The 2021 gift guide highlights unique Illinois Made products and encourages shoppers to support local small businesses this holiday season
CHICAGO - The Illinois Office of Tourism today released the annual Illinois Made Holiday Gift Guide featuring twenty small businesses around the state and their one-of-a-kind products. Just in time for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27, the 2021 Illinois Made Holiday Gift Guide offers a wide array of unique gifts and experiences — from locally-sourced spirits and wine, to handmade ornaments and pottery, to wellness products from lavender and hemp farms —for shoppers to discover this holiday season.
"Small businesses are the backbone of Illinois' economy and play a significant role in driving tourism to all regions of the state," said Sylvia I. Garcia, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), which includes the Illinois Office of Tourism. "The annual Illinois Made Holiday Gift Guide encourages residents and visitors to buy local this holiday season and experience the diverse local businesses and unique Illinois made products found all over our state."
Launched in 2016, the Illinois Made program promotes authentic off-the-beaten-path travel experiences throughout the state and encourages visitors to discover the people and places that you can only find in Illinois. The program, which now features over 200 makers, continues to drive visitors to every region of the state year-round.
"The 2021 Illinois Made Holiday Gift Guide is an invaluable resource for discovering hidden gems across the state that offer original gifts and experiences that are truly unique to Illinois," said Karla Flannery, deputy director of the Illinois Office of Tourism. "From sentimental memorial pieces, to natural bath and body products, to custom-made baseball bats, the holiday gift ideas in this year's guide are an incredible reflection of the diverse people, products and experiences found at small businesses all around our state."
2021 Illinois Made Holiday Gift Guide
*Asterisks indicate a 2021 Illinois Made maker
Gifting experiences and memories
1. Noir d'Ébène Chocolat et Pâtisserie in Evanston* - Sweet treats, like signature dark chocolate and hot chocolate mix, that are handcrafted with fresh, natural ingredients. Parents can also surprise kids with a "Sugar in the Class" experience - an ideal gift for those with a sweet tooth (prices vary). Shop products online here.
2. Witness Distillery in Vandalia* - As a special experience or group gift for any whiskey enthusiast, book a distillery tour ($10 per person) or splurge on an exclusive Private Barrel Club experience to create your own whiskey on-site ($1,250). In-store purchase only.
3. Sue Regis Glass Art in Joliet* - Hand-blown ornaments and memorial pieces to commemorate loved ones (prices vary). In-store purchase only.
Gifts for relaxation
4. Buffalo Bluffs Hemp Farm in Makanda* - Calming salve made with high quality hemp grown in the Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois (starting at $10). Shop products online here.
5. Shawnee Hills Lavender in Cobden* - Hand-blended lavender teas made with real lavender grown on a woman-owned U-pick farm in Southern Illinois ($10-15). Shop products online here.
6. Water Sweets Soap Company in Edwardsville* - Handcrafted, natural bath and body products made in-house without any artificial preservatives (starting at $8). Shop products online here.
Gifts for the home
7. Bright Endeavors in Chicago* - Seasonal candles that are artfully hand poured by local young moms who gain valuable job experience in a paid training program to build bright futures ($13-35). Shop products online here.
8. Alto Clay Works in Alto Pass - Woodfired, functional pottery produced on-site (prices vary). In-store purchase only, view products here.
9. McMahon Gallery in Lake Forest* - Posters, mugs, calendars and more, featuring fine art created in a family-owned Lake Forest studio and often spotlighting top attractions around Chicago and Illinois (starting at $10). Shop products online here.
10. Rockford Roasting Company in Rockford - A wide range of freshly roasted whole beans and a complete menu of espresso-based beverages, cocoas, gourmet teas and more ($16 per month for an espresso subscription). Shop products online here.
11. Dot's Pots in Moline* - Wheel-thrown, hand and slab-built pottery using microwave-safe glazes and often featuring distinct seasonal designs and patterns (prices vary). In-store purchase only.
Gifts for outdoor adventures
12. Heritage Bicycles in Chicago - Fully customized bike riding gear, like the RBX bike jersey, with a local spin (starting at $89). Shop products online here.
13. Navarro Canoe Co. in Rock Island - Handmade canoes and beach accessories offering optimum performance (accessories starting at $185). Shop products online here.
14. Dinger Bats in Ridgway - Custom bats produced with superior craftsmanship for baseball players of all levels. In the past, Dinger Bats has made bats used by players on Major League Baseball teams, including the Chicago Cubs (starting at $110). Shop products online here.
Gifts for the holiday host
15. Mackinaw Valley Vineyard in Mackinaw* - Award-winning wine locally grown and bottled on a 90-acre Central Illinois vineyard (bottles starting at $16). Shop online here.
16. CBPB Popcorn Shop in Champaign* - Handmade popcorn made with high-quality ingredients and no added preservatives for holiday gatherings (prices vary). In-store purchase only.
17. DESTIHL Brewery in Bloomington - A wide array of craft beer for every palate, produced with centuries-old global brewing traditions and techniques (prices vary). Product locator found here.
18. Incredibly Delicious in Springfield - Handmade pastries, layer cakes, artisan breads and specialty macarons that are made to order in a French-style bakery cafe. ($28 per macaron dozen). In-store purchase only.
19. Galena Cellars Vineyard in Galena- Shop 40 wine varieties, including festive holiday Mulled Wine, made from grapes grown over the rolling hills of Galena's countryside ($17). Shop online here.
20. My Just Desserts in Alton* - Delicious handmade pies and other desserts from scratch for holiday gatherings (prices vary). In-store purchase only.
To discover more Illinois Made makers to support this holiday season and learn more about the program, visit EnjoyIllinois.com/IllinoisMade.