You had us at “Cookie Walk.” Oak Park’s annual holiday celebration, Winterfest, has all kinds of family-friendly seasonal fun, such as storytelling, live music and a visit with the Man in Red. But the true centerpiece of the event is the obviously popular Cookie Walk, where you can visit more than 45 participating stores and stock up on holiday goodies, homemade by local bakeries (each store has a different variety, so you don’t have to worry about duplicates). We’ll take “cookie-ing” over wassailing any day!
Free, $20 for cookie tin. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 2. Downtown Oak Park. (708) 383-4145.
Your crew can ring in the New Year with a family of ring-tailed lemurs at Zoo Year’s Eve. This annual celebration of the dawning year includes games, crafts, a live DJ and fun favors, plus the chance to bid the resident animals a happy start to ’18. When 8 p.m. rolls around, enjoy an early countdown at a more kid-friendly hour – then head home to get them in bed before you bust out the champers.
Free with zoo admission. 6-8 p.m. Dec. 31. Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st St., Brookfield. (708) 688-8400.
We believe that holiday joy is for everyone, which is why Goodman Theatre’s Sensory-Friendly Performance of A Christmas Carol is such a gift. The matinee performance is the company’s first foray into sensory-friendly shows, and it’s been designed for families with members who have autism or other social, cognitive and physical challenges to enjoy one of our city’s most beloved traditions. Adjustments include lower sound levels, a reduction in strobe lighting effects, designated quiet areas throughout the building and a no-shushing policy for those who might talk during the show. “God bless us every one,” indeed!
$15 and up. 2 p.m. Dec. 30. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago. (312) 443-3800.