The Christmas spirit has begun to take over Chicago, and Thanksgiving hasn’t even arrived yet.
Santa made an appearance at Navy Pier on Sunday while shoppers got a head start on their Christmas lists in the West Loop.
The Randolph Street Holiday Market Festival took over Plumbers Hall, offering a wide variety of unique and vintage gifts from home décor to housewares, clothing and much more.
“You can’t buy this at any store,” said one vendor, Katherine Recek. “Yeah… it’s just unusual, really fun stuff.”
Recek said the weekend is all about offering unique seasonal finds as people begin to tackle their lengthy shopping lists.
“”Yeah, festive.. like Christmas pins, thanksgiving pins, Christmas glasses, just gifts,” she explained. “A lot of gift shopping, Hanukkah, Christmas.”
Navy Pier also got in the holiday fun this weekend with a meet and greet featuring Santa Claus and a holiday brunch. Families gathered on the lakefront to welcome Santa, though he traded his sleigh for a Seadog.
“It’s my first time coming, so I’ve never see any of this before, it’s amazing,” said Kayla Daurham, who celebrated the beginning of the holidays at Navy Pier.
Multiple people said it’s never too early to start celebrating and embracing the holiday season.
“We came here with our families,” said Jordan Ratliff, who visited Navy Pier on Sunday. “Seeing Santa is like kicking off the holiday season.”
If you’re waiting a little while to join in on the celebrations, a number of holiday-themed attractions will be up and running for weeks to come — at least through Christmas.
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo, Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum and the Christkindlmarket – with three Chicago-area locations, are among those already underway for the holidays.