“The Polish Luther” paczki creation. (Credit: Jonathan Surratt)

The paczki many Polish Americans grew up eating, made with plum, rose or raspberry fillings, aren’t the only kind available these days. We take a look at the Fat Tuesday tradition. 

FILE - Revelers celebrate Lunar New Year in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Feb. 12, 2023, in New York. (John Minchillo / AP Photo, file)

On Saturday, Asian American communities around the U.S. will ring in the Year of the Dragon with community carnivals, family gatherings, parades, traditional food, fireworks and other festivities.

(Gary Spears / Pexels)

Live and natural holiday trees can be dropped off in a tree recycling corral at one of 27 designated locations in the city from Jan. 6-20.

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. 

(WTTW News)

Some downtown businesses are seeing a slight dip in the average amount spent per transaction during this holiday season, indicating consumers might be more sensitive to prices due to factors like record high credit card debt and interest rates, according to the Chicago Loop Alliance.

The holiday celebration at Little Village Academy was hosted by the faith-based nonprofit New Life Centers, in partnership with other local nonprofits, corporate sponsors and elected officials. (Eunice Alpasan / WTTW News)

The holiday celebration hosted by New Life Centers involved a gift and free jacket giveaway, food, music and children’s character mascots.

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.

Sgt. Kevin Fowler organizes food at a food bank distribution by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo / Tony Dejak File)

Many organizations will look to make up the difference on GivingTuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which started as a hashtag in 2012 and has grown into one of the biggest fundraising dates on the calendar. 

A plate of roasted turkey and gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and glazed carrots appears in Concord, N.H., on Oct. 2, 2012. (AP Photo / Matthew Mead, File)

About 3 in 10 U.S. adults (32%) who will celebrate Thanksgiving this year say turkey is their favorite dish in the holiday feast, according to a new poll. Stuffing or dressing (19%) and mashed potatoes (6%) come in second and third.

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.

(Courtesy of The Old Joliet Haunted Prison)

Find your own darn pumpkin patches and corn mazes. This is a list for adults who love the spooky season just as much as those costumed kids with their candy bags.

(Credit: City of Chicago)

The selected tree will serve as the centerpiece of Chicago’s official holiday celebrations in Millennium Park. Here’s how to submit yours for consideration.