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Home for the Holidays

Get your holiday shopping off to a fast start with these ideas for him and her

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Some people are always easier to buy for than others.

Yet when it comes to buying a gift for your mom, dad, significant other or just good friend, you may feel added pressure to find something memorable.

For her

Here are a few ideas for the women in your lives:

For the entertainer

Charcuterie boards continue to be all the rage in home entertaining. At This & That Gifts in Frankfort, owner Nancy Cartolano says she has several styles of boards ($25 and up, facebook.com/thisandthatgifts), from Illinois and Chicago-themed boards to ones shaped as animals or adorned with inspirational statements.

“We have a wide array of cheese and charcuterie boards that make great gifts,” she said.

Gift givers can complement these boards with an assortment of spreaders and tools ($5 and up), she said.

When hosting friends, a bubble tea kit can offer guests this popular drink in less than 3 minutes. The Pearly bubble tea kit ($68, drinkpearly.com) comes with all of the ingredients you need to make bubble tea, along with instructions, a bubble tea cup and straw.

For the stylish

Online shopping ideas: The Organizer Tote ($228, feedprojects.com) by FEED has 10 interior and exterior compartments, making it a perfect accessory on the go. Even better, proceeds from any sales go toward feeding the hungry around the world. The purchase of one Organizer Tote helps provide 100 meals.

Even drinking a cup of coffee or tea can be glamorous with Alicia Boateng Designs drinkware. The Afro Glam Collection ($27 and up, aliciaboateng.com) includes homemade, blinged out designs that are considered art pieces. The company also supports women-owned businesses by purchasing supplies from them.

At An Englsh Garden Flowers & Gifts in Mokena, one of the most unique gifts to pamper with are wooden dough bowl candles ($44, anenglishgarden.com). These high-end candles are made with soy wax and feature scents that mimic nature settings, from apple orchards to pine forests, floral designer Elizabeth Bruinius says.

“They smell amazing, even when not lit,” she said. “They’re beautiful, especially the ones that feature pressed flowers because as they’re melting, the flowers float, creating a warm ambiance.”

At Alsip Home & Nursery in Frankfort and St. John, popular holiday choices  are the Thymes candles, gift sets, soaps and lotions ($16 and up, alsipnursery.com).

“The most popular for the Christmas season is the Frasier fir scent,” marketing assistant Aubrey Thornsbury said. “Thymes is a cruelty-free brand that takes pride in their formula and their ornate packaging, which is great for gift giving.”

'Affirmation candles ($22 to $33, stateofbeingco.com) leverage a connection between scent and memory. Themes include “radiant,” “loved” and “fearless,” allowing you to show what you admire most about your loved one.

Pamper with chocolate this holiday season with Funny Face Bakery’s s'mores gooey cookie ($6.50 to $36, funnyfacebakery.com), which features a chewy center filled with graham crackers and topped with toasted marshmallows.

Sweet Soap Confections, a mother/daughter soap artisan team, has created soap that looks like petit fours, cupcakes and cake slices ($8 and up, sweetsoapconfections.com). Not only are these creations functional as soap, they also enhance a bathroom vanity space.

For the foodie

At Alsip Home & Nursery, Thornsbury says Stonewall Kitchen offers jams, jellies, sauces, mixes and more ($5 to $20).

“Stonewall Kitchen is great for their seasonal and unique flavors,” she said.

Head over to Popus Gourmet Popcorn in Tinley Park for an assortment of flavored popcorn.

“We have different themed canisters, including Christmas canisters that can be filled with any flavor you want,” manager Barb Lyson said.

The canisters ($22 and up, popusgourmetpopcorn.com) come in four sizes, and shoppers have 37 flavors from which to choose.

“They can opt for one flavor or choose up to three flavors,” Lyson sad. “We come out with new flavors as quickly as we can.”

At Gost Coffee Roasters in New Lenox, manager Daniel Bednarz says packs of sample coffees ($6 and up, gostcoffee.com) roasted at the shop are a great way to get a taste of local flavor.

Rare coffees such as Jamaica Blue Mountain ($40 and up) and accessories including grinders ($170) and brewers ($349) say happy holidays for coffee lovers, he said.

Wildgrain ($89 per box, wildgrain.com) is a bake-from-frozen box membership for sourdough breads, fresh pastas and artisanal pastries. All products bake in 25 minutes and are made using clean, easy-to-understand ingredients.

The CHARD Heavy Duty Electric Grinder ($195, chardproducts.com) is another option for foodies who love to create their own burgers, brats and sausages. The 500-watt motor allows you to grind or stuff meat quickly, making it a great kitchen staple.

For Christmas lovers

Based on the North Side of Chicago, Big League Pins crafts enamel pins that capture the spirit of friendship, fandom and fashion. Among categories that include pop culture, Chicago themed and foodie, Big League Pins also sells an assortment of holiday enamel pins ($6 and up, etsy.com/shop/BigLeaguePins). A special advent calendar ($120) includes 24 days of holiday pins.

For a big splash

Try a custom watercolor canvas portrait from HomeHaps ($76 and up, homehaps.com) painted by artists using your favorite photos. The company’s artists bring the to life in a watercolor celebration .

For him

For the man who has everything, here are a few wowing ideas. 

For the nature lover

 If your man enjoys camping or spending nights outdoors, the Fire Pit Bowl ($229, bluu.com) offers the perfect place to gather without going far. Portable and powered by propane, this bowl burns clean and smokeless while giving off adequate heat.

Another option for the outdoors lover is the Huntsman Swiss Army Knife ($50, victorinox.com). This multitool pocket knife includes scissors and a wood saw, allowing you to cut through just about anything off the beaten path.

For the stylish

 Socks are a popular holiday staple for dads, but this year, Hurdle socks ($18, hurdleapparel.com) can take the apparel to the next level. Hurdle socks are engineered with proprietary MicroGravity Matrix embedded between the fibers, which provides added cushioning and support. This breathable sock also boasts twice the blister protection.

For the collector

 Rotate Watches ($195 and up, rotatewatches.com) allow you to build your own watch, creating a collectible for your wardrobe. These unique kits include parts, tools and a guide on putting together a fully mechanical watch.

For the chef

At This & That Gifts in Frankfort, Cartolano says she has a large assortment of gifts in the store’s men’s corner. Among them are General’s hot sauces in packaging shaped like grenades ($12, facebook.com/thisandthatgifts), BBQ sauces ($14), grill mitts ($17) and aprons ($26).

Grab a koozie ($5 to $9, alsipnursery.com) with your favorite sports team's logo at Alsip Home & Nursery in Frankfort and St. John to keep a drink cold while grilling, marketing assistant Aubrey Thornsbury said. Or make your loved one’s grill cover ($45 to $112) stand out with sports-themed options.

“Plus we carry grilling supplies year-round,” she said.

 Pair these gifts with wood pellets from Bear Mountain ($18 and up, bearmountainbbq.com). Added to the grill, the wood pellets create additional flavors and aromas such as Bourbon BBQ, Hickory and Apple.

Combine with a Meatcrafters collection ($31 and up for bundles, meatcrafters.com) for the entertainer in your house. This collection includes a selection of salamis, cured meats and sausages made for charcuterie lovers, as well as other options such as steaks, pork and beef.

For the beer or liquor connoisseur

What says the holidays more than an advent calendar? At Crafted 1979 in Mokena, gift givers can combine an advent calendar with a loved one's favorite brew, owner Denver Worker says.

Three advent calendars are offered — one with 24 beers curated by Crafted 1979 from local brewries ($95, crafted1979.com); one with 24 Seltzer, Mead and Ciders ($90); and one with 12 days of bourbon ($85).

“We have an assortment of local breweries you can mix and match with everything we carry,” Worker said.

 Personalized gifts are a great way to show you care, and when it comes to finding the right accessory for your guy’s favorite beer or liquor, Groovy Guy Gifts has several options. An engraved decanter set ($60, groovyguygifts.com) comes with a pair of personalized whiskey glasses, while a customized cigar set ($60) is perfect for cigar aficionados on the move. This gift set comes with a cigar travel case, lighter and cigar cutter.

For the man cave

 Whether your guy likes Marvel, DC Comics, anime, space, gaming or maps, Displates ($44, displate.com) offers a great option to personalize a man cave space. These posters mounted on metal come in a variety of sizes, finishes and frames and can be arranged as a collection under the same genre or individually.

For relaxing

Made out of recycled beer bottles, Torched candles ($17 and up) come in scents including Blood Orange IPA, Blackforest Lager and Vanilla Porter. These unique candles are  available at This & That Gifts in Frankfort.

Head over to Alsip Home & Nursery in Frankfort and St. John to find a selection of Duke Cannon Soap ($9 to $30) in manly scents such as campfire and fresh cut pine.

Sweet Home Indiana also carries a special twist on soap: Beer soap ($7.50). Made from beer, this bathroom staple includes scents such as Hoppy IPA and Honey Pilsner.

 CircuitMess STEM kits ($120 and up, circuitmess.com) are a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Made for hobbyists or those who enjoy tech-theme builds, these kits are sure to bring back childhood memories with an 8-bit gaming system, walkie-talkie and more.

For the sports enthusiast

Season tickets and ticket packages are sold year-round for the Joliet Slammers, along with several pieces of merchandise in the team’s store. Novelty items include 2022 logo baseball ($10, jolietslammers.com) and a ceramic beer stein ($25), while you can grab a Joliet Slammers T-shirt ($27) or jersey ($82) for a ballpark look.

 Gamers can now play new releases including NBA 2K23 and PGA Tour 2K23 ($60, 2k.com). Digital downloads are available,  making your part of the gift giving easy. Or, head to GameStop and other shops for physical copies.

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