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updated: 12/6/2013 4:12 PM

On the road: Head to Branson for a gingerbread-style holiday

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  • Randolph Street Market's 7th Annual Holiday Market offers gift possibilities that you cannot get anywhere else, plus activities for kids and gourmet food.

    Randolph Street Market's 7th Annual Holiday Market offers gift possibilities that you cannot get anywhere else, plus activities for kids and gourmet food.

  • Point the vehicle south for a country-style Christmas, with elaborate gingerbread houses, at the AAA Four-Diamond rated Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa in Branson, MO. Through Dec. 30.

    Point the vehicle south for a country-style Christmas, with elaborate gingerbread houses, at the AAA Four-Diamond rated Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa in Branson, MO. Through Dec. 30.

  • Point the vehicle south for a country-style Christmas, with elaborate gingerbread houses, at the AAA Four-Diamond rated Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa in Branson, MO. Through Dec. 30.

    Point the vehicle south for a country-style Christmas, with elaborate gingerbread houses, at the AAA Four-Diamond rated Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa in Branson, MO. Through Dec. 30.

  • A gingerbread house is among the decoration in Downtown Highland Park's Winter Wonderland, with carriage rides, unique shops, live reindeer and other holiday festivities, Dec. 14.

    A gingerbread house is among the decoration in Downtown Highland Park's Winter Wonderland, with carriage rides, unique shops, live reindeer and other holiday festivities, Dec. 14.

 
 

Chicago


It's beginning to look a lot like Kimpton
Kimpton Hotels of Chicago are getting into the Christkindl spirit this year. Each of the chain's three Loop hotels -- Allegro, Monaco and Burnham -- is within steps of Daley Plaza and the 18th Annual Christkindlmarket Chicago. Snag the special 15-20 percent off rates for stays through Christmas Eve. In addition, each hotel offers an evening hosted wine hour from 5-6 p.m. Atwood Café, located adjacent to Hotel Burnham and less than a block from the market, will offer complimentary mulled wine mug refills with purchase of an entree, too.
Dec. 8-24. Rates start at $112 after the discount. To book reservations or to learn more, visit www.kimptonhotels.com/city-promotions/chicago-christkindlmarket-2013.aspx

The hip holiday market
Get your holiday gifts and party needs in all price ranges at the Randolph Street Market's 7th Annual Holiday Market. See a mix of antique, vintage and modern goods encompassing home décor, furniture, jewelry, men's accessories, art, gourmet chocolate gift boxes and custom-made gifts from more than 100 vendors. Mingle with local style experts to find out what the trendsetters have in their stockings. Pose in the Candy Cane Holiday Photo Booth after a shot of Peppermint Schnapps served at the Holiday Market Bar. Enter an outdoor tented winter garden with ornament making and art projects, plus hot cocoa, prizes and fun for kids.
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, Dec. 14-15. Beaux Arts Plumber's Hall, 1340 W. Washington St., Chicago. Free parking in on-site parking lot. Discounted $8 tickets available at randolphstreetmarket.com; General admission $10, students with ID $3 or $5 at the gate. Children 12 and under get in free. Every paid admission gets a $5 or $10 shopping voucher good toward purchases. (312) 666-1200

Family Day at art museum
Get the kids' neurons to fire at "MCA Family Day: Construct." Families can explore the exhibition CITY SELF and celebrate Chicago by constructing buildings of all shapes and sizes with various materials. Family Day is designed and led by Chicago artists and activities are appropriate for all ages.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, Chicago. Admission to Family Day is free for families with children 12 and under. (312) 280-2660 or mcachicago.org

Midwest


Country Christmas
Forget the usual gifts and treat your favorite person to an "Ozark Mountain Christmas Package" at the AAA Four-Diamond rated (for 14 consecutive years) Chateau on the Lake Resort & Spa. Situated on an Ozark mountaintop overlooking Missouri's scenic Table Rock Lake, and just minutes from Branson, the resort is decorated with a life-sized Nativity and impressive gingerbread house displays. The package includes: two nights accommodations in a room type of your choice; $50 food & beverage credit at the resort; a Chateau Christmas ornament; use of the indoor pool, hot tub, and fitness facilities; and free indoor parking. In addition, the package includes two-day tickets for two adults to the Silver Dollar City theme park which will be celebrating "An Old Time Christmas" festival.
Through December 30. 415 North State Highway 265, Branson, Missouri. Based on double occupancy, the package starts at $362 for a standard room. (888) 333-LAKE (5253) or ChateauOnTheLake.com

Heidel-le-hee-ho
"Experience the Magic of Christmas" is a family-friendly event at Heidel House Resort & Spa that can become your family's holiday tradition. Located lakeside in bucolic Green Lake, Wisconsin, Heidel House Resort & Spa is a full service resort. Holiday activities during the day include: old-fashioned carriage rides through beautifully decorated grounds; a special breakfast buffet with Santa; snapping photos around the famous gingerbread house; and decorating your own wreath, cookies and ornaments to take home. "Experience the Magic" overnight packages are also available.
All day starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Heidel House Resort & Spa. 643 Illinois Ave., Green Lake, Wisconsin. Reservations required for some activities. Overnight package price starts at $189, with additional nights at $79. (800) 444-2812 or heidelhouse.com

North Shore = North Pole
Downtown Highland Park's Winter Wonderland transforms its streets into a nostalgic holiday movie scene for a free two-day festival. Enjoy holiday festivities, including a gingerbread house making party at Port Clinton Square, live reindeer, horse drawn carriage rides, holiday carolers, s'more making, fire roasted chestnuts, French crepes, hot cider, fresh popped corn, and more. Shop at over 100 merchants including shops, boutiques and restaurants offering Winter Wonderland specials.
4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec 14. Downtown Highland Park. (847) 432-6000 or http://downtownhp.com.

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