Get a jump start on your holiday shopping with these ideas for him and her

Christine Bryant Times Correspondent

It is always easier for some people to shop than for others.

However, when it comes to shopping for a gift for your mom, dad, significant other, or just a good friend, you may feel extra pressure to find something memorable.

Here are some ideas for the women in your lives:

Charcuterie boards continue to be all the rage in home entertainment. At This & That Gifts in Frankfort, owner Nancy Cartolano says she has several styles of boards ($25 and up,, from boards themed around Illinois and Chicago to boards shaped like animals or emblazoned with inspirational statements. .

“We have a wide variety of cheese and charcuterie boards that make great gifts,” he said.

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Gifters can accessorize these boards with an assortment of spreaders and tools ($5 and up), he said.

When entertaining friends, a bubble tea kit can offer guests this popular drink in less than 3 minutes. The Pearly Bubble Tea Kit ($68, comes with all the ingredients you need to make bubble tea, along with instructions, a cup of bubble tea, and a straw.

Online Shopping Ideas: The FEED Organizer Tote ($228, has 10 interior and exterior compartments, making it a perfect on-the-go accessory. Even better, the proceeds from any sale go towards feeding the hungry around the world. The purchase of an organizer bag helps provide 100 meals.

Even drinking a cup of coffee or tea can be glamorous with Alicia Boateng Designs tumblers. The Afro Glam Collection ($27 and up, includes homemade designs that are considered pieces of art. The company also supports women-owned businesses by purchasing supplies from them.

At An English Garden Flowers & Gifts in Mokena, one of the more unique gifts to indulge in is wood dough candles ($44, These high-end candles are made with soy wax and feature scents that mimic natural settings, from apple orchards to pine forests, says floral designer Elizabeth Bruinius.

“They smell amazing, even when they’re not on,” he said. “They are beautiful, especially the ones with pressed flowers because as they melt, the flowers float and create a warm atmosphere.”

At Alsip Home & Nursery in Frankfort and St. John, popular holiday options are Thymes candles, gift sets, soaps and lotions ($16 and up,

“The most popular scent for the holiday season is Frasier Fir,” said marketing assistant Aubrey Thornsbury. “Thymes is a cruelty-free brand that prides itself on its formula and ornate packaging, which is great for gifting.”

Affirmation candles ($22 to $33, stateof tap into a connection between scent and memory. Themes include “radiant,” “loved,” and “unafraid,” allowing you to show off what you admire most about your loved one.

Indulge in chocolate this holiday season with Funny Face Bakery’s Gooey S’mores Cookie ($6.50 to $36,, featuring a chewy center filled with graham crackers and topped with toasted marshmallows.

Sweet Soap Confections, a mother-daughter soap-making team, has created a soap that looks like petit fours, cupcakes, and slices of cake ($8 and up, These creations are not only functional like soap but also enhance your bathroom vanity space.

At Alsip Home & Nursery, Thornsbury says the Stonewall Kitchen offers jams, jellies, sauces, mixes and more ($5 to $20).

“Stonewall Kitchen is great for its unique and seasonal flavors,” he said.

Head over to Popus Gourmet Popcorn in Tinley Park for a variety of flavored popcorn.

“We have different themed jars, including Christmas jars that can be filled with any flavor you like,” said manager Barb Lyson.

The jars ($22 and up, come in four sizes, and shoppers have 37 flavors to choose from.

“They can choose one flavor or choose up to three flavors,” Lyson saddens. “We come out with new flavors as fast as we can.”

At Gost Coffee Roasters in New Lenox, manager Daniel Bednarz says the store-roasted sampler coffee packs ($6 and up, are a great way to sample local flavor.

Rare coffees like Jamaica Blue Mountain ($40 and up) and accessories including grinders ($170) and brewers ($349) say happy holidays to coffee lovers, he said.

Wildgrain ($89 per box, is a frozen box membership for sourdough breads, fresh pastas and artisan cakes. All products bake in 25 minutes and are made with clean, easy-to-understand ingredients.

The CHARD Heavy-Duty Electric Grinder ($195, is another option for foodies who love to create their own burgers, sausages, and sausages. The 500-watt motor allows you to quickly grind or stuff meat, making it a great kitchen staple.

Based on Chicago’s North Side, Big League Pins manufactures enamel pins that capture the spirit of friendship, fandom, and fashion. Among categories including pop culture, Chicago-themed, and foodies, Big League Pins also sells a variety of festive enamel pins ($6 and up, A special advent calendar ($120) includes 24 days of holiday pins.

Try a HomeHaps Custom Watercolor Canvas Portrait ($76 and up, painted by artists using your favorite photos. The company’s artists bring it to life in a celebration of watercolor.

For the man who has everything, here are some amazing ideas.

If your man likes to camp or spend the night in the great outdoors, the Fire Pit Bowl ($229, offers the perfect place to gather without going far. Portable and powered by propane, this vessel burns clean and smokeless while giving off just the right heat.

Another option for outdoor lovers is the Huntsman Swiss Army Knife ($50, This multi-tool pocket knife includes scissors and a wood saw, allowing you to cut through just about anything out of the ordinary.

Socks are a popular holiday staple for dads, but this year Hurdle Socks ($18, can take dressing to the next level. The Hurdle Socks are designed with patented MicroGravity Matrix embedded between the fibers, providing added cushioning and support. This breathable sock also boasts double the protection against blistering.

Rotate Watches ($195 and up, lets you build your own watch, creating a collectible for your wardrobe. These exclusive kits include parts, tools, and a guide to building a fully mechanical watch.

At This & That Gifts in Frankfort, Cartolano says she has a wide variety of gifts in the men’s corner of the store. Among them are General’s hot sauces in jars shaped like grenades ($12,, BBQ sauces ($14), grill gloves ($17) and aprons ($26).

Pick up a koozie ($5 to $9, with your favorite sports team’s logo at Alsip Home & Nursery in Frankfort and St. John to keep a drink cold while you cook on the grill, said marketing assistant Aubrey Thornsbury. Or make your loved one’s grill cover stand out ($45 to $112) with sports-themed options.

“Plus, we carry year-round grilling supplies,” he said.

Pair these treats with Bear Mountain Wood Pellets ($18 and up, Added to the grill, the wood pellets create additional flavors and aromas like Bourbon BBQ, Hickory, and Apple.

Pair with a Meatcrafters Collection ($31 and up per bundle, for the entertainer in your home. This collection includes a selection of salamis, cold meats and cured meats made for charcuterie lovers, as well as other options such as steaks, pork and veal.

For the beer or liquor connoisseur

What says the holidays more than an advent calendar? At Crafted 1979 in Mokena, gift givers can pair an advent calendar with a loved one’s favorite beverage, says owner Denver Worker.

Three advent calendars are offered: one featuring 24 Crafted 1979 curated beers from local breweries ($95,; one with 24 Seltzer, Mead and Ciders ($90); and one with 12 days of bourbon ($85).

“We have a variety of local breweries that you can mix and match with whatever we have,” Worker said.

Personalized gifts are a great way to show you care, and when it comes to finding the right accessory for your guy’s favorite beer or liquor, Groovy Guy Gifts has several options. An engraved decanter set ($60, comes with a pair of personalized whiskey glasses, while a personalized cigar set ($60) is perfect for the cigar aficionado on the go. This gift set comes with a cigar travel case, a lighter, and a cigar cutter.

Whether your guy is into Marvel, DC Comics, anime, space, games, or maps, Displates ($44, offer a great option for customizing a man cave space. These metal mounted signs come in a variety of sizes, finishes and frames and can be arranged as a collection under the same genre or individually.

Made from recycled beer bottles, Torched candles ($17 and up) come in scents including Blood Orange IPA, Blackforest Lager, and Vanilla Porter. These unique candles are available at This & That Gifts in Frankfort.

Head to Alsip Home & Nursery on Frankfort and St. John for a selection of Duke Cannon Soap ($9 to $30) in manly scents like campfire and fresh-cut pine.

Sweet Home Indiana also has a special twist on soap: beer soap ($7.50). Made from beer, this bathroom staple includes scents like Hoppy IPA and Honey Pilsner.

CircuitMess STEM Kits ($120 and up, are a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Designed for hobbyists or those who enjoy tech-themed builds, these kits are sure to bring back childhood memories with an 8-bit game system, walkie-talkie, and more.

For sports enthusiasts

Season tickets and ticket packages are sold throughout the year for the Joliet Slammers, along with various pieces of merchandise in the team store. Novelty items include a 2022 logo baseball ($10, and a ceramic beer mug ($25), while you can pick up a Joliet Slammers jersey ($27) or jersey ($82). for a stadium look.

Players can now play new releases, including NBA 2K23 and PGA Tour 2K23 ($60, Digital downloads are available, making it easy for you to get your share of the gift. Or head over to GameStop and other stores for physical copies.

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