Countdown to your favorite holiday events this season

Written by
Laura Rote

Note: Countdown is from publish date of October 16, 2015.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to… Just kidding.

But seriously, the holidays are speeding toward us and you can't do anything to stop them. We’re more than halfway through October, and many stores already have their red and green and blinking tchotchkes out. While some of you Grinches are cringing and fighting the oncoming cold with all your might, I have to admit, I’m excited. But then again, I’m the kind of person who has holiday shopping and Christmas countdown apps on my phone.

Whether you’re ready or not, you can take solace in the fact that November and December in Chicago offer up a ton of activities that are actually fun. From ice skating to shopping to the Holiday Train, we count down to some of our favorite events. And so it begins:

28 days: The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink opens. Put on your cutest sweater and head to Millennium Park. November 13-March 7

28 days: A Christmas CarolThe Goodman Theatre’s annual holiday production of the Charles Dickens classic enters its 38th year with seasonal charm intact. No bah humbugs here. November 14–December 27

30ish days: The Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon opens. While the exact date is up in the air, you should still try to mark your calendar for this cool ice skating opportunity. Mid-November

34 days: Christmas Around the World. So many trees! See more than 50 colorful displays representing diverse holiday customs. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, November 19-January 3

35 days: Christkindlmarket. Take in the sparkling lights and holiday music, order a mug of hot spiced wine and pick up memorable ornaments. Daley Plaza, November 20 to December 24

36 days: Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. Parade plus music plus tree-lighting plus fireworks equals a pretty great time. Pioneer Court, November 21

39 days: Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. C’mon everybody. Gather ’round for this 102-year-old tradition. Millennium Park, November 24 (Note: Chicago's official Christmas tree has moved from Daley Plaza)

40ish days: The Holiday Train. Late November through Christmas is the only time you’ll board a train with a glimmer of joy in your eye, as the CTA decorates for the holidays and even Santa gets in on the fun. The Holiday Train will travel all El lines as part of regular rail service (generally from 1-8 pm on weekends and 3-7pm on select weekdays, but schedules will vary).

42 days. Caroling at Cloud Gate. Celebrate 10 years of good, old-fashioned caroling around The Bean. Millennium Park, weekly, November 27-December 18

42 days: Deck the lions. Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, the lions at The Art Institute wear wreaths. The Art Institute, November 27

42 days: Zoolights. Lincoln Park Zoo transforms into a sparkling winter wonderland. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St, November 27-January 3

49 days: Joffrey's Nutcracker. This year's your last chance to see the ballet perform this version of the classic, so don't miss out. Joffrey Ballet, 10 E Randolph St, December 4-27

52 days: Renegade Craft Fair. This annual craft fair always has lots of indie goodies just waiting to fill your loved ones’ stockings. Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W 35th St, December 5, 6 11am–6pm

57 days: TBOX. Also known as the Twelve Bars of Xmas, this holiday bar crawl through Wrigleyville has grown from about 60 people to 25,000 since starting in 1996. December 12

58 days: HoliDose Market. Tickets to this free event disappear quickly, as nearly 100 of our region’s best designers, bakers and artists sell their awesome wares. RSVPs are required by visiting beginning at 2pm November 2. Chicago Athletic Association, 12 S Michigan Ave,  December 13, 10 am to 5 pm

60 days: Sauced Holiday Night Market. Have a few beers, get sauced and go shopping. Emporium Logan Square, 2363 N Milwaukee Ave, December 15, 6-11pm

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