“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.”
The Holiday Season in Chicago can be wonderful experiences if you know where to go and have an ample supply of money. The Museum of Science and Industry is a great place to start your holiday experience. A long standing Chicago tradition now in its’ 74th year is ‘Christmas around the World-Holiday of Light Festival.’ This magnificent extravaganza kicked off in 1942 the darkest year of World War II when Axis nations were inches away from world domination. The festival started when a lone tree was lit to salute the solidarity of allied nations. Since then the Museum’s Yuletide experience has blossomed into the much visited spectacular of holiday decorations, fine dining, colorful festive theatricals and international Christmas tree displays it is today.
This year’s celebration is further enhanced by the museum’s ‘Robot Revolution.’ I’ve written extensively about the possibility of building androids and other forms of artificial intelligence units possibly the next step in the evolutionary process. I found the recent UK based AMC TV series ‘Humans’ informative and highly enjoyable; dirty old man that I am, I especially enjoyed the scene when pretty ‘synth’ Anita played by Gemma Chan hooked-up with her human ‘handler’ Tom played by Joe Hawkins.
The ‘Christmas around the World’ experience and ‘Robot Revolution’ run concurrently through January 3, 2016. ‘Christmas around…’ is included in the museum’s admissions fee; ‘Robot’ requires an additional ticket. Don’t forget to stroll through the festive forest, photograph the 45 foot Grand Tree along with other exhibits during your visit. Nobody can see all there is to see in a day; plan your tour time wisely. It takes about a week to see most of what’s on display.
I’m a student of the Edwardian Era though for racial, religious and medical reasons I’m glad I wasn’t alive during the early 1900’s. During a very vivid dream a few years ago I dreamt I was a 13 year old boy. I was dressed in period clothes. I was attending a baseball game at the then newly built (1910) Comiskey Park. I sat along the third base line watching the White Sox take on Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers. In my dream experience old Ty was as fast and deadly as history purports him to have been; could that man run! That old ball yard is long gone. In its’ place is the brand new US Cellular Field. ‘Yesterday’s Main Street’ is a long running exhibit that transports visitors back to 1910. This block long interactive period experience is replete with a functional Nickelodeon, a seasonal ice cream parlor, period stores, vintage automobiles, gas lights and cobblestone streets. For information on this and other area museums go to: Chicago Museums-Travelocity.com and Museum of Science and Industry. Bring along a good pair of walking shoes.
Chicago’s Magnificent Mile or Mag Mile is beautiful year round. During the Holiday Season classy retailers spare no expense to lure high end clientele to their stores; serious shoppers should be prepared to lay down some tall green. That part of our fair city is a haven for stores that sell uber luxury items sans price tags. I surmise shop keepers figure if you wanted to know prices of high end items you are too poor to pay. For more information on that part of the city where area residents are a wealthy blend of old money, new money and no money log in to: www.themagnificentmile.com.
‘Lincoln Park Zoo Lights’ is another Chicago tradition. As an incentive to tourists/locals the municipal zoo offers special glasses to the first 1,000 visitors each night to view the pretty lights. There are nightly ice carving demonstrations, hot beverages served and ice skating at the free zoo’s ice rink if you’re interested. I’ve driven past that exhibit many times en route to some place else. I went to that event only once out of curiosity. It’s just too damn cold for me to mill around outdoors with large numbers of people freezing my behind off watching ice sculpting.
Yesterday at the time of this writing my wife and I had lunch at the Christkindlemarket in Daley Center. This holiday market features all things German; nutcrackers, beer steins, wooden handicrafts, Bavarian music, glass blown items, and lots of food! Sausages, sauerkraut, potato pancakes, marzipan cookies, waffles, beer and Gluhwein hot spiced wine and authentic German candies some of which my beloved and I sampled. I have the lovely blue souvenir mug my wife bought me at last year’s Christkindlmarket. This market was founded in Nuremberg, Germany in 1545 when the Reformation was in full swing; the Chicago version 1996. Information could be had at: www.christkindlmarket.com. As with all tourist attractions Christkindlmarket is pricy; food wise you could do better if you buy the ingredients and do your own cooking at home or dine in a German restaurant; what you’re paying for is sharing in a unique tradition that goes back nearly 500 years.
Celebrate New Year at Navy Pier with fireworks, booze and good food. Every year’s end the city hosts a Midnight fireworks show. If you can stand the long cold wait you might want to catch this annual event in person. Some of the best parties found anywhere take place on New Year’s Eve. Whether dancing, dining and drinking the old year out at the Grand Ballroom, Crystal Gardens, sharing a Lake Michigan champagne dinner and dancing cruise there’s always something to pick your fancy.
I’m in the habit of wishing people ‘Merry Christmas’ in salute of the Reason for the Season the birth of Jesus Christ. Was Jesus born on December 25th? No; many if not most biblical scholars/historians think that Christ was born either in the late spring or early summer months close to our Easter dates. Nobody knows for certain though its’ a barely disputed fact that Jesus was an historical figure so why December 25th?
During antiquity the last week of December celebrations were held in honor of the Roman god Saturn hence the name Saturnalia a festive season that’s recently come back into its own. Saturnalia was a time for binge drinking, sex parties, community pig-outs outs, dirty dancing and risqué theatricals. These bacchanals would go on for weeks on end. When Christianity came into its own after Emperor Constantine mandated it the official religion of the Roman Empire things changed. December 25th became Christmas Day; Saturn was sacked.
Even before its’ incorporation in 1837 the land of the dollar bill has always been exciting; a haven for pleasure and money making; log in to:
· Chicago Tourism: Best of Chicago, IL-…
· Chicago Tourism, Brochure Request from Convention…
· Chicago Attraction-Expedia. Com.
· Chicago Attractions-Travelocity. Com
All of the above extravaganzas run through the first week of the New Year but check it to make sure. Reader the receptionist at my doctor’s office gave me these ’21 things to remember…’
‘No one can ruin your day without YOUR permission. Most people will be about as happy as they decide to be. Others can stop you temporarily but only you can do it permanently. Whatever you are willing to put up with it exactly what you will have. Success stops when you do. When your ship comes in make sure you are willing to unload it. You will never ‘have it all together.’ Life is a journey not a destination so enjoy the trip! The biggest lie on the planet is: ‘when I get what I want I will be happy.’ The best way to escape your problem is to solve it. I’ve learned that ultimately takers lose and givers win. Life’s precious moments don’t have value unless they are shared. If you don’t start you won’t arrive. We often fear the thing we want the most. He/She who laughs lasts. Yesterday was the deadline for all complaints. Look for opportunities not guarantees. Life is what’s coming not what was. Success is getting up one more time. Now is the most interesting time of all. When things go wrong don’t go with them.’
God bless, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016.