Sad Songs for Bad People (Thursday-Saturday)
The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave.
Puppet shows aren’t just for kids. Revel in the dark humor of the puppeteers’ murderous ballads and songs of death and tragic misfortune. Don’t be surprised if there are puppet casualties throughout the performance. Tickets cost $16. 7:30 p.m.
Also on tap Thursday:
Hyde Park Holiday Nights (Also on Dec. 17)
Harper Court, 5235 S. Harper Ave., and The Courtyard Shops at Hyde Park Shopping Center, 55th and Lake Park Ave.
Ice is one of the last things you want to see in winter. But this Thursday will be an exception as ice is transformed into works of art by Nadeau’s Ice Sculptures from 4-5 p.m. Can’t get out of work before 5 p.m.? You’re in luck: A second ice carving demonstration will be from 6-7 p.m. at The Courtyard Shops.
Handel’s 'Messiah' (Also on Dec. 11, 12, 15 and 20)
Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.
This holiday season hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform one of the most admired choral masterpieces, Handel’s “Messiah.” Bernard Labadie conducts five concerts featuring solos by soprano Lydia Teuscher, mezzo-soprano Allyson McHardy, tenor Jeremy Ovenden and bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen. Ticket prices vary. Click here for more information.
Chicago Reel Shorts Film Fest (Friday-Saturday)
Columbia College Chicago, Ferguson Theatre, 600 S. Michigan Ave.
Named one of the top 10 film fests of North America by The Audience Awards, the fest enters its 12th year of showcasing short films from across the globe. Nearly 100 films will be featured. Sit back, relax and enjoy the shows. Screening times vary.
Also on tap Friday:
Miracle on 34th Street (Also Dec. 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20)
Beverly Arts Center Chicago, 2407 W. 111th St.
A Christmas classic comes to the stage. Get into the holiday spirit by watching a little girl discover the magic of Santa Claus as her mother finds true love. The play features a book and score by Meredith Willson. Tickets cost $21-23. 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays.
Winter Lumberland Holiday Market
Rebuilding Exchange, 1740 W. Webster Ave.
Roll up your sleeves, channel your inner elf and create reclaimed gifts for those on your nice list. Not interested in making the gift yourself? Shop for crafts from local vendors and artists while enjoying music, food and beverages from New Belgium Brewing and Stivers Coffee. Participate in a free “Scraptacular” workshop to make your own ornaments from recycled materials. Free. 7-9:30 p.m.
Ugly Sweater Run
Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Drive
Put on your favorite holiday sweater and sneakers for this annual 5K. Bonus: Registration includes hot chocolate, a Samuel Adams beverage and a Kahlúa cocktail, plus inflatables, photo stations, games and holiday music, as well as holiday-themed stations at every mile on the course. Get to the starting line at 11 a.m. Registration costs $40-$50 and includes a knit hat. Free for kids under age 5; or $10 with a knit hat.
Also on tap Saturday:
Randolph Street Market Festival (Saturday-Sunday)
Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington
This curated mallternative features local handmade goods, antique and vintage items that include seasonal décor, fashion, housewares, jewelry, ornaments, artwork and other unique finds. Enjoy food, drinks and entertainment while browsing the wares. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. General admission tickets cost $8-$10.
Beer Fest Beat Down
Sears Centre Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Parkway, Hoffman Estates
Take a break from the holiday festivities and enjoy a cold one. More than 100 craft beers, ciders and limited-edition seasonal pours from nearly 30 breweries will be on tap. As you sample brews, watch masked wrestlers compete for the title of Beer Fest Beatdown King. Each ticket comes with 25 tasting tickets and a commemorative glass. Cost $45, $65 for VIP (early access and complimentary food), and $10 for designated drivers.
The New Contemporary'
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave.
Be one of the first to see priceless works of art by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Kohns and more as the Art Institute unveils the largest gift it's received in its 136-year history. Learn more about the 44 paintings, sculptures and photographs on display from 2-3 p.m. from Kate Nesin, associate curator of modern and contemporary art, and Annie Morse, museum education senior lecturer. Exhibit is free with admission. Read more about it here.
Also on tap Sunday:
Music Under Glass – 'Classical Notes in Nature'
Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave.
Escape the bleak winter landscape and surround yourself with greenery and the music of the Western Brass Quintet, which will perform selections from Monteverdi, Ewald, Bach and beloved holiday favorites. Take a tour, enjoy a wine reception and take advantage of an opportunity to meet the artists. Tickets cost $25. 3-5 p.m.
St. Lucia Festival of Lights
Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark St.
A torch-lit holiday procession on the sidewalks of Andersonville pays homage to Lucia, an Italian saint who was known for her generosity to the poor and homeless. Led by the candle-crowned "Lucia girls," the procession is followed by a celebration at the museum, where the legend of St. Lucia will be told, Swedish holiday snacks will be available and entertainment will be provided by Dream Big Performing Arts. The procession kicks off at 4:45 p.m. at the museum. Admission is $1 or a can of food to benefit Edgewater’s food pantry Care for Real.
Breakfast with Santa (Sunday, Dec. 20)
The Hilton Chicago/Oak Brook Hills, 3500 Midwest Road, Oakbrook
Kiddos can get a photo with Santa while chowing down on a buffet of pancakes, made-to-order Belgian waffles, fresh farm omelettes and more. Adults can enjoy the homemade hot chocolate and communal fire pits outdoors. 9 a.m.-noon. $35; $14 for kids ages 5-12; free for kids under age 5.
– Sean Keenehan contributed.
More fun holiday event roundups from 'Chicago Tonight'
Get the scoop on where to lace up your skates this season.
A month of holiday favorites and winter delights.
Events listed are subject to change. We recommend double-checking times and locations before you head out the door. Want to share your upcoming events with us for consideration in a future roundup? Send us an email.