Santa's Gift Bag 10

Winter is settling in and the holidays are nearing. Shopping malls can get mind-numbingly crowded, and the stress becomes overwhelming. This holiday consider shopping at local, small businesses. Not only are they more of an enjoyable experience, they also offer unique gifts that show how much you care. There are so many shops with a wide variety so you can find a gift for anyone, almost no matter what. Some specialty shops are out there too that can fulfill a specific need. With this win-win situation, you are able to support these local gems and find the perfect gifts.

There is always someone who is particularly difficult to find that special gift for. Whether it be a man with simple needs or someone who enjoys high-quality liquor, Copper Fiddle Distillery has you covered. Walking into the room, you are greeted with warm, low lights, and a beautiful copper bar. Class and attention to detail permeate the whole space. Jose Hernandez and Fred Robinson create high-quality spirits that are crafted in small batches. Great care goes into assuring they make the best possible experience when drinking their award-winning liquors. The distillery is on site, and they make sure each batch comes out right. On weekends, live music fills the back room, and the place becomes even more alive. Family owned businesses have a special touch that is hard to find elsewhere. Their passion and skills in making the best tasting spirits are truly an art form. Each bottle has a story and aims to give a truly unique experience. Copper Fiddle Fyren Gin is the newest example of their ingenuity. This gin is hot, they perfectly balanced the flavor of a Genever Dutch-style Gin to compliment the flavor of the Serrano Pepper found in every bottle. Slightly charred, roasted, and Gill cut, the Serrano Pepper brings the heat making for an incredible cocktail experience.

Any of their spirits would make for a thoughtful and enjoyable gift to the last drop. Featured is the Bourbon Whiskey. An incredibly smooth whiskey with undertones of caramel, dark chocolate, and vanilla that will ignite your palate, with hints of butterscotch and toasty oak to round out the flavor. A bottle costs $49.99.

Perhaps you do not know the preference of the person you are buying a gift for. A handsome, engraved leather flask for $29.95 is available. Then they can visit the distillery and pick what they want to fill their flask with themselves. There is also a sterling silver flask option for $24.95

Norton’s U.S.A. is a charming brick-and-mortar store in downtown Barrington. True to its name, everything in the store is made in the U.S.A. and there are a lot of handmade artisan items. This store has incredible variety from cast iron pans, up-cycled fashionable clothing, knick-knacks and children toys. That only scratches the surface too, this cozy store really covers all the bases. Deborah Leydig was inspired to open a true American General Store when she found out how many products were made offshore. Walking through her creation was a treat and felt so empowering to know everything I could buy would be supporting American Made products.

I was drawn to the colorful nook in the back where there was a whole room dedicated to children’s toys and accessories. Right away I spotted a dish set by a company called Spuds Inc. that was alluring. All the dishes, utensils, and the cups are made from reclaimed non-GMO potatoes instead of plastic. Yet, they look and feel exactly like plastic. Another bonus is all the pieces are non-toxic and bio-degradable. A set costs $33. Also featured is a 100% recycled plastic cement mixer made by Green Toys for $18.75.

Looking for great stocking stuffers? Norton’s has a candy section that looks like a real deal general store. Charming and very reasonably priced, the candy section has both individual candies and bags of treats. The single pieces range from five cents up to $2.75, and the bags range from $1.65 up to $4.65.

Last but not least, Norton’s has a wide variety of gorgeous handmade jewelry. One of the artisan pieces is the brass and sterling silver heart necklace which costs $59.95.

Main Street Outfitters in Wauconda came into being through a bicycling passion. It grew into a hub and refuel for many, but particularly for bikers. On their bicycle treks, they knew they could stop by for accessories, inner tubing, and other supplies they may need. There is live music and a full bar if that is desired as well. The bar is equipped with a wide variety of accessories that could make a good gift for an avid biker.

In the athletic wear section, there was a nice selection of styles, sizes, and designs. Featured is a women’s cycling jersey by Primal that costs $69.99

For a small gift or stocking stuffer, there are many options such as head and tail lights, inner tubes, flashers, gloves and basket covers. Pictured is the LED rechargeable safety light with a flexible body. This allows the light to be fastened to almost any size handlebar. They have 100 hours of flashing light and 50 of steady light per charge and costs $12.99

Staying hydrated while riding a bicycle is imperative. I was pleased to find that there was a Camel Bak water bag backpack. The backpacks come with a water pack, hose, and mouthpiece. Having that much water so easily accessible is a bonus with long rides. The Camel Bak costs $69.99.

If shopping for a lover of all things eclectic, Grassroots in downtown Barrington is the place to go. You can find art, vintage items, unique jewelry, crafted purses, and other unique items. I felt like I was entering a part gallery part antique shop when I walked in. You get to hunt through many enticing things as you look for a match for the person you are shopping for.

This canvas printed ‘Love’ sign is a simple but artistic option. It is a quirky and fun statement piece that is about one foot by two feet long. This piece costs $15 and hangs from a nice rustic twine string.

There are many special antique finds throughout the store. Amongst the record players, vintage glassware, and old school cash registers lay this incredible stained glass window. A versatile item, it could be used as a wall hanging or as an actual window piece. The window costs $145.

An especially eccentric find is this buffalo head mount. It looks authentic and is a novelty item that could fit in many settings, the buffalo head costs $795.

With so many great shops with such generous variety, holiday shopping can really be a treat. By getting your holiday gifts at local shops such as those featured, you will be able to find unique gifts for all kinds of interests. The perfect gifts are not out of reach.