The commercialism around the winter holidays can clobber the hardiest of souls, rendering one blue instead of red and green. Take in one of these holiday options and eliminate the Ebenezer attitude while upping the rose on your cheeks and the lilt in your mukluks. Consider some additional ideas here.

(Photo Credit: Cheryl Mann Productions / The Joffrey Ballet's Facebook)

(Photo Credit: Cheryl Mann Productions / The Joffrey Ballet’s Facebook)

Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”
Auditorium Theatre Of Roosevelt University
50 E. Congress Parkway
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 922-2110

Date: Dec. 5 – 28, 2014

The Joffrey Ballet celebrates the 27th annual presentation of Robert Joffrey’s “The Nutcracker,” a most popular Chicago holiday tradition (and considered America’s #1 Nutcracker). What’s different about The Joffrey’s rendition? When Robert Joffrey choreographed “The Nutcracker” in 1987, he replaced the traditional European setting with a 19th century American home, peppering the set with toys from his own childhood. Familiar characters such as Clara, the Snow Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy and Dr. Drosselmeyer are intact as are the battles between toy soldiers and legions of mice. Expect sparkling costumes, an extravagant set and a massive Mother Ginger puppet by Kermit Love. The full Joffrey company is joined onstage by local children’s choruses and young dancers. The Chicago Philharmonic provides a lush live accompaniment of the classic Tchaikovsky score for every performance. The 24-performance engagement takes place December 5 – 28, 2014 and prices range from $32 to $134.

“A Christmas Carol”
The Goodman Theater
170 N. Dearborn St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 443-3800

Date: Nov. 15 – Dec. 28, 2014

The Goodman’s 37th annual production promises visual and aural holiday bliss, as it has since the 1970s. Larry Yando returns as a particularly cantankerous Scrooge in the moving, family-friendly classic. Watch as four ghosts whisk him on a hallucinogenic adventure through his past, present and future and eventually help him rediscover the joys of life, love and friendship. Perhaps you will, too!

“Holidazed and Confused Revue”
UP Comedy Club
230 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 662-4562

Date: Nov. 16, 2014 – Dec. 31, 2014

Heart palpitations, a cold sweat, white knuckles? No, it’s not Ebola but the arrival of your relatives for the holidays and the antidote is a session with The Second City’s “Holidazed and Confused Revue.” Take them to this comedic festive show that mines a mix of material from The Second City archives. It will make winter in Chicago and having to share a bathroom with family members easier to bear after watching the hilarious send-up of traditional holiday fare. “Holidazed and Confused” is 90 minutes with a brief intermission and it may be a little racy for the under 16-year-old set.

Related: Best Places For Edible Holiday Gifts In Chicago

Dining in The Walnut Room under The Great Tree
Macy’s State St.Chicago
111 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 781-4483

Recognized as a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Macy’s State Street not only supplies the magical holiday scenes in its Loop windows, but 2014 marks the 107th lighting of The Great Tree Lighting in the world-famous Walnut Room on the 7th floor. The Great Tree is 45 feet tall and is decorated with 15,000 lights and over 2,000 ornaments. You’re seated in the Walnut Room on a first-come, first-served basis (approximately 500 seated) so keep this in mind if you have squirrely kids in tow. Tell them if they pipe down and be patient, they’ll get to see the big man in Santaland, too.

Cooking Around the World with Blu
Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel
221 N. Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 565-5258

Date: Jan. 16, 2015

The Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago begins a cooking class series called “Cooking Around the World with Blu,” launching just in time for the holidays. It can be a wonderful, immersive experience for family, couples or friends with the hotel’s Executive Chef Christian F. Gaborit. Classes focus on different cuisines and techniques and last three hours. The holiday menu includes artisanal smoked salmon roulade, avocado cream cheese, caviar; roasted rack of venison, juniper berry sauce; glazed chestnut, Lady Apple, mushrooms; and New England bread pudding, bourbon sauce. You’ll sit down at the end of class to feast upon your newfound “Top Chef” results. It costs $130 per person for three courses with paired wines.

Related: Best Pumpkin Dishes In Chicago

Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at