Gift Guide season is upon us! Along with the most wonderful time of the year! And who can believe that the holidays are actually coming?It is amazing how fast, yet how slow this year went. I have pulled together a list of vendors and companies that I love to give a shout out to local businesses trying their utmost to get through this pandemic. But let’s be clear, these gifts are GOOOOOD, so enjoy and have fun while you help someone stay in business. Win/Win!! Let’s start shop[ing, shall we?! 😍 Check out below:


Sign up today for this fun holiday tradition! Learn how to make your own wreath and the kit includes everything you need! All for only $50!  Check out the site here –

Eight 21 Studios – where ART meets Stationery, that unique blend of designing “one of a kind” custom watercolor maps and custom hand-painted wedding invitation suites while creating a relationship along the way. A blank canvas waiting for a colorful vision from a client’s dreams, mixed with our artistic visions, being truly custom. Click here for a GREAT holiday card option, or for custom thank you notes too. I love the idea of purchasing custom thank you notes as a gift for teenagers. Teaching them the value of a hand written thank you at an early age is a great idea, and makes a great gift!

My Celebrate Shop is a Chicago balloon company that services Chicago and Chicago Suburbs. Founder Ali Phillip’s is using her design background and creating gorgeous installations with Air-Filled Art! Yes, balloons! Each balloon garland and installation is curated by her design eye, your input and created with love in her living room! Click here for info

I am OBSESSED with calligraphy…and right now is the perfect time to have little details taken care of by a talented on for the holidays. Menus for your table, holiday card envelopes, you name it! Christy Toney is a full-time Chicago wedding calligrapher, and founder of Calligraphy by CT (formerly CT-Designs – circa 2007).  She has a decades long background in art, with a B.A. from Columbia College (Chicago). She specializes in mirror calligraphy/lettering, and has an amazing Etsy shop. I fell like a gift guide would not be complete with her, as she can add such magic to so many things! Think about making beautiful handmade gift tags this year! Or have her address your Holiday cards!  Shop all the goodness here

How about a good old fashioned, hand made wreath or garland?? Look no further than Taylor & Company! These beauties are covered in an assortment of fresh Noble Fir, Silver Fir, Port Orford Ceder & Oregonia. Treated with Anti-Transpirant, the branches and pinecones will keep fresh longer. Click here to order! And you can also MEET SANTA at the pop up holiday headquarters that Derrick created! Safe, within guidelines and GORGEOUS because Derrick takes CHristmas to a WHOLE other level and you do not want to miss it!  Details here

What about holiday baskets?! Now this one is a plug for my own business, Gene & Georgetti! We have several baskets made for purchase and can do custom baskets too. I pulled together local favorites like Jeff Mauro’s Mauro provisions giardiniera, and artisanal salumi from local company tempesta meats and combined that with some of my favorited imported items like olive oil and parmigiano thanks to Viola imports! Delicious, decadent and REALLY fun these are baskets that will make any recipient so happy. Trust me, as a kid my parents would get these weird gift baskets as gifts all the time and they were always such a disappointment so I designed this with that in mind! You can create custom baskets or just shop all the goodies online too. The store has great gift options that now ship everywhere! Click here for the store! 


In addition to all of the amazing plants and flowers in their shop, Anthony Gowder Designs has added delightful gifts. If you see something you like, give them a call at 773.227.0300. They are happy to provide curbside pickup or local Chicagoland delivery. Shop local for amazing gifts you won’t find anywhere else! (and amazing floral too!) Or click here for more info! 

Looking for something fun to send a friend for a fantastic new year? Let the universe know that you, or your loved one could use a little more cha-ching in life with this prosperity-focused Manifestation Candle. Conjured with the intention to attract abundance, burn it in your place of business and manifest that the cash keeps coming. Truth be told, I am always on this site because I love everything he sells and sources! From crystals to candles and everything in between – all too too good! Shop all things Sage & Salt here


OK, now let’s talk makeup gift baskets that rock! Che Sguardo here in River North offers some pretty awesome items that make GREAT gifts! Including key items like Evian Facial Spray, 99% Isopropyl Alcohol, Lipjao Lip Balm, a travel Kleenex package, EDAP hand lotion, and a homemade face mask these are perfect for friends, colleagues, your favorite hair stylist and more. Shop them all here!

ok, and now the health and wellness part of the gift guide – for that someone (including YOU!) who is looking for a little afternoon treat – I give you Freeze & Float!! A luxury wellness spa in River North that offers Infrared Sauna, Epsom Salt Float and Cryo Therapy. This has been a part of my self care throughout COVID and I cannot swear by it enough. There are so many benefits to the sauna, float and Cryo combination from increasing collagen production, to eliminating migraines – I enjoy this trio regularly. And, the spa IS SO CLEAN, I feel so safe going during COVID. Also, upgrade and ask for the massage, Lana is wonderful. You will not be disappointed! Want to book? Click here

And now that we have taken care of the body, let’s put our best face forward, shall we?? Check out Leah Chavie for all of your facial needs and prepare to love the skin you are in! 20 + year makeup artist and skincare professional, representing medical grade equipment and clinical skincare lines throughout the Midwest, Leah Chavie took her knowledge and love for skincare products and treatments to open her first skincare boutique in 2010. Leah Chavie uses her background in marketing, training and consulting with makeup and anti-aging skincare lines along with her education as a certified medical esthetician and laser technician, to bring clients a customized solution that you can see the first time she treats. Products Leah Chavie Skincare Boutique carries, Leah personally represents and supports through education, training, consulting, and promoting to renowned plastic surgeon, dermatologists, spas and salons, beauty and trade schools throughout the country.

I have been going to Leah for a few years now, and I cannot say enough about her professionalism and awesome energy. I look forward to my appointments – and that says a lot on days when I know we are doing a little IPL laser treatment! LOL. Leah keeps my skin really happy and keeps me feeling really confident as I move through my 40’s. Click here to get all the goods! 

Ok, so now horse loving friends – Aullmyn Photography has such a treat for you. For a limited time Wendie will be offering these festive Holiday Mini Sessions. Think elegant holiday cards or a stunning metal print on your mantle decorated with garland and candles with the glow of the fire below.You can choose black background or outdoors. She is also a JOY to work with on family shoots too. With or without horses, Wendie is talented and fun to work with, and it shows in the photos.  Contact her here

ANd – now – a truly AWESOME gift for the little ones in your life. But to be honest, this is just as delightful for adults too. Who needs a little holiday magic in their life right now? I know I do!  Let’s go to the North Pole then, shall we? Home to Santa, Mrs. “Cookie” Claus, Twinkle, Sprinkle and Sparkle the elves and Clara, Santa’s cousin who is in charge of the Naughty and Nice List. And, Eleanor. A rag doll who has lived in this magical world for years but has just one wish – for a home and best friend of her own. Eleanor’s story comes alive in a delightfully whimsical musical with lots of heart. Watch this at home as this musical goes virtual this year!!  It has all the right messaging for a feel good, toe tapping evening as a family. And, my dear friend Denise wrote the book, and created the musical. My holiday gift guide could not be complete without the magic of Eleanor!
When you support Eleanor’s Christmas wish this year you are also helping the theatre community work, at a time when almost everything is dark for them. SO this is a win-win all around. Get all the details here.

The smell of roasted nuts, fresh pretzels, bratwurst, and hot spiced wine, the sound of music, and the glimmer of sparkling Christmas ornaments, all in a cozy atmosphere – this is the authentic German-style Christkindlmarket experience.
Visitors can explore vendors’ products from all around the world and enjoy the unique shopping experience. Children have the opportunity to participate in Kinder Club activities. My family and I enjoy this market every year, but this year with COVID-19, it is has been taken completely virtual so – now everyone can enjoy it!

From November 1st – December 31st, people from all around the nation will be able to enjoy the beloved tradition from the comfort and safety of their homes through the first-ever virtual Christkindlmarket “Home for the Holidays,” featuring an online marketplace, family-friendly events, and fun interactive activities. Support these small artisan vendors here. I will really miss this market. The lights and the aromas and meeting all of the vendors from around the world is always so magical at this time of year. But I will support it virtually so that it comes back when it can!

And I think that is the most important message this holiday season. Support the places, people, and businesses that you love in any way that you can so that they can continue to hang on and ride through this global pandemic. Restaurants, spas, photographers, theatre people, floral designers, invitation makers, boutiques and more are on this list. SO this is a gift guide with heart, and purpose. The exact kind of businesses that need every ounce of our support and as many of our dollars as we can muster, plain and simple. So – I hope you love them as much as I do!!

And, if you are a bride or groom reading this and wondering about some information for your wedding during COVID, check our my previous blog here.

Thank you friends, Buon Feste xoxo





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