2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Navigating Life after 50
November 17, 2021
Dear Friends,
Are you searching for a gift for the person who has everything? Something fun and practical for your parents, spouse, kids or other loved ones? Gifts for friends? We have you covered!

Welcome to the first annual Village Chicago Gift Guide, filled with nifty ideas that are sure to be a hit for everyone on your list. Our curated suggestions cater to those of all ages and allow you to add your personal touch by creating gift baskets, sharing experiences, and more. Options for shopping locally will support community businesses and organizations to help keep Chicago moving ahead.

As we gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving---virtually or in-person, let’s celebrate all of our good times and reflect on the future. Please remember to reach out to loved ones--and perfect strangers--to share the gift of kindness this holiday season.

Warm regards,
Darcy L. Evon, CEO
The gifts that lasts forever
A Movie Lover's Dream!
Give a subscription to the Criterion Channel - an ad-free streaming service for classic and art-house film fans. Click here.
Learn from the Best
MasterClass provides online access to the world’s best artists, leaders and icons: Yo-Yo Ma teaches Music and Connection; NAS teaches hip-hop and storytelling. 100+ choices. Click here.
Eat, Drink, Tour, Explore
Airbnb offers experiences online, locally and around the world. In Chicago: a Hidden Thrift Shop Tour; Glassblowing in an Artist’s Studio. Huge selection. Click here.
Great food gifts – no one would buy these for themselves!
Goldbelly ships famous specialties from restaurants, bakeries and delis throughout the United States: bagels from NY, barbecue from Texas, gumbo from New Orleans and MUCH more. Plus legendary cakes and baked goods like the Piecaken (the Turducken of cakes!). Click here.
Bacon Sampler
Fresh trio of bacons: Applewood Smoked, Hickory Smoked, Duck -  from high end purveyor, D’Artagnan. Click here.
Peeko Oysters
Harvested and shipped daily from Long Island’s Little Peconic Bay. Click here.
A text or email lets your friend, colleague or loved one know they have a Sugarwish gift from you. From the Sugarwish website, they then select their favorite candy, cookies, snacks, popcorn, coffee, tea, or dog treats and Sugarwish delivers it to them, nicely packaged. Click here. 
Let someone know you care about their well-being
Hands-free Neck & Shoulder Massager
The Alljoy Shiatsu lets you sit and relax, read or watch TV while it kneads aching muscles. Click here.
Instant Smoothies
Frozen Garden Smoothies are nutrient-dense, pre-made frozen smoothies without any added sugar or supplements. Made with whole fruits, vegetables, seeds and spices. Just add liquid and blend. Can be shipped anywhere. Click here.
Compact Elliptical Device
Cubii sits under your desk or at the foot of your favorite chair so you can work out while doing something else. Click here.
Connection, Companionship & Support
The heart of The Village Chicago is sharing friendship, knowledge, experience and fun. Membership in The Village Chicago or a donation in someone's honor beautifully reflects the spirit of the season.
Blue365 Deals
If you have a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Medicare supplement plan, you are eligible to receive deep discounts on health and wellness items including fitness gear, nutrition and travel. (Other Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois plans may qualify – check their website.) Click here.
Gift Baskets
A recent New York Times article was titled “Gift Baskets That Don’t Suck.” Here are a few that definitely don’t!
An Italian Feast
This box features a sampling of edible Italian delights for throwing together a simple pasta dish, plus olives, coffee beans and a jar of cacao e nocciole for an after-dinner treat. Click here.
A Winter Treat – Fresh Fruit
There are a lot of options for fruit gift baskets. The food professionals (chefs, food authors, etc.) at Spruce Eats recommend these:
Best Overall: Harry & David
Best Variety: The Fruit Company
Best for Tropical Fruit: Tropical Fruit Box
Best for Gourmet Baskets: Manhattan Fruitier
Cheese & Cracker Basket
From an award-wining cheese-maker, Jasper Hill Farm. Click here.
For People Who Are Always Cold
Warm their hands and their hearts
Hand Warmer
Nothing gets cold faster than fingers. This hand warmer is rechargeable, lasts 15 hours and has three settings. Maybe you better get two! Click here.
Cashmere Warming Bottle
A good old fashioned cozy hot water bottle, wrapped in luxurious cashmere. Click here.
Mini Portable Campfire
For outdoor use only – easy to light, burns for 3-5 hours. Click here.
For Caregivers and Care Partners
From Jen Hurd, Director of Brain Health & Memory Loss
Know a caregiver that could use a gift of hope, encouragement and comfort? Here are some great items you can put together in a gift basket for caregivers that say thank you and show appreciation for their caring and compassion.
Hand Poured, Soft-scented Candles
Popular and soothing scents from Capri Blue include Volcano (an energizing blend of exotic citrus and sugary notes) and Pink Grapefruit and Prosecco (grapefruit notes mixed with mimosa flower and violet). Click here.
One Line A Day: A Five-Year Memory Book
For those daunted by the idea of keeping a journal or diary, the simple commitment of just One Line a Day is manageable for everyone. Click here.
Prepared Meal Kits
Take the mental load off of your loved ones plate by having meals delivered to their home -- already prepared. Here are three options:
Into the Magic Shop
Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon's Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart by James R. Doty MD is an inspirational award-winning New York Times bestseller about the extraordinary things that can happen when we harness the power of both the brain and the heart. Click here.
Sherpa Throw Blanket
The temps are dropping more each day. Everyone needs a soft and warm throw blanket to get them through the winter! Click here.
Something to Sip
Treat your loved one to these luxury items from local Chicago vendors:
For People Who Might Have Everything
Practical yet thoughtful gift ideas
Cool New Socks
Build a great wardrobe of socks with the Stance sock of the month club. Choose from 3, 6, or 12-month subscriptions. Click here.
Luxury Bedding
Sleeping occupies six to ten hours of every day – why not spend it in luxury? There are lots of options – here’s one for a pillow and one for 100 percent long-staple Italian cotton sateen sheets.
The Gift of Time
Online virtual assistants like Time etc. and FancyHands free up time for more pleasant or important activities. Or, gift your own time to help with a project, run errands, or do shopping.
Fine Leather Goods
Leatherology offers an enticing array of men’s and women’s leather goods from travel items, to briefcases to key holders – a wide range of quality options and prices. Click here.
Gifts For Young Loved Ones
From toddlers to teens
For All Ages: Personalized Books
Make your child the star of their own bedtime story or turn a parent into a super hero. Options vary by title with evergreen themes about friendship, adventure, classroom capers, grandparents and bedtime. Start by choosing the reading age, from 0 to adults! Click here.
For Pre-Teens: Fun STEM Experiments
What makes sweaty sneakers so stinky? Why does the bathroom mirror fog up? Here is a book with 83 hands-on experiments that go from room to room in the house and explain the scientific concepts found there. Click here.

Click here for more STEM gift ideas for kids of all ages, assembled by Good Housekeeping.
For Teens: Cooler/Warmer Mini Fridge
This can hold small snacks and soda, or it can keep skincare goodies like face masks, creams, and ice rollers chilled and ready for use (available in multiple colors). Click here.
Gifts For Fluffy Friends
Don't forget your other best friend this holiday season
For Cats: Window Perch
This cozy cat window perch comes with flannel pads so your cat can enjoy the sunshine comfortably. Click here.
For Dogs: Puppy Scoops Ice Cream
Mix in water, freeze it, and you have a sweet-and-salty ice cream that your dog can safely eat sundae-style or a few licks when he or she has been extra good. Click here.
Fur On the Go
Thirsty? Keep your dog hydrated when out in the car or on walks with a specially designed BPA-free AutoDogMug. Great for hiking! Click here.
Green Giving
Make gift-giving more like a treasure hunt than an obligation
Gifts don't have to be new to be wonderful. Treasures are all around us. One couple challenges each other to find a gift that is a reflection of their special interests and their long history - for example, a framed poster of the movie they saw on their first date, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Sources: eBay, thrift stores, yard sales, vintage boutiques, online resale sites and Buy Nothing groups who give, receive, lend, share, and show gratitude in hyper-local gift economies.
Giving Back
If you don't want anymore "stuff"
Village member Mary Ann Smith didn't want more things, but rather to encourage her family and friends to make a gift to The Village instead. So we developed a personal giving page for her which you can see by clicking here. It's easy to do – just call the Village office at 773-248-8700 and we'll customize one for you; then send your loved ones a holiday greeting with the link to your page.
Help your "stuff" earn money through Amazon's SMILE program, which donates 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charity of your choice. The Village Chicago has been a member for so long, that it is still listed as Lincoln Park Village!
Shop Local
A sampling of shops right in our communities
The House of Glunz
1206 N Wells St
Founded in 1888 this is Chicago’s oldest wine merchant and is still family owned and operated. The historic shop and adjacent tavern are still located at their original spot.

store B vintage
1472 N Milwaukee Ave
Vintage Funky boutique for carefully curated, high-end vintage clothing, shoes, jewelry and select home goods.

Una Mae’s Rustic
1528 N Milwaukee Ave, #1
Hip boutique for new and vintage men's and women's clothing, plus personal items and accessories.

Art Effect
934 W Armitage Ave
Eclectic boutique selling women's fashion, designer jewelry & a unique rotating selection of gifts.

Reckless Records
26 E Madison St (multiple locations)
Trio of old-school record stores for new and used, imported and domestic vinyl plus CDs, games & DVDs.

2958 N Clark St (multiple locations)
Boutiques for unique custom framing, antique and vintage finds, and indie designed cards, gifts, books, and more.

LillStreet Art Center
4401 N Ravenswood Ave
Beautiful ceramics, jewelry, textiles, kids and ephemera.

4427 N Milwaukee Ave
REP CHI brand apparel and things made from recycled things. Also art, and non-touristy Chicago-themes gifts
The Sweden Shop
3304 W Foster Ave
Small Scandinavian department store carrying textiles, housewares, clothing, books & toys.

2559 W Chicago Ave
A curated selection of handcrafted jewelry, accessories, soaps, lotions, self-care products, books, birthday cards, wallets, pocketknives, etc.

Wolfbait & B-girls
3131 W Logan Blvd
Shop for artisan clothing, gifts, stationery, personal care and jewelry made by Chicago designers.

Powell’s Books
3429 W 47th St
Brimming with all things pulp and ink, and that 'old book smell,' Powell's Bookstores are a Chicago institution, focusing on academic and scholarly works.

Unabridged Bookstore
3251 N Broadway Ave
Veteran bookseller featuring a wide variety of general and children's literature plus LGBT titles.

ENJOY - An Urban General Store
4723 N Lincoln Ave (multiple locations)
Gifts for the thoughtful, the political, the quirky, the interesting and the curious of almost any age.

Paper Source
3543 N Southport Ave (multiple locations)
This stationery retailer offers papers, gifts, greeting cards, gift wrap, personalized stationery and more. Have all your gifts for the season? Stop by Paper Source for high-end gift wrap designs and trimmings.
Village Bulletin
Where Is the Affordable Housing for Older Adults?
A free virtual event via Zoom on Wednesday, 12/1 @ 5 PM (CT)
Is co-housing a solution? The housing crisis impacts individuals and families across the income spectrum. Join us as a panel of experts discusses strategies that can remove the barriers to finding a home in a livable, engaged community and how we can all help.

Our featured speakers will include Earl L. Chase, V.P. and Executive Director of Heartland Housing, Gail Schechter, Executive Director of H.O.M.E., Britta Larson, Senior Services Director at the Center on Halsted, and Donald Bell, Housing Justice Field Organizer at Jane Addams Senior Caucus. The discussion will be moderated by Callie Alton, Director of Membership & Engagement for The Village Chicago. The panelists will explore the following topics:

  • Shortage of affordable and livable housing
  • Impact on vulnerable groups
  • Housing strategies to reduce isolation and loneliness
  • How this crisis effects us all
  • Solutions through advocacy, public/private partnerships, and intergenerational housing
  • Discussion to be followed by audience Q&A

To RSVP, click here OR email [email protected].
Village Event Calendar
RSVP today for our upcoming in-person and virtual events! For full descriptions and registration, visit thevillagechicago.org.

  • (11/18) Weekly Walk Around Peggy Note | An In-Person Event
  • (11/18) Coffee Chat BYOC
  • (11/18) Short Story Intergenerational Discussions
  • (11/20) Saturday Afternoon at the Movies | Passing (2021)
  • (11/22) Memoir Writing with Beth Finke | An In-Person Event
  • (11/23) Exercise at Home with Jill Stein
  • (11/25) Thanksgiving Dinner at Drew's | An In-Person Event
  • (11/29–12/13) The Savvy Caregiver (6-week series)
  • (11/30) Visit to Chicago Christkindlmarket | An In-Person Event
  • (12/1) Where Is the Affordable Housing for Older Adults? A Thought Leaders Panel
  • (12/1) Great Books, Great Conversations
  • (12/2) Q&A with 'Chicago’s Great Fire' Author, Dr. Carl Smith
  • (12/6) Bridging the Racial Divide
  • (12/8) Annual Holiday Luncheon at the Chicago Yacht Club Presented by the Village Men's Group | An In-Person Event
  • (12/8) Meet & Greet with Near North Circle | An In-Person Event
  • (12/10) Debunking Mental Wellness Myths
  • (12/15) Death Café: An Informal Conversation About Death & Dying

To RSVP for any event, please visit our web calendar or email us at [email protected]!
Village Member Pastime Groups
Join the Village!
Are you...

Looking for a new career, about to retire, wondering what's next? Seeking companions that share your interests? Searching for a way to utilize your abilities? In need of occasional help? New to Chicago? Worried about changing needs? An adult child with aging parents?

Village members are part of an inclusive, multigenerational community, connected to others and to the resources that support growth and well-being as we navigate life after 50 together.

Learn more about the Village by calling us at 773.248.8700 or click here to download the membership application form.

Village Sponsors
Leadership of The Village Chicago
Board of Directors
Karen Terry,
Judith Gethner
Vice President
David Baker,
Vice President
Angie Levenstein,
Richard W. Sullivan,
Kathie Kolodgy,
Immediate Past President
Donald M. Bell
Patricia Clickener
Charles G. Cooper
Caryn Curry
Thomas C. Eley III
Joan Goldstein
Bruce Hunt
Ira Kohlman
Molly Matthias
Therese Meike
Liz Metzger
Gail C. Moss
Linda Randall
Wally Shah
Carol Stein
Lois Stuckey
Vamse Kumar Subbiah
Janet Walters
Melville Washburn
Joyce Winnecke
Advisory Council
Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD
Robyn L. Golden, LCSW
Joanne G. Schwartzberg, MD
Mary Ann Smith
Darcy L. Evon
The Village Chicago is a social network of friendship, engagement and services for people over 50. We support all aspects of well-being through social engagement, an extensive services and referral network, lifelong learning, health and fitness, intergenerational relationships, work and purpose.

2502 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614. 773.248.8700