Christmas in Chicago + Last-Minute Gifts

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Christmas is just 2 days away which means it’s crunch time for all you last-minute holiday shoppers. (Just letting you know.) Check out my last-minute gift ideas below if you still need ideas…

But first, I want to tell you about my latest weekend getaway. I was in Chicago last weekend doing some holiday shopping and celebrating my dad’s 60th birthday. My extended family and I go up to the Windy City every December to do some Christmas shopping and to experience what my mom calls the “hustle and bustle” of Christmastime in Chicago. We spend a day at the old Marshall Field’s (now Macy’s) on State Street, eat deep dish pizza at Gino’s East, and shop the stores on Michigan Avenue. It’s also now tradition to see a late night showing of the new Star Wars movie. It’s a really nice weekend getaway where we all can just do our own thing. Some of us shop, some of us hang out at the hotel, and some of us just walk around Chicago for the fun of it. But we usually always meet up for dinner and/or drinks in the evening.

Over the years, many of the traditions have changed. Some of our favorite stores have closed, and many of the restaurants we used to frequent have gone out of business or moved. It also used to be a girl’s weekend, but it’s become a family reunion of sorts with the male members of the family (cousins, dads, uncles, etc.) also making the trip up. Even a group of my mom and dad’s friends came up this year to celebrate his birthday. And I hear they want to come back next year. It’s a constantly evolving thing, but it’s a tradition that I look forward to every year.

Now to my last-minute gift guide…

I know there are people out there who haven’t even started their Christmas shopping. (*cough cough, Dad, *cough) Or maybe you just need a few things to finish off your list. Whatever your situation is, I have a few ideas that I’ve been utilizing the last few weeks. And they are almost all budget-friendly. (Most under $50!)

For the chef in your life:

  • chef’s knife
  • fun apron
  • sturdy cutting board
  • cute set of dish towels
  • cookbook
  • set of exotic spices
  • blank recipe cards (but fill some a few in with your own recipes!)


For the traveler in your life:

  • RFID wallet
  • eye mask
  • travel pillow
  • airplane cocktail kit
  • luggage tags
  • travel journal
  • packing cubes
  • passport cover


For the outdoorsman/woman in your life:

  • good pair of wool socks
  • pocket knife
  • fun bandana
  • headlamp
  • enamel ware camp mug
  • small daypack
  • Nalgene water bottle
  • waterproof outdoor journal


For the alcohol snob in your life:

  • cocktail shaker
  • wine charms
  • cheese board
  • Yeti colster
  • whiskey stones
  • Corcksicle wine chiller
  • insulated beer growler
  • Sugarfina alcoholic gummies
  • Moscow mule mug
  • bar tool set
  • fancy coasters


For the creative person in your life:

  • adult coloring books
  • Staedtler triplus fineliner pens
  • Buddha board
  • gift card to a local art store
  • journal


For the girly-girl in your life:

  • nail polish
  • face masks
  • hand lotions
  • gift card to LUSH, Ulta, Sephora, etc.
  • body butter
  • perfume rollerball
  • bath bombs
  • candles


For the manly-man in your life:

  • good flannel shirt
  • flask
  • grilling tools
  • shaving kit or beard grooming kit
  • cologne
  • tool kit
  • Amazon Dot
  • tie rack
  • argyle dress socks
  • cast iron skillet
  • leather wallet


For the active person in your life:

  • foam roller
  • FlipBelt
  • yoga mat
  • massage ball
  • performance socks
  • insulated water bottle
  • armband for iPod/iPhone
  • energy snacks
  • cooling towel


Other random ideas that I use often:

  • coffee table books
  • sampler sets of consumables like tea, coffee, chocolates, fancy food items, etc.
  • picture frames (with stuff like photos, gift cards, money, etc. placed inside)
  • alcohol
  • gift certificates to restaurants
  • small notepads, notebooks, or planners
  • antique store finds (vintage paper memorabilia, old books, unique dish ware, funky art, anything mid-century modern)

Hope this helps if you still have some shopping to do! Happy holidays to everyone and I hope you take the time to enjoy this wonderful time of year!



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