Kick off December with annual holiday events like Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” and Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo. Plus, don’t miss concerts by Northbrook Symphony and Old Town School of Folk Music, and tour the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio.
“The Nutcracker ”
Begins Dec. 1
The holiday season in Chicago isn’t complete without Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” If you didn’t see the reimagined ballet (set in Chicago in 1893) by Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon last year, don’t miss your chance this season.
“The Gift of Music ”
Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio will be open for tours during this free holiday open house. Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cookies (while supplies last) and receive a free tote with purchases of $50 or more and free gift wrapping at the shop. Registration is required. 
Holiday Magic 
Brookfield Zoo’s annual holiday lights festival returns with more than 1 million LED lights, live music and entertainment, ice carving demonstrations, magic shows, a model train display, and more. Holiday Magic continues Dec. 9-10, 16-17, and 26-31.
Old Town School of Folk Music will pay tribute to its rich history with a one-time-only concert featuring vocal and dance selections, spoken word, and more. Highlights will include performances of Big Bill Broonzy’s “Glory of Love,” Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans,” and Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago.”
Give Back Opportunity
Make It Better received the following letter from Perspectives Charter School :
Perspectives Charter Schools is requesting donations of game tables and board games for their five schools located on Chicago’s South Side — Auburn Gresham, South Loop, and Bronzeville. Perspectives have implemented a merit system for their nearly 2,000 students when they solve disputes in a peaceful way, resulting in their school receiving a new game table and/or new board games. Perspectives is asking for donations of new or slightly used game tables and board games. Below, please find their wish list:
- Ping Pong Tables
- Foosball Games
- Air Hockey Tables
- Pinball Machines
- Arcade Games
- Pool Tables
- Board Games
- Inflatable Bubble Balls
These schools operate with very limited resources, directing all their resources to provide a high quality education in a safe and supportive environment. If your family has outgrown your game table or board games, please consider donating it to Perspectives. Our Perspectives volunteers will work with you to coordinate pick up and deliver of your items. You can also make a donation to Perspectives, by visiting Perspectives’ website — Perspectives Charter Schools  — and clicking DONATE.
More from Make It Better:
- 6 Ski Resorts 3 Hours or Less From Chicago 
- 5 Life-Changing Family Vacations to Take With Your Kids Now 
- 17 Podcasts and Audiobooks That Will Make Family Road Trips Fly By 
Anna Carlson writes the weekly 5 Things to Do column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of Glenbrook South High School and the University of Missouri, her work has been published in Chicago Parent, Inside Columbia Magazine and Central California Parent Magazine. She is a proud supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital .