It’s Dec. 13 and the grass is green. The thermometer registers 60. Global warming is looking kindly upon us before, as in most horror stories, its visage suddenly turns fierce and unforgiving.

But I feel blissed — and blessed after spending Saturday night with all of you down in the Loop. Surely everyone was there, or so it seemed, milling and streaming, weaving and dodging, holiday savorers enjoying their savorings, passing street-corner musician mini-concerts and neo-Hopperesque diners. Going with the flow and the glow.

One woman, her smartphone balanced at the end of her selfie stick, marched with determination down one street, filming all the way.

In a topsy-turvy world, jumpy with fears of terrorist attacks, I gave not one thought to worst-case scenarios all evening, and I didn’t notice anyone else looking nervous either, not even the phalanx of police officers on bicycles (and their best behavior). The only avoidance I practiced was steering clear of an oncoming protest march that monopolized the sidewalk, no doubt calling for da mayor’s resignation, and while I’m not unsympathetic, that was not my purpose for being there. 

For the past 16 years, a visit to Christkindlmarket has been a December tradition. Christkindl means “Christ child,” who in German lore brings the gifts. In this country, the name merged with the image of England’s Father Christmas (and/or St. Nicholas) to form “Kris Kringle,” which then morphed into the figure we know as Santa Claus (from the Dutch “Sinterklaas”).

I learned, earlier this year, while attending a wedding at Germania Place on the North Side, that Chicago’s largest ethnic group for much of its early history (into the 1900s) was German, so this popular annual gathering of merchants from Germany (and sundry other locales, including Bethlehem), beneath the watchful eyes of Picasso’s untitled sculpture, has historical grounding. 

I came for a mug of “gluhwein” (“glow wine”), a funnel of cinnamon-coated pecans, some strudel, and a carved wooden ornament (Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem because December, and life itself for that matter, has always felt like a journey, pregnant with meaning). 

My friends and I took the long journey through Daley Plaza, glowing with gluhwein, navigating the remarkably amiable crush of visitors. Usually we try to snag a bench inside the “warming house,” where the mulled wine is served in little ceramic boots, but there was no need for warming on this balmy evening. 

After a light repast at Toni’s Patisserie in the faded art deco splendor of the Pittsfield building, we ambled, coats unzipped, across Michigan Avenue into Millennium Park, where a stunning, hyper-illuminated, Colorado blue spruce, donated by a kindly lady from Northlake, towered over the nearby skaters and the cellphone shutterbugs.

The mist on the crest of surrounding skyscrapers gave a luster of London to objects below. It also fogged up The Bean’s mirrored surface. We toweled down one of the nearby picnic tables and made serious inroads on the strudel. A picnic in December. Who could have imagined? 

Then we headed to Marshall Field’s/Macy’s to check out the tree in the Walnut Room, a tradition, you may be reassured to hear, that is still going strong.

On the way down from the seventh floor, I picked up a couple of plush Snoopys since that very afternoon during babysitting time, I turned on the TV (the boys were asking for Curious George) and found Peanuts instead. When Snoopy appeared, you would have thought it was the Second Coming — a much bigger reaction than either Santa Claus (or George) generated. So my Christmas shopping has officially started, beginning with Snoopy.

Back outside, we found the annual Christmas window displays, which provided a backdrop to more cellphone selfietographers. From what I could discern, Santa is now delivering to the entire solar system, each window representing a different planet.

If the jolly old elf is listening, this particular planet could use a new (long-term) lease on life. But that may have to wait for several more Christmases.

On this evening, we managed to renew one ongoing tradition, revisit a longstanding tradition, and no doubt observed more than a few new traditions being established among families with kids perched on shoulders, all in the space of a few hours. 

And all with nary a shiver — except for the young woman in a sleeveless short dress, posing fashionably in front of the great tree in the park.

A lot of people put snow on their Christmas list each December, but I’m not one of them. If it snows, fine. But if temps stayed in the 40s and 50s all winter, I’d be perfectly content. Walking in comfort last Saturday night — Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday — on that great street in a town that won’t let you down was my kind of good time.

Made me feel downright merry.

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