Gift Guide

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sick of bulky keys? Meet KeySmart.

Posted By on 11.10.15 at 12:06 PM

KeySmart is designed to be the size of a pack of gum. - COURTESY OF KEYSMART
  • Courtesy of KeySmart
  • KeySmart is designed to be the size of a pack of gum.


Having a lot of keys can be cumbersome. They poke holes in pockets, get lost in purses, and dig into your thighs. KeySmart wants to change that.

The Mount Prospect, Illinois-based startup makes key holders that arrange your keys into a metal, Swiss Army-like organizer the size of a small pack of gum. For this holiday season, KeySmart has set up in the Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue now through December 31.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Art and madness at One of a Kind Show

Posted By on 12.06.13 at 12:31 PM

Doesnt that just say crafty to you?
Yesterday was the last day of Hanukkah. It was also the beginning of Holiday Craft Fair Season. It can be argued that since the advent of Etsy, Holiday Craft Fair Season has never really ended, and also that it's much more pleasant to shop for adorable one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts for your loved ones in the quiet and privacy of your own home, where you don't get shoved and jostled and where you don't even have to put on pants.

But there is nothing like a holiday craft fair to bring on the true spirit of Christmas: good intentions quickly squashed by the urge to spend all your money as quickly as possible in order to get the fuck away from your fellow human beings. And also smelly candles.

The One of a Kind Show opened in the Merchandise Mart yesterday morning. It will be there all weekend. It was also on my way from the train to the office, so I stopped by to check it out.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Who is the Krampus?

Posted By on 12.04.13 at 04:35 PM

1386192078-krampus-the_devil_of_christmas.jpeg
The other day I ran into Monte Beauchamp on the street. "Do you know about Krampus?" he asked.

Along with being an award-winning art director, Beauchamp is surely the foremost local authority on the Krampus. He's even written a book on the subject: Krampus! The Devil of Christmas (Last Gasp).

So here's the story of Krampus in Beauchamp's own words:

In nineteenth-century Germany, legend had it that those who were pure of heart bore witness to the magic of Christmas Eve. Some saw rivers turn to wine. Others heard animals speak. Mountains supposedly opened, revealing precious gems deep within. Church bells clanged from the depths of an icy Baltic sea, and barren trees bloomed, bearing fruit on this cold December night.

Earlier that month, on St. Nikolaus Day, children of goodwill sprang from their beds and rushed to the empty shoe they'd placed outside the night before. Inside, they'd discover small gifts and treats left for them by St. Nikolaus, and joy would fill the air. Disobedient children, however, awoke to the shakes and the shivers. In their shoes awaited switches, with which their parents would spank them. Or worse yet, they'd be paid a visit by the Krampus.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

High tea, photo cubes, and other thrifty gift ideas

Posted By on 12.12.12 at 05:00 PM

Scraptones photo cubes
  • Scraptones photo cube
Let's suppose, purely theoretically, that you have $19.59 in your bank account. And let's suppose that you have a Christmas list to cobble together.

What you need is thrift.

The Reader's all-local gift guide is one source for options—man in a can for $14? But here are some more, each under $25. Friday's payday, after all.

Scraptones photo cubes Local designer Bladon Conner, who also makes beautiful (and sustainable) custom furniture, offers these salvaged wood blocks printed with images of Chicago architecture in three sizes, starting with a small one for $20. etsy.com/shop/scraptones.

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