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Get A Few More Jollies: Three Last Holiday Hurrahs

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 3, 2015 7:00PM

Some of us recover from Christmas. We emerge from the piles of dishes, vowing to stop eating for a small army, and breathe a sigh of relief that we don’t have to go anywhere for the weekend.

Some of us, though, maybe didn’t get enough holiday cheer. We missed a few peppermint mochas and partridges in pear trees for the craziness of shopping and cooking.

We think either group you fall into could use a break, and, especially if you feel like you missed out a little this Christmas, it’s a good weekend to make up for it and really enjoy yourself with no ribbons attached. Here are a few ideas:

Chicago Botanic Garden: Wonderland Express

There’s a smattering of snow on the ground in the North Suburbs and we think that’d make walking in a winter wonderland even better. The botanic gardens are always a wonderland, and the snow on the carefully manicured trees of the Japanese garden is a winter favorite of mine every year.

But Wonderland Express is much more than snow on the carefully thought out grounds. There’s snow inside the buildings at this time of year, as you head toward the elaborate train sets and miniature cityscapes. If you’re outside, you’ll find over 750,000 lights among the trees. You can catch only catch Wonderland Express for two more days though, so make this happen and enjoy some nature and some holiday wonder. For those who are interested, click here and get your tickets!

Winter Wonderland at Cuneo Mansion, Vernon Hills

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t take the tree down until well into January because you love to look at the lights, we suggest a journey just a little further north than the Botanic Gardens. If you head out to Vernon Hills, IL, you can experience a wonderland of a more man-made type.

Every year, the Cuneo mansion grounds become a full on light show designed to ooh and ahh over. It’s worth the trip as elaborate scenes are set up with chasing, twinkling and colorful lights. Tonight is the last night for the wonderland. It’s a steal at $10 per car, which makes it easy to make it a night, and hit Firkin or Mickey Finn’s in nearby Libertyville for dinner, or stop into Tighthead Brewing for some late holiday libations.

Tickets for the wonderland can be purchased on site, and directions are available here.

“Yippee Ki-Yay, Merry Christmas: ‘A Die Hard Christmas Musical’”

Finally, if you’re not feeling like venturing up north, head to MCL Chicago, where you can check out what looks to be a wonderfully weird “comedy action musical” about Bruce McClane. We here at Chicagoist have spent a Christmas past marathoning Die Hard from start to finish, and think this could be a fun sendoff to the holiday season. Tickets are $15, the show itself is BYOB, and you can catch this one until January 12th.

Whatever this weekend finds you doing, we hope you enjoy the holidays’ slow fade out. Happy New Year, Chicago.