CHICAGO — Everyone knows the best holiday gifts are unique, personalized and practical.
Luckily, those are exactly the kinds of potential presents that lie in wait all over the city's Far Northwest Side. From crafts to cookies to culture, the area is full of items designed to impress friends and loved ones.
If it's local goods in Chicago you're looking for, you could do a lot worse then Local Goods Chicago, 5422 W. Devon Ave., in the heart of downtown Edgebrook.
The store is packed wall-to-wall with original crafts, paintings and wearable swag dreamed up by local artists, including these beaded Chicago flag Christmas tree ornaments made by Kim Amati. The ornaments vary in size and design, with some featuring the Cubs logo.
Regular-sized ornaments start at $20, with prices varying as they get larger.
City Newsstand, 4018 N. Cicero Ave., has been a mainstay of the Six Corners Shopping District for decades. But the book store's in-house cafe has been dabbling in homemade confections, and it's paid off big-time.
The cafe's signature dark chocolate truffles are the rich, creamy, bite-sized outcome of its new venture. A box of four is $3.99, a box of 12 is $7.99 and an 18-pack sells for $12.99.
Not everyone enjoys the same kind of coffee, which is why Perkolator, 6032 W. Irving Park Road, is offering two special blends appropriately marked "naughty" and "nice."
The "nice" blend is a lighter roast with fruity notes, and the dark-roast "naughty" blend has a smokier, richer flavor. The 1-pound bags are available for $17 each, or as part of a $25 gift basket.
There's a world of new and old treasures inside Thrift & Thrive, just across the street from Perkolator at 6025 W. Irving Park Road, including an ornate window showcase full of vintage Christmas dolls and decorations.
But venture back a bit and you'll find a new feature for sale: glass terrariums, varying in size and stocked with vibrant plants and soil. The smallest cases start at $10.
While you're there, be sure to check out Thrift & Thrive's well-worn "ugly Christmas sweaters," and their new matching kitchenware sets.
The dizzying variety on display at Tea'se Tea Shoppe, 5755 W. Irving Park Road, doesn't stop with its more than 80 unique blends of tea.
The shop offers custom-assembled gift baskets, allowing you to precision-target your gift based on need and desire. Mix and match any variety of loose-leaf tea with pots, infuser-cups, thermoses, or even soaps and lip balms made with tea.
Gift baskets range from $9.99 to $29.99, depending on their components.
Open a gateway to the Northwest Side's rich theater scene with a gift certificate to Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., before it opens another season of spectacular shows.
Call the theater to score an advance ticket to The Adventures of Robin Hood, a show debuting in January and billed as a "fourth wall-destroying production" featuring "sword fights and explosions."
Tickets to Robin Hood are being sold at 15 percent off every day until Dec. 25.
It's never a bad time to check out Eli's Cheesecake, 6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive, as the Dunning neighborhood staple runs specials and promotions all year round.
But now is the time to take advantage of the mega-bakery's Holiday Sampler, which combines four or five slices each of three seasonal cheesecake varieties: peppermint bark, hot chocolate and salted caramel.
The holiday sampler, just one of more than a dozen gift-able packages, sells for $49.95, plus shipping.
Objects of beauty abound at Romance in Blooms, 6729 N. Northwest Hwy., whether they're tablecloths or flower bouquets or Christmas ornaments made from pine cones.
But of everything the boutique has to offer, its five varieties of holiday-scented candles are clear standouts. They include "Oh Christmas Tree" with wafts of pine and citrus; "Frankincense and Murr," infused with soothing incense; and, of course, gingerbread.
Each candle goes for $14.95.
The city is full of Chicago-themed souvenir shops, but none quite like Rep Chi, 4427 N. Milwaukee Ave. Its vast selection includes house-made T-shirts, coasters, glasses and scarves chic enough to be modeled by Ald. John Arena (45th).
New this year, the store is trotting out Chicago flag-design dog collars, showcased below by Bloo the dog, Rep Chi's "employee of the month."
Collars sell for $22, and leashes are $24.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here.