We know many of you are aiming to "buy local" when possible this holiday season. Here are items that might fit the bill, assembled from Go West Young Mom advertisers and also some of our favorite shops in the western suburbs. (Click on many of the photos to see a larger image.) By purchasing one of these gifts, you are supporting either a local retailer, a local business or a home-based entrepreneur. Happy Shopping!
Eliza Jane in St. Charles offers its best-selling texting gloves. The gloves have a conductive fingertip that allows you to stay warm while using your smart phone. The gloves come in a rainbow of color options and three styles: Sock monkey, bling and smart screen. These are perfect for anyone who is an avid iPhone or Droid user. A wonderful gift for: Moms and daughters. Price: $22.95. Purchase at: Eliza Jane, located in downtown St. Charles at 322 W. Main Street. Phone: 630-457-1821.
Galena Garlic Company in Geneva is filled with dozens of products that would make unique, useable gifts this holiday season. Pictured here is a BBQ Bonanza Gift Set. Enjoy the flavors of great BBQ all year round on chicken, pork, beef and more. Each bundled basket contains a hand selected gift set of premium rubs for the master BBQ chef or novice cook. The store's BBQ Bonanza Rub Gift Set contains the favorite Coffee BBQ Rub, Smokehouse BBQ Rub, Buffalo Wing Rub and BBQUE Rub. Each contains all-natural ingredients and sea-salt to add distinct flavors. All you need is to sprinkle it on and cook in the oven, pan or on the grill. A wonderful gift for: Friends, teachers, hostesses, you! Price: $32 Purchase at: Galena Garlic Company's store at 318 W. State St. in downtown Geneva, its namesake store at 311 S. Main St. in Galena, or online at www.galenagarlic.com. Phone: 815-777-9625.
Galena Garlic Company also offers a Smokin' Sea Salts Gift Set, which is a collection of delectable smoked sea salts packaged in a pretty basket setting to add an extra special touch to your gift giving. This gift set contains Yakima Applewood Smoked Sea Salt, Fusion Roasted Garlic Sea Salt, Durango Hickory Smoked Sea Salt and Salish Smoked Sea Salt. Smoked sea salts are perfect for finishing dishes and providing a new depth of flavor. Sea salts are lower in sodium than table salt and also you can use less and still get the flavorful results you want. Impress friends by displaying salts on the holiday table and letting them add their own to your favorite dishes. A wonderful gift for: Siblings, teachers, anyone looking to sprinkle some spice in their life! Price: $32. Purchase at: Galena Garlic Company's store at 318 W. State St. in downtown Geneva, its namesake store at 311 S. Main St. in Galena, or online at www.galenagarlic.com. Phone: 815-777-9625.
Handcrafted With Love, based in Crystal Lake, offers unique yarn-wrapped wreaths for any occasion. Each wreath is one-of-a-kind and truly made with love! These wreaths are not just for front doors. They can be hung anywhere, including nurseries. Great gifts for: Holidays, house-warming parties, birthdays, or just because! Price: $20 for a 10-inch; $35 for a 14-inch and $45 for an 18-inch. For more info or to purchase: Contact Liz at email@example.com or call 815-529-8816. To see more photos: Check out Handcrafted With Love's Facebook page.
Elizabeth Victoria Fine Stationery, based in the northwest suburbs, offers a personalized stationery line. Pictured here is a notepad with a modern green and blue color scheme. The word "Hello" is filled with a plaid while you personalize it with a name or personal message just to the right. The notepad includes 53 single-sided pages and is printed professionally on 70lb. white opaque text stock. Finished size is 5.5 by 8.5 inches. A wonderful gift for: Teachers, friends, family members, that hard-to-buy-for someone! Price: $20. Purchase at: www.elizabethvictoria.com. (Like Elizabeth Victoria on Facebook for coupons!)
Elizabeth Victoria Fine Stationery is offering personalized, unique holiday cards for the season. Pictured here is a modern and ornate, die-cut holiday card that you can personalize with your favorite photo. The word "MERRY" is printed on the front, with your personal message to the left. The design wraps around the back for an extra special touch. These cards are printed professionally on high-quality 110lb. cardstock with a matte or pearl finish. Envelopes included. Price: As little as $1.95 each for an order of 125. Purchase at: www.elizabethvictoria.com. (Like Elizabeth Victoria on Facebook for coupons!)
Naturally Boutique, based in the western suburbs, sells Vermont Soap Organics' Foaming Hand Soap. Owner Tonya Harris says it's one of her top sellers "because once you use this soap, you will be hooked!" Vermont Soap Organics takes organic castile liquid soap and makes it come out as a light foam, like shaving cream. No propellants or chemicals are used in the process, which forces the soap through a series of fine screens and mixes it with air. The soap has a wonderful feel and a smooth luxurious lather, with a light scent. A wonderful gift for: That hard-to-buy hostess gift or a teacher gift. Would also be great paired with the store's organic hand and body lotion. Price: $6.99. Buy at: Online at Naturally Boutique. Click here to be taken straight to the soap.
Naturally Boutique also sells a "Clear My Head" Inhalation Jar that offers natural relief from a head cold, sinus infection or allergies. The jar is a custom blend of seven pure essential oils and herbs. It's also a great "mental wake-up call" with its fresh, invigorating scent. A wonderful gift for: A hostess or teacher. Price: $18. Buy at: Online at Naturally Boutique. Click here to be taken straight to the jar.
Cradles & All in Geneva sells this durable metal shopping cart that looks just like those in real stores! Sturdy metal construction including pivoting front wheels and a folding seat so your child and her favorite companion can navigate the aisles in style! A wonderful gift for: The favorite child in your life. Purchase at: Cradles & All in downtown Geneva at 205 W. State St. Phone: 630-232-9780.
Cradles & All in Geneva also offers this old-fashioned toy. Your child will always have fun with a classic bear friend! The colorful tin is covered in teddy bear scenes, offering lots of visual stimulation. But when they crank the handle and listen to "Pop Goes the Weasel," they'll meet the star of the show: a friendly teddy bear! This box is also available in six other styles and makes a warm and fuzzy addition to playtime! A wonderful gift for: The favorite child in your life. Purchase at: Cradles & All in downtown Geneva at 205 W. State St. Phone: 630-232-9780.
Peaceful Parlour in Geneva sells bath salts and dead sea mud, easy ways to detoxify the body and infuse the skin with healthy minerals. The result is healthy, smoothy and soft skin! Add a few bamboo pebbles and tea lights for a home spa ambiance, the perfect way to relieve stress, relax and rejuvenate during the busy holiday season. A wonderful gift for: YOU! But also girlfriends, teachers, sisters. Price: The dead sea salts are $11 for an 8.5 ounce jar, $16 for 16 ounce jar. The Himalayan salts are $12 for 10 ounces and $18 for 19 ounces. (All are packaged in reusable Italian glass containers.) The bamboo pebbles and tea light holders can be added to make a special home spa gift set. Buy at: Peaceful Parlour, located in downtown Geneva, at 212 S. Third Street. Phone: 630-232-6300. The shop now has an online store, too.
Jennifer Mareska, the Batavia-based independent consultant for Rodan + Fields Dermatologists, is offering a "Love Your Lips Collection." Get the perfect pucker this holiday season with everything you need for smooth, full, mistletoe-ready lips. The collection includes 60 capsules of an anti-age lip renewing serum, Enhancements lip microdermabrasion, and two containers of Essentials lip shield, all in a chic Rodan + Fields cosmetic bag. Available through Dec. 31, 2011, or while supplies last. Perfect gift for: Your girlfriend, wife, sister, or anyone that you think would love to pamper her lips this winter. Price: $85 or $76.40 for preferred customers. Purchase info: Click here.
Jennifer Mareska is also offering a "Get Your Glow On Holiday Collection" with products from Rodan + Fields Dermatologists. You'll make a glowing impression as you work this year's party circuit with everything you need for smooth, sun-kissed skin. Collection includes a 4.2 oz. bottle of Essentials Foaming Sunless Tan, a 1.9 oz. bottle of Enhancements Body Microdermabrasion, with a complimentary 6.8 oz. of Essentials Daily Body Moisturizer to help the glow last longer! Available through Dec. 31, 2011, or while supplies last. Perfect gift for: Anyone who would love glowing sun-kissed skin this winter, whether for holiday parties or a warm weather vacation. Price: $54 or $48 for preferred customers. Purchase info: Click here.
Sincerely , Sweet Lime, which offers unique, fun stationery and personalized gifts, is based in the western suburbs. It is selling personalized kids plates. Make meal time fun with cute personalized plates! These 10-inch plates are unique, one-of-a-kind items that can be personalized with any child's name. There are lots of fun designs. Great gift for: A special child in your life. Price $22. Purchase info: Visit http://www.sincerelysweetlime.com/.
Sincerely, Sweet Lime also offers truly unique holiday cards. The one-of-a-kind cards surely will make an impression on all your friends and family. Printed on heavy card stock, the cards are 5x7 inches. Price: $1.75 each. Purchase info: Visit http://www.sincerelysweetlime.com/.
This gift falls under the category of "experiences." Batavia-based Nourish specializes in technique-based cooking instruction, focused on seasonal and local products. Treat yourself to a visit to the Nourish kitchen and enjoy classes focused on updated family meals, special event dishes, or join the DIY craze and learn the art of food preservation, bread bakng or homemade cheese-making. A great gift for: Anyone. Nourish can teach anyone you love, adults and children alike, to cook! Price: Ranges from $40 for a basic class to $60 for three-hour-long workshops. To purchase: Beautifully presented and customized gift certificates can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for the perfect gift for eco-minded diners? Our Children Our Earth: Toys, Silks & Eco-Goods in Batavia sells this insulated three-piece stainless tiffin. Comes apart into three elegant dishes and holds enough to feed four. Add wine to the detachable wine sack and Rainia -- here we come! Also great to bring along on your next restuarant outing -- no more wasteful syrofoam containers or plastic bags needed for leftovers. This set is made locally, right here in the Fox Valley. Price: $64.95 includes the tiffin set, fabric carrier holder, placemat, napkns and detachable wine/water bottle. Items also available separately. Purchase info: Write email@example.com or call 630-406-8267. Our Children Our Earth is located at 707 Morton St. in Batavia and will be holding open houses on Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 11, Dec. 15, Dec. 21 and Dec. 23. Call or write for exact hours; Additional hours are available by appointment, all year round.
Any knights in your home? Our Children Our Earth: Toys, Silks and Eco Goods in Batavia is the perfect place to update all their finery! A sturdy cardboard helmet (with moveable visor) sells for $14.95. There is a large selection of wooden shields (price varies, the ones pictured here are $15.95 ) and swords (ranging from $6 to $14.95.) You won't find these anywhere else locally because they were personally hand-carried back from Germany! Purchase info: Write firstname.lastname@example.org or call 630-406-8267. Our Children Our Earth is located at 707 Morton St. in Batavia and will be holding open houses on Dec. 3, Dec. 4, Dec. 11, Dec. 15, Dec. 21 and Dec. 23. Call or write for exact hours; Additional hours are available by appointment, all year round.
This one also involves giving the gift of experience, the Paramount Theatre in Aurora offers gift certificates in any denomination at the box office or online. The Paramount has an amazing season of shows on the calendar, including "A Chorus Line" and "Hair" -- both part of its Broadway series -- and also productions by Celtic Fire, the Peking Acrobats, Los Lobos, Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoat and much more. A great gift for: Arts lovers, theater loves, anyone hard to buy for. To purchase: Visit the box office at 23 E. Galena Blvd. in downtown Aurora or call 630-896-6666.
Geneva-based 3R Cards produces "Hands Around the House," a family chore system designed to assist busy families in organizing, assigning and completing daily household chores. You don't live alone do you? So why should you be the only one picking up after the kids (and the husband!) Teach your family the values behind being Respectful & Responsible of not only their personal items, but of the home and community in which they live. The reward will be a clean home and you may even have time to do some of the things you like to do! Now, wouldn't that be nice? The perfect gift for: The special woman in your life -- You! (Sure it's not diamonds or pearls, but a tidy house will help you smile throughout the New Year.) It's also a wonderful gift for any woman who wears too many hats and could use some assistance from the family she loves and supports. Price: Retails for $24.95, but GWYM readers receive 15 percent off and fee shipping. To buy: Visit www.3rcards.com and make sure to use coupon code GWYM at checkout for the discount.
Geneva Family Dental has two gifts that are good for any teen or adult. The Invisalign Invisible Braces are clear braces that correct your bite and teeth. They are clear retainers that you can easily take in and out to straigthen your teeth. Price: $3,400 to $5,400, with a $500 off coupon. Also, the dentist's office offers Take-Home Whitening Trays, which are trays that are made to fit your teeth exactly. You wear the trays every night in the comfort of your own home. They get your teeth about six to eight shades whiter in about two weeks. Price: $225. Purchase info: Call Geneva Family Dental at 630-262-1055 to schedule your appointment.
Lisa Manning of Nido Art Studio in Aurora can customize, cozy, felt barrettes for the little girls on your shopping list. These wool-felt barrettes make great gift toppers and stocking stuffers. Price: $5 each. Purchase info: Email your order to Lisa at email@example.com and your barrettes will be ready for pick-up at Nido's Holiday Market. Or for $1, Lisa will mail the barrettes to you. Note: Nido Art Studio is hosting a Holiday Market on Dec. 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Stop by the studio at 514 Terry Ave. in Aurora and you're sure to find unique gifts made by local artists and crafters.
Ceramic mushrooms, gnomes, owls, birds and more for your potted plants, terrariums or fairy gardens are available for purchase at Nido Art Studio in Aurora. These miniature pieces are each made and painted by hand. Perfect gift for: Plant a little gnome in a pointsettia for a surprise with your hostees gift. Liven up your own holiday centerpiece, or let your kids create an indoor fairy garden this winter with a container and moss. Terrariums can bring some of the green outdoors in the winter and make great gifts for children and adults. Price: $4 a piece. Purchase info: Contact Nido owner Lisa Manning at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by Nido's Holiday Market at 514 Terry Ave. on Sunday, Dec. 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Amanda Abel, an independent consultant with Thirty-One Gifts, offers a wide selection of holiday gift ideas, all under $50. Items include an all-in-one organizer; cinch sack, an "essentials case" for men; fun, flirty eyeglass cases; pencil pouches; mirror compacts; thermal totes and more. All items can be personalized with monograms or special messages, and a wide variety of colors and patterns are available. Great gifts for: Babysitters, hair stylists, girlfriends, teachers, bosses and more. For more info:http://www.mythirtyone.com/amandaabel. To purchase or with questions: Call Amanda at 630-788-8096 or email her at email@example.com.
If you want to capture the memories of the season, K Lynne Photography is hosting special "Holiday Minis" -- miniature photography sessions -- on Nov. 30 from 6 p.m to 7 p.m. and Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to noon. The cost is $75, and you will receive five digital images. To reserve your spot: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's Disclosure: To create this gift guide, I sent a note to GWYM advertisers, as well as a number of area retail stores and community contacts, asking for suggestions and photos of unique items I could feature.