Reader’s Gift Guide 2021


Here are some goodies, places to donate, and other ideas to consider this Chicago gifting season. And remember, you can always find items that support the Chicago Reader in our gift shop, store.chicagoreader.com.

Adam M. Rhodes, editor and co-host of Chicago Queer & Now

Jamie Ludwig, Deputy Editor-in-Chief

  • Art prints of local concert halls by Maura Walsh Chicago Small Music Scene Project ($ 30 each with selected sets of six selected prints for $ 120) blacknailstudiochicago.com/shop
Prints Tiny Chicago Music Scene Project by Maura Walsh

Karen Hawkins, co-editor and co-editor in chief

  • Dear by Kayla Ancrum. This modern Peter Pan tale set in Chicago was written for young adults, but it scared me – in a good way – as a grown woman. ($ 18.99 hardcover, $ 10.99 ebook)
    Indiebound.org
  • Lavender Chai House Body Oil by Léna Rose. Goodbye to the ashen skin of winter thanks to this silky and luxurious oil with seasonal scents from the sky. ($ 38)
    lenarosebeauty.com
  • Chicago Flag Necklace Stumble and savor. Pride of the hometown, but make it shiny. ($ 14)
    stumbleandrelish.com
  • “Bitch, please. I’m From Chicago Mug” by The silver room. Author Mikki Kendall showed it during his Reader appeared in a book club, and I haven’t been the same since. ($ 16)
    thesilverroom.com
  • I Woke Up Like Dis / Feminist T-shirt A long walk home. A cozy shirt, a feminist manifesto and an advantage for an incredible all-in-one combination. ($ 30)
    Alongwalkhome.org/shop

Leor Galil, musical writer

  • Energy Never Dies: Afro-optimism and Creativity in Chicago, through Ayana Contreras (University of Illinois Press). I knew I had to buy this Black Chicago cultural story the minute Music Director, DJ and Vocalo Historian Ayana Contreras announced it earlier this year; it’s coming December 14 ($ 19.95)
    indiebound.org
  • Jeff Parker, JP’s MySpace Beats double-LP (international anthem). The acclaimed jazz guitarist and member of Tortoise released this vinyl-only compilation of his rhythm scene productions from the mid-2000s, which highlights the links between instrumental hip-hop and jazz. ($ 35)
    intlanthem.bandcamp.com
  • Hamburger dad (VHS) and Strange bands fanzine. Chicago’s cult video zine Strange bands not only re-released two versions of this Seattle comedy filmed on video in the early 2000s, no budget, about a dad going through a Kafkaesque hamburger transformation (I prefer the short version), but also put together a pretty neat collection. on the movies. ($ 30)
    Etrangetapeszine.bigcartel.com
  • Original 1971 pressing of that of Ella Jenkins “I have a Hanukkah harmonica” b / w “It’s a holiday” and a Hohner harmonica ($ 25). The team behind an upcoming documentary on Chicago’s ‘first lady of children’s music’ Ella Jenkins are selling newly salvaged original copies of this charming seven-inch 50-year-old vacation. ($ 25 for the set)
    ellajenkinsfilm.bandcamp.com
Ella Jenkins’ vacation-themed seven inch was originally released in 1971.

Lisa Solomon Mann, Senior Account Manager and Co-Host of the Cannabis Conversations Segment on The Ben Joravsky show

  • For a favorite couple, or someone special, give a gift couple massage or an energy healing treatment at Massage Evolved, a small, woman-owned and operated business in the West Loop. (services starting at $ 125 per person)
    massageevolved.com
  • For the friend who shared that her sex life needed to be spiced up, the sexy Truth or Dare play can help start a fire in the bedroom (or beyond). ($ 14.95)
    early2bed.com
  • Because alcohol and family vacation dinners don’t always mix. . . CANN social tonic, an all-natural, low-dose cannabis drink is designed to give you a light and uplifting buzz. Available at local clinics. Lemon lavender is my favorite! ($ 24 for a six-pack, or three six-packs for $ 54)
    drinkcann.com
  • For your four-legged friends: Cubbington’s Cabinet P’Nut Budder CBD drops can help them relax with you, maybe even during New Years fireworks. Other flavors are available at Cubbington’s Cabinet in Roscoe Village. ($ 55)
    cubbingtons.com

Micco Caporale, registration coordinator

  • Hand marbled leather cowboy boots by Cloina ($ 89)
    cloina.store

Salem Collo-Julin, cultural editor

  • The handsome men of Gothic 2022 calendar made by Chicago artist Erin Page ($ 30)
    erinpageforever.com
  • A one-year membership to Experimental Sound Studio ($ 40- $ 500)
    ess.org
  • A gift certificate to buy zines and other stuff at Quimby’s ($ 5 to $ 100)
    quimbys.com
Musician and artist Douglas Ewart is leading a guided tour of his exhibition at ESS through December 12.

Taryn Allen, Editorial Associate and Co-Host of Chicago Queer & Now

Yasmin Zacaria Mikhaiel, Head of Public Engagement

  • Tiny Tiny Tiny Tiny Bulldog Harness by Emma Alamo ($ 85)
    emmaalamo.com
  • Chicago’s improvised stages: a century of theater and performance (Northwestern University Press, $ 34.95)
    indiebound.org
A video made by Free Street Theater in honor of Giving Tuesday 2021.

Over 90 local items handpicked by Reader staff, including records, books, lessons, artisanal clothing and household items


An overview compiled by staff and contributors of major local commodities.


Our fully local gift guide features vintage suitcase boom boxes and beer brewing lessons, to name a few.


About Brandy Perry

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