A worker tends to the inventory at Plant Salon, 947 Ashland Ave., on Dec. 27, 2023. (WTTW News)

There was some good news this year. According to Mastercard Spending Pulse, retail shopping was up about 3% this holiday season compared to last year. 

(Gonzalo Guzmán García / Pexels)

“Chicago Tonight: Latino Voices” host Joanna Hernandez went out to ask people to share what they enjoy about this time of year.

Items on sale at the Buddy store inside the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. (Marc Vitali / WTTW News)

Museum shops and galleries have a great deal of goods you won’t find elsewhere. The Buddy store in the Chicago Cultural Center is top of the heap for art-loving localvores.

The 2023 Starved Rock ornament from the Illinois Conservation Foundation. (Provided)

Illinois nature lovers can bring the state’s most famous outdoor treasures indoors, with a new series of holiday ornaments featuring state parks.


In fact, Dec. 25 isn’t going to feel particularly wintry at all.

The Maybeland diorama by Ronald Konecki. (Erica Gunderson / WTTW News)

In suburban St. Charles, a whimsical Christmas fantasy of lollipop forests, root-beer oceans and glittering ice castles lies hidden away. The fanciful landscapes of “Maybeland” were handcrafted in intricate miniature by a Chicago father who made it all to display every Christmas season.

The newly designed program is expanding from the Mexican region to include music from Peru, Spain, Guatemala and many others — calling it “A Latin American Christmas” with music that was heard from the 15th to the 18th centuries.

The Joffrey Ballet Company performs “The Nutcracker.” (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

Here in Chicago, a number of reimaginings of the classic story demonstrate how the family tradition can be transformed to fit the interests of modern audiences while also celebrating the Christmas magic that made that original ballet such a success.

(WTTW News)

Much of the country was back at work Monday after the long holiday weekend. But along with whatever else they were doing at their job, there’s a good chance they were doing something else ... shopping.

(Courtesy Chicago Transit Authority)

The wildly popular Holiday Train is back for a 32nd year, running Nov. 24 through Dec. 21. Here’s when and where to catch it.

The annual “Christmas Around the World” exhibit at Museum of Science and Industry. (Heidi Peters / Museum of Science and Industry Chicago)

Whether you’re interested in theater or light shows, ice skating or shopping, there’s something for everyone to enjoy this holiday season. We’ve rounded up some of the season’s highlights in Chicago and the suburbs.

Finishing touches are put on the tree representing Puerto Rico at the Museum of Science and Industry on Nov. 11, 2023. (Angel Idowu / WTTW News)

Families and organizations from all over the Chicago area came to the museum bright and early to decorate their country’s Christmas tree. This year, the trees represented a total of 57 countries, including Austria, Puerto Rico, Kenya, Switzerland, and France, to name a few.

The De La Cruz family with the 45-foot Colorado Blue Spruce that will light up Millennium Park this holiday season. (Courtesy De La Cruz family; City of Chicago)

The 45-foot Colorado Blue Spruce will take centerstage during an official tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m.

(Pixabay / neelam279)

Love it or hate it, the stunt works for the station. In 2022, the LITE’s ratings doubled between November and December.