WICKER PARK — If you're lucky enough to live in Wicker Park or Bucktown, your holiday shopping will be a breeze.
Even if you don't live in the 'hood, get off the "L" at Damen and Milwaukee and you'll be surrounded by locally-owned boutiques that have give the area its eclectic vibe. Check out some gift ideas with local flavor below.
FOR THE PREPPY BOYS-TO-MEN IN YOUR LIFE
Bucktown has plenty of designer boutiques for grown ups, but only one place where father and son can find matching button-downs in plaid and solid colors. Apartment No. 9 (1809 N. Damen Ave.) carries Alex Mill Boys and Mens Oxfords by designer Alex Drexler, the son of J.Crew's CEO Mickey Drexler. Size 2 to 7 boys, $95. Med-XL for men, $165.
FOR ANYONE WITH A SHORT ATTENTION SPAN
The classic electronic memory game from 1980s that requires users to repeat flashing colors and sounds has made a comeback, so ignore those iPhones and play a few rounds. Find Simon at Cat & Mouse Game Store (2212 W. Armitage Ave.) Ages 5 and up, $24.99.
FOR YOUR FRIEND WHO WANTS TO GET INTO SHAPE (WITH YOU!)
If you and your bestie are always talking about being out of shape, do something about it! Sisters Ziba Lennox and Marisol Zarabia, owners of MaZi, a dance and fitness studio (2001 W. North Ave.) offer offbeat classes such as "Ballerina Fight Club" and "Cardio Hip Hop." Through Dec. 23, buy one unlimited week of classes and get a second membership for free. $30, new members only.
FOR YOUR LAZY, WINE LOVING SISTER WHO LIVES IN WICKER PARK
If learning about wine isn't your sister's cup of tea, but she still likes to drink vino, sign her up for the Wine Club at Life's a Cabernet (1937 W. North Ave.) Sommeliers will set aside a bottle of red and a bottle of white every month and along with background on the wineries and food pairings. Your sister's dinner guests will be impressed. $39.99/month for basic; $89.99/month for wines chosen by the Executive Sommelier.
FOR YOUR BEER LOVING COWORKERS
At Paper Doll (2027 W. Division St.), you can score socks emblazoned with beer mugs by Sock It To Me and Beer Soap from Swag Brewery that smells like Oatmeal or Porter stout. $12/pair for the socks, $8 per bar for the soap.
FOR YOUR CHILD'S FAVORITE TEACHER OR PRINCIPAL
With so many teachers dipping into their own pocketbooks to pay for holiday decorations, classroom learning materials and display boards, a gift certificate to the Chicago Teacher Store (1855 N. Milwaukee Ave.) will likely be put to good use. Call 773-252-8200 to purchase any amount; certificates can be emailed, too.
FOR YOUR DOG-OBSESSED PAL
Frolicking in the snow is a blast, but city sidewalks are often covered in salt which can be bad for sensitive paws. Give your friend a package of Pawz Natural Rubber Dog Boots from Doggy Style Pet Shop (2023 W. Division St.). The waterproof boots are reusable and come in several colors and sizes. $16.99 for 12 boots.
FOR YOUR HIP AUNT
She loves "Mad Men" and appreciates a good cocktail. For fancy bar ware and classy mod furniture, head to Reform Objects (1830 N. Milwaukee Ave.) where shopkeeper Cintia Kruschke can show you their vintage glass cordial sets from the 60s and other one-of-a-kind wares. $65 for a cordial set of six glasses and pitcher. Prices on items vary. Shipping available.
FOR YOUR FUTURE WIFE
So, you found "the one"? Now put a ring on it! Cushion-cut diamond engagement rings are all the rage this season — an antique-inspired cut popular at the turn of the century. Steve Quick Jewelers (1909 W. Division St.) surrounds the stone with with halo diamonds for extra sparkle. $4000 for a 2 carat cushion center stone in a white gold setting, prices vary.