The whole Chiberia thing aside, it could be argued that Chicago is most charming at Christmastime. You can take in the lights strung along the Magnificent Mile, post up with a Hot Toddy next to the fireplace and lace up your skates at one of Chicago's best ice skating rinks. But the holiday cheer doesn't stop there—if you're looking for more ways to get in the holiday spirit, there's always holiday shopping. From one-of-a-kind ornaments, to spiced nuts, over-the-top window displays, letters to santa, ugly sweaters and more, these five Chicago Christmas stores provide endless ways to get your dose of holiday cheer.
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Christmas stores in Chicago
Vintage furniture shoppers might recognize Julie Fernstrom from her former Portage Park shop, English Cottage, or the various Chicagoland antique markets she traveled to every weekend. These days she’s staying in one spot: Andersonville. Named after her favorite plaid, the store is “Ralph Lauren meets a Paris flea market,” she says. The shop is stocked with plenty of antique, vintage, repurposed and found objects for every budget—and since the store is named after a checkered pattern, the space wouldn’t be complete without plenty of plaid blankets, tin boxes and more. The shop also offers reupholstering services, so you can get a custom slice of Brimfield that is truly unique. The best time of the year to stop in? Christmas. Brimfield observes the holiday without restraint—with floor to ceiling decorations, ornaments, vintage knick-knacks and festive plaids as far as the eye can see.
Chicago's largest open-air market is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Inspired by a Nuremberg, Germany, market that was founded in 1545, this market features iconic German items like nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks and beer steins, as well as hand-blown ornaments and wooden handicrafts. Authentic food (sausages, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, waffles) and drink (beer and Glühwein, a traditional hot spiced wine) are also available, along with assorted sweets.
The iconic clock at State and Washington, the Frango mints—yes, we know they’re not made here anymore—and the magnificent Tiffany dome you can see up close from the fifth floor are just a few of the attractions that make this department store, one of the largest in the world, a must-see. The selection here is so abundant it's overwhelming, offering everything from modestly priced pots and pans to high-end fashion. Holiday-themed window displays go up every November, and you can even take a guided group tour.
Building Blocks is a Chicago staple, and it has been for more than 19 years. The charming toy shop with two Chicago locations is known for its meticulously curated variety of educational and developmental children’s toys for boys and girls ages 0-3, plus puzzles, books, games, crafts and more. The shop comes alive at Christmas with festive window displays, elf appearances, and holiday events. Stop by with your little one now through December 20th, and the staff (a.k.a. Santa's helpers) will help them write a letter to Santa complete with a festive, "ready to mail" envelope. Wink wink.
Don't let the suspicious entrance in the alleyway throw you off, Ragstock is a Boystown staple. The thrifter's paradise occupies the second floor and basement of the same building as Hollywood Mirror, making it an excellent two-for-one stop. Ragstock's selection of throwback 80's sweaters ($15), 90's jackets ($20), Hawaiian shirts ($16), and other kooky finds make it an excellent destination for a bargain costume-hunter or vintage lover. Oh, and ugly Christmas sweaters? There's no finer selection in Chicago.