The Shopping Season is in Full Swing

December 02, 2011

People aren’t letting the state of the economy curb their spending for this year’s holiday season.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent a record $52.4 billion over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend.

In a separate report, MasterCard announced that spending on retail sales increased 8.7 percent over last year.

And, it’s not over. Here are some ways to spend your money over the weekend in the Chicago area, further complete your holiday list and have fun while doing it.

*Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market: This 6th annual event will be held in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3-4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, 1419 W. Blackhawk St., where more than 150 handmade makers will present their goods for holiday-gift purchasing. There will also be hands-on crafting activities, a free photo booth, food from local eateries and warm wintertime libations.

*Lincoln Square Christkindl Market: Now in its fourth year, this holiday event includes Christmas caroling and choirs, local folk musicians and bands, a Kids Korner and one-of-a-kind products throughout German-American neighborhood. The party is in Lincoln Square, at Leland and Western Avenue in Chicago, on Sat. Dec. 3 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

*One of a Kind Show and Sale: The Merchandise Mart, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, is open to the public this weekend for this Chicago show, where more than 600 artists will be selling their imaginative, handmade creations. Hours are Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a charge to enter; proceeds benefit Children’s Memorial Hospital.

*Woman’s Club of Wilmette Antique Show and Holiday Boutique: This premier antiques show and sale will include items from dozens of the finest antique dealers in the Midwest and beyond. Bring your damaged glass, china and porcelain for on-site repairs by Mary Lou’s Crystal Repair. The show will be held at the WCW Club House, 930 Greenleaf Avenue, Wilmette, on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is a charge to get in; proceeds support projects like the Warming House Youth Center for teens.

*Geneva Christmas Walk & House Tour: Take a trip 40 miles west of Chicago to Geneva, where you can tour homes seasonally decorated for the holidays. Even Santa will have his own house to visit. The tour is open on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will also take place next Friday, Dec. 9 from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

*Central Street Open House: Stop by this popular street in Evanston this Sunday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., where most stores will be offering holiday goodies and discounts, including Stella Boutique, 2116 Central St., Evanston, where everything in the store will be 20 percent off.

*North Shore Flea Holiday Pop-Up Show: This first annual show will include vintage holiday gifts, jewelry, clothing and home decor for sale at 258 Green Bay Road in Highwood. Hours are Saturday, Dec. 3 from noon to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 4 from noon to 5 p.m.

*Build & Grow Kids Workshop: On Saturday, Dec. 3, all Chicago-area Lowe’s will be hosting a free workshop from 10 to 11 a.m. where kids can build a caboose. Next week, on Dec. 12, the workshop will continues with the building of a coal car. Come each week to build the next piece and your little builders will complete a Christmas train. You don’t have to pre-register, but kits could run out if you don’t.

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