Hanukkah has begun. Christmas is in a week. Kwanzaa starts the day after. Like it or not, the holidays are nigh, and it'll be nearly impossible to escape the festivities this weekend. (Even the Belmont-strip burlesque shows are Santa-themed.)

So you may as well embrace it. Here are the most bearable wintry shenanigans on a weekend when everything is green in the gills with spirit. Happy holidays, et cetera.



Deets: This holiday group show features 100 12 x 12–inch works by national and local artists, including Hebru Brantley and Ben Frost. See photos of the art here.
When: Through Wednesday, December 24
Where: Vertical Gallery, 1016 N. Western
How Much: Free! But if you buy some art, 10 percent of proceeds will go to local nonprofit The Simple Good.


Music Box Christmas Show

Deets: Santa and the Music Box organist lead audiences through some Christmas tunes before screening White Christmas or It's a Wonderful Life (the films trade time slots each night). If your heart can take the extra spirit, double-feature tickets are available.
When: Through Wednesday, December 24. No Monday screenings. Showtimes here.
Where: Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport
How Much: $10–$24


Oh Theodora Christmas Special

Deets: Improv sketch troupe Oh Theodora probes the CTA holiday train, razes It's a Wonderful Life, and explores the logistics of giving birth in a manger.
When: Thursday, December 18 at 9:30
Where: Public House Theatre, 3914 N. Clark
How Much: $10


Hogwarts Holiday Feast

Deets: This is exactly what it sounds like: 80 people dressed up in Harry Potter garb eating, drinking, and "open tabletop gaming." The jury's still out on whether that means Wizard's Chess.
When: Friday, December 19 at 7 p.m.
Where: Geek Bar (Beta), 1941 W. North
How Much: $40


We Carol Lot: Downwrite Holiday Show

Deets: This show features ten-plus emo heavyweights from Downwrite—a network of musicians you can commission to write a personalized song—including Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids), Bob Nanna (Braid), Mike Kinsella (American Football), and William Beckett (The Academy Is…).
When: Saturday, December 20 at 8 p.m.
Where: Metro, 3730 N. Clark
How Much: $15–$40


Nice N' Naughty

Deets: A show for, uh, those not spending the holiday weekend with family. 
When: Saturday, December 20 at 10:30 p.m.
Where: Annoyance Theatre, 851 W. Belmont
How Much: $15–$20


Entertaining Julia: Christmas Edition

Deets: The Puterbaugh Sisters' weekly comedy showcase moves to the Hideout for a holiday-themed edition featuring visits from three ghosts (Dad Ghost, Whoopi Goldberg Ghost, and Ghost Face Killah). Prepare for the weird.
When: Sunday, December 21 at 8 p.m.
Where: The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia
How Much: $5 at the door