LINCOLN SQUARE — Small business Saturday is so last weekend. This weekend, it's all about the homespun Christmas markets ... and donkeys.
Making its debut this weekend: Chicago's Irish Christmas Market at Montrose Green. Browse Irish gifts while enjoying food, drink and festive entertainment. Santa will be on hand for photos with the little ones from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. each day the market is in operation.
The market at 1819 W. Montrose Ave. will be open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Dec. 14, 15, 21 and 22. Admission is free and open to all ages.
Peterson Garden Project — those folks encouraging Chicagoans to grow their own food — is also hosting a pop-up holiday market in support of hand-made goods by local artists and crafters, with 15 percent of the proceeds to be donated to the project.
The market's grand opening, from 6-8 p.m. Friday, will feature carolers, hot apple cider and more. Located at 4642 N. Francisco Ave., the market runs 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Dec. 14; and 4-8 p.m. Monday to Dec. 13.
Impress everyone with your amazing gift-giving skills when you buy unique, handmade books, journals, jewelry and more at North Branch Projects Holiday Sale at 3550 W. Lawrence Ave.
Enjoy free tea and treats while shopping, as well as DJ sets. Hours are 6-9 p.m. Friday and 1-7 p.m. Saturday.
Waters Elementary School's Fifth Annual Holiday Art Sale supports local artists and designers. Shop 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at 4540 N. Campbell Ave.
As a reminder of the reason for the season, Bethany United Church of Christ presents its annual Living Nativity 3-8 p.m. Friday at the church, 4250 N. Paulina St. The story of Bethlehem comes to life — donkeys, sheep and all — with members of the church congregation, both children and adults, taking turns playing the roles of Joseph and Mary.
Santa takes a break from his North Pole duties to put in a number of appearances around the neighborhoods this weekend. Catch the red-suited dude at the Northcenter Chamber of Commerce Jingle Bell Breakfast on Saturday and the Roscoe Village Winterfest on Sunday. Winterfest, which runs Saturday and Sunday, also features a tree lighting, caroling and rides in a horse-drawn sleigh.
On the entertainment side, New Life Community Church hosts a free screening of "Elf" on Friday, the Ruth Page Civic Ballet brings its production of the holiday classic, "The Nutracker," to Northeastern Illinois University on Saturday and Sunday, and North Park University's annual Sankta Lucia pageant and smorgasbord will take place Saturday.
Martyr's Krampus Fest on Saturday is one part holiday market, one part concert. The market runs 1-4 p.m., offering sweet and savory edibles, housemade Glogg and gifts from local artisans and crafters. At 5:30 p.m., Martyr's presents a lineup of some of Chicago's most talented young bands. Admission to the market is free, tickets to the all-ages concert are $5.