LINCOLN SQUARE — Neighborhoods like Lincoln Square, North Center and Irving Park are not only hubs for Mom & Pop shops, they're also home to many of the artists and manufacturers who supply the items these small businesses stock.
This year's holiday guide features gifts that are as local as it gets — not just sold in the neighborhood but made in the neighborhood.
NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Chris Gorz of StudioChris lives in Old Irving Park, which happens to be the subject of his newest Chicago neighborhood poster. The poster costs $40 and can be purchased online or at shops including Sacred Art, 4619 N. Lincoln Ave.
Lincoln Square's Katie Heupel has taken up adult coloring in a big way. The photographer converted her images of iconic Chicago scenes into coloring book pages. The resulting "Towering Chicago" is for sale at local outlets including Enjoy, 4723 N. Lincoln Ave., and Timeless Toys, 4749 N. Lincoln Ave., or via Heupel's website. Cost is $13.99.
Rosanna Reformado, under the brand Re4mado, creates distinctive tile coasters ($18) and magnets ($8) featuring images of neighborhood landmarks. Kate Merena, owner of Sacred Art, said the mix-and-match coasters are a particularly popular choice among buyers looking to commemorate moments of personal significance (such as the site of a first date). Several of Reformado's images also preserve bits of neighborhood history, including the now demolished Lincoln Restaurant and Lincoln Square Lanes.
HAVE A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS
Give the gift of food and drink and there's a pretty decent chance the grateful recipient will share — so choose wisely.
Letherbee's Besk is a refined, craft version of the wormwood liqueur more commonly known as Malört. Except Malört is trademarked by Jeppson's — hence Besk. The Ravenswood-based distiller offers Besk in a flask-sized 200ml for $14 or full-sized 750ml for $34.
Not to encourage procrastination, but Brü Coffeeworks' single-origin coffees are the ideal last-minute purchase. Owner Cory Creighton perpetually roasts on site, so shoppers can legitimately claim to be holding out for the freshest beans, which sell for $15 for 12 ounces. Pick up at the roastery, 3005 W. Lawrence Ave., or order online.
Pair that Albany Park coffee with an Albany Bark mug, designed by neighbor Carolyn Krassnoff, $16.
Another great gift combo: A set of four "drink local" or Chicago flag coasters ($8) from Amber Favorite of Ravenswood-based A. Favorite Design packaged with locally brewed beers from Aquanaut, Begyle, Empirical, Half Acre or Spiteful.
For sheer winter coziness, it's tough to beat the dynamic duo of hot chocolate and popcorn. The Chopping Block's housemade hot chocolate mix is deliciousness in a jar, $10.95, 4747 N. Lincoln Ave. Team it with Ravenswood-based Urban Accents movie night popcorn set, $55: three types of non-GMO kernels plus six seasonings ranging from the super trendy dill pickle to salty-sweet kettle corn. Available online or at local outlets including Gene's Sausage Shop, 4750 N. Lincoln Ave., and Neighborly, 2003 W. Montrose Ave.
DECK THE HALLS
Gorgeous handblown glass ornaments, from Elektra Musich and John Landin of Everlasting Fire Studio, are a great gift for newlyweds — or really anyone with a Christmas tree. Ornaments can be purchased at the studio, 5036 N. Lincoln Ave., or Sacred Art. Prices range from $8 to $24.
With politics off the table at most holiday gatherings, how to fill the silence? This dibs ornament, $6, from Beth Cummings of Four Eyes Handmade is sure to spark plenty of lively conversation.
THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL
Winter is brutal on the skin. Give the gift of pampering this Christmas.
Lorelei Walters, owner of Cat's Meow salon, not only paints a mean Blackhawks fingernail, she makes her own line of lotions, body scrubs and body butters — all natural and vegan. Prices are $10-$14. Purchase at the salon, 4221 N. Elston Ave.
Soap Happy's motto is "we don't want to put anything on our body that we wouldn't also put in it." Shop handmade vegan soaps ($8) and lip balms online and at Sacred Art.
Scratch Goods specializes in food-grade skincare created in small batches. Visit the Roscoe Village shop, 3551 N. Damen Ave., for masks, scrubs, shampoos, soaps and more. Most items are under $20. Doubly local goods include Dark Matter coffee soap ($9) and scrub ($18) and Lagunitas Nighttime Ale soap ($9).
WE DIDN'T FORGET TOTS, TODDLERS AND TWEENS
Four Eyes Handmade also has a line of infant onesies and toddler and youth t-shirts screenprinted with topical phrases and images. Cost is $18.
With the release of "Rogue One," all things "Star Wars"-related are sure to be as hot as Hoth is cold this holiday season. Lincoln Square's Jeffrey Brown has struck gold with his George Lucas-approved Vader parody comics "Darth Vader and Son" and "Vader's Little Princess," as well as the "Jedi Academy" series. His newest book is "Lucy & Andy Neanderthal," about a brother and sister living in the Stone Age. Look for Brown's books at The Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Ave., and Brown himself at his unofficial home office, Beans & Bagels.
Tween girls are tough to shop for if you're not looking to shell out serious cash on electronics. Purple and Lime's laser cut acrylic and wood necklaces are easier on the wallet — just $16 — and might actually earn a sincere "thanks." Check them out at Chroma K8 Beautique, 5425 N. Lincoln Ave., or online.
THE GIFT OF INSPIRATION
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Give loved ones the gift of a hobby and they can make their own darned presents next year.
Pursuit Supply Company, 4316 W. Irving Park Road, stocks supplies for home brewing, cheese making, photography, coffee roasting and more. The shop also hosts classes for newcomers to the maker movement.
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