Most years I pretty much have a vacation the weeks prior to the winter holidays. However, I have had an influx of real estate showings right up to the Christmas weekend. That's a good sign.
For buyers, you still don't have a huge amount of competition and if you're thinking of buying a house soon, you really should be out there looking. Some good properties have been on the market for a while and sellers are getting anxious. If you wait until Spring to buy you might not get as good a deal as you could now.
Use the free MLS search for properties in your price range and with your amenities. Even better, sign up for the Automated Home Finder Search that will send daily updates to your e-mail. Search once and receive automatic e-mails of properties as they hit the market.
Sellers, the activity I'm currently seeing for southwest Chicago suburbs is positive and will hopefully reflect a robust upcoming year for real estate sales. I think the activity I'm seeing now will escalate as our busier Spring season begins.
If you're planning on selling soon fill out my Internet Market Analysis. It's free and you're under no obligation.
One year January was the best month out of my entire year of sales. It didn't happened again but you never know.
Have safe and happy holidays and I'll probably sign off until next year.