Christmas in Chicago often meant visiting State Street to see the big department stores, which went all-out with their holiday décor and activities. The Guild of the Chicago History Museum invites you to relive those holiday memories at this brunch + lecture.

CHM director of exhibitions Paul Durica sets the scene with historical context about the L train’s role in bringing holiday shoppers to the Loop. Then Leslie Goddard, author of Lost Chicago Department Stores, gives an illustrated talk on the history of Christmas celebrations on State Street featuring photographs, ads, postcards, menus, and memorabilia that trace cherished traditions—from the animated window displays and Christmas parade to beloved characters like Uncle Mistletoe, the Cinnamon Bear, and of course, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.


Questions? Contact Nell McKeown, development events manager, at or (312) 799-2112.

Chicago Theatre street scene View of the Chicago Theatre from State and Lake L station looking southeast along State Street in Chicago, Jan. 1951. CHM, ICHi-019350; Harold Beach, photographer
31st annual State Street Council’s Santa parade The 31st annual State Street Council's Santa parade, which ran from Wacker Drive to Congress Parkway on State Street., Chicago, November 27, 1966. ST-30004555-0024, Chicago Sun-Times collection, CHM
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