As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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TODAY

Saturday, July 20

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GB Gift Guide: Designer Stuff

The Chicago Design Museum in Block 37 is hosting a Holiday Yard Sale tonight from 4 to 7pm. Shop for design-y gifts from local designers and companies like Cards Against Humanity, You Are Beautiful, Perfectly Acceptable Press and more. Free; RSVP on Facebook if you like.

GB Gift Guide: Keep Someone Warm

This morning on WGCI,Chance the Rapper announced the Warmest Winter Initiative, a fundraising drive to buy 1,000 Empowerment Plan winter coats for Chicago homeless. [via]

GB Gift Guide: Witness Cute

Jay Ryan just released a set of Mad Max: Fury Road-themed posters depicting warriors from the tribes of pizza, coffee and donuts, available as a set or individually.

GB Gift Guide: For Artsy Bulls Fans

Just Visiting's Picasso Bulls t-shirt is fantastic. [via]

GB Gift Guide: City Ink

Architect Joseph Fisher sketches line drawings of places throughout the city, from the harbors to the Hancock's antennas.

GB Gift Guide: Best Fans Ever

The Heckler has ugly Christmas sweaters (OK, sweatshirts) for your favorite fan of the Bears, Blackhawks, Cubs and Bears. (Sorry, Sox and Bulls fans.)

GB Gift Guide: CBGB B-Sides

For the punk rocker on your list, consider Ork Records: New York, New York, a catalogue reissue of the seminal New York punk label by Numero Group. The Guardian just gave it a great write-up.

GB Gift Guide: Chicago History in Photos

Photos from the 1933 Century of Progress exposition tell the story of the events and people dramatized in Chicago's last world's fair. In this 144-page book, photos from the Tribune archives track all aspects of the fair from technology through entertainment.

GB Gift Guide: Stick a Pin on It

The Found has a wide variety of pop culture pins and greeting cards in its Etsy shop, but I'm most partial to this one.

GB Gift Guide: First Rule of Pint Club? There is a Pint Club

Give the gift of Jeni's Ice Cream through their Pint Club membership; your lucky loved one(s) will get three pints of ice cream four times a year.

Bacon for Me, Bacon for You

Tickets for next year's Baconfest (Apr. 30th and May 1st at UIC Forum) go on sale today at noon. Give someone the gift of pork. UPDATE: Early bird tickets are already sold out. Regular VIP tickets will become available soon.

GB Gift Guide: Ice, Hold the Cold Steel

For the die-hard Blackhawks fan in your family: a bit of (melted) home ice from the Hawk's championship game last year go on sale Dec. 11 at the Michigan Avenue team store and other locations across the region.

GB Gift Guide: Expensive Socks

If you're the type who might buy $55 luxury socks for a man on your list, Nick'Socks might be just what you're looking for.

GB Gift Guide: Dinner Discounts

À La Card Chicago is one of my perennial favorite gifts for foodies -- 52 cards, each worth $10 off at some of the city's hottest restaurants.

GB Gift Guide: Airfield Notes

Field Notes just released a flight log version for drone and model plane pilots, designed in collaboration with Adam Savage of "Mythbusters" and Tested.com. Buy it online today, or stop by their open house later this week.

GB Gift Guide: Next at Next

Tickets for the Alps, which is the first Next menu of 2016, go on sale next Wednesday at 10am (past customers get a two-day head start); if that's not your bag, later menus will pay homage to South America and The French Laundry.

GB Gift Guide: &

Behold the Clampersand, a word mashup made real by Lunchbreath and Batavia Foundry. Perfect for the handy design nut on your list.

GB Gift Guide: Unique CTA Maps

British map designer Maxwell Roberts created a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired El map, as well as one with the train lines as circles and rays, both available as posters. [via]

GB Gift Guide: the Etsy Option

There are tons of Chicago-themed items on Etsy, made from local crafters. And the Etsy Local map shows events and shops where you can buy Etsy vendors' stuff in person.

GB Gift Guide: Body Jewelry

Anatomical Element makes anatomically correct jewelry that goes way beyond hearts. Lungs, ear bones, intestines and even the pancreas become beautiful pendants.

GB Gift Guide: Catch the Worm

RiotFest 2016 early bird tickets go on sale Tuesday at 11am on TicketFly. The festival will be Sept. 16-18 in Douglas Park.

GB Gift Guide: Treat Yourself

Blue Sky Bakery, which supports job training for at-risk youth, is selling nice little sets of gift boxes full of their (very good) treats, along with coffee, candles and Rare Bird Preserves.

GB Gift Guide: Very Cheesy

Pastoral offers a bunch of different gift packages, including "Best of the Midwest" and "Sweet Home Chicago."

GB Gift Guide: Obscure Record of the Month Club

Numero Group's Project 12 is an audiophile's dream gift: a dozen limited edition vinyl LPs, organized under three themes and released throughout the year, available for $100 per theme or $250 for the year. [via]

GB Gift Guide: A Glass of Chicago

Incorporate your love of beverages and local geography through these etched glass mugs, carafes, tumblers and wine glasses (and more!) from Uncommon Green.

GB Gift Guide: Urban Vinyl

Among Rotofugi's collection of collectible toys are Cubs-themed Munnys and a billboard for your shelf.

GB Gift Guide: Neighborhood Posters

Joe Mills is working his way through the city, making silkscreened posters of neighborhoods, from Edgewater to Hyde Park & Kenwood.

GB Gift Guide: Coloring Books

Local illustrator Peter Deligdisch created Color Me Crazy, a highly detailed adult coloring book sure to keep you occupied for awhile.

GB Gift Guide: Music to Drink To

Bloodshot Records turns 21 in December, and they're celebrating with a six-pack of 7-inch singles featuring drinking songs by the label's bands. Pre-order here.

GB Gift Guide: You Are Beautiful

What better way to tell someone you love them than with a You Are Beautiful sign, shirt or other item? And artist Matthew Hoffman has many other designs and phrases if you're looking for other words.

GB Gift Guide: Moribund Bears Ornament

For the Bears fan who isn't too picky about the current roster, Hallmark has a Jared Allen ornament for your tree.

GB Gift Guide: Louis CK Tickets

The comedian just announced shows at the Chicago Theater on Jan. 5th and 6th. They go on sale at 2pm today. You're welcome.

GB Gift Guide: Shop Local

If you're still looking for just the right gift and you want it to be locally made, it's not too late. Visit shops like Neighborly, Wolfbait & B-Girls, Trillium, Local Goods, Squasht, Orange Beautiful, Hardscrabble Gifts, Inkling or one of the many members of Local First Chicago.

GB Gift Guide: Wear the Metro

Love hearing shows at the Metro? Grab some posters, tees, or even a tote to proclaim your love or commemorate a favorite show from the last year. The store is open for browsing in-person or online, all at reasonable prices.

GB Gift Guide: Give Dough

Tickets go on sale at noon today for DonutFest, at which a dozen of the city's finest donut places will submit their best cruller, long john or ring to compete for the title of "Best Donut in Chicago." But really, they're all winners. Event is Jan. 25th at Chop Shop; cost is $30.

Gift Guide: Fun with Accents

The new locally developed game Utter Nonsense takes the Apples to Apples template in a different direction: players say raunchy or weird phrases in a funny accent to please the judge.

GB Gift Guide: Last Minute Shoppers

Need something one-of-a-kind and locally made for Christmas? Get it Saturday at one of two (or both!) local craft shows going on (that won't have lines waiting to get inside). Check out The Hideout for their annual Last Chance Holiday Sale or The Empty Bottle for their Last Dash Xmas Bash. Bonus: both venues have full bars, so you can sip while you shop!

GB Gift Guide: Creepy Cute

If you need something special for someone with a sick sense of humor, Grody Moments, Precious Moments-style figurines given a gory makeover, might do the trick.

GB Gift Guide: Eat Out

À La Card Chicago is perfect for folks on your holiday shopping list who love to eat. It's a deck of 52 $10 gift certificates to local independent restaurants all over the city -- all for just $30.

GB Gift Guide: Indie Coffee Passport

This $25 card gets you a free drink at over 20 of the city's independent coffee shops (among them The Wormhole, Atomix, and Ugly Mug) over the next six months.

GB Gift Guide: The Gift of Good Hearing

WHAT? WHAT? Before you blow out your ears at another show, get yourself some protection! Local purveyors of ear health, Etymotic have a range of earplugs that do a great job of filtering out the harsh and letting in the music. Take it from me, they work! For around $10, your future self will thank you for not needing a hearing aide in your 30s. You can pick them up online from the source, or from the Metro, Lincoln Hall, or Schubas.

GB Gift Guide: A Degree in Beer

Give the beer-lover in your life the gift of knowledge through the Dusek's Beer Education Series ($75), a six week-long learning series of tastings and discussions starting next month.

GB Gift Guide: Two Clubs for the Price of One

That music lover on your list can be picky. Why not get them access to two great local venues, for the price of one? Lincoln Hall and Schubas offer great gift cards that you can use for tickets, merch or even food at either locations' restaurants. Just get a card, slap a bow on it, and BOOM: you got yourself a date night for 2015. (And for the traditionalist, there are also tote bags, posters, and other cool stuff, available for shipping or local pickup.)

GB Gift Guide: Get Bloodshot

Celebrate Bloodshot Records' 20th Anniversary with some commemorative swag, a record, or CD and get a bonus of free stuff when you spend $20. Check out their special holiday sale for discounts on albums and CDs, their online store for coozies and tees, and their gift idea guide for even the trickiest name on your shopping list, from kiddos to gramps.

GB Gift Guide: Chicago-Made Bats

Maybe all these new Cubs and White Sox players would like a new baseball bat made in a backyard shed in Jefferson Park.

GB Gift Guide: Keep Your Head Warm

Fourth is King has a cool Sweet Home Chicago knit cap and one from You Are Beautiful, while New Era has one with the familiar four stars. (They also have this pretty neat ball cap.)

GB Gift Guide: The Sportsman's Club Bar Kit

Bring the Sportsman's Club -- the cozy neighborhood tavern in Humboldt Park known for their craft cocktails and Amaro program -- to your friends with the Sportsman's Club holiday booze kit. Two sets include everything you need to make their signature house cocktail, the Sportsman Cocktail, or a killer Old Fashioned. Both kits include a Japanese jigger, a Yarai mixing glass, a weighted julep strainer, a teardrop barspoon and accompanying spirits. Contact Sportsman's Club for more info and ordering details.

GB Gift Guide: Whiskey Taster

Koval Distillery has the perfect gift for whiskey lovers: a gift pack of small bottles of their bourbon, rye and four grain whiskey. It's available at Binny's and plenty of other local liquor stores.

GB Gift Guide: Aw, Cute Puppy!

Perpetually Yours Pets makes pillows, prints and accessories featuring fun portraits of popular dog breeds. Owner Rachael Ingram does custom pillows, too.

GB Gift Guide: Numero Group Treasures

This local record label has it all: compilations of Prince-era Minneapolis funk groups, obscure Americana hard rock (and the accompanying board game), and a bevy of other titles. Currently, you can get $150 worth of selected titles for $100.

GB Gift Guide: RIP Hot Doug's

We miss Hot Doug's as much as you do. Thankfully, you can still pick up a t-shirt -- and there's free shipping until Dec. 7.

GB Gift Guide: Losing Ugly

These Bears ugly sweaters are for die-hard fans only -- and considering how bad the team is this year, that's probably all that's left willing to wear them.

GB Gift Guide: Techno-Gramophones

Perhaps you've always coveted Andrew Bird's awesome gramophone-style horn speakers from Specimen but couldn't afford the $2,400-and-up price tag. Well, Gramovox Bluetooth speakers, originally launched via Kickstarter, are just $399.

GB Gift Guide: Dibs

Replica Chicago has plenty of great Chicago-themed gifts, but I like their Dibs ornament the best.

GB Gift Guide: A Stash of 'Staches

Local toysmith Shawnimals has created Moustachio, a plush, handmade mustache (with a mustache, no less!) for the kid on your gift list.

GB Gift Guide: Chicago's White Socks

Local company Sock Union has some great Chicago flag athletic socks, and Skyline Socks sells pairs with the city's skyline in several colorways that might remind you of a certain team.

GB Gift Guide: Chicago Supporter

This Chicago flag soccer scarf will be great in the winter as well as at Fire and Red Stars games.

GB Gift Guide: For the Hot Dog Lover in Your Life

You can still buy shirts and whatnot from the now-shuttered Hot Doug's, while enjoying Lake Effect's Super Bier Kolsch collaboration with the epic Superdawg (who also sells fun gear).

GB Gift Guide: Recycled Sketchbooks

Resketch, Shawn "Shawnimals Smith's recycled paper sketchbooks, are now available for purchase outside the original Kickstarter (previously).

GB Gift Guide: Samantha Irby

Chicago author/blogger/funny lady Samantha Irby is known for her hilarious blog Bitches Gotta Eat. Meaty, her collection of essays will have you laughing through tears. You can find it on Amazon or any local book shop...and you should.

GB Gift Guide: Hot Dogs

You've got just a little time left to send Vienna Beef hot dogs to friends across the country. Maybe this commercial will convince you. [via]

Gift Guide: Meat, Beer and Rock N' Roll

If there's someone on your Christmas list that loves everything meat, beer and rock and roll, the first-ever cookbook coming this spring from Chicago's own ManBQue, the local grilling club that is to meat, beer and brotherhood what the Red Hat Society is to red hats and middle aged women, might be right up their alley. Filled with 120 recipes from fresh-ground burgers to pickled pig tongue, the book, now available for preorder, also includes beer pairings, a music list and the obligatory food porn.

GB Gift Guide: Skyline on Your Head

Leaders 1354 has a cool knit hat featuring a familiar skyline.

GB Gift Guide: A Flagon of Mead

Well, not a flagon per se, but Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery makes some delicious honey-based brews. You can purchase them online via Bev-Art.com.

GB Gift Guide: Handmade Soaps

Local soap-making company Big City Suds uses natural oils, butters, clay, and botanicals to craft their Chicago-inspired soaps (Chicago Frostbite Bar and Chicago Sleet and Snow Bar). They also make felted soaps, lotion bars, and lip balm. Order online or visit a local shop.

GB Gift Guide: 2014 Live Lit Calendar

The live lit series That's All She Wrote has 2014 live lit calendars for sale featuring over 40 listings for Chicago live lit events each month, and post-it note portraits of everyone who read at TASW during its inaugural year. They also have note cards. Calendars are $12, sets of cards are $10, and can be shipped.

GB Gift Guide: Anything CTA

Get that public transportation lover practically anything from the CTA in its online auction [click "Chicago Transit Authority"]. The bizarre range of items includes train speedometers, fare counters, clocks, train driveshafts, a bus stop and even whole L cars.

GB Gift Guide: Terrariums

Ravenswood shop Alapash Home & Terrariums crafts vibrant little homes for air plants and cacti within small and large glass structures, making for gorgeous and low-maintenance gifts.

GB Gift Guide: Snarky Pendants, Prints & Whimsical Crochet

If going by the name of Madame Platypus isn't enough to get you intrigued, the pendants prints and all things platypus from this local crafter and musician (with copy that reads "Mommy drinks because you're bad" and "Bitches be craftin") should be enough to fill a stocking for that special someone who like things a little edgy. Catch her this Saturday at Empty Bottle's Handmade Market and Sunday at the Urban Folk Circuit for gifts for that person who just doesn't like lotion from Bath & Body Works. You can also find some of her work on her Etsy page.

GB Gift Guide: Local Delivery

Startup WeDeliver just launched a 12 Days of Christmas promotion: each day from Dec. 13 to the 24th, the service will deliver from a different local business for just $6.

GB Gift Guide: Fitness Boxing Classes

New Year's resolutions are right around the corner, which means putting up with listening to your friends ask themselves repeatedly which gym they should join. Give them the gift of punching power this holiday season with a membership at the Franklin Street Boxing Club. If anything, after six to eight weeks, they'll get your back in a barroom brawl.

GB Gift Guide: Rusty Books

Ted McClelland offers some Rust Belt book recommendations for the regional history buff on your holiday shopping list, including Rusted Dreams: Hard Times in a Steel Community and Blue Collar Community (Studies of Urban Society), both about Chicago's steelworks.

GB Gift Guide: Fashionable Charging Station

Everpurse charges your smartphone for you, and looks stylish doing it.

Gift Guide: Bicycle Tire Fire

A Malört water bottle for your bike; fill it with yellow Gatorade for the full effect.

GB Gift Guide: Wine of the Month Club

There are the standard wine-of-the-month clubs, and then there's the one offered by Fine Wine Brokers in Lincoln Square. Each bottle is carefully chosen for the utmost quality for your fancy, and hopefully sharing, friends.

GB Gift Guide: Kid Posters

New parents need cool stuff to put on their walls. The newly launched Pwints has great ones by local artists Jay Ryan, Delicious Design League and Anne Benjamin, among many others.

GB Gift Guide: GlossyGram

Captured the perfect baby pic on Instagram? Or the quintessential selfie? Make it permanent with GlossyGram, which moves your square photos into real life, mounted between plywood and clear resin for a permanent bit of ephemera.

GB Gift Guide: Chicago's Other Couponers

Offering gift cards to local, high-end stores like Sofia and Haberdash, Giftbar is described by some merchants as the anti-Groupon.

GB Gift Guide: The Local Options

Vintage suitcase boom boxes, cigar box guitars, and the Bake and Destroy vegan cookbook are just a few items on the Reader's all-local holiday gift guide- one of the first of many (including our own) such guides of the season.

GB Gift Guide: Roller Derby

The Windy City Rollers have a great last-minute gift for your derby fan, if you act fast: discounted single-match and season tickets.

GB Gift Guide: Gorillas by Mail

They may not arrive in time for Christmas, but Jay Ryan's postcard set of gorillas on a jungle gym is surely one of the best late presents you could send someone.

GB Gift Guide: Abominable Marshmallow

You can pick up this cute little guy starting right now at Rotofugi.

GB Gift Guide: Serving up the Flag

This Chicago flag cutting board would look great in the kitchen or as a serving platter.

GB Gift Guide: Co-op Sauce

Co-op Sauce has expanded its line to include more varieties of hot sauce, as well as barbecue sauce, salsa, pasta sauce and more.

GB Gift Guide: Gapers Block Stuff!

Just FYI, today's your last day to order GB's new "Don't Call it That" buttons -- or anything else from our store -- for delivery before Christmas.

GB Gift Guide: Playing Cards

A nice little stocking stuffer from Double Blind: Chicago playing cards, each with a different illustration. Also available in poster form.

GB Gift Guide: A Drive into the Gap

Kevin Guilfoile's short memoir A Drive into the Gap is perfect for baseball fans and fathers. Read an excerpt on ESPN.

GB Gift Guide: Lost Chicago(s)

Lovers of Chicago history and architecture would love David Garrard Lowe's classic book Lost Chicago -- and also John Paulett and Judy FloodstrandLost Chicago, which came out this fall.

GB Gift Guide: Perk Up Someone Else's PB&J

I have a pear tree growing in my back yard but it hasn't inspired me to make my own jam like local jam purveyor, Pear Tree. Inspired by the pear tree growing out of their backyard, Pear Tree makes fresh, locally produced jam such as spiced cranberry vanilla, blueberry honey and apply cranberry. The jam voted "Best Local Jam" by Newcity is available for purchase at Green Grocer, the Logan Square farmers market and on their website.

GB Gift Guide: iOS Accessories

More Real's Sharpie-topping pen-cap stylus and Lunatik's wide line of iOS products put a little Chicago-designed coolness in your favorite technophile's stocking.

GB Gift Guide: Cat Treats

Hey Pais comic creator Sara Bauer sells fun cat-related items on Etsy, including this "cat-charging station" sticker for your warm electronics.

GB Gift Guide: Dining & Drinking at a Discount

The 2013 À La Card Chicago and Drink Deck restaurant and bar discount packs are now available -- always a good stocking stuffer for foodies.

GB Gift Guide: Illinois Artisans

Today through Friday at the Thompson Center, the Illinois Artisans holds a holiday art spree. Stop by between 10am and 3:30pm each day to check out the art, watch demos and maybe pick up a gift.

GB Gift Guide: "Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!"

If someone on your gift list listens to WBEZ's news quiz "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!", consider buying them tickets to the live taping, where they can hear all of Carl Kassel's saucy quips that don't make it to broadcast. Thursdays at 7:30pm at the Chase Bank Auditorium, $24.75.

GB Gift Guide: Handmade Accessories

Miss Alison's got the coolest selection of handmade bags to stash your cash (and pencils and phone and toiletries).

GB Gift Guide: Postage Stamp Pendants

You know how currency from other countries always looks so much cooler? The same's true of their stamps -- and I Heart Gemma makes international postage stamp pendants for your favorite travel enthusiast.

GB Gift Guide: Purposeful Pampering

Bright Endeavors is a nonprofit that helps adolescent parents gain work experience and career help through making eco-friendly bath products and candles; from its North Lawndale-based apiary, beeline sells honey and honey-infused bath products that are created by a staff of formerly incarcerated workers who do everything from harvesting honey to delivering orders. If you're looking for eats, the staff at Sweet Miss Givings makes very tasty goods while providing job training for disabled people; Inspiration Kitchens, which provides job training to low-income/formerly homeless people, is now selling packaged sauces and jams (ooh, Vidalia Bacon Marmalade!) from their Garfield Park location (and their restaurants are delish -- get a gift certificate!).

GB Gift Guide: Tin Duck

North Center boutique Tin Duck features the creations of local artists and artisans -- a constantly rotating selection of handmade finery... jewelry, art, clothing, ceramics, bath and body products, stationary, accessories... you really never know what you'll find.

GB Gift Guide: Slightly Insulting Chicago Neighborhood Prints

No neighborhood is safe from these guys, but they wouldn't be funny if they weren't a little true. Plus they don't seem to leave anyone out.

GB Gift Guide: Rub BBQ Classes

Got an aspiring pit master on your list? Rub BBQ offers barbecue 101 cooking classes covering everything from picking the meat to smoking procedures to side preparation -- and attendees chow down at the end of class.

GB Gift Guide: Santa Sacks

Safari Cup, an independent African coffee roaster and cafe, offers "Santa Sacks" stuffed with coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate. Festive, fair trade and totally delicious.

GB Gift Guide: Chitown Clothing

In addition to their sports team shirts, Chitown Clothing pays tribute to some other cultural things that make Chicago great: Malort, the El, the skyline, and Home Alone.

GB Gift Guide: Pop Up Book Fair

Stop by the Chicago Writer's House Project's Pop Up Book Fair at The Empty Bottle on Sunday, Dec. 9 from 2pm to 7pm and get that bibliophile on your list some good reads from local publishers, like Switchback books, Other Voices and Curbside Splendor.

GB Gift Guide: Tyrannosaurus Rex

Sure, Heifer International's a great cause, but admit it: wouldn't you secretly rather give someone a dinosaur? Adopt a Tyrannosaurus Rex through the Field Museum -- your favorite dinosaur buff will get a stuffed T-Rex, complete with care instructions, a carrier crate and adoption certificate, as well as access to behind-the-scenes events at the museum.

GB Gift Guide: VIP Tickets for Baconfest

If you love someone who loves bacon, this is the ultimate holiday gift: VIP tickets to April 20th's Baconfest at the UIC Forum, which go on sale this Monday at 9am. Your $200 ticket gets you a special hour-long early admission to the event, which is the equivalent of being in an amusement park with no lines -- and lots of pork. (FYI, $100 regular admission tickets go on sale in February.)

Greeting Cards for a Good Cause

Logan Square's Church of the Advent is selling absolutely stunning Chicago-themed greeting cards (starting at $3/each) handmade by its congregation. They're also wrapping gifts for the next two Sundays (10am-2pm) in the lobby of the Logan Congress Theater. Proceeds from both benefit their work in the community, most notably weekly lunch and clothing donation programs for the homeless.

Gift Guide: How to Give the Gift of 2013's Best Dressed Guy

Trunk Club, the Chicago exclusive men's outfitters, is opening its doors at 325 W. Ohio from 6pm to 9pm tomorrow night and 10am to 3pm Saturday for its annual holiday shopping event. Browse their selection of clothing from higher-end men's casual wear, including Eton, J. Brand, Gant, D.S. Dundee, Oak Street Bootmakers and Jack Spade. Truck Club provides one-on-one consultation and delivers ready to wear outfits in your own trunk (hence the name). Food will be provided by 25 Degrees as well as access to a full bar. If there's a man in your life lacking in the clothing department or who would rather spend his days in a torn t-shirt and pleated pants than go shopping, this might be the best gift you can give.

GB Gift Guide: Chicago Detours

Chicago Detours, run by Amanda Scotese, is one of the best tour companies in town. Scotese offers tours to parts of Chicago you may never have seen -- even if you've lived here your whole life. Buy a gift card for your friends and family and see "Inside the Loop Interior Architectural Tour" or the "Good Times Historic Bar Tour."

GB Gift Guide: Pet Portraits

For a one-of-a-kind gift for a pet lover, visit Hills and Hollows on Etsy to special order one of Kristen Romaniszak's hand-painted pet portraits. A word to the wise: order soon if you want it by the holidays!

hillsandhollows.jpg

GB Gift Guide: Cards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity is an addictively fun game invented right here in Chicago -- and they've just released a 30-card holiday pack for which you can pay what you want.

GB Gift Guide: The U of C Book Sale

The U of C Press is holding its annual book sale. Titles are steeply reduced, so you can pick up brand new books like The Encyclopedia of Chicago and The Chicago River for more than 60% off. Check out the full guide for the sale prices (PDF).

GB Gift Guide: First Slice Meal Subscription

First Slice Pie Cafe, the brainchild of chef Mary Ellen Diaz, combines charitable giving with deliciousness. Sign up for a subscription for three meals a week, and you'll not only get mouthwatering, delicious meals that you don't have to shop for, cook, or clean up after, you'll also be helping to feed the same fantastic meals to people who would otherwise go hungry. An individual subscription costs $40.33 a week, and a family subscription goes for $78.36 per week. Purchase a subscription for a friend or for yourself! Your taste buds will be glad you did, and so will your conscience.

GB Gift Guide: Abe Froman, Sausage King of Chicago

Who doesn't want a t-shirt with a reference to Ferris Bueller? I still think Doug Sohn from Hot Doug's is the sausage king, but ThinkGeek doesn't have a t-shirt with his face on it... yet.

GB Gift Guide: More Chicago Photographs

Buildings, birds, bridges, fire escapes and graffiti art: Tim Jarosz's photography showcases the gritty and the sublime.

GB Gift Guide: Sears Tower Scratching Post

The perfect gift for the discerning Chicago cat, or for the Chicago cat owner who is fond of his furniture.

Gift Guide: Crave Chicago's 2012 Holiday Party

Crave Chicago helps brings local women entrepreneurs and their great ideas to you and for this holiday season they are bringing it all together this Saturday from 10am to 3pm at their Holiday CRAVE-ings shopping party at Belle Plaine Studio, 2014 W. Belle Plaine Ave. Browse jewelry, clothing, handbags, gourmet food and more from local artists and business owners. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. PS: The Chocolate Shop will be pouring free samples of their chocolate wine. Yes, chocolate wine, and it's delicious.

GB Gift Guide: Cooking Comic Prints

Comic book artist Sarah Becan -- who garnered national attention for her most recent graphic novel, Shuteye -- is offering some frame-worthy food-related prints from her webcomic Sauceome, including "How to Sear a Steak," "Sausages of the World" and (for the more adventurous eaters out there) "Pokemon Butcher Charts."

GB Gift Guide: Mapped Glasses

The Uncommon Green offers highball glasses etched with city maps, including Chicagoland. (There's a matching carafe, but you might want to wait till they correct "Evansboro" to Evanston before you buy it.)

GB Gift Guide: Scrappers Documentary Film

Scrappers, the Chicago-based documentary about scrap metal collectors, was released today for digital download via iTunes and Amazon. The film was one of Roger Ebert's top documentaries of 2010 and was co-directed by the folks behind our short film series, The Grid.

GB Gift Guide: Recycled Wool Felt Accessories

FeltWerker is the brainchild of Denise Handwerker, a crafty lady who repurposes old wool sweaters and offers a stunning array of colorful, cozy scarves, fingerless gloves that are perfect for keyboarding during the long winter months, and eye-catching pins and handbags. FeltWerker can be purchased on Etsy, at a number of upcoming craft fairs in and around Chicago, and on Facebook, so you can keep current on where to see these creations in real life.

GB Gift Guide: Chicago Photographs

Remind your favorite city-dweller exactly why they love this place. Photographer Will Byington's got some great pictures of Chicago that come unframed, framed, or wrapped on canvas.

GB Gift Guide: LEGO Bath Time

Berwyn Betty's Bath & Body Shop sells LEGO-inspired bath bombs and soaps.

GB Gift Guide: A Beer Basket

Half Acre has teamed up with other like-minded companies to create a holiday gift basket filled with beer, coffee, hot sauce and other stuff.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 32

You can think outside the box and outside the season with Weird Chicago's gift certificates for either its ghostly, or gangster tours.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 31

More a roundup of culinary options: here's The Local Beet's gift guide, some book suggestions from Grub Street, and Time Out's food and drink gift ideas.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 30

Give the gift of esoteric sports. Aloft Loft offers gift certificates for its trapeze classes, registration for Windy City Fencing's 2012 classes is now open, and the Chicago Swordplay Guild's next class session starts in mid-January.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 29

Johnny Sampson makes all sorts of interesting stuff, including rubber dog poop, sexy Skeletor prints and Svengoolie t-shirts.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 28

Robie House, in LEGO. (Or the Farnsworth House or Sears Tower, for that matter.)

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 27

KOKOROKOKO, a vintage shop at 1112 N. Ashland Ave., carries several Bulls, Bears, and Blackhawks sweatshirts and tees including this 1985 Bears Super Bowl XX Sweater for $32.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 25

Zerobird has a nice selection of Chicago-themed items, including pillows screen-printed with images of the L.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 24

In A/C we feature The Lost Panoramas, a new photography book chronicling the reversal of the Chicago River and its consequences. You can order a signed copy from the publisher for $35.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 23

For the dog lovers, Dolan Geiman has created silhouettes of several breeds out of reclaimed wood and other found materials.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 22

Maybe your loved one would like a CTA map t-shirt -- or perhaps just one of the Loop.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 21

Give the gift of live music this year (maybe even to yourself) with the first ever FOB (Friends of the Bottle) year-long passes to the Empty Bottle. For $150 you can get into most shows (any under $10) for all of 2012 with a FOB Pass. Upgrade to the FOB GOLD Pass for $500, and get into each and every show. Buyers also get special perks including no line waiting, a t-shirt, discounts on food and drink, and more.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 20

If you have a chunk of change to spend, on yourself, or someone on your "Nice" list, why not get them everything local label Numero Group has to offer. For a rare treat, Numero's entire catalog (on either vinyl or CD) can be yours if you have the shelf space, and the cabbage with just one click of the mouse. A sample of what you'll receive includes Light On the South Side, the Syl Johnson Complete Mythology, and The Boddie Recording Company box sets but it really doesn't stop there. [Also, watch the label's website (and Facebook) for more deals as Christmas approaches.]

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 19

Shameless plug: The Gapers Block shop has a number of very nice gifts for men and women. Particularly if they like t-shirts.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 18

Handmade porcelain jewelry by Chicago-based artist Sofia Masri.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 17

À la Card Chicago is 52 gifts in one -- each a $10 discount at a local restaurant.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 16

First Slice is a unique organization that combines charitable giving with a delicious way to save time on grocery shopping and cooking. For $33 a week for an individual, or $75 a week for a family, you can purchase three home-cooked meals. All you have to do is reheat and presto -- delicious, nutritious, locally sourced dinners for you and yours. That includes side dishes, entrees, and their legendary pie for dessert. Profits are used to serve the same amazing high-quality meals to the hungry, so you'll feel doubly good.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 15

The Area Code Project produces posters and "phone socks" for a variety of area codes, including 312, 773, 847 and 630.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 14

More gifts for the sports fan: Comisky and other bygone teams.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 13

The only time you'll get something with "Hot Doug's" on it, without waiting in the occasionally epic line outside the encased meats emporium, is when you buy one of these cute Hot Doug's shirts or hoodies online. There are no better words than "no line," my friend.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 12

Photographer Paul Octavious created a bookbow for Swiss Miss' new store. (You can also buy other prints from him directly.)

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 11

Gorgeous prints by local artist Tim Jarosz. [via]

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 10

Poster Plus carries a limited number of CTA 'L' Map shower curtains and other gifts for Chicago-centric decorators, and transit travelers, alike.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 9

For the serious LEGO fan, the Brick Brothers will make you a 15"x15" greyscale mosaic of your favorite photo.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 8

Show your neighborhood pride with a Chicago L-Shirt by Knoed Creative.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 7

Hello Chicago, a pocket guide to some of the city's delights, written by a Brit.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 6

Begun as a Kickstarter project, CityFabric creates lovely hand-screened prints, t-shirts and tote bags featuring maps of Chicago (and other cities, too).

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 5

Know someone tired of explaining the difference between Chicago and the suburbs to people? Des Moines-based Raygun has a shirt for that.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 4

Smithsonian Folkways Records has several albums of historic music recorded in Chicago, including Blues and Roots in the '30s, Dixieland in the '40s and several albums recorded by Studs Terkel.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 3

Already known for their salted bourbon caramels, bacon bourbon caramel corn, and stout marshmallows, Salted Caramel is adding hot cocoa mix (and a bevy of gift baskets) to its repertoire just in time for the holidays. For those on your list who are a bit salty as well as sweet.

Unique Holiday Gifts, Pt. 1

What do you get for the slightly odd friend who has everything? A chalkboard primate skull perhaps, in either human or gorilla. By iamhome.

 

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