Chicago weather can't stop ever-growing McNally family from Christmas traditions

This year's activities included skating at Maggie Daley Park, staying at Palmer House, traveling to Lake Geneva

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Friday, December 23, 2022
Ever-growing McNally family keeps up Chicago Christmas traditions
The McNally family joined in their Christmas tradition of Macy's on State Street in matching pajamas this year despite the cold.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The blustering conditions couldn't stop one family from celebrating their decades-old holiday tradition.

The McNally family dressed in their pajamas for the full Chicago Christmas experience.

Ed McNally led the way in yet another McNally family Christmas tradition, sporting matching pajamas as four generations walk down State Street in the bitter cold to Macy's.

"I'm one of 10 children; there are 30 grandchildren, and a lot of them are married with their own. There are 11, now 12, of this generation, including a newborn this week," Ed McNally said.

Ten-day-old Francis was not about to miss out on a tradition that began 35 years ago, when McNally took his four nieces and nephews on a Chicago Christmas experience inspired by the book "Polar Express."

"When it started with me and our cousins, we were this age. We went to Toys R Us and have pancakes," McNally cousin Margo Yeager said.

Throughout the years, the family grew, and so did the adventure.

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"It also extends the Christmas spirit. Instead of spending one day together, we turn Christmas into a five-day celebration," Yeager said.

The celebration this year included skating and sledding in Maggie Daley Park during Thursday night's winter storm.

While the McNallys are originally from Northbrook, 42 family members came in from cities around the country. They all stayed at the Palmer House.

"You can come into our hotel room; it's the messiest place ever, the loudest place ever," said Scarlett Yeager, the oldest McNally great-grandchild.

And every year, the highlight of the decades-old tradition is a visit to Santa at Macy's.

Santa's visit is always followed with every young cousin picking out a book.

"You should really spend with your family because they are the best people ever," Scarlett Yeager said.

It's a family that gets bigger every year, and comes together for Christmas no matter what.

After they check out of the Palmer House Saturday, the McNally family heads to Lake Geneva for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They will be joined by the rest of the family. There are 72 in all.