changed several times since then — including a move in 2015 to Millennium Park — the lighting ceremony has always been a highlight of the holiday season.

Learn more about this year’s tree, the history of the lighting ceremony and more fun facts here.

5-year-old Hazel Berger looks up while being carried by her father Joel Berger as they've walk along North Michigan Avenue as temperatures rise to the mid-50s Sunday Dec. 29, 2019 in Chicago.

The high of 64 degrees on Dec. 25, 1982 was the warmest Christmas recorded in Chicago since 1871. The following year, however, Chicago experienced the low temperature of minus 17 degrees — the city’s coldest Christmas.

Here’s a chronological look back at how the Chicago Tribune covered the Top 10 Christmas temperature highs and lows.

Members of the Delapava family, who are visiting Chicago from Colombia, walk along Michigan Avenue during a snowfall Dec. 24, 2017.

The National Weather Service considers Christmas to be white only when snow depth on the ground is 1 inch or more the morning of Dec. 25.

So, any snow that could fall later that day? Pretty, but it doesn’t count.

Based on climate normals from 1991-2020, the National Centers for Environmental Information predicts the probability of a white Christmas each here. Here’s what they have to say for 2022.

The dining area of The Bagel Restaurant and Deli is seen on June 27, 2022.

As Hanukkah celebrations get underway, Jewish restaurants across Chicagoland are ushering in this year’s Festival of Lights in ways as resilient as they are delicious.

The Chicago Tribune embarked on a similarly spanned jaunt, surveying how one of the world’s oldest belief systems is channeled into culinary excellence at eight restaurants in Chicago and the suburbs.

Visitors take pictures while walking through a light installation titled, "Winter Cathedral," at "Lightscape," an illuminated trail at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in Glencoe.

What better way to celebrate the holidays than strolling through the crisp winter air while gazing at some brilliant light displays?

Here is our list of sparkling light shows in and around Chicago, with a few indoor options if you want to avoid the cold, as well as some in-person reports.

Aya Rasekh takes a photograph of her daughter Sophia behind a snow globe as the Orlando, Florida residents tour the Museum of Ice Cream’s Pinkmas holiday pop-up on the first floor of Tribune Tower in Chicago on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022.

Snow, sleet and freezing rains will become more of a constant as the weather outside gets frightful this winter.

But these indoor holiday delights, including a lumberjack lodge, brunch with Santa and plenty of photo ops offer something for everyone in your crew — and a few even continue after December, so the holiday spirit can carry you into 2023.

The cookbook author Lindsay-Jean Hard cooks with bananas in Ann Arbor, Mich., May 5, 2021. Hard is an expert on no-waste cuisine and wrote a book about cooking with scraps.

If you’re the type of cook with well-thumbed cookbooks filled with your most-used recipes — or know someone who is — you understand how essential they are.

So we at the Chicago Tribune have pulled together a list of our top tried-and-trues — the desert island cookbooks, if you will. Give them to a loved one who might be new to cooking or an old pro who could use some new ideas.

Holiday book suggestions for 2022.

Writer Christopher Borrelli has a list of great books to give as gifts, as well as the message it sends to the recipient. Wanna say “You watch too many movies, I want you to read, but I’m doubtful?” He’s got just the books to say that.

Doughnuts from Masa Madre.

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, runs from Dec. 18-26 this year, chasing away the winter chill with nightly candle lighting and hearty meals with an emphasis on fried food.

Restaurants and bakeries throughout the Chicago area are making celebrating easier by serving up traditional holiday fare like potato latkes and sufganiyot for dine-in or as part of to-go packages for gatherings at home.

The cast of the Joffrey Ballet's annual performance of "The Nutcracker" at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago.

This year’s holiday events calendar is packed with shows for everyone. From Joffrey Ballet’s Chicago-themed version of “The Nutcracker” to “Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol,” here is our guide for putting a little extra cheer into the rest of the year.

Larry Yando (Ebenezer Scrooge), Penelope Walker (Mrs. Fezziwig/ Mrs. Crumb) and Susaan Jamshidi (Mrs. Cratchit/ Ortle) in the 42nd annual production of A Christmas Carol, directed by Henry Wishcamper at Goodman Theatre (November 16 – December 29, 2019).

If that comprehensive guide is a little overwhelming, critic Chris Jones highlights a few shows to watch, including Goodman Theatre’s classic “A Christmas Carol” and Northlight Theatre’s fun take on Jane Austen with “Georgiana & Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley.”

A variety of easy dip and not dip party snacks, Nov. 16, 2022. A survival kit for the holiday season should include a Rolodex of appetizers that can be thrown together quickly or made ahead — ideally both.

These fun and festive snacks are the types of no-recipe recipes that are more about shopping and assembling than precise measuring.

Pick one or two from each category, aiming for a happy balance of textures and flavors. For gathering the whole family, re-watching “Elf” with your cat and every special occasion in between, here’s an app for that.

Christmas beers, from elegant Belgian imports to wild American brews packed with ingredients echoing the holidays, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022.

Candy canes are fun. Gift cards are useful. But nothing festively stuffs a stocking — or brightens a Hanukkah or Kwanzaa for that matter — quite like a beer tasting of the season.

Here are our 10 favorite festive finds, listed in alphabetical order, each guaranteed to help create the happiest of holidays.

Chicago sommeliers offer their favorite wines for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve, (l-r) Bénédicte et Stéphane Tissot NV Indigène Extra Brut Crémant du Jura ($42), Field Recordings BOXÍE Central Coast ($36) and Bénédicte et Stéphane Tissot NV Indigène Extra Brut Crémant du Jura, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022.

There’s nothing more festive than that pop of Champagne and a resounding clink of glasses to ring in the holiday season.

But with Christmas and New Year’s festivities looming, choosing wines for the steady succession of holidays can be a bit stressful too. Chicago sommeliers are here to help, offering their expertise for the season, with best bottles for each holiday.

2022 Holiday Cookie Contest winner Chocolate Salted-Caramel Surprise Cookies by Caroline Crispino, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.

Our three winning cookie recipes for the 36th annual Holiday Cookie Contest offer an ideal variety of cookies for spreading cheer this season.

Find the recipes for Decorated Snickerdoodle Sugar Cookies, Marbled Pistachio Almond Cookies, and our first-place winner, Chocolate Salted-Caramel Surprise Cookies. Learn more about how they crafted their award-winning recipes here.

Tribune reporter Kori Rumore recreated the Avocado Pointsettia Pie recipe, originally published in the Dec. 16, 1964, Chicago Tribune.

These vintage Tribune recipes were easy to complete, even for a novice cook. It was harder to find some of the ingredients in the grocery store — who has pimento strips these days? — than it was to prep these dishes. A half-century later, nothing was lost in translation.

A snow plow heads north on California Boulevard outside the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago as wintry weather returns to the region on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022.

Snow-prah Winfrey, Bill-izzard Murray, Salt-er Payton, Jane Brrrrr-ne or Mrs. O’Leary’s Plow could be coming to a Chicago street near you this winter.

The city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation launched its first-ever contest to name six snowplows — one for each snow district — in its fleet of almost 300 baby-blue “Snow Fighting Trucks.” Find out how to enter here.

The Chicago Bears vs the Houston Texans. The Bears lost 25-5 on Dec. 19, 2004.

The Bears are 6-4 during their 10 coldest games at Soldier Field since they began playing their home games there in 1971 — including 3 wins and 2 losses against the Packers.

Here’s a rundown of each game, the starting temperatures, and the chilling outcomes.

Forest Whitaker as Jeronicus Jangle in "Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey."

Critic Michael Phillips’ list of holiday flicks offers something for everyone: Some movies are old. Some aren’t. Some you know. Some you won’t. Some are grisly. Most are not. Happy viewing and stay warm.

From left: Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler host Season 2 of "Baking It."

These days, holiday television offerings span a range of categories: Cheapo movies, reality shows, old classics you can dig up on streaming and more. Critic Nina Metz offers a sampling of what you can watch this season.

Sam Page and Lacey Chabert in "Christmas in Rome."

If you’re particularly interested in cheesy holiday romantic comedies like “The Christmas Prince” and “Princess Switch,” Deputy senior editor Kayla Samoy offers a selection of five movies that have just the right level of cheese and are actually worth watching.

Carolyn Pinta’ s kitchen table.

A few weeks ago, columnist Heidi Stevens wrote about a campaign to send holiday cards to LGBTQ folks who’ve been shunned by their families — who aren’t invited home, who’ve been cut off from the warmth of tradition — because of who they are or who they love.

As soon as her article posted, she started getting a flood of messages from people who wanted to contribute.

A  first edition of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer", bottom, and an original layout, top, part of a special collection at Dartmouth College, are displayed on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011 in Hanover, N.H.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was conceived for a purely Scrooge-like reason — to make money.

Thankfully, its creator saw the Montgomery Ward marketing campaign as an opportunity to be as bold in his writing as the fantastical flying stag with a blindingly bright beak he invented. More than 80 years after its inception, here’s how Rudolph — a completely Chicago concoction — became a Christmas icon.

The holiday meal is over, it was lovely, thanks, so you stand, stretch and say "Well ..." And the process begins.

“‘Tis the season for lingering in doorways,” Christopher Borrelli writes. “We spend so much time standing on a threshold, one hand on a doorknob, resisting leftovers, hugging, promising to return, resisting leftovers once again, listening to just one more story, being unable to extract ourselves.”

Here he explains the Midwest Goodbye.

Big screen or home stream, takeout or dine-in, Tribune writers are here to steer you toward your next great experience. Sign up for your free weekly Eat. Watch. Do. newsletter here.



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