4 Modern Decorating Ideas for the Holidays

Photo of Christmas pastel decorations in a studio

For decades, homeowners have covered their homes in the same two colors during the last month of the year. Greenery has long been used as the base color, with bold splashes of red to provide contrast. Colors like gold, silver, and white often creep in, but green and red almost always predominate.

In recent years, however, people have begun questioning those traditions, moving toward new ways of decorating the home for the holiday season. Instead of throwing up a green tree with the same decorations everyone uses, homeowners can find unique ways to celebrate the season. Here are some contemporary decorating ideas to try this year.

Create a Winter Wonderland

Over the years, snow has become closely linked with holiday images. Blanketing your home in white can create a peaceful, winter-like glow that will be more celebratory than red and green ever could. If your family uses an artificial tree, consider exchanging the tried-and-true green with a stark white tree. For those who prefer real trees, a snow-flocked tree can create a similar effect. Top the tree off with white and silver ornaments and white lights and the result will be a glow that will give your home warmth throughout the season.

Go Homemade

Anyone can go to a department store and fill a cart with Christmas decorations. Instead consider creating your own decorations this year. You’ll find they’re much more charming than store-bought items ever could be and you’ll have the fun of crafting together as a family. If you aren’t the arts and crafts type or you simply don’t have time, visit a local craft fair or shop Christmas decorations on Etsy. You’ll be supporting talented crafters while filling your home with one-of-a-kind decorations.

Make It a Golden Year

Gold has become an increasingly popular color for the holiday season, whether through ornaments, or decorations throughout the house. Gold decorations have a classy appeal while still being festive. They also go well with greenery, especially when that greenery is trimmed with white lights. If you choose gold for your tree, keep it simple by using white lights and white or cream trim. Use gold candleholders and trim to cover surfaces like fireplace mantels and tabletops and find a gold centerpiece for your dining room table.

Lose the Tree

Although Christmas trees are Christmas staples, some homeowners have learned that they can decorate for the holidays without the tree. Whether you’re living in a small space that doesn’t allow room for a tree or you simply want to skip the hassle of purchasing, setting up, and discarding or storing a tree, there are creative ways to decorate without it. You could decorate an existing plant, use wall decals, or create Christmas trees out of other objects.

Traditional Christmas decorations are only the beginning. With a little creativity, homeowners can push themselves to create a unique holiday look that will be both classy and festive. Even if you already have boxes full of decorations, you can add to your traditional décor with a few touches that will elevate your holiday look to a new level.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Holiday Celebrations Bring a Magical Time!

Another Thanksgiving is in the books!  It’s time to partake in the many remaining holiday celebrations that bring a magical time to Chicago for an opportunity to make lasting holiday memories.  Here are the next batch of favorite Chicago holiday traditions for you, your family and friends to enjoy the magic of the season!!

Chicagoland’s largest indoor lights experience, Light Up the Lake, returns to Navy Pier’s Festival Hall (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood now through January 7, 2023.  Returning activities include Light Sculptures with over 600,000 lights featuring oversized sculptures with holiday and toy box themes, including a giant Teddy Bear, a 25-foot deer, a 60-foot light tunnel, and a 40-foot tree; and the regulation-size Alpine Ice-Skating Rink.  This year’s new attractions include a Stomp Light Activity (a collection of 100 interactive LED floor pads); a Light Memory Game (smart phone required); a Reflecting Pond (area for relaxing, reflecting, and taking spectacular photo ops); a Winter Wonderfest Forest (a maze of over 100 lighted, 8-foot birch trees); and more.  Plus, there’s a winter market, a beer garden, a train ride, and visits with Santa!  It’s the best way to spend the holidays in Chicago!!

Celebrating its 80th anniversary of a beloved Chicago tradition that began in 1942 with a single tree, the Museum of Science and Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Dr.) in the Hyde Park neighborhood welcomes you to Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Lights now through January 4, 2023.  This event features 50 elaborately decorated trees by volunteers who represent Chicago’s diverse ethnic communities and who want to share their cultural traditions.  The centerpiece for this dazzling display is the four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree located in the Rotunda!  In Holiday of Lights, the museum honors the traditions of Chinese New Year, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Hanukkah, Vaisakha Puja Day, St. Lucia Day, and more.  It’s simply a whole world of holiday joy under one roof for a one-of-a-kind experience!!

It’s that special time of year when there aren’t enough hours in a day and anything that could go wrong does!  Well, put your holiday stress aside for a while at the Holidays from Hell as you watch Chicago’s best comedians and improvisers make light of guest storytellers’ horrific holiday stories at the iO Theater (1501 N. Kingsbury St.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood on Saturdays from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.!  It just may be what you need to get through this holiday season!!

If you happen to have kids in tow during the holidays, here are two possibilities to keep the little ones in awe:

Returning to the stage for this holiday season, Chicago’s beloved holiday tradition, The Steadfast Tin Soldier is a classic the whole family will treasure.  Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story about a little tin soldier who never gives up is a yearly staple at the Lookingglass Theatre Company (821 N. Michigan Ave.) on The Magnificent Mile now through January 8, 2023.  This show dazzles with a gorgeous set, whimsical costuming, and plenty of doll-like pantomime that’s surely a treat for all ages!

If your family consists of LEGO fans, then load up the car to enjoy a seasonal holiday event at Holiday Bricktacular now through January 2, 2023 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) at the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago (601 N. Martingale Rd.) in Schaumburg.  This event offers fun holiday displays in LEGO MINILAND, activities, building events, taking pictures in a life-size sleigh built entirely of LEGOs, finding all the LEGO presents throughout the center to win a prize, and more!  It’s a brick lover’s event not to be missed!!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News: ‘Christmas Around The World’ at Hyde Park’s Museum of Science and Industry

Photo of a reflection of Chicago cityscape shown in Christmas ornament in holiday decorated downtown

Eighty years ago this month, (1942), World War II was raging across Europe and Asia. Back home in Chicago, to honor the brave spirit of soldiers ‘across the pond,’ at Hyde Park’s Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), 5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, curators decorated a single tree with ornaments representing celebrations around the world. The tree was newly decorated every day for 12 days to represent the countries fighting alongside America during World War II. 

It was a unifying gesture during a time when nations were divided, and the exhibit proved popular enough to return year after year. 

Today, ‘Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light Exhibit, features more than 50 trees highlighting a variety of countries and cultures, offering insight into the holiday customs celebrated by families around the world. These trees and displays are decorated by volunteers from around the Chicagoland area to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe. 

According to MSI’s website, the centerpiece surrounded by this dazzling display is the four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree in the Museum’s Rotunda. You and your family can also explore Holidays of Light, a celebration of global holidays throughout the year that honor light and enlightenment.

“What makes it so special, is it brings different communities together to actually celebrate holidays and actually be able to understand how each culture celebrates their holidays,” said Chevy Humphrey, MSI President and CEO, to ABC7Chicago at its opening last week. 

For its 80th Anniversary, museum visitors, young and old, will experience a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree surrounded by more than 50 other trees and displays. Each surrounding tree is decorated to represent holiday traditions in other cultures around the world. Holidays of Light celebrates holidays and cultures that use light, like Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, and Saint Lucia Day.

“Perhaps most notable is the grand 45-foot tall tree with more than 45,000 lights!” wrote Kidlista fewyearsago. “While observing the tree on the main floor, guests can be a part of a “snowfall” that takes place every 30 minutes during the holiday season. It’s especially exciting for little kids, so be sure not to miss it! My kids loved seeing the pretend snow falling from the ceiling and it created a magical ambiance for them.”

For the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the museum will host special hours. Closed on Thanksgiving, they will reopen on Friday, November 25 – Sunday, November 27 from 9:30 am–5:30pm. 

For the rest of the holiday season, they’re open 9:30am-4pm daily through January 4, 2023. ‘Christmas Around the World’ is free with museum admission; $21.95/ages 12-plus, $12.95/ages 3-11, free/2 and under. To purchase tickets and learn more, click here

Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season to all! At Dean’s Team Chicago, we’re thankful for you!! 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review – Watch the World Cup at The Atlantic Bar & Grill

Photo of cheerful Italian fans holding flag celebrating winning match, happy time in bar

With the US Men’s Team in the World Cup for the first time since 2014, what better way to celebrate their match against England on ‘Black Friday,’ November 25 at 1pm CT than at a sports bar dedicated to ‘futball? ‘

In Lincoln Square, The Atlantic Bar & Grillbills itself as ‘Your Authentic Irish Soccer Pub in Chicago’s Lincoln Square,’ as well as the ‘official home of the Chicago Fire.’  And, despite an ownership change due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent reviews indicate that the quality of the food and spirit of céad míle fáilte (a hundred thousand welcomes) still lives at The Atlantic. 

For starters, try their highly touted Irish Nachos, which are crispy chips topped with shepherd’s pie filling, nacho cheese, green onions and sour cream. Or, try their Chicken Wings, tossed in your choice of buffalo, bbq, teriyaki or sriracha sauce, and served with your choice of bleu cheese, ranch or jalapeño ranch dip. Their Soup of the Day might just turn out to be their Loaded Cream of Potato Soup, topped with melted cheddar and bacon.

Move on to The Atlantic Burger, topped with sweet caramelized onions, crisp bacon slices, lettuce and tomato slices with melted American cheese, or for a British delight, Shepherd’s Pie, layered with homemade mashed potatoes, seasoned ground beef blended with carrots and peas, more potatoes topped with shredded cheese and baked golden. Beer-Battered Fish and Chips are Atlantic cod fish filets, hand-dipped and fried to perfection, and served generously with thick-cut fries, coleslaw, tartar sauce and lemon wedges.  

But save room for a sweet treat! Atlantic Cheesecake is served with chocolate sauce and topped with whipped cream! 

The Atlantic Bar & Grill is located at 5062 N. Lincoln Avenue. They are open Monday-Friday from 4pm-10pm (earlier for Tottenham Hotspur F.C. games). Saturday and Sunday, they are open 11am-10pm (again, earlier for Tottenham.) 

Recent Google reviewers, despite the management change, have enjoyed the food and service. 

“My husband & I love this bar. All of the bar tenders & staff are super friendly, competent & efficient,” wrote one. “The food is really good & prices are reasonable. The servings are so big that always end up with meals for next day. They have a relatively recent, but experienced cook who has really improved the food in the last year, although it was always pretty good. They have specials all the time. They make typical bar food, but it’s delicious. My favorite are the Irish Nachos. I don’t often crave food from a bar, but I often do now. They usually have live music on weekends with great acts & have a back area for comfortable sitting during acts, or hosting parties. We go here almost every weekend. It’s cozy with a big fireplace & lots of TVs for games. My favorite bar of all time.”

“Great local pub!” wrote another. “Friendly bartender, fast and delicious food. We got Irish nachos and they were bomb! Excited to come back for a traditional Irish breakfast and a soccer game.”

Go, USA! And Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Thanksgiving countdown

Photo of a formal dining room table elegantly decorated for Thanksgiving or a harvest themed Fall dinner party.

Hopefully you have found this on our blog site so you will get this on Tuesday. By now you should have most of your grocery shopping done. You may want to pick up a few perishables on Wednesday like rolls, if you’re not baking them yourself, but most of your list can be done on the weekend. You might miss some of the crowds that will be there on Monday and Tuesday. You have of course plotted out your shopping list from your menu. Now we can move into countdown mode. Side note: If you are using a frozen turkey make sure you give it enough time to thaw in the refrigerator. A large one can take several days. 

Tuesday is the day to get everything that’s not food, ready. Check your menu. Get out every pot, pan, and utensil needed for cooking all your dishes. Include everything like mixing bowls and foil pans. Foil pans are a cook’s dream, one use, and in the garbage they go. Don’t forget the odd things only used on holidays, like the electric knife for carving. One year I didn’t check early and found out on the big day the knife was kaput! Not a huge disaster, but it could have been avoided. 

The dining table can be set up on Tuesday also. Again, you will set out to have a dish and serving utensil for every menu item served. Don’t forget the dishes others are bringing. You’ll probably be able to serve from the dish they bring but you will need a utensil. Include trivets for all hot items. Wash and iron your tablecloth. Wash all dishes and glasses. Set the table and cover it with a clean sheet to keep off the dust. You won’t believe how much time this saves, especially not having to search for that extra serving dish just before dinner! Don’t forget dessert plates and utensils.

Wednesday is for food prep. Make the stuffing. Peel the potatoes. Make appetizers. Prepare veggie and other appetizer trays. Make dips. Brine the turkey, check online for instructions. Best turkey ever. Bake pies or make other desserts. 

Make a Thanksgiving Day cooking schedule. Consider what you are cooking, how long it takes, what can be prepared and reheated, and your oven capacity. Mashed potatoes can be made early and parked in a slow cooker on warm. Add a bit of warmed butter and cream just before serving. Vegetable dishes usually do fine with reheating just before serving. The turkey needs to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving so that is a great time to heat up all your sides, so they go to the table piping hot. Stick to your schedule and have a great day where you can spend time with your guests and not all day in the kitchen!

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

The Pros and Cons of a Home Addition

Photo of a man holding pros and cons cards

Whether your family is growing, or your home simply isn’t meeting your needs in terms of space, you’ve got a couple of options: either move to a larger home with more square footage, or add it to your existing home in the form of an addition. Both are viable options, but the choice you make should only be done after careful consideration.

Many homeowners choose to stay put and go the home addition route. But while this option offers the obvious advantage of adding more space to your home, there may be some downsides to it as well.

Before you decide to add more space to your home through an additional room or even a completely new level, weigh the pros and cons of this option first.

The Pros

You don’t have to move.

If you love your current neighborhood and don’t want to have to go through the hassle of moving your family and all of your belongings, an addition could be a great solution. This is especially true if you’ve got kids and don’t want to uproot them from their current school, unless you’re able to find another home in the same school district.

Create just the right amount and type of space that your family needs.

Rather than depending on what’s available on the market, you can have the addition tailored specifically to your needs and tastes that will match your lifestyle perfectly. You have the freedom to build the right amount of additional living space that you require, and can customize the home addition design, as long as your lot size and city by-laws permit.

You can control the costs associated with the work.

Depending on the scope of the work, you can complete your addition in stages in order to ensure the project complies with your budget. For instance, you might choose to build the home addition and move your family into it while holding off on finishing up smaller yet expensive components of the project, such as crown molding or trim work. Once your budget is capable of supporting this additional work, you can then continue. You might even want to pitch in with your own elbow grease to cut down on the costs.

The Cons

It’s disruptive.

You and your family could be living through a ton of noise, dust, and disruptions for weeks or even months if you choose to remain in the home while the construction is going on. Depending on exactly what the project entails, you might be stuck having to do without certain important components of the home. For instance, if the addition involves extending the kitchen, you might have to go without that critical space for a while.

Your other option would be to temporarily relocate while the work is being done, but this also comes with its own set of consequences. If you stay in a hotel or other similar accommodations, this could end up costing you a pretty penny when it’s all said and done, not to mention the fact that living out of a hotel can get old after a while.

If you choose to stay with family or friends, you might be saving money but you’ll also have to put up with living in someone else’s house in the meantime, which can get pretty frustrating and burdensome as time goes by, both for you and the family who graciously put you up. 

It could be more expensive than just moving.

Moving comes with the costs of real estate brokerage commissions and fees, moving company costs, land transfer taxes, lawyer fees, and other closing costs, which can certainly add up. But these expenses could actually be cheaper compared to an addition. If you don’t plan properly, the addition could cost you more than you anticipated. The last thing you want is to have to make last-minute change orders to the design while it’s under construction, as contractors will charge you a great deal for these. In addition, not only will you have to cover the costs of material and labor, you will also be responsible for paying for permits and site inspection fees from the city, which can all add up.

You might be negatively affecting the value of your home.

An addition might suit your needs, but it might transform your home to the point that your neighborhood real estate market value won’t support it. For instance, if all the homes on your street are 3-bedroom bungalows and you add a second story addition that brings your bedroom count up to 4 or 5, you run the risk of “over-improving” and not recouping the money spent on the addition come sale time.

You’re compromising your yard space.

If you’re building out, you’re encroaching on your yard space. As a result, you’ll need to be ready to accept a smaller yard when the addition is done. Not only will this potentially compromise your own enjoyment of your yard, you could also be negatively affecting the value of your home if buyers in the area are looking for more yard space. In addition, you also have to confirm with the local building inspector is see if there are any setbacks and restrictions when it comes to building an addition on your property.

The Bottom Line

A home addition could very well be a fantastic solution for your family’s needs, but considering the cost and scope of such a large project, you need to cover all the bases to make sure that you’re making the right decision. Before you call your contractor, speak with your trusted real estate agent to help you explore all of your options and ensure that the decision you make doesn’t negatively impact your current home’s value or your budget.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Chicago’s Holiday Season Welcomes You!

Photo of Chicago downtown cityscape with decorated Christmas tree glowing in the dark

It’s time again to feel the magic of the holiday season as Chicago once again will be full of bustling excitement and seasonal celebrations no matter what holidays you observe!  Join us as we welcome you to Chicago’s Holiday Season!!

The 109th official City of Chicago Christmas Tree is on display at Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop through Sunday, January 8, 2023.  This year’s tree was donated by the Glisovic family of Morton Grove and is a 55-foot Colorado Blue Spruce.  This larger-than-life attraction will shine brightly with its twinkling lights and crowned with an illuminated star!

The iconic German-inspired Christkindlmarket Chicago returns to the Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.) in The Loop now through December 24th from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.  It’s the most authentic holiday market of its kind outside of Europe, featuring international and local vendors offering a unique shopping experience, family-friendly events, and intercultural activities! Also, don’t leave without trying the spiced glühwein which is a German hot wine concoction best enjoyed in the market’s famous souvenir boot mugs!!

Gallagher Way (3635 N. Clark St.) in the Wrigleyville neighborhood is thrilled to announce the return of Winterland now through January 8, 2023.  This annual holiday event that normally offers festivities like the Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville beside the ballpark is officially moving some of its wintry attractions inside the ballpark this year, including the 12,000-square-foot Gallagher Ice Rink!  This expanded holiday experience will offer more family-friendly activities and new experiences such as on-field games, carnival rides, an ice slide, a miniature train, and even a pop-up restaurant “The Lodge” complete with cozy firepits!!

Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year at ZooLights located at Lincoln Park Zoo (2400 N. Cannon Dr.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood now through January 1, 2023, from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.  Come see one of the largest displays of holiday lights in the city limits as this annual event strings up millions of LED lights.  Visitors can wander through the Zoo snapping photos at the various displays as well as taking part in a variety of activities.  There are some new ticketed features this year as well that include a Ferris Wheel so you can get a bird’s eye view of all the lights!  Plus, there will be plenty of hot beverages and snacks to enjoy at stands throughout the Zoo!!

Chicago officially kicks-off its festive holiday season this Saturday (5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m.) with the Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.  Shining bright for 31 years, this spectacular parade marches down the Magnificent Mile (401 N. Michigan Ave.) in The Loop from Oak Street to Wacker Drive illuminating one million lights on 200+ trees along the way!  The procession also features fabulous floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, celebrities, musical performances, and Santa Claus led by Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse from the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida.  Afterwards, stick around and enjoy Wintrust’s fireworks spectacular!!

Finally, it’s turkey time!  Head on down to State Street in The Loop for Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, November 24th, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.  This annual, colorful procession makes its way down State Street between Ida B. Wells Drive and Randolph Street complete with over 100 floats along with a lively mix of performances from equestrian performers and fire twirlers to ballerinas and soul steppers!  And don’t forget to gaze upwards as the skyline fills with giant helium balloons led by none other than “Teddy Turkey.”  Gobble, Gobble!!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News-Gobbling up the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

Photo of the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago

Every Thanksgiving morning, Chicago’s official holiday season gets a super sized start with the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade, bright and early. While your Thanksgiving turkey roasts, from 8am-11am on CW26 Chicago (check your local listings) it’s an opportunity, besides dinner and football, to share a holiday tradition with all the generations gathered together to witness Chicago area marching bands, floats, giant balloons, equestrian acts, performances and more. 

“A Tradition 88 years in the Making”

As told by Wikipedia sources, in 1934, the United States had been in the Great Depression for six years, and Chicago’s leaders  needed to boost the economy as well as public spirit. Enter Walter Gregory, President of Chicago’s State Street Council, who proposed a Christmas parade to Mayor Edward Kelly. 

The ‘Christmas Caravan,’ Chicago’s first Thanksgiving Day Parade, marched down State Street on December 7, 1934. Gregory and a costumed Santa Claus led the caravan, which was filled with toys and various merchandise from State Street businesses. As hoped, the parade contributed to desirable growth in the local economy and the city’s largest holiday buying period since 1927. 

The parade continued through World War II and the rise of the Baby Boomer era in post-war America. 

in 1968, the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, under the leadership of Mayor Richard J. Daley, took over producing the holiday parade when the State Street Council determined that it could no longer afford it. In 1969, an estimated 1.5 million people lined State Street, a record at the time. 

Corporate sponsorships, surprisingly enough, didn’t start until 1984, when Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities began a five-year sponsorship, followed by Brach’s, Marshall Field’s, and Target, among others. 

Teddy Turkey

One thing remaining constant is the presence of the parade mascot, Teddy Turkey. “Teddy, according to Wikipedia sources, is also is known to make appearances throughout the city, helping to spread the holiday spirit – year round – to everyone he meets.” And, he has his own Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts! 

Thursday, November 24: ‘Where Grateful Hearts Gather’

In 2022, Chicago’s Thanksgiving Parade is themed ‘Where Grateful Hearts Gather.’ The parade steps off at 8am on Thursday, November 24, on State Street (that great street!) from Ida B. Wells  Drive (formerly Congress) north to Randolph. If you’re roasting the turkey the morning of November 24, you can watch the Chicago Thanksgiving Parade live on CW26 from 8AM – 11AM.

This year’s Parade will be co-hosted by actors Jen Lilley (Days of Our Lives, Royally Wrapped for Christmas) and Jesse Hutch (Batwoman, Dream Wedding).

As Choose Chicago says, “Gaze upward as the skyline fills with giant helium balloons, led by Teddy the Turkey, the parade’s official mascot. You’ll see a cast of familiar and much-loved faces, from Garfield the Cat outfitted as a pilgrim to Bullwinkle J. Moose looking sharp in his suit.

Wave at the entertainers as the decorative floats cruise by. And don’t miss fan favorite Santa Claus as he ushers in the holidays.”

Topping it all off are incredible performances throughout the day within the main stage area between Washington and Randolph Streets. Among those performing will be the Marist High School marching band, Jesse White Tumbling Team and dance group Renacer Boliviano. 

Local Chicago-area marching bands include: Bishop Noll (IN) Institute; Bloom Township High School; Kankakee High School; Lake Zurich High School; Marist High School; Merrillville (IN) High School; Southland College Prep Charter High School; and Thornwood High School. Other local parade entries feature: American Sidesaddle Association, Escaramuza las Monarcas, Herder Holiday Horses, SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program, the 501st Legion Midwest Garrison; Aztec Dance-Xochitl-Quetzal; Bloom Township High School Choir; Chicago Boyz Acrobatic Team; Chicago Spirit Brigade; Cirque Experience; Crystal Lake Strikers Drumline; and the Korean Performing Arts Institute of Chicago. 

For more information on Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, check out Block Club Chicago’s feature here

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review -Thanksgiving to go-go! 

Photo of Thanksgiving dinner

Last week, Dean’s Team Chicago brought you restaurants to ease you into your family’s Thanksgiving meal. For those who don’t want to cook on Thursday, November 24, but want to enjoy a great meal in the privacy of your own home, Chicago offers many to-go options for all diets and palates! Place your order soon… some of the best feasts have deadlines this week and deadlines are listed below. 

“Just Heat, Serve and Give Thanks “ 

Bucktown’s Bristol Restaurant, 2152 N. Damen Avenue, has an upscale ‘Thanksgiving Feast at Home’ by Chef Larry Feldmeier for four. For $225, you canfeast on milk bread with butter, pepita (pumpkin seeds), roast turkey breast, smoked turkey legs, roasted root vegetables, juniper cranberry jam, pomme puree, braised greens, gacon, apple-herbed stuffing, and pumpkin cheesecake! Orders must be placed by Thursday, November 17th. For information and reservations, click here

In Lincoln Square, Luella’s Southern Kitchen, 4609 N. Lincoln Avenue, dinners to go include a pound of smoked turkey with mac and cheese, brown butter green beans, cornbread stuffing, and apple cobbler. According to Eater.com, there’s a dinner for eight option for $200. The order cut-off is Friday, November 18. For information and reservations, click here.

At Beatrix-River North, 519 N. Clark Street, Thanksgiving Dinner To-Go is $179.95, plus tax, and serves 4-6. The Lettuce Entertain You fixture is serving an American classic menu, including herb-roasted turkey breast, mashed potatoes, holiday green beans, traditional stuffing, traditional gravy, Parker House rolls and house-made cranberry sauce. Orders must be placed by Saturday, November 19 at noon. Check out Beatrix’ other locations in Streeterville and around town as well! To order,click here

Vegetarians and those needing gluten-free options can celebrate in fine style at The Chicago Diner locations in Lakeview, 3411 N. Halsted Street, and Logan Square, 2333 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Thanksgiving carryout preorders must be made by Sunday, November 20. Feast on corned-beef and Italian-style seitan, stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, mashed regular potatoes, gravy, jalapeño corn fritters, and ‘Mac ‘n Teese®’ as well as pumpkin and apple pies. For more information and to reserve your feast, click here. 

“Family, Friends and the Farm” 

Lakeview’s Farm Bar,1300 W. Wellington Avenue, offers a Thanksgiving To-Go dinner for 2-4 for $145, or dinner for 6-8 for $240. Their farm-to-table-to-home menu includes herb-roasted turkey, Farm Bar Thanksgiving stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, Farm green salad, home-made gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Place your order by Sunday, November 20 at 5 pm. Toorder, click here

Roscoe Village’ s Le Sud Mediterranean Kitchen , 2301 W. Roscoe Street, has a $99 feast for 2-3 that includes herb and lemon-brined roasted turkey, with their signature Basque seasoning, cranberry and peach mostarda, and caperberry gravy, Yukon potatoes, Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, bacon and Idiazabal cheese gratin, duck confit chestnut stuffing, brioche dinner rolls and whipped butter. But wait! Save room for pumpkin tiramisu, with pumpkin mascarpone and espresso liqueur, and take advantage of half-priced bottled wines! To order, click here

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Fun Ways to Spice Up Your Table for Thanksgiving Dinner

Photo of pumpkins and candle on a wooden table

Across the country, households are preparing for one of the biggest holidays of the year. Thanksgiving revolves around one big meal, whether that meal is for only a couple of people or an entire extended family. In addition to purchasing food for the big feast, families also spend time decorating their homes to show off their holiday spirit.

Since much of Thanksgiving takes place at the table, this is usually the focal point of a homeowner’s Thanksgiving preparations. From the plates they choose to the placemats beneath them, homeowners can improve the meal by making things much more festive. Here are a few things you can do to make your dinner table a little more festive for the holiday.

Nature’s Centerpieces

You don’t have to spend a fortune to create a winning Thanksgiving centerpiece. You can use fresh flowers or items found in your grocery store’s produce section to create a beautiful centerpiece. Instead of spending a great deal of money on decorations you’ll merely have to store until next year, your centerpiece will be both affordable and perishable. Most importantly, the fact that you did it yourself will be a real conversation starter during the meal.

Fun Place Cards

Normally reserved for fancy shindigs, place cards serve a very valuable purpose. They let dinner hosts designate seating for guests to make events go more smoothly. While most family dinners don’t need that level of organization, place cards can be fun, especially if children are involved. You can purchase premade Thanksgiving-themed place card holders or make your own using basic craft items. For even more fun, use blank place cards and have your child guests decorate them and fill in the names on Thanksgiving morning.

Cover the Table

Tablecloths are a great way to protect the table beneath and make cleanup easy. Disposable tablecloths can be tossed in the garbage at the end of the day and washable tablecloths can go straight to the laundry room. Homeowners can choose from plain tablecloths and use Thanksgiving-themed accents or go all out on a Thanksgiving-themed tablecloth and matching accessories. Table runners can be a classier alternative, whether paired with a tablecloth or used directly on the table.

Thanksgiving Dinnerware

If each year, one of your biggest hosting opportunities is Thanksgiving, it might be worth it to invest in Thanksgiving-themed dinnerware. You can purchase plates, platters, and napkin rings that bring your Thanksgiving dinner to life. Turkey-themed platters that are the perfect size to hold your turkey are available in abundance, but you may have difficulty packing your dishware until next Thanksgiving. Instead, it might be better to use your regular dinnerware and decorate around it.

Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to spend time with family and reflect on all of the great things in life. By sprucing up your dinner table with a few festive decorations, you can create a fun atmosphere that will make the holiday one to remember. With a little creativity, you may even be able to use natural items that save money and create a unique look.