The holidays are upon us, whether we’re ready or not. Forget the Amazon Wish Lists and get a truly Outside of Ordinary gift for those on your list. We’ve assembled a holiday shopping guide that works for every personality. So this holiday season, shop local. Shop the Greater Champaign County area!
Look no further than Art Mart in Champaign for a wide variety of toys, puzzles and games. This locally-owned shop has a fantastic kids section with all sorts of fun and challenging toys. If your kids are game-lovers, try Dr. G’s Brainworks inside Market Place Mall. Their incredible staff will help you find the perfect game to match your kids play personality. We all know kids love to dress up all year round, so why not pick up a few great costumes from Dallas & Co.? Have a parent of toddlers on your list? Try a gift card to Spark Museum + Play Café so the kids can have fun while the parents relax. Have teenagers? Get a gift card to our escape rooms (Brainstorm Escapes, CU Adventures in Time & Space, LabEscape) to give them and their friends a challenge. If they’re into video games, try Live Action Games for games for all consoles, even vintage ones!
Nothing sounds more delightful than snuggling up with something to read in the cold of winter. For those literature lovers, you’ll find three stories “booked solid” at Jane Addams Book Shop in downtown Champaign. With over 70,000 titles in the shop, you’re sure to find a few good books for your reader. You can feel good about buying used books at Orphan’s Treasure Box, where all proceeds benefit organizations serving vulnerable kids and families. Do you have a comic book nerd on your list? G-Mart Comic Books will get you set up, regardless of whether you’re a DC or Marvel fan.
When you’re buying gifts from Midwest Living’s Greatest Midwest Food Town, the options are endless for the foodies on your list. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, a leader in the local food movement, hosts their Real Stand throughout the holidays where you can pick up their award-winning goat cheeses as well as their gelato. They’ll also have other food options like their homemade jam, and local options from other area farmers. To really impress your foodie friends, gift Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch’s honey, recently named the World’s Best Honey by the Center for Honeybee Research. For a gift as beautiful as it is tasty, try Hopscotch Bakery + Market with their stunning desserts such as cakes, scones, cookies and more. Coffee lovers will enjoy a bag of single origin coffee beans from Page Roasting Company, proudly served at Flying Machine Avionics. For your family and friends who like to imbibe from time to time, gift a growler from one of our numerous craft breweries. We have six local breweries in the Champaign County area, all offering different styles of beers to satisfy even the pickiest beer drinker. For the wine drinkers, Alto Vineyards (growing in Southern Illinois) offers bottles of their award-winning wines at their Champaign tasting room, while Wyldewood Cellars in St. Joseph (grown in Kansas) has over 40 varieties of wine available, including their popular Elderberry wine. If you just can’t decide what local food to gift, let them decide. Get a gift card (or cards) from some of our locally-owned restaurants for a meal they won’t soon forget!
FOR THE STYLISH
We all have that person in our family that is perfectly put-together. Help them with add local flair to their fashion line up at our local boutiques. Rumours Hat Shoppe helps finish off a look with their wide selection of hats, including lines from local makers. Get a mix of classic styles with cutting edge looks from Circles Boutique in downtown Champaign, or see what’s new and trending at Fira, found on the University of Illinois campus. Shop chic at Bluebird Boutique in Urbana or Small Town Chic Boutique in Arthur to find fashion-forward gifts for women of all ages. For the men in your life, Joseph Kuhn and Company in downtown Champaign has been dressing men since 1907. Pick up a colorful tie, or a sweater that can go from the office straight to the Illini game.
FOR THE DECORATOR
Everyone wants to take pride in their home, whether they are regular hosts or just homebodies. Texture Home has a mix of vintage and handmade pieces to help people feel happy at home. Have friends into mid-century modern decorating? Furniture Lounge is the stop for you, with furniture, art, and decorative items to help you step back in time. Monticello Mercantile, located off the historic square in Monticello, displays unique crafted decorative items sure to make someone’s house a home. Meanwhile, Ms. Becky’s Country Primitive Gifts & Décor in Homer will make any home cozy with their large selection of country-inspired décor.
FOR ACTIVE PEOPLE
Nothing inspires us to get moving like over indulging at the holidays. Thankfully, we have a handful of local shops ready to get us moving. Champaign Surplus not only outfits us for the elements, they can get even the most active of us set up with gear for hiking, climbing, kayaking and everything in between. For bike enthusiasts, you’ll find everything you need at Neutral Cycle on campus, with bikes for all terrains and the gear you need to ride safely. Have a runner, walker or swimmer on your list? Body N’ Sole, a force behind the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, is a haven of clothing, socks, shoes and more to get them ready for their next race. To get active right away, get them a gift card to Urbana Boulders, the only climbing facility in Champaign County and is suitable for all levels. Think healthy all year long with gift cards and punch passes for the facilities offered through Champaign Park District’s Leonhard Center or the Urbana Park District’s Indoor Aquatic Center.
FOR MUSIC LOVERS
Champaign-Urbana is home to a killer music scene, so it’s only fair to say we have a number of ways to make the music lovers in your life happy this holiday season. Set up your drummer with everything they need from gear to sheet music at Skins-N-Tins Drum Shop in downtown Champaign. Meanwhile, guitarists can find amps, music, rare and vintage guitars at The Upper Bout which guarantees to supply all the things to be a rock god. As vinyl makes a comeback as the preferred way to listen to music, Exile on Main St. has a massive selection of LPs and turntables for a perfect gift. Give the gift of a musical experience to create memories for those on your list. Pick up a gift card to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts to be used for any of their upcoming performances, from the symphony to ballet. Or surprise the musical lover in your life with tickets to the Wizard of Oz or Cabaret at State Farm Center this April.
FOR ART LOVERS
With a thriving Arts & Culture scene, it’s not surprising that we have a number of ways to treat your art lovers this holiday season. Art collectors can fill their home with stunning photography of the Midwest and beyond from Larry Kanfer. Stop in their gallery to bring home prints, books, calendars and more. Cinema Gallery, in the historic Princess Theatre in downtown Urbana, is the area’s largest fine art gallery. Over 70 professional artists around the Midwest showcase their work here, which makes the ideal addition to any collector on your list. Discover handmade jewelry as well as stunning pieces of map-inspired art from our featured maker, Kelly Hieronymus of Sunshine Design. Let those that are artistically-inclined learn the craft of glass blowing at Prairie Fire Glass in Monticello. Not only can you shop from the gallery, but you can sign them up for classes and demonstrations. Likewise, Cracked Glass offers classes and workshops in stained and fused glass, perfect for a group of friends to try! Already have a budding artist in your household? The Art Coop in Lincoln Square has all the supplies your artists could need to create their masterpiece.
FOR ILLINI FANS
As we move into basketball season, we all have the Illini on our minds. The holidays are a great time to refresh the Orange & Blue wardrobe for the big Illini fans on your list. Check out the Illini Union Bookstore, the only book store on campus, for everything you need to blend in on campus. GameDay Spirit, with two locations, offers their official Illinois gear supporting every sport in addition to plenty of great gift items. Likewise, check out The Illini Shop both at Market Place Mall and on campus for a hoodie that’s sure to keep them warm this winter. Make your Illini fan jump for joy with tickets to a game of their favorite sport, or surprise them with a captured moment from a thrilling game with panoramic photos of the orange-clad State Farm Center from LaPayne Photography.
The options are endless for shopping in Champaign County! Unique gifts, local flavor, and experiential gifts galore are waiting. Ready, set, shop!