Last-minute ideas for the people you need a gift for in a hurry

Nara Schoenberg, Chicago Tribune
·3 min read

You can make your list and check it twice, but you can’t predict last-minute invites, new Secret Santa events or sudden bursts of holiday spirit. We’re here to help, with thoughtful emergency gifts that will please anyone from Aunt Sally to your work friends to your bighearted neighbor. Among our top choices: handcrafted salad servers from Guatemala, a deluxe oil and vinegar gift box, a festive oven mitt, an ad-free podcast subscription, a locally made Mason jar candle, and a family board game that’s not as well known as Monopoly or Clue — but probably should be.

UNICEF Market red radish salad servers

Handcrafted in Guatemala from reclaimed cypress, these cheeky salad servers from the UNICEF Market make a practical and stylish gift. And your purchase will help fund UNICEF’s highly rated children’s health and nutrition programs. $19.99,

Edgewater Candles Mason jar candles

There’s nothing wrong with giving candles — just make them candles that count. These ones from Chicago’s Edgewater Candles are hand-poured using Midwestern soy wax and come in scents like Fraser fir, pumpkin bourbon and mistletoe evergreen. $24,

Wondery+ premium subscription gift card

Give them ad-free access to a wide range of beloved podcasts with this gift card from Wondery, home of the hits “Dr. Death” and “Dirty John,” as well as niche treasures such as “Joe Exotic,” the podcast. $31.50 (10% off for the holiday season),

Garnet Hill cashmere blend Fair Isle socks

We all need socks, and these artisan-crafted wool and cashmere blend Fair Isles from Garnet Hill are eminently gift-worthy. Bonus points for updating a classic style with a fresh modern color palette. $26 per pair,

Old Town Oil olive oil and balsamic vinegar gift box

Chicago’s Old Town Oil pairs its signature extra virgin olive oil and its reserve balsamic vinegar in a handsome gift box perfect for those who like to cook — or eat. $39.95,

White Flower Farm lemon cypress in a red cachepot

Make their holidays brighter with White Flower Farm’s little lemon cypress, strung with lights and displayed in a shiny red cachepot. The pot is about 5 1/4 u00bc inches tall. $50 each,

Crate & Barrel holiday check oven mitt

Brighten their holiday baking — or roasting, or frying — with this handsome Crate & Barrel oven mitt in seasonal colors. $9.95,

Company Store felt ornaments

These felt ornaments distinguish themselves with homespun charm and a wide array of fresh holiday characters, including sloths, flamingos, dinosaurs and unicorns. Choose the recipient’s signature creature, or just go with your favorite. $34,

Virgil Abloh face mask from the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA

Give a face mask with personality, like this limited-edition, artist-designed statement piece from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. $28,

Spice House Best Sellers Collection

A spice selection can include anything from beloved baker’s classics to exotic new taste sensations. This one leans toward grilling and roasting, with favorites such as Back of the Yards Garlic Pepper Butcher’s Rub from Chicago’s venerable Spice House. $36.99,

Q-bitz memory game from Mindware

Give the gift of family time with this addictive memory game in which you race to re-create complex patterns out of brightly colored blocks. $17.19,

Abbey Brown bar soap

Handcrafted in Chicago, Abbey Brown soaps are made with cold-pressed olive oil and natural fragrances. The spicy Root bar is scented with tangerine and ginger. $8.50,


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