Get A Jump On The Holidays

By Tatum Bartlett | Friday, November 19, 2010

It's just around the corner. Are you feeling pressure yet? Photo by Aaron Gustafson.

By early November, aisle after aisle of local drugstores are dedicated to holiday trinkets and decorations. Although my eyes glaze over from the TV infomercial displays, I quickly refocus on the garlands, lights and ornaments. Christmas already?

This year I had a thought: Maybe it isn’t just a revenue ploy. Could it be that the marketing gurus of the world are sending me a sign to STOP PROCRASTINATING!

If you’re like me and more often than not find yourself racing around the city, dodging shopping carts, falling victim to parking space shortages, searching through racks of leftover envelopes in an attempt to find a mate for the less than inspiring card you are reluctantly purchasing, then take a peak at this week’s recommended events. Here are some ideas on how to get a head start on your holiday cheer and dreaded holiday shopping – with local businesses and events.

Global Explorers, a Lincoln Square-based nonprofit dedicated to providing children with the opportunity to explore the diversity of the world through the arts, will host Dance and Play the Night Away on Friday, November 19, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Belle Plaine Studio, 2014 W. Belle Plaine Ave.

The night features board games and group games from a variety of countries, the opportunity to learn dances from diverse cultures, cuisine samples from local ethnic restaurants, a raffle, grab bag and a variety of contest prizes donated by area businesses.

A $20 suggested donation in advance ($5 for children), or $25 suggested donation at the door ($7 for children) comes complete with food, entertainment, one drink ticket and one raffle ticket.

Proceeds go to keeping the Global Explorers Kids program affordable and to full scholarships for children of low-income families.

Coonley’s Holiday Market, in its fourth year, is a great way to knock out that ever-growing shopping list while also benefiting the neighborhood school. Shopping with a purpose, I like to call it.

The holiday market will feature a range of jewelry, textiles, pottery, stationary, beauty products and holiday ornaments. If you feel your blood sugar drop as your purchases accumulate, do not fret: a bake sale and cake raffle is on the agenda. And, if it all didn’t sound already too good to be true, your little ones can enjoy the afternoon in the children’s craft area. The holiday market will take place at Coonley Elementary School, 4046 N. Leavitt St., on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Finally, Luther Memorial Church will host its Sixth Annual Holiday Market fundraiser event at Luther Memorial Church, 2500 W. Wilson Ave., on Sunday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Handcrafted gift items, fresh holiday wreaths, tasty lunch options, holiday cookies, a raffle drawing and children’s holiday tree prizes are just a sampling of what the church’s holiday market has in store.

Event proceeds will benefit educational programs and children’s activities at Thomas J. Waters Elementary School in Lincoln Square, Grace Lutheran School in Chicago’s Pilsen Neighborhood and the schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. For additional information, call the Luther Memorial Church office at 773-539-3018 or visit the church website.

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