The 2019 Reader Gift Guide | Holiday Gift Guide | Chicago Reader

City Life » Holiday Gift Guide

The 2019 Reader Gift Guide

More than 90 local items handpicked by Reader staff, including records, books, classes, handcrafted clothing, and home goods


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Salem Collo-Julin, listings coordinator

You're Here! Now What? zine and other items by the Yollocalli Arts Reach teen crew via the National Museum of Mexican Art online market ($5-$8)

"Notes" T-shirt designed by Arts of Life artist Jean Wilson ($25)

Private tour for three in a Tesla sedan ($250+)

Whole salami from Romanian Kosher Sausage Co. 7200 N. Clark ($25-$35)

"Koko Cat Skateboarding" enamel pin from Kokorokoko 1323 N. Milwaukee ($10)

Chicken Chews dog treats from the Chicago Bone Company 2704 N. California ($12)

Custom-built cat tree from Cat Tree Kingdom ($100-$600)

  • Courtesy Blue Island Traditional Medicine

Nutritional counseling sessions at Blue Island Traditional Medicine 1843 N. Racine ($60-$75, some insurance accepted)

Maya Dukmasova, staff writer

  • Courtesy Vihanga

Kinnera long-sleeved cotton silk crop top from Vihanga ($160)

"Chance and Bey" T-shirt by Sheila Rashid ($45)

Line pattern bowl ($49) or Japanese incense ($12-$35) from Five Elements Home 5239 N. Clark

Gourmet gelato from Angelo's Gelato Italiano ($3-$4 per pint at local grocers including Devon Market, 1440 W. Devon)

Leor Galil, music writer

  • Courtesy Pop Toy Pop

Steve Bravo's "Harold's Over East" Harold's Chicken Shack sweatshirt from Pop Toy Pop ($50)

Visible and Invisible Persons: Distributed in Space from the Numero Group (LP $22, MP3 $10)

Sergej Vutuc's photo zine Western Avenue from Half Letter Press ($7)

Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore's graphic novel Bttm Fdrs from Fantagraphics ($29)

Avery R. Young's Neckbone: Visual Verses from Northwestern University Press ($25, and Tubman LP ($8,

Noname's Book Club bookmark bundle ($10)

"No System: Affirmation" T-shirt from Trap House Chicago ($30)

Observations: Year One chapbook by Spencer Tweedy ($12)

"Vote Leor for best pizza" T-shirt by Ryan Duggan at Redbubble ($17.36, proceeds go to Chicago Reader)

Lauren Michele Jackson's White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation from Beacon Press ($25.95)

Janaya Greene, social media coordinator

Bitch magazine subscription ($29.95)

  • Courtesy Reformed School

Maxine Waters or Bayard Rustin enamel pin from Reformed School ($12)

Honey Whiskey soap bar from Soap Distillery ($8)­soaps/products/honey-whiskey-soap-bar

Fiyah Fit Afro-­Caribbean Dance Fitness classes, various locations, $15 drop-ins

Yoga classes with Haji Healing Salon, various locations $10 each

AKG K240 professional studio headphones ($45)

Deanna Isaacs, senior staff writer

Two-session course on Dinosaurs and Other Fossils of Egypt at the Oriental Institute 1155 E. 58th ($98)

Original art from South Side Community Art Center's Holiday Sale, December 6 and 7 at South Side Community Art Center 3831 S. Michigan,

  • Courtesy Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Verdi: Otello, Riccardo Muti conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, two-CD set from CSO Resound ($34.99)

Andrew Patner's A Portrait in Four Movements: The Chicago Symphony Under Barenboim, Boulez, Haitink, and Muti from University of Chicago Press ($27.50)

Original art from Woman­Made Gallery's Small Works Show, December 6-15 at Lacuna Lofts 2150 S. Canalport ($50-$300)

Jamie Ludwig, associate editor

Come Go With Me: The Stax Years by the Staples Singers, deluxe seven-LP box set from Craft Recordings ($159.99)

Ministry: Prescripture, limited-edition visual history book about Ministry (LOL, this could be a "careful what you wish for" situation) ($75 preorder)

Ipsento: Coffee 101 class at Ipsento Coffee 2035 N. Western ($80, with Groupon offers as low as $55)

Haymarket Books Book Club membership (packages at $20, $25, and $30 per month for a total of up to 40 titles a year)

Yasou Vegan Skin Care Set ($135 includes day and night creams)

Blade & Bloom's Rich Lip Balm in Crush ($12)

Badass reclaimed leather purse by Ransack Leather (as low as $70 or $290 for the studded Rock & Roll large shoulder duffle)

  • courtesy the Chicago School of Guitar Making

Guitar setup and maintenance class at Specimen Chicago School of Guitar Making 1240 N. Homan ($275-$365)

Dark Matter coffee subscription to limited-­edition monthly blends (three-, six-, and 12-month options at $20 per bag)

Karen Hawkins, coeditor in chief

Online or in-store gift card for Women & Children First 5233 N. Clark,

"Bad Girls Throughout History 2020" wall calendar from Feminist Speakeasy ($15)

Mnemosyne Spiral Notebook B5 at Martha Mae 5407 N. Clark ($12)

  • Courtesy the Silver Room

"Black Girl Magic" crop top from the Silver Room 1506 E. 53rd ($25)

Sue Kwong, creative lead

Kitchen towels by Rhymes With Twee ($10)

Organic hair products from Ultimate Fresher ($10-$25)

Winged Scarf by Sophia Reyes ($68)

Ethically sourced Monona llama coat by Dene Apparel ($299)

Cochineal & Eco Dyeing Workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico, conducted by Amy Taylor ($230)

People- and planet-friendly laundry powders and stain removers from Meliora Cleaning Products ($12.99-$44.49)

  • Courtesy Spirit Tea

Sampler sets from Spirit Tea ($21)

Tickets to the Signature Show at Chicago Magic Lounge 5050 N. Clark ($45-$60 per seat)

S. Nicole Lane, editorial associate

"Sling" Shadowsex T-shirt featuring SM artist Joseph W. Bean ($20 plus $8.50 per order shipping or available at the Leather Archives and Museum, 6550 N. Clark)

Morton Arboretum yearlong membership ($60-$1,500)

Crave Vesper stainless-­steel mini vibrator necklace at Early to Bed 5044 N. Clark or online ($72)

  • Courtesy Alcala's

Continental fringed pink suede coat from Alcala's Western Wear 1733 W. Chicago or online ($269.99)

Custom-made chain harness by Plz Be Careful (starting at $70)

Sun, Moon, and Rising Slap Pack zodiac stickers from Attitude Seven ($10)

Philip Montoro, music editor

Discount card for West African dance classes from Ayodele Drum & Dance ($45 for five classes or $85 for ten, regular price $10 per class)

Galactic Zoo Dossier mixtape club 2020 subscription ($40 for six 90-­minute cassettes of rare psych, hard rock, glam, punk, prog, and more, compiled by Steve Krakow)

  • Courtesy Phineas X. Jones

Custom mounted polymer-­clay sculpture of a real or imaginary animal by Phineas X. Jones (contact artist for quote)

The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook, edited by Martha Bayne, from Belt Publishing ($16 online)­neighborhood-guidebook

Gift card for Off Color Brewing's Mousetrap taproom 1460 N. Kingsbury, offcolorbrewing.­com/store/gc

Gift subscription to Elastic Arts 3429 W. Diversey #208 (from $100; premiums include an Elastic T-shirt and a 20 percent discount to most events)

Next Chapter membership at the Newberry Library 60 W. Walton (donation of $50 or more includes admission for two to the Book Fair Preview Night; Next Chapter restricted to ages 21 through 45)

Jamie Ramsay, director of photography

Macrame plant hanger workshop at Urban Macrame Fibers ($45)

Saffron & Smoke (or Peppercorn Rose) Body Bar from Wood & Wax Co. ($12)

  • Courtesy Wood & Wax Co.

Vegan prix fixe dinner at Fancy Plants Cafe 613 W. Briar ($45)

Tickets to Windy City Rollers roller derby ($15 per bout, $40 season pass)

Hand-thrown Small Brushstroke Plate from Monsoon Pottery ($36)

Gift certificate for custom framing at April 7s 766 N. Milwaukee,

Sugoi Sweets Bonbon Box of 12 ($37) sugoi­

Kerry Reid, theater and dance editor

  • Courtesy Transit Tees

"El: The Chicago Transit Adventure" board game from Transit Tees 5226 N. Clark ($40)

Cash or in-kind donation to no-kill shelter Felines & Canines 6379 N. Paulina,

Dance classes at Old Town School of Folk Music 4544 N. Lincoln ($132-$156 for eight-week session)

Imani Perry's Looking for Lorraine: The Radical and Radiant Life of Lorraine Hansberry from Penguin Random House at Women and Children First 5233 N. Clark ($17.95)

Dark chocolate assortment from Belgian Chocolatier Piron 509-A Main St., Evanston ($24.50 per half-pound box)

Kate Schmidt, deputy editor

Tao of Nuts chocolate-­covered almonds from Chicago Artizen ($11-$41)

Buy one, get one free subscription to Poetry magazine ($35 for two, additional subscriptions $17.50)**BG5

  • Courtesy the Music Box Theatre

Gift certificate to the Music Box Theatre 3733 N. Southport,

CDs by local Delmark recording artists, e.g., the Paul Giallorenzo Trio's Flow ($15.99)

Fitness membership or classes at 360 Mind Body Soul ($25 single-class drop-in, 30-day rookie trial with unlimited classes for $60, yearlong membership $99)

Pet portrait by Dmitry Samarov ($200 for a framed gouache painting "any size within reason," $20 for a pen sketch)

Prints or gifts from Chicago Printmakers' 30th anniversary International Print Exhibition and Holiday Sale, December 7-8 at Chicago Printmakers Collaborative 4912 N. Western,

Drinking chocolate or truffle sets from Katherine Anne Confections 2745 W. Armitage ($21-$24)  v

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