It’s gift-giving season and neither rain nor snow nor social distancing will prevent some gift-givers from the swift distribution of their treasures. If you find yourself in Andersonville this weekend, you can swing by Chicago Dance Supply and get your gifts wrapped. The dancewear store is collaborating with Extensions Dance Company to offer free gift-wrapping services to interested shoppers in exchange for donations to two local public schools: Peirce and McCutcheon. The dancers will be wrapping any gifts you bring with care, but they of course encourage you to shop locally in the neighborhood. And if you’re there on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, you might catch Santa strolling Clark Street (and his elves tell me he’s happy to take selfies with you as long as you keep your mask on). See our listing for details.
On Saturday, the good people of the GoodKids MadCity organization, working with TGi Movement and Evening Star Ministries, are offering a first-come, first-serve Holiday Toy Giveaway for area families. Your children must be present to receive the gifts, and the event goes from 4 PM until gifts run out. It all happens at Evening Star (2050 W. 59th). Those of you who might want to donate to the cause should contact TGi by e-mail at TGiMovement15@gmail.com.
The Chicago Park District is also hosting Winter Wonderland Express Toy Giveaways, co-sponsored by WGN, at 18 parks on Saturday from 10 AM to noon. One toy will be given to each child, and children must be present to receive the toy. See the park district’s website for more details.
And though it’s their busy season, Santa and his elves have carved out some time to host Santa’s Garage and Drive-In, an interactive experience at Soldier Field that runs through Wednesday 12/23. There are light displays, a chance to get a photo with the big man as he gets some maintenance done on his sleigh, hot chocolate, and a screening of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Tickets range from $45-$65 per vehicle, and you can go to the North Pole visitors’s website to reserve your spot.
Things to read and listen to this weekend:
- Bill Wyman wrote a list of his holiday music picks for the Reader in 1988.
- My friend Darrell Gordon shared a playlist of “Christmas dusties” to YouTube.
Upcoming virtual events:
- Online anytime: the family-friendly holiday musical Eleanor’s Very Merry Christmas Wish.
- Fri 12/18 and Sat 12/19, 8 PM: Mars Williams and friends present An Ayler Xmas: two livestream concerts hosted by Constellation.
- Sun 12/20, 3 PM: FitzGerald’s hosts a virtual Honky Tonk Christmas livestream concert featuring the bands Big Sadie and the Lawrence Peters Outfit.
- Tue 12/22, 8 PM: Andrew Sa’s Lonesome Holiday boasts a huge list of guest stars including Ohmme, Daniel Knox, Kelly Hogan, and V.V. Lightbody. Presented on the Hideout’s Noonchorus page.