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Crews finish putting up the Grand Menorah for this year’s lighting.

Winter break means a lot more than Christmas day and New Year’s Eve. Living around Chicago means there are many interesting and diverse events all over the city.


Kwanzaa is a pan-African celebration created to reaffirm values like community, self-determination, collective works, unity, and creativity. Chanukah is an eight day festival of lights commemorating the rededication of the Temple in 165 BCE. Winter Solstice commemorates the onset of winter on the shortest day of the year.  With so many different neighborhoods around Chicago you can celebrate any holiday or every holiday. Here are just a few to keep you busy until we come back:


Chriskindlmarket, Nov. 20- Dec. 24, Sunday – Thursday 11-8, Friday and Saturday 11-9.From this German inspired market you can buy nifty mugs and holiday trinkets from vendors outdoors. Also, there is live music and dancing with a different artist every day.


See A Christmas Carol or two: Q Brothers Christmas Carol, Nov. 28- Jan. 3 is a hip-hop musical at Chicago Shakespeare. Tickets are $20 for anyone under the age of 35. For a more traditional Christmas Carol try Goodman Theatre Nov. 14 through Dec. 27. Tickets are $10 for students.


Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus – Miracle on Thirty Funk Street, Dec. 4. More than 150 singing members and six piece band to dance and sing along to. Tickets are between $25-$35, Harris Theatre, 205 East Randolph Street.


Windy City Gay Chorus, Don We Now, Dec. 5, performances are at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Featuring songs of the season for the 37th annual holiday concert. First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, tickets $10 with student ID. 77 West Washington Street, Chicago.


Toys 4 Tots motorcycle parade, Dec. 6 beginning at 9 a.m. The parade of motorcycles and other vehicles drive toys from one end of the city to help less fortunate children throughout the city. The toys are distributed in communities in which there is a Marine Corps Reserve unit. Parade route begins at the north side Marine Corps Reserve Center at 3034 West Foster in Chicago and flows down Western Avenue to 67th Street.


Grand Menorah Lighting Dec. 7, beginning at 7 p.m. Have some hot latkes and donuts, followed by free arcades at Sluggers in Wrigleyville. Bring five cans of food to donate and receive free batting cage tickets beginning at 7pm. menorah Lighting at Treasure Island at 3460 North Broadway. Sluggers World Class Sports Bar, 3540 North Clark Street, Chicago.


Light It Up! Hanukkah Party at Emporium Arcade Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. All you can eat donuts and latkes, fair trade mini market and bring your own menorah to light. RSVP online at General Admission $18, includes food, drink ticket and arcade tokens. Emporium Arcade in Wicker Park, 1366 North Milwaukee, Chicago.


Nativity: A Musical Tribute, Dec. 11 and 12. The all African-American cast from the Congo Square Theatre will perform at the DuSable Museum for about an hour and a half. DuSable Museum, 740 East 56th Place, Chicago.


SantaCon 2015, Dec. 12, 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m., the Logan Square festival describes itself as Burning Man for the holidays. It starts at Eagle Statue at Milwaukee and Logan Blvd. This is a flashmob and bar crawl rolled into one, the route is still to be determined.


“It’s a Greek Christmas Party” Dec. 12, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Interactive performances, wreath making, pictures with Santa, design a model acropolis, song and dance performances, design your own Christmas boat. Museum Admission: Students $8, Adults $10, Children over 3 $7, National Hellenic Museum, 333 South Halsted, Chicago.


St. Lucia Festival of Lights Dec. 13, Procession begins at 4:45 p.m. at the Swedish American Museum. Lucia Girls wearing long white robes and candle crowns singing “The Lucia Song” lead the procession on its route ending back at the museum. The procession ends with the Lucia Celebration. Admission is $1 or one canned food item to benefit Care for Real food pantry in Edgewater. Swedish American Museum, 5211 North Clark, Chicago.


uNIGHTed into the Solstice Dec. 20, 8 p.m. – 4 a.m. Shop the metaphysical boutique or drink cold-pressed organic juices with DJ’s, live performances and raffle prizes. There will also be a healing lounge with energy healings, psychic readings, reiki and astrology. A 21 and over event, tickets are $5 before 9 p.m. Multikulti, 1000 North Milwaukee, Chicago.


Kwanzaa Dec. 26- Dec. 31, Celebrating a different Kwanzaa theme every day, bringing lectures and dance performances to the museum every day between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. Museum hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. $5 with student ID, $2 for children over 6.