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The 2010 Chicagoist Gift Guide

By Staff in Miscellaneous on Dec 7, 2010 5:20PM

All the crazies might have finished their holiday shopping on Black Friday, but we’re just getting warmed up. Funny that our 2009 Gift Guide mentioned economic “recovery” and scraping the bottom of our piggy banks; it’s much of the same story this year. But let’s still get in the holiday spirit and blow what’s left of our paychecks on our friends and family. Here are some ideas that can help you do that.

2010_12GiftGuide1.jpg Chicago Flag Coffee Cup
What better to sip hot toddies from during a blustery Chicago winter? Ravenswood-based Circa Ceramics makes every single Chicago Flag Mug from scratch. These mugs not only look cool - we love the white and blue swirl design on the inside - but they are sturdy enough to hold up to our heavy coffee drinking. The giant “old school” handle is exactly what we prefer, because nothing is worse than those bitty handles you can’t even get your pinky through. These mugs sell out in stores fast, so it’d be wise to snag one before everyone else does. You can also order them through the Circa Ceramics etsy store, just allow three weeks for creating and shipping the mugs.
- $30 + S&H, Sacred Art, Rudy’s Roundup, Virtu

The Exquisite Book
The Exquisite Book brings together work from 100 illustrators on fold-out pages. It’d make a great gift for anyone artistically inclined or really anyone looking to add something interesting to their coffee table. The book was a collaborative effort between 10 groups of artists. Artists in each group passed their illustration along to inspire the next. Some artists kept the same themes and colors as the artists before them, and some of them went in a completely different direction. It’s interesting to see so many different artistic styles tell 10 loosely defined stories.
- $29.95, Quimby's, The Book Cellar

--- Betsy

2012_02GiftGuide2.jpg Midwest is Best T-Shirt
Express your love of our great, midwestern piece of the pie with this cotton t-shirt for men, women, kids and even a one-sie for infants! We've seen this shirt around town on everyone ranging from baby boomers to itsy-bitsy babies and we think it's bound to be one of the most comfy, stylish and wearable options this season. Designed, illustrated and hand screen printed on 100% cotton jersey by Megan Lee herself, we think that this handmade shirt is something you can really feel good about buying. The Midwest is Best design is also available in a sweatshirt, tank and tote bag.
- $28 + S&H, Megan Lee Designs

--- Michele

2012_12GiftGuide3.jpg Hunky Mermen Ornaments
Because these are Hunky. Mermen. Ornaments! Nuff said. Ha.
- $25 at Equinox

Chicago Dragons 2011 Calendar
All proceeds from this calendar will help keep costs affordable for players. Playing rugby unfortunately costs money from equipment to pitch fees, referee fees, transportation, insurance, and a host of many other expenses on a yearly basis. Your support of the Chicago Dragons allows any player with any background to play a sport that requires a lot of their time and dedication. The Chicago Dragons Rugby Football Club is the first rugby club in the Midwest established to invite members from traditionally under-represented groups, particularly gay men, to engage in the world's third most popular team sport.
- $15 via the Chicago Dragons' website

2012_12GiftGuide7.gif AIC's Adopt A Dot
The Art Institute of Chicago's permanent collection includes some 260,000 works from around the globe. There are museum favorites—from Georges Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte—1884 and Marc Chagall's America Window to the impressive examples of arms and armor and the Thorne Miniature Rooms—whose iconic images and colors make our collection beloved by all. By adopting a dot of Art Institute color, you support the museum's curatorial and conservation departments, which work tirelessly to display and protect the beauty of the artworks in our collection.
- Adopt one dot for $10, three for $25, or collect all six for $50 via the Art Institute of Chicago website

Wooden Robot
"Made from sustainable wood and finished with linseed oil, this guy is fully articulated and pose-able. He consists of 16 parts connected by elastic joints. While he does come from a toy manufacturer, adults are quite drawn to this guy as well! And there’s something pretty awesome about a robot made out of wood!
- $30 + S&H via Green Genes

--- Tony

Chicago Cubs Cookbook: All Star Recipes from Your Favorite Players
Perfect for Chicagoans who bleed blue - if we can't win on the field, at least we can win in the kitchen.
- $16.95 + S&H via

--- Caitlin

Screenprint Your Own T-Shirt class at Spudnik Press
Learn to jazz up your plain Ts with comical slogans and colorful artwork during a five-hour session at one of Chicago's finest community printmaking studios, Spudnik Press. Two Sunday-afternoon sessions will be offered in early 2011, each with spots still available.
- $50 via Spudnik Press website

--- Roger

2010_12GiftGuide4.jpg Sad Stories of the Death of Kings, YA Edition, by Barry Gifford
I'm partial to Barry Gifford's new cycle of stories set in late 50's Chicago--I wrote the introduction to the Young Adult edition! It's a really wonderful collection of gritty urban tales, some hilarious, some wistful, centering on Roy, a kid coming of age without the benefit of a father. Gifford evokes the period better than anyone I can think of. For a taste, check out the excerpt we posted last year.
- $16.95, The Book Cellar, or via IndieBound

Gift Membership to the Gene Siskel Film Center
Maybe I sound like a broken record, saying this year after year, but there is no better cinema value in Chicago than a membership at the Siskel. Your member card gets $5 admission to just about every screening, a punchcard good for four free popcorns, and $10 off an Art Institute membership. You know what they say: if you've got it, you'll use it; and there are plenty of first-run, retrospective and revival screenings every month. Get a dual membership so you can tag along on regular movie dates!
- Individual memberships: $50, Dual memberships: $80, Dual members receive the same benefits as individual members — for two.

--- Rob

2012_12GiftGuide5.jpg Starshaped Press "Urban Gardening" Poster
We've visited Starshaped Press, and any local letterpress lover is familiar with their work. After our summer experience with the Chicagoist garden plot, we bought this to commemorate the experience!
- $25 + S&H via etsy

Smoked Olive Oil
I get a lot of strange products in the mail, and most of them are mediocre or outright disgusting. Rarely does something come in the mail that is unique and actually improves dishes that i already make. Try this smoked olive oil (which comes in many different flavors) in bread dips, salad dressings or anything you saute in olive oil!
- $23-$33 + S&H via The Smoked Olive

A La Card Chicago Deck
We know you're probably overwhelmed with gift deals, certificates, groupons, coupons and the like, but this is a genuinely good deal. Now in their fourth year of operation, A la card gives you $10 certificates to 52 different restaurants for $30. It's a great excuse to visit new places at a slightly better price.
- $30 via a la card chicago's website and at The Book Cellar, Catering - Chocolate, Daffodils, Dirk's Fish, Fine Wine Brokers, Green Grocer, Kafka, Olivia's Market

--- Anthony

2012_12GiftGuide6.jpg Bears bath products
Just when you think that NFL merchandising can't go any further, something appears that surprises you... at least at first glance. But in Chicago, even the fairer sex lives and dies with the Bears. So why not surprise them with a Bears Bath Puff or pretty smelling Lavender & Ocean Breeze hand soap? Even better, they're available at "da Jewels," so you can shop for your special lady while picking up some Old Style and L'il Smokies for the game.
- $5, Jewel (seen at Division & Clark)

Axis Typographic Maps - Downtown Chicago
We love maps. We love colorful art. And we love our city. These prints have it all! This Chicago map is artfully created with colorful typography to show our city in a unique way.
- $30 via zazzle

2012_12GiftGuide9.jpg Chicago Skyline Macbook Laptop Vinyl Decal
Want to make your MacBook feel special among the sea of silver and white when working at Argo or Intelligentsia? Jazz it up and show your hometown pride with a Chicago Skyline vinyl decal.
- $14.14 + S&H via etsy

Mustache of Champions T-Shirt
Despire our reputation as long-suffering sports fans, no other city has seen teams in all four major sports win titles in the past 25 years. Since 1985, the Bears, Bulls, Sox and Hawks have all been crowned champs. One common feature of the coaches who led our teams to glory are their glorious facial hair. This t-shirt commemorates the Tom Selleck-esque 'staches that Ditka, Phil Jackson and Joel Quinville wore during their championship runs. But why didn't Ozzie's fu manchu make the cut?
- $20, online or in-store at Strange Cargo

--- Benjy