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By: Jasmine Stewart

So, how many of you are still eating Thanksgiving leftovers? This is day three, and I won’t lie, I can’t stop eating. I made more than enough mac and cheese and I plan to indulge as much as possible! Although eating is normally the common thing equated to this particular holiday, what would it be without togetherness? With Christmas now around the corner and the promise of (heavy) snow up ahead, it’s time to start preparing your houses, cars, families, and wallets for the rest of this year!

Two weeks ago, Chicago kicked off the start of our winter holidays with the lighting of our Christmas tree in Millennium Park. Plenty of people showed up to the event, which was emceed by Chicago’s “Hamilton” actor, Miguel Cervantes. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival celebrated its 27th annual tree lighting parade this year and was led by grand marshals Mickey and Minnie Mouse as they gallivanted through Michigan Avenue. I’m sure the kids enjoyed that! If not, then last week’s Thanksgiving parade gave plenty to be desired by all.

Albeit, we didn’t have Diana Ross and her lovely family on any of our floats like New York did this year, but our parade still put on a great show. The floats were beautifully decorated and were accompanied by gigantic cartoon character-themed balloons. There were dancers, performers, and even fire twirlers. And it wouldn’t have been complete without Santa Claus making his debut for the kids. Needless to say, the streets were filled, and rightfully so. This event has been going on for decades and adds to Chicago’s history. I normally don’t go to these types of affairs because I tend to hate crowds, but this year, the weather was forgiving, which made the experience even more worth it.

Speaking of crowds, Black Friday has now officially passed and, fortunately enough, there weren’t any horrific reports of people being mowed down in the shopping centers. If you stayed home like me and watched the news, then you probably saw a bit of what you missed out on. I saw one reporter catch up with a woman who bought a pair of shoes originally priced at $600 that went on sale for $60. Sixty dollars! A friend of mine was lucky enough to snag a 72-inch TV, which is typically the first thing to go. Experts say that shoppers will spend somewhere close to $23 billion this time around, which sounds crazy to me. I don’t even like to spend more than $12 on fast food, let alone spending hundreds of dollars on gifts. If you didn’t go shopping this past Friday, don’t worry! There will still be plenty of sales going on before Christmas. The main concern anyone should have now is the weather.

This season wouldn’t be complete without a little snow, though, right? Chicago hasn’t seen much of it lately, but, as of this upcoming week, things will be changing. Reports of a blizzard on its way are circling, which is something to be cautious about when going out. Time to bring the shovels out and to start waking up earlier to warm your cars before work. Chicago isn’t called the Windy City for nothing, so please don’t take your scarves and coats for granted, people! With that being said, I hope you all are staying warm and are enjoying the holidays so far. And please, consider helping out the less fortunate if you see an opportunity to. This is the season for giving, after all.


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