If your idea of Christmas shopping is scouring the shopping strip, you’re missing out. A diverse collection of unique finds awaits at our region’s locally owned businesses, many of which are found in quaint downtown settings. We’ve scoured some of our favorite shopping destinations to find a collection of fun, one-of-a-kind items that you won’t find at the big-box store. The items you’ll find here are just a sample of what’s inside our region’s unique boutique retailers. Happy shopping!
Nutcrackers come in many sizes and styles at this home decor specialty store, including Santa and soldier varieties. Found at Wickham Interiors, 67 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Holiday Home Decor
Enhance a decorative candle by adding a festive candle wreath. This example is a mixture of silk flowers and natural items. Found at Strawflower Shop, 210 W. State St., Geneva.
This men’s copper lamb leather zip-up jacket reverses to show a quilted, all-weather material. $1,165. Found at York Furrier, located in Elmhurst City Centre.
These ski goggles by anon. come with replaceable, magnetic clip-on lenses, with one for sun and another for overcast days. Found at Viking Ski & Patio Shop, 131 W. Northwest Hwy., Barrington.
Cabin Fever Fun
Try an indoor snowball fight with this kit of white pom-pom balls, $12.95. Think “ugly Christmas sweater” with plush and amusing slippers, $14.95. Make someone smile with a melting elf or tree, $14.95. Found at Out of the Box, 71 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
The centerpieces of these earrings are two kite-shaped yellow diamonds, together weighing 2.52 ct and bezel set in 18k gold. They’re surrounded by a halo of 52 yellow round diamonds totaling 0.64 cttw. The white diamonds at top are set in platinum. $50,000. Found at M.J. Miller & Co., 123 W. Main St., Barrington.
Purchase a season pass for St. Charles Park District’s Otter Cove Aquatic Park or Swanson Pool on or before Dec. 31, to receive an early bird reduced rate and five free one-day guest passes. Promotion excludes passes for lap swim, nannies and 10-visit punch cards. St. Charles Park District, 101 S. Second St., St. Charles.
Go to bed feeling pretty and wake up feeling pretty with a silky nightie by Tia Lyn. Made from a soft modal fabric, these garments are available in all sizes, from small to plus size. Ask about similar nightshirts by other manufacturers. $58. Found at La Bellissima, 10 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
The focal point on this floral centerpiece is a collectible ornament by Ne’Qwa Art. Each ornament is handpainted from the inside. Different styles available. $65-$120. Found at Apple Creek Flowers, 207 N. Throop St., Woodstock.
Incite curiosity and education with STEM-related science packs such as make-your-own remote control kits ($79.99), magic with physics ($35.99), and a microscope ($129.95). Found at Marvin’s Toy Store, 64A N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Gourmet Food Box
Treat someone special with a gift box of gourmet foods. This pancake mix and syrup package is popular, but so are the Stonewall Kitchen collections and the make-your-own baskets. Found at The Little Traveler, 404 S. Third St., Geneva.
Fair Trade Cocktail Dress
This black cocktail dress, with a lace overlay across the neckline and shoulders, is produced by Mata Traders, a Chicago fashion design firm that hires fair trade garment workers in India. $85. Found at Green Box Boutique, 100 Cass St., Woodstock.
Leather Cup Sleeve
Jason Neveu crafts many custom leather accessories on-site, stitching everything by hand. Coffee cup sleeves, like this example with an alligator inlay, are a popular request. $30-$50. Found at Down 2 Earth, 107 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock.
These colorful canteens by Corkcicle keep drinks cold for 25 hours and hot for 12 hours. They come in 9, 16, 25 and 60-ounce sizes – large enough to hold two bottles of wine. $19.95-$49.95. Found at Kitchen Outfitters, 64B N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Set the right mood in a man cave with Mandle, a line of masculine scented candles. Try the bacon-y Carnivore, the coffee-like Hipster or the pine-scented Mountain Man. $19.85. Found at Norton’s U.S.A., 400 Lageschulte St., Barrington.
Look stylish with a York Signature Style lipstick red-dyed mink hooded anorak, $4,695. Matched with an Italian-designed textured leather tote, $359. Found at York Furrier, located in Elmhurst City Centre.
The Zap Training Jacket and related gear, by Sugoi, are made from lightweight, highly reflective fabric – perfect for night running in cold weather. $165. Found at Dick Pond Athletics, in St. Charles, Hoffman Estates, Lisle, Carol Stream and Park Ridge.
These cozy and comfy cotton-blend pajamas by KayAnna are built for comfort. Ask about similar pajamas with different fits, made by other manufacturers. $78. Found at La Bellissima, 10 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Golf punch cards to the nine-hole Pottawatomie Golf Course can be applied to individual tee times, family outings or small-group visits. $78 for six rounds. Order through St. Charles Park District, 101 S. Second St., St. Charles.
A creation of store owner Ken West, these copper bracelets are decorated with a colorful, handcrafted fused glass gem. $32. Store contains items from more than 100 local, regional and national artists. Found at Material Things Artisan Market, 103 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock.
This children’s rocking chair by Superior is handcrafted from hickory wood by Amish craftsmen in Shipshewana, Ind. $303. Behind is an electric fireplace unit, the Delgado. $2,499. Found at Strode’s Furniture, 11707 E. Main St., Huntley.
These pillows are made locally from canvas dropcloths and can be customized just for your family. $59.95. Found at Yours & Meyn Simply Designed, 33 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
This co-op bakery caters to the eater who’s vegan, paleo, gluten-free, allergy-free, egg-free, dairy-free, sugar-free/low-carb, yeast-free, and/or nut-free. Cheesecake of the Month Club, supported by Eye Candy Bake Shop, is $100 per year. Sweet Natalie’s Gluten-Free Bakery, 228 S. Third St., Geneva.
This ‘N That
Inventory changes almost daily at this upscale resale shop, where you’ll find one-of-a-kind items including furniture, lamps, rugs, linens, handmade soaps, candles, mirrors, garden oddities, handbags and jewelry. A New Interiors Anew, 134 Cass St., Woodstock.
Reduce your carb load by “spiralizing” vegetables into a colorful pasta alternative. These hand-powered spiralizers by Oxo can cut carrots, beets, zucchini and potatoes. Small: $19.99, Large: $39.99. Found at Kitchen Outfitters, 64B N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Remind your far-away family or holiday guests of their time in St. Charles, with keepsake coffee mugs, $8; pint glasses, $5; shot glasses, $3; crocks, $25 and brass ornaments, $18. Found at St. Charles History Museum, 215 E. Main St., St. Charles.
Navajo artist Leroy James handcrafted this sterling silver bracelet, inset with rare natural dry creek turquoise. Similar jewelry, also crafted by Navajo, Zuni and Hopi artisans, starts around $18. Found at Down 2 Earth, 107 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock.
Keep your hands warm all day with battery-powered handwarmer gloves by Seirus. Great for skiing or outdoors adventures. $330. Found at Viking Ski & Patio Shop, 131 W. Northwest Hwy., Barrington.
Nothing says Christmas treat like a box of handmade sweets made close to home. Try a Christmas assortment box, the ever-popular sea salt caramels, or the peppermint bark (pictured above). Found at Mellie’s Chocolate & Co., 2 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
This 12.59 ct oval tanzanite is surrounded by 68 round brilliant-cut diamonds weighing 0.76 ct and two half-moon cut diamonds weighing 0.92 ct. Set on an 18k white gold. $31,250. Found at M.J. Miller & Co., 123 W. Main St., Barrington.
Manufactured locally in Hoffman Estates, the resurrected 1940s-era Toas-Tite sandwich griller makes everything from grilled cheese or peanut butter sandwiches to s’mores, right over your cooktop. Found at Norton’s U.S.A., 400 Lageschulte St., Barrington.
Santa’s best-kept secret, these Christmas chocolates are hand-painted in Geneva. Available in a variety of sizes, from the small Santa suckers to the large Christmas Moose. Chocolates are sold at several price points. Found at Graham’s Chocolates, 302 S. Third St., Geneva. Also in Wheaton.
Enjoy a TV dinner or work conveniently on a laptop using these sofa servers, handcrafted from maple and oak by Amish craftsmen. $141. Strode’s Furniture, 11707 E. Main St., Huntley.
Salt & Pepper Grinder
These whimsical salt-and-pepper grinders are topped with handcrafted animal heads made by Crystal Lake artist Steve Brackett. $35-$45. Found at Material Things Artisan Market, 103 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock.
Decorative plates make a great platter for Christmas treats and a fun, useful accessory to leave behind for your holiday host. $19.95. Found at Out of the Box, 71 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Men’s Shaving Gear
Shaving products by Truefitt & Hill: Authentic badger hair shaving brush, $120; razor handle for Gillette Mach3 blades, $120; Shaving cream (West Indian Lime), $22 or $30. Found at Arch, 214 E. State St., Rockford. Also in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood and Madison, Wis.
Scented soy candles by Ella B. are produced in Charlotte, N.C., and come in scents named for each McHenry County hometown. The Crystal Lake candle, for instance, smells of pomegranate, tea & leather. $26.95. Found at Yours & Meyn Simply Designed, 33 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Perfect for your evening’s host, this table centerpiece comes with fresh flowers and wintergreens set around a collectible winter scene lantern by Stony Creek. Electrically lit lanters are available in several sizes. $30-$125. Found at Apple Creek Flowers, 207 N. Throop St., Woodstock.
Prepare to say “I do” with a diamond engagement ring or wedding band by Simon G. Men’s ring has 14k rose gold edges with a white gold center and 0.5 ct diamonds. $3,300. Ladies’ ring is 18k white gold setting with 0.61 ct diamonds. $3,300. Found at State Street Jewelers, 230 W. State St., Geneva.
These oversized globe ornaments are handpainted by artists in Poland. Some depict Christmas scenes while others depict the Chicago city skyline. Ask about a variety of other ornaments, including those representing area universities. Found at Wickham Interiors, 67 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Treat your favorite bookworm with historical novels “The Nix,” by Nathan Hill, and “All The Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr. “Between the World and Me,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, is an essay. Found at TownHouse Books & Cafe, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles.
Squishables plush pillows come in a variety of wacky characters: doughnuts, hamburgers, hot dogs and cupcakes, among others. Fun for all ages. $19.99-$39.99. Found at Marvin’s Toy Store, 64A N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Savor the sweetness of Merry Merry Cranberry, made from fruits harvested in Galena. The sparkling wine, with its effervescence, makes it the perfect toasting wine. Found at Galena Cellars, 477 S. Third St., Geneva.
Pottery by Bryan Becker Clay Werks is made by hand at the artist’s studio in Hartland, Wis., and it’s made to be microwave and dishwasher safe. Found at Green Box Boutique, 100 Cass St., Woodstock.
Colorful notepads and paper accessories by Mr. Ellie Pooh are made from 70 percent recycled paper – and 30 percent elephant poo. All products are made in Sri Lanka by fair trade laborers, who are encouraged to live peacefully with elephants. Found at The Little Traveler, 404 S. Third St., Geneva.
The Wine of the Month Club delivers a loaf of homemade bread, a gourmet cheese and a specially selected wine each month. Three-month membership: $90. Found at Le Petit Marche, 19 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Floral arrangements that combine living elements and silk flowers can last seemingly forever. The creative decor found at this store can be made to fit any season of the year. Found at Strawflower Shop, 210 W. State St., Geneva.
Look stylish this winter with green motto pants, a faux fur vest, a layering sweater, a suede clutch purse and earrings. Ask about other items, including sweaters, dresses, leggings, denim, and outerwear. Gift cards available. Found at Wear Did U Get That, 66 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.