Shopping the old fashioned way, leisurely browsing in person without worrying that the items will be gone by 8 a.m. or that the internet will be overloaded, can be a treat at museums and annual gift shows.
Listed here are two examples of excellent gift shows and really good, large museum shops. They are likely to take a while to explore and are fun excursions while filling the gift list.
One Of A Kind
Summer craft shows are a terrific source of unique items if you shop months ahead but filling that void is One Of A Kind. It fills the 7th Floor of theMart with tables and temporary walls covered with paintings and laden with ceramics, jewelry, metal and glass works and such party food as edible candles, delish balsamic vinegars, chocolate dipped apples and yummy toffee. Many of the food booths have samples so taste while you shop.
One of a Kind is at theMart, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza at the Chicago River and Orleans Street, Chicago, Dec. 5 through Dec. 8. Hours are Thurs. and Fri. 11 a.m.-8 p,m,, Sat.10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For other information visit One of a Kind Show Chicago.
Down a lane off Waukegan Road in Lake Forest is a farm that has been brought back to life with items good for the dining room and gifts for friends throughout the year. But a great time for an excursion out there is now for its annual Holiday Market. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.n. Dec. 6-8. Elawa Farm is at 1401 Middlefork Drive, Lake Forest. For more information call (847) 234-1966 or visit Elawa Farm.
Art Institute of Chicago
You can order on line from the museum’s gift store but part of the fun of shopping here is seeing the items, getting more ideas and snapping a photo of the wreathed lions at the Michigan Avenue entrance. There are two gift shops, one just inside the main entrance which is quite large and carries many items from stationary and ties to puzzles coasters and ceramics, to a smaller gem of a shop just inside the Monroe Street entrance to the Modern Wing that features glass pieces among other contemporary items. Both shops are accessible without paying a museum entry fee.
The museum shop is loaded with fascinating and fun items from animal-themed socks to animal sculptures, collectibles and items related to nature you might not even realize can be an outstanding gift,