I grew up in Florida, and as such, my motifs of Christmas also always involved shorts, beaches, palm trees and plenty of sunshine. If by dreaming of a white Christmas you mean white, sandy beaches, that was my reality. So when I moved up to what my friends and family (without irony) call the “frozen tundra,” I was surprised to not only find myself liking Christmas in Chicago, but loving it.
And so, here are ten reasons why Christmas in Chicago just can’t be beaten.
1. Chicago-set movies
“A Christmas Story,” “Christmas Vacation” and “Home Alone” all come to mind.
2. Macy’s holiday windows
I will never have the ability to be blasé about these. And once it gets too cold outside …
3. The Frango Mint Café and Walnut Room
Tradition. And chocolate. Traditional chocolate!
4. Michigan Avenue
It turns into a glittering magical walk of twinkle light displays and almost makes you forget just how expensive everything is.
5. Local, non-chain toy stores
They make finding your little ones’ gifts extra special.
6. You can actually dream of a white Christmas
Usually at Christmastime there is enough snow to not look gross and gray, and there’s a hope for a winter wonderland. The Christmas carols all make so much more sense!
7. Neighborhood Christmas festivals
One example is Andersonville’s St. Lucia Festival of Lights. Realistically, though, every neighborhood has its own wonderful holiday feel and traditions.
8. Food, grocery and alcohol delivery services available at the touch of a smartphone
9. O’Hare terminals get dolled up
If you’ve decided to partake in the “planes” portion of “planes, trains and automobiles” this season, at least you’ll still be in the spirit! (American Airline’s terminal is particularly spectacular.)
10. Nobody will ever know how much you’re actually eating because you will be covered in five layers of clothes for the next 5-6 months.
It’s basic math. Puffy coats + under layers + sweaters + boots + jeans + hats + scarves = more marshmallow Santas, please!