6 ho-ho holiday shows that should be on your nice list

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Not only in season, but in the Chicago theater scene’s best season closers. Whether you’re looking for the tried-and-true favorites or looking to create some new traditions with your family, we’ve got you covered with three classics and three new must-sees.

It’s A Wonderful Life

If your clan has yet to experience a live-on-stage radio play, this is the one that’ll knock their 1940s socks off. Now in its 14th year, the radio broadcast of Frank Capra’s classic features live Foley sound effects, an original score and a cast heaped with critical acclaim. Experience the Golden Age of Radio with 1940s-style commercials from local sponsors, holiday carols and even milk and cookies with the cast and crew after each show.

Runs Nov. 20-Dec. 27 at American Blues Theatre.

A Christmas Carol

By the end of the year, isn’t there a little Scrooge inside all of us? (Or at the very least, across the holiday table?) It’s no wonder that Chicagoans make an annual pilgrimage to this gorgeous show about redemption and the Christmas spirit, featuring three of the most impressive spirits ever to tread (or soar above) the boards. Trade in your Bah Humbug for a little “bless us, everyone” and do it here; no one does it better.

Runs Nov. 14-Dec. 27 at the Goodman Theatre.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

Based off the book that Publisher’s Weekly called “one of the best Christmas books ever,” Barbara Robinson’s classic tale of a hapless—and hopeless—Christmas pageant reminds all of us that holiday magic really does exist. (And who’s ever doubted that while in a theater?)

Runs Nov. 28-Dec. 20 at Provision Theater.

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose

Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s only Christmas-themed Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, this tale concerns a countess’s missing priceless gem—and how it reappears in the cooked holiday goose of an ordinary Londoner. Why not add a slightly different tale of the British holidays to your family’s canon this year?

Runs Dec. 9-Jan. 3. at Raven Theatre.

Mrs. Claus, A Holiday Musical

While not a “new” play in the slightest (it’s about to celebrate its 17th year!), this charmingly fun production may have flown under your radar during the past few seasons. (I’m looking at you, Northsiders!) Take the kiddos and join the Elf Class of 2015 as they find the all-important “list” in time for the big guy to do his job. (You don’t want to be added to the “naughty” column, do you?)

Runs Dec. 3-23 at the Beverly Arts Center.

Elf

“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” If you’ve ever answered the phone this way during the holiday season, then you’re going to want to put on your pointiest shoes and walk straight to Lincolnshire for this epic stage romp. The beloved tale of a misfit elf taking on the big, bad city gets the Broadway musical treatment, but keeps its heart as big as the North Pole.

Runs through Dec. 31 at The Marriott Theatre.

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