By Jacqueline Runice

A strong argument can be made for retailers ruining the holidays with annoying ads, endless lines, parking woes and the same old stuff. When Christmas consumerism begins to get you down, bolt from the malls and head to the halls of holiday markets across Chicago.

Washington and Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 494-2175

Date: Nov. 17 through Dec. 24, 2017

The cheery holiday institution since 1996 boasts three locations in 2017: the Daley Plaza original, Naperville and new this year, the Park at Wrigley so Loop workers, the suburban stroller crew and Wrigleyville bros won’t have to hop an aircraft to reach Nuremberg, Germany, circa 1545. A visit to Daley Plaza can be part of an immersive downtown city holiday experience when you couple it with peeks at Macy’s windows, holiday tea at local hotels or a Joffrey Nutcracker performance. All three markets feature hand-blown and painted ornaments; traditional German nutcrackers, cuckoo clocks and beer steins and many handicrafts. Indulge in sausages, schnitzel and strudel washed down with Glühwein. The Wrigley location offers an illuminated 8,000 sq. ft. ice rink, wreath making workshop and outdoor movies.

Randolph Street Holiday Market Festival
Beaux Arts Plumber’s Hall
1340 W Washington St.
Chicago,  IL 60607
(312) 666-1200

Date: Dec. 16 and 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Wares from more than 125 vendors include antique, vintage and contemporary home décor, toys, housewares, jewelry, art, clothing, gourmet gifts and custom-made items. Browse impressive holiday floral centerpieces, luxury housewares and a bevy of handmade and artisanal fancy food like homemade caramels, marshmallows and chocolates. Shop the European-style market indoors on three levels then have a Bloody Mary, Modelo, Champagne or wine at the Market Bar with a tasty bite for lunch. There’s free parking, gift wrapping, coat check and furniture delivery to downtown locations. Fans of the market include Nate Berkus and Sophia Bush.

One of a Kind Holiday Show
The Mart, 7th Floor
222 Merchandise Mart Plaza
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 527-4141
Date: Dec. 7 through Dec. 10, 2017
The 17th annual One of a Kind Holiday Show is another refreshing alternative to the humdrum traditional retail experience with more than 600 artists from across North America presenting imaginative, handmade creations. The extensive array of media and categories include: accessories, ceramics, fashion, fiber art, furniture, glass, gourmet food, jewelry, mixed media, metalwork, kids’ stuff, painting, photography, sculpture, artisan paper, pet products and more. Speak with artisans, attend artist demonstrations, join interactive activities, fashion shows and enjoy live music. Don’t miss the featured space dedicated to 40 talented emerging artists, designers and craft makers who are first-time exhibitors. The 2017 show offers four gourmet cafes and three bar locations. for a respite from all the shopping.

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401 N. Morgan
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 972-8400

Date: Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

HoliDose, an artisanal holiday-themed market, presents more than 120 of Chicago’s top designers, artists and chefs who will offer an eclectic selection of jewelry, clothing, stuff for kids, textiles, bags, fragrance, confections and home furnishings. They’ll be spinning holiday favorites and rock jams while you look for rosemary trees for the home chef, take in a gift wrapping or tag painting lesson, enjoy poeming on the spot with Poems While You Wait; and custom-stamp ornaments for friends and families of all faiths.

Dovetail Brewery’s Second Annual Holiday Market
1800 W. Belle Plaine
Chicago, IL 606
(773) 683-1414
Date: Dec. 16 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Other markets offer a few libations among the gifts while Dovetail Brewery’s Holiday Market takes place in its upstairs barrelhouse loft – craft artisans sell a variety of goods while there’s an entire taproom of holiday cheer downstairs. Consider Abbey Brown handmade natural olive oil soaps, soothing body oils, relaxing bathing essentials and candles; hand made timeless pieces by Chicago Wood & Leather; lots of original art; handcrafted beer-themed cards and jewelry; crochet accessories; and more. Snag a seat downstairs in the taproom and relax with any of Dovetail’s well regarded beers including the Holiday Bock. Nothing says “the holidays” like a basket of sausage: Sausage König will be selling sausage baskets and currywurst in the barrelhouse loft and you can supplement tasty brews with snacks from the bar and Chicago food truck Bruges Brothers.

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