There’s a big advantage to the shopper who’s well prepared – and even more so this year. So, why not get a head start and support local businesses in the process? Our latest guide has more than 100 ideas to get you started.
Support your hometown businesses while shopping in person or online? You bet!
For the Kids
Park District Activities
Give the gift of play with gift cards that apply toward swim lessons, team sports, classes and other activities at Crystal Lake Park District, St. Charles Park District, Geneva Park District, Fox Valley Park District or your local parks department.
Marvin’s Toy Store
Toy shop with an emphasis on items that engage young minds and are environment-friendly, American-made, and minimally electronic. 64A N. Williams St., Crystal Lake; 100 E. Station St., Barrington.
Performing Arts Lessons
Classes aimed at all ages encourage the imaginations and talents of youngsters in theater, backstage work, dancing, singing and instrument-playing. Raue Center School for the Arts, in Crystal Lake; Metropolis School of the Performing Arts, in Arlington Heights; Paramount School of the Arts, in Aurora.
Minor League Baseball
Catch the action with individual or season tickets to the Kane County Cougars, in Geneva, and the Schaumburg Boomers, in Schaumburg.
MJ Miller & Co.
An amazing collection of fine jewelry and gems handpicked by the owner. Also offers repairs, appraisals and custom designs. 123 W. Main St., Barrington.
Lingerie and bras, with an eye toward comfort and confidence for women of all sizes. Appointment only. 10 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Fashion-forward furs, leather and high-quality fabrics by in-house and international designers. For men and women. 107 N. York St., Elmhurst.
Wear Did U Get That
Fashionable attire for women of all ages, with several designer/niche brands. 66 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Six + Cypress, Batavia
Comfortable and unique apparel for men and women, all handpicked from top design studios. 103 E. Wilson St., Batavia. (Also in Valparaiso, Ind.).
Contemporary and traditional styles of women’s apparel and jewelry. 51 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Stylish clothing, jewelry, accessories and footwear, in addition to home goods and artwork. 101 S. Third St., Geneva.
Studio D Jewelers
Custom-designed jewelry and high-quality pieces by the likes of Simon G, Bleu Royale and Citizen. 118 N. Benton St., Woodstock
State Street Jewelers
Engagement rings, custom jewelry and a wide variety of designer-made pieces by the likes of Baume & Mercier, Carla Nancy B, Lashbrook, Michou and Tantalum.
Roscoe Woodstock Antique Mall
One of the area’s best curations of antique and vintage items from 70 dealers. 890 Lake Ave., Woodstock.
Geneva Antique Market
Two rooms of antiques and collectibles across a variety of categories, no item younger than 25 years old. 227 S. Third St., Geneva.
Carriage House Antiques
Intimate collection of furniture, kitchen wares and more. 21 E. Crystal Lake Ave., Crystal Lake.
Whippletree Farm Antiques
Two stories of formal American and European antiques, including furniture and artwork. 210 Main St., Wauconda.
Fine Victorian and European-imported antiques. 429 W. Main St., Barrington.
Shops of Ridgefield
Four vintage/antique shops are located off the railroad tracks of a tiny town. Ridgefield Road and Railroad Street off Country Club Road, Ridgefield.
A New Interiors Anew
Vintage, modern and farmhouse items, plus handmade soaps and other unique finds. 134 Cass St., Woodstock.
J&S River Antiques, West Dundee
Kitchen wares, pottery, collectibles and more, located in the basement of an old storefront (enter from public parking lot to the north). 120 W. Main St., West Dundee.
Antique Market 1
The biggest and oldest antiques mall in the Tri-Cities, with a unique curation of dealers and treasures. 11 N. Third St., St. Charles.
Crystal Lake Antique Mall
More than 30 dealers present antique and vintage items, plus a range of similar curiosities across multiple rooms. 2 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Helpful shopping hint: If you can’t find a certain title in store, ask an associate. They can usually get what you’re looking for.
Read Between the Lynes
New releases, classic titles, large children’s selection. Stop for story time and the candy bar. 111 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock.
New releases, classic titles, children’s room, local authors, café. 216 James St., Geneva.
Town House Books
New releases, classic titles, café with extensive menu. 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles.
The Book Shop Batavia
A tiny store with a crazy big selection of gently used books. 15 N. River St., Batavia.
Apple Creek Flowers
Custom floral arrangements, delivery and gift/decor items. 207 N. Throop St., Woodstock.
Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery & Garden Center
Custom floral arrangements. The attached nursery/greenhouse sells flowers, plants and garden supplies/decor. 5301 E. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake.
Barrington Flower Shop
Custom floral arrangements. 201 S. Cook St., Barrington.
Natural pet foods, treats, supplements, toys and accessories for dogs, cats and horses. 31 E. Crystal Lake Ave., Crystal Lake.
Pug and Hound
Feed and supplies, with an eye toward healthy, natural, organic options. Nutrition advice available. 308 W. State St., Geneva.
Wholesome Petz Pet Supplies
Wide variety of supplies and feed for pets. 101 N. State St., Marengo.
Handmade chocolates, sweets, ice cream and novelty candies. 2 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Made-in-house chocolates sourced from organic ingredients and fair pay farms. Cafe, event space and speakeasy inside. 140 Cass St., Woodstock.
High-quality candies and chocolates, as well as sweet treats, gift baskets and other goodies. 11801 Main St., Huntley; 220 Robert Parker Coffin Road, Long Grove; 1890 N. Rand Road, Palatine.
Graham’s Fine Chocolates/Graham’s 318 Coffee House
Handmade chocolates, ice cream and specialty gift items. Head down the street to 318 Coffee House for café items, fondue and fresh gelato. 302 & 318 S. Third St., Geneva; 119 W. Front St., Wheaton.
The Olive Tap
Specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars, plus specialty foods such as preserves, salad dressings, cheeses and seasonings. 68 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Recipes are based on the family’s 100-year tradition making chocolates, caramels, truffles and more. Boxes, gift baskets and novelties available. 10301 N. Main St., Richmond; 128 E. Main St., Barrington.
Cafe and wine tasting room with small-plate dishes and a wine club. 316 N. River St., East Dundee.
Whiskey and Wine
Tasting room with more than 250 selections of whiskey and a wine menu to match. New vineyards featured weekly. 103 S. Main St., Algonquin.
Handmade artisan breads, baked fresh daily on-site. Ask about the fruit breads, which make a terrific breakfast treat. 121 N. Second St., St. Charles.
Subscription service offering fine-dining quality meats at affordable prices. Available only in Chicago area. Visit steaksyndicate.com.
Rosie’s Gluten-Free Sweets
Bakery dedicated to sweets that are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and sensitive to other dietary needs. 1400 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock.
For the Athlete
Dick Pond Athletics
Athletic gear of all kinds for running, track & field, wrestling and more. Big emphasis on footwear and team apparel. 303 N. Second St., St. Charles; 1772 W. Algonquin Road, Hoffman Estates. Also in Lisle, Carol Stream and Park Ridge.
Wheel Werks Bikes, Crystal Lake
Sells bikes and related equipment, with a specialty in racing-quality gear. 115 N. Main St., Crystal Lake.
Viking Ski & Patio
In winter, it’s a one-stop-shop for ski equipment; come spring, it’s a vendor of patio and backyard equipment. 131 W. Northwest Hwy., Barrington.
The Bike Haven
Full-service bike dealer with apparel and gear for any level of rider. 3318 Pearl St., McHenry; 132 Cass St., Woodstock.
Sammy’s Bikes, St. Charles
Sells bicycles, gear and apparel for all types of cyclists. Also offers service, fitting and rentals. 602 First St., St. Charles.
The Running Depot, Crystal Lake
Caters especially to runners with gear, footwear and gait analysis, training programs, and accessories. Hosts weekly fun runs on Wed. and Sat. 30-H N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Mill Race Cyclery, Geneva
A bike shop that also sells kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and ski and showshoes. Ask about bike service, trade-ins, group rides, smart trainers and equipment rentals. 11 E. State St., Geneva
Tickets to Entertainment
Raue Center for the Arts
Hosts live theater, tribute acts, traveling performers. 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Elgin Symphony Orchestra
This four-time “Orchestra of the Year” performs classical tunes as well as pops music. Performs at Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin.
Hosts live theater, tribute acts and traveling performers on two stages. Broadway Series is a perennial award-winner. 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora.
Woodstock Opera House
Hosts live theater, tribute acts, traveling performers, winter lecture series. 121 W. Van Buren St., Woodstock.
Batavia Fine Arts Centre
Hosts live theater, tribute acts, traveling performers. 1250 W. Wilson St., Batavia.
Barrington’s White House
Hosts musical acts, traveling performers, live lectures and monthly arts events, including gallery openings and jazz cabaret. 145 W. Main St., Barrington.
Metropolis Performing Arts Center
Hosts live theater, tribute acts, traveling performers. 111 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights.
Hosts live music, primarily tribute acts and headlining performers of previous decades. 105 E. Main St., St. Charles.
Classic Cinemas (Woodstock, St. Charles, Elmhurst, etc.)
Plays first-run movies, with occasional showings of classic and independent films. Charlestowne 18, 3740 E. Main St., St. Charles; Woodstock Theatre, 209 Main St., Woodstock; Cinema 12, 100 LW Besinger Dr., Carpentersville; 115 Towne Centre Lane, Fox Lake; York Theatre, Elmhurst; nine others.
McHenry Downtown Theater
Plays first-run movies and live performers, primarily stand-up comedians. 1208 N. Green St., McHenry.
Your Local Downtown
A stunning array of locally owned retailers and restaurants are found in your local downtown – and if there’s not much in your hometown, check out the next town over. Many of the above businesses can be found in a downtown business district.
Arboretum of South Barrington
Open-air mall with a selection of upscale local and big-box retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues including iPic Theaters, L.L. Bean and Arhaus Furniture. At Ill. Rts. 59 and 72, South Barrington.
Kane County Flea Market
This monthly gathering at the Kane County Fairgrounds draws more than 600 dealers of refurbished furniture, collectibles, antiques, and “fancy junque.” Next shows: Nov. 6-7 & Dec. 4-5. 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles.
Deer Park Towne Center
Open-air mall with a selection of upscale local and big-box retailers, restaurants and entertainment venues including Apple, Paper Source, Sundance, Biaggi’s and Williams-Sonoma. 20530 N. Rand Road, Deer Park.
Woodstock Farmers Market
McHenry County’s only year-round market includes local farmers selling seasonal produce alongside purveyors of handcrafted goods and gourmet foods such as soup, granola and popcorn. Held on select Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., November through April. 12015 Country Club Road, Woodstock.
Outdoor shopping area with a variety of retailers and restaurants, including Old Navy, Hollister, Pottery Barn, Tap House Grill, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Barnes & Noble. Randall Road at County Line Road, Algonquin.
St. Charles Farmers Market
Local farmers sell fresh seasonal produce, honey, eggs, cheese, meats and more. They’re joined by local crafters every Friday, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the basement of Baker Methodist Church. 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles.
Batavia Boardwalk Shops
Micro-retailers from the Batavia area sell their products in a row of small shops. These retailers stay through Dec. 19, and then they’re off to new places. Open Friday through Sunday. 114 E. Wilson St., Batavia.
Home Decor and Art
Interior decorators with a retail showroom of high-quality home goods. 15 S. Third St., Geneva. Also in Milwaukee.
Handcrafted art by owner Ken West and a handful of other Midwestern artists. 103 E. Van Buren St., Woodstock.
An eclectic selection of home goods, accessories and novelty finds, all presented in a century-old home. 212 S. Third St., Geneva.
High-quality furniture made by top brands and Amish craftsmen. Custom orders available. 11707 E. Main St., Huntley.
Geneva Design House by Strawflower
A vast showroom of home decor, furniture, rugs and floral arrangements. Interior decorators available. 210 W. State St., Geneva.
For the Hobbyist
More than 4,000 bolts of quilting fabric and related gear, including patterns, buttons and notions. 21 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Art supplies of all kinds and large-format printing services. 26 Crystal Lake Plaza, Crystal Lake.
Elgin Knit Works
Wide selection of yarns, equipment and private instruction. 10 Douglas Ave., Elgin.
Flying Friends Wild Bird Shops
Food, feeders, guide books and more for supporting backyard birds in your yard. 435 Angela Lane, Ste. 17, Crystal Lake.
The Treasure Shop, Geneva
Minerals and crystals, jewelry, artwork, collectibles and consignment. 314 Franklin St., Geneva.
Whitetail Fly Tieing, Geneva
Carries a full range of materials for fly tying. Deer hair is a custom line. Appointment only. 36 Kane St., Geneva.
Subscribers get a box of outdoor gear (camping, hiking, fishin) and survival-themed products every month. Visit alphaoutpost.com.
Sounds Like Music, Geneva
Music lessons emphasizing instruments and voice; also handles instrument rentals and repairs, lesson books and other music-related merchandise. 224 W. State St., Geneva.
Rediscover Records, Elgin
Record store with thousands of choices in all genres. Selection includes new releases. 9 S. Spring St., Elgin.
Thousands of selections in all genres. Buys/sells/trades stereo equipment and speakers. 3902 Main St., McHenry.
Craft Beer, Spirits, and Wine
Copper Fiddle Distillery
Whiskey, gin, rum and vodka. Tasting room. Tours. 532 W. Ill. Rt. 22, Lake Zurich.
Rush Creek Distilling
Whiskey, rye, bourbon, gin and vodka. Tasting room. Tours. 1501 W. Diggins St., Harvard.
Crystal Lake Brewing
Beer. Tap room, BYO food. Growlers to go. Tours. 150 N. Main St., Crystal Lake.
Whiskey Acres Distilling
Whiskey, rye, bourbon and vodka. Tasting room. 11504 Keslinger Road, DeKalb.
Midwest varietals. Pizza bistro and wide food menu at tasting rooms. 47W614 Ill. Rt. 38, Maple Park; 219 W. State St., Sycamore.
Draft beer, full food menu. 2400 Lake Shore Dr., Woodstock.
Beer. Tap room, BYO food. Growlers and kegs to go. Tours. 509 Stevens St., Geneva.
Prairie State Winery
Dry reds and co-fermented Illinois/California varietals are a specialty. Small-plate dishes at tasting room. 222 W. Main St., Genoa, Ill.
Scorched Earth Brewing
Beer. Tap room, BYO food. Growlers and kegs to go. Tours. 203 Berg St., Algonquin.
Forty varieties of wines. Tasting room. 477 S. Third St., Geneva. Also vineyard/winery in Galena.
For the Person Who Has Everything
Out of the Box
Unique gifts and home decor, with plenty of jewelry, kitchen accents, bath/beauty products, novelty items and baby items. 71 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Everything in store – and it’s a wide variety of items – is made in America. 400 Lageschulte St., Barrington.
Build something totally unique at this DIY craft studio. Workshops and furniture paint also available. 328 S. Main St., Algonquin.
Thousands of gadgets and other gear for the kitchen, with a selection of gourmet foods, as well. 64B N. Williams St., Crystal Lake.
Scandinavian products all imported from north Europe. 438 Robert Parker Coffin Road, Long Grove.
Curious Fox Gift Shop
Lots of swag to show your hometown spirit. At St. Charles History Museum, 215 E. Main St., St. Charles.
Funky boutique with clothing and accessories, home goods, bath/beauty products, greeting cards and more – most of it, with attitude. Sister business Social Design Club does party-planning gear. 200/202 S. Cook St., Barrington.
Meraki Market Hub, Elgin
Collection of vendors specializing in modern and rustic items, including home decor, antiques, clothing and gifts. 66 S. Grove Ave., Elgin.
The Little Traveler
Thirty-six rooms cover everything from ladies’ clothing to children, gourmet food, decor and more. 404 S. Third St., Geneva.