Art on a plate
You'll be an eating machine all through the holidays so you may as well make art a part of your consumption. "Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture and Cuisine" at the Art Institute consists of more than 100 paintings, sculptures and artifacts depicting food in celebration and as commentary on politics and society. See works by Norman Rockwell, Edward Hopper, Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Warhol and other noted artists.
10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday; 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, now through Monday, Jan. 27. Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Admission is $23 for adults; $17 for children 14 and over, students and seniors; free for children under 14. artic.edu or (312) 443-3600.
Hallelujah for "Messiah"
If Christmas consumerism gets you down, a dose of The Apollo Chorus performing Handel's "Messiah," an annual holiday tradition, will be an instant attitude adjustment. Taking place in two of Chicago's most elegant spaces, the performance of Handel's masterpiece may be the most joyful and memorable music from the Baroque period. No Johanns-come-lately, the Chorus was founded in 1872 in the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire and has presented Handel's "Messiah" since 1879.
3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago; 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago. Ticket prices range from $18-75. To purchase, call The Apollo Chorus at (312) 427-5620 or visit apollochorus.org.
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Most ONEderful Time of the Year
The 13th annual One of a Kind Show and Sale ChicagoŽ is a refreshing alternative to traditional retail and an ideal place to find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your holiday list. More than 600 artists from across North America bring their imaginative, handmade creations to this year's show offering a wide range of media and categories including: accessories; ceramics; fashion; fiber art; furniture; glass; gourmet treats; jewelry; mixed media; kids' stuff; painting; photography; sculpture; wood; and more. Speak with the artists, attend artist demonstrations, join in a crafting workshop, enjoy gourmet food and drink, fashion shows and live music.
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday to Friday, Dec. 5-6; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8. The Merchandise Mart, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago. Adult admission is $12, kids 12 and under get in free. oneofakindshowchicago.com or (312) 527-4141.
Don Draper and his wife, Betty, of Mad Men, certainly had a silver, pink, gold or green aluminum Christmas tree with a rotating stand and colored light projectors. See trees like this in the largest collection of Evergleams ever available to the public at 'Tis the Season at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison. The Aluminum Specialty Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin made the Evergleam tree and more than 1 million were in American homes in the 1960s. Today the space-age era trees are in high demand at antique stores and online auctions with the pink one fetching the highest prices.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (after Christmas 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday) through Jan. 11. Wisconsin Historical Museum, 30 N. Carroll St., Madison, WI. Admission is by donation: $4 for adult, $3 for children or $10 per family. (608) 264-6555 or WisconsinHistoricalMuseum.org.
Flock to Stockholm
Can't make it back to the motherland of Sweden for the holidays? Merely point the vehicle north to Stockholm, Wisconsin, a bluff-side village on lovely Lake Pepin. The merry meter reaches a solid 10 with sleigh rides, Santa, carolers and wassailing during Stockholm Country Christmas. There will be bake and craft sales, wine tastings, a Medieval Feast and lots of shops to browse. Need another reason to visit? Lake Pepin, about 60 miles southeast of St. Paul, Minn., is known as the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Black Cat Farmstead.
10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Downtown Stockholm, WI. stockholmwisconsin.com or (715) 442-2266
Forget malls, head to the halls of olde Xmas
Whether it's Charles Dickens, old English carols or your granny, Christmas is one time of year that age and tradition are revered and embraced. Isn't it nice to know that a trip to Christmas past is less than three hours from Chicago, too? The Osthoff Resort's Old World Christmas Market is a Midwestern take on the celebrated Christkindlesmarkt at Nuremberg, Germany that dates back to 1545. It's warm inside the tented market, and isn't that the scent of bratwurst, gingerbread and roasted almonds in the air? Have a snort of mulled wine while you 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, fine apparel, handmade amber and silver jewelry and much more. Tell the kidlets to keep an eye out for Santa, and try to get in on cookie decorating at the resort.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, Friday, Dec. 6 to Sunday, Dec. 15. Osthoff Resort, 101 Osthoff Ave., Elkhart Lake, WI. Admission is $6 per adult, children 14 and under get in free with an adult ticketholder. For more information, call (877) 517-4596 or go to christmasmarketatosthoff.com.