‘Tis the season … to begin to scramble to find the perfect holiday gift for your significant other/brother-in-law/coworker you barely know.
And while you could just order them something forgettable from Amazon (again) or whip out your hot glue gun to try your hand at a DIY (dangerous), there’s a better way to make sure you wow everyone on your holiday list — gift them an unforgettable, Chicago-made product — while also supporting your neighbors.
“When someone chooses to shop local with us, they have the opportunity to know who made their candle,” said Mark Towns, co-founder of Edgewater Candles. “They can come to our store, see our faces, and ask questions about the handmade products they’re buying. Just the other week I bumped into a customer who lives in my building in Chicago! We had no idea we lived at the same address. Local small business owners are your neighbors.
Below are our picks for Chicago-made gifts that put Santa to shame.
Chicago Culture Gear Neighborhood Hoodies
If there’s one thing Chicagoans love (besides deep dish and complaining about traffic in the Loop), it’s showing off our city pride. These 90s-inspired neighborhood hoodies designed by Trina, a Bronzeville resident, are the perfect addition to every Chicagoan’s wardrobe. Chicago Culture Gear, $40 – $50
What’s better than a bottle of Malort, Chicago’s favorite gasoline-flavored alcohol? A chic banner celebrating the extremely divisive drink. Vichcraft, $60
Golden Record Signet Ring
Carl Sagan – who spent so much time attending the U Chicago that he’s practically a local – helped launch the Voyager Golden Record into outer space in 1977. Chicago-based jewelry-maker Cities in Dust celebrates the project with their out-of-this-world (sorry) line of Golden Record jewelry, including pendants and signet rings. Cities in Dust, $120
Edgewater Candle Company
With scents ranging from Cannabis Vetiver to Pumpkin Pie, Edgewater Candle Company makes the perfect candle for everyone on your list. Plus, with a burntime of 75 hours, your recipient will have plenty of time to enjoy your thoughtful gift. Edgewater Candle Company, $28
Dirty Mouth Bathhouse Soap
Sick of boring regular bars of soap that aren’t imprinted with risque phrases? Dirty Mouth Bathhouse feels the same. The brand’s Naughty Christmas 4-Pack is sure to bring some off-color holiday cheer to everyone on your list. Dirty Mouth Bathhouse Soap, $40
El: The Chicago Transit Adventure Board Game
If working from home has you missing the CTA, this game has you covered. Race opponents across the city in this unique, Chicago-centric board game. El: The Chicago Transit Adventure Board Game, $40.95
Peach Things Rug
There’s a few things no home is complete without – and a cowboy boot-shaped rug is on the top of that list. (Peach Things also has abstract shapes and handmade tic-tac-toe rugs if rodeos aren’t your thing.) Peach Things, $128
Sorry Design Poster
Sorry Design — a collaboration between a Chicago and a London-based artist — has a wide range of beautiful, modern art prints that celebrate the Windy City while also being chic as heck, like this print of the Institute of Art’s Bronze Lion. They also have cool non-Chicago based prints, if that’s more your recipients’ speed. Sorry Design, $25
This article was featured in the InsideHook Chicago newsletter. Sign up now for more from the Windy City.