You don’t have to stray far from home to travel around the world this Christmas. Take a trip around the globe right here via the vibrant and diverse museums and neighborhoods of Chicago.
Swedish Amercan Museum Center
Start your journey in Sweden at the Swedish American Museum, where you’ll learn more about Santa Lucia, the Swedish Christmastime saint. There’s something for everyone all season long. Go to the website for more details on making reservations for the following event.
The in-museum giftshop carries a wide selection of typical Swedish ornaments, most of them made of natural fibers and materials. Be sure to stop at the Swedish Bakery (5348 North Clark; 773-561-8919), just across from the museum, where you’ll find a fine selection of butter cookies, the perfect accompaniment for hot cocoa.
Polish Museum of America
The Polish American Museum exhibits and workshops will teach you a lot about Polish Christmas customs, including the special Polish tradition of Wigilia, a Christmas Eve family festival that centers upon a meatless meal. At the in-house gift shop, you’ll find Polish holiday cards as well as a selection of charming, handmade ornaments.
This year, the Museum of Science and Industry will celebrate its 61st year of Christmas Around the World, a commemoration that began as a United Nations salute to American Allies during World War II. Nearly 50 trees and crèches are on view, each festooned with traditional ornaments and decorations by members of Chicago’s cultural communities. The Holidays of Light exhibit features holiday traditions that celebrate light: Chinese New Year, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Hanukkah, and Visakha Puja Day. Check the museum’s website for daily special programs that extend into the new year, including performances by the Royal Scottish Dance Society and the Orpheus Dance Troupe from Greece.
Sunday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Christmas Eve: December 24, 2011, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
If you love the idea of spending Christmas in a small German Village look no further than Daley Plaza where the area is transformed into a traditional German market every holiday season. Buy German made ornaments and gifts while feasting on beer, bratwurst and spiced wine. There are also special events including a family friendly Lantern Parade on December 9th at 4 p.m. See website for more details.
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Amy Bocchetta is a writer, a teacher, and a mom to two kids. She lives in the city and blogs at TiramisuMom.com.