The 'One of a Kind Show' is THE holiday shopping alternative in Chicago

What is one of the worst aspects of holiday shopping? Well, frankly, there isn’t one. There is a list longer than Santa’s: The stores, the mall parking lot, the utter sameness of what every mall store offers, the insufferable canned holiday music, cosmeticians squirting cloying fragrance in your face.

You’ll have none of that at the One of a Kind Show held at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart (222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, 7th Floor) Dec. 4-7. Not only will you discover distinctive gift items, but you’ll do it amid live musical performances with fantastic noshes and a Goose Island Beer Garden offering beer, bar food and televisions screening weekend football. Take a break and watch an artist demo or grab a seat for one of the live runway fashion shows directly on the show floor with models donning artist-designed duds.

Potbelly’s Music Series showcases the Chicago sandwich chain’s most admired musicians. See who is playing during the show here. Twenty-minute Artist Talks give you a peek behind the unique artisan wares. Listen to artists discuss assembling a wooden sculpture; how to embellish dolls; leather burning; and the process of blacksmith art among others. Don't miss the Etsy Pavilion, where you'll find artists who normally sell online only showcase their wonderful "one of a kind" items.

The Show makes it easy by providing free curbside carryout service for the bulkier items, packaging and shipping services so you can send gifts right from the show floor, coat checking ($2) and free checking of shopping bags in case you felt compelled to rifle through Macy's before hitting the One of a Kind Show. Don't bother to travel to a downtown restaurant after shopping. Thirty food vendors will be cooking up fantastic bites.

Admission is $12 for adults and free for kids aged 12 and younger. For details, directions or a complete schedule, visit the website or call (800) 677-6278.