Happy Holly Days
Pencil in a visit to Wisconsin's scenic Door County during Holly Days in Egg Harbor, Wis. Have breakfast with Santa, hunt for elves, enter the Mistle Dough shopping contest, watch the tree lighting and a holiday performance at the Third Avenue Playhouse and enjoy caroling and horse-drawn wagon rides.
8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24. See eggharbordoorcounty.org.
Sinterklaas is coming
It might be "Santa" here, but in Pella, Iowa it's "Sinterklaas" and during Sinterklaas Days the man in the red suit arrives in a wooden ship, wears a bishop's miter and has a Moorish servant as a helper. Watch the parade of Christmas characters, decorated Dutch peddler carts and caroling bands march past downtown Pella's Dutch buildings and the Molengracht canal to the Tulip Toren. At the end of the procession, is a large ship carrying Sinterklaas and his helper Piets. An annual Sinterklaas party follows the parade when Sinterklaas reads from his book of good children and then it's time for holiday songs, stories and visits with Sinterklaas.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, in downtown Pella and the Pella Opera House, 611 Franklin St. Admission for breakfast and party is $8. (641) 628-4311 or pellatuliptime.com/events/sinterklaas.
Halls of olde Christmas
The Osthoff Resort's Old World Christmas Market in Elkhart Lake, Wis., is a Midwestern take on the celebrated Christkindlesmarkt at Nuremberg, Germany that dates back to 1545. It's warm inside the tented market with the scent of bratwurst, gingerbread and roasted almonds in the air. Visitors can shop among dozens of vendors offering authentic European gifts such as hand-carved wooden toys, Czech blown-glass ornaments, Russian nesting dolls, German hand-carved nutcrackers, gingerbread houses and handmade amber and silver jewelry. The kids can keep an eye out for Santa, hop aboard a hayride outfitted with hot drinks and blankets, and participate in a cookie-decorating contest at the resort.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from Friday, Nov. 30, to Sunday, Dec. 9, in 101 Osthoff Ave., Elkhart Lake. Admission is $6 per adult, children 14 and younger admitted free with an adult ticketholder. (877) 517-4596 or osthoff.com.
A few of my favorite things
Looking for something different on Thanksgiving weekend? "Sing-A-Long Sound of Music" beckons friends and families to Chicago's Music Box Theatre for a spirited audience-participation show that includes a presentation of the 1962 Rogers and Hammerstein musical "The Sound of Music." Lyrics are projected on the screen during the movie so that the audience can easily sing along to "Do-Re-Me," "Edelweiss" and "My Favorite Things." The film is preceded by a hosted vocal warm-up and a "fancy-dress" costume contest. Upon entry, ticketholders get a free goody bag with special props for the magic moments in the film.
4 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23; 11:30 a.m., 4 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24; and 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, at 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. Advance tickets cost $12.50 and $8 for children 12 and younger. Day-of tickets cost $15 and $9 for children 12 and younger at the box office. musicboxtheatre.com/events/sound-of-music-2012.
See the new exhibit, "American Moments: The Legacy of Greek Immigration," at the National Hellenic Museum celebrating its first anniversary. The exhibit traces the Greek journey across the Atlantic and the immigrant path to America, showcasing immigrant contributions on various chapters of American history, dating as far back as the American Civil War. Another new exhibit is the Spirit of the Marathon: From Pheidippides to Today, exploring the history, culture and impact of the marathon.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 333 S. Halsted St., Chicago. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors , and $7 for children 3 to 12. (312) 655-1234 or nationalhellenic museum.org.
Glockenspiels 'R Us
Christkindlmarket Chicago brings the best of German holiday traditions to the Midwest with one-of-a-kind hand-blown and painted ornaments, various German nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks, beer steins, toys for all ages, jewelry, clothes, home décor and wooden handicrafts. Tempting aromas waft through the market with sausages galore, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, waffles, cheese fritters, Schnitzel, chicken sandwiches, German burgers, goulash soup and more. Take a slug of Gluehwein, a traditional German hot spiced wine to warm the heart or go with German beer. Entertainment includes church and school choirs, carolers and an Alpine Brass group.
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday from Tuesday, Nov. 20, to Monday, Dec. 24, at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago. christkindlmarket.com.