Friday, December 4, 2015

Macy's Holiday Window Displays

For kids in the Chicago area, a trip to State Street to view the window displays at Macy's (formerly Marshall Fields) is often an annual holiday tradition. This year, Macy's window's include an ode to Charlie Brown and the Peanuts and also a space/planet themed series. Strolling down State Street at Christmastime is a truly magical experience, no matter how old you are. Complete your visit with a stop in the food court, the purchase of some Frango Mints and lunch in the Walnut Room.

You can also take a short jaunt down Washington to Daley Plaza and visit Christkindlmarket while you're in the Loop. It's another holiday happening that is a must if you live in or around the city.

Festival of Lights returns to Lansing Historical Museum

Why head all the way to the Museum of Science and Industry to see trees of different countries and cultures when there's a significant exhibit in the burbs? The Lansing Historical Society's annual Festival of Lights is open for the season featuring about 30 trees, most of them representing different cultures around the world, with a few locally-focused trees added to the mix. The big undertaking of moving out regular displays and setting up and decorating trees is about a 4-week project and the results are amazing.

Admission to the exhibit is free and a special guided tour can also be set up for groups interested in visiting. Call (708) 474-7497 if you are interested in a tour. The Lansing Historical Museum has extended hours for the holiday season:

Monday and Tuesday: 6 - 8 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday:  3 - 5 p.m.
Saturday: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

*Also, the museum is open for viewing on Dec. 12 from 5 - 6:30 p.m. prior to the library's Legacy Girl's Concert.

Lansing Historical Museum
(housed in the lower level of the Lansing Public Library)
2750 Indiana Avenue
Lansing, IL

Chicago's ChristkindleMarket

If you have never visited Chicago's Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza, it's a fun holiday tradition that need to be on your itinerary. Modeled after Nuremberg's traditional holiday market which originated in Germany in the 1500's, Christkindlmarket came to Chicago in 1996 and was moved to it's current spot at Daley Plaza in 1997. It's Chicago's largest open-air Christmas market.

It opens daily at 11 a.m., so you can pay a visit in the daytime hours when you're likely to see less of a crowd and have a little warmth from the sun.

The plaza is lined with little booths with most of the vendors coming from Germany and it's region selling beautiful handcrafted wares - jewelry, clocks, ornaments and more. You'll also find German entertainment and lots of hearty, German food and spiced wine in adorable commemorative boot mugs. There's activities for kids that you can pursue online - scavenger hunts and a passport for stamping.

My friends, Debbie and Lynn joined me for a visit to Christkindlmarket on opening day - on a surprisingly and pleasantly warm evening before our first snowfall.

Unfortunately we had just come from a tasting at a newly-opened restaurant and were too full to enjoy a meal, but I did grab some potato pancakes to take home.

The skyline of Chicago was a beautiful background. The only think I missed was the big Christmas tree, which was moved to Millennium Park this year.

Also, there's a Christkindlmarket that has been added in Oakbrook this year, so if you'd rather visit a market in the burbs, stop there for some of the same vendors. Visit for info on both locations.

Prairie Guest House, Fishers Indiana

On a recent media trip in Indianapolis, I spent a little time in Hamilton County, staying at the Prairie Guest House Bed & Breakfast in ...