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2018 Joyfull Gift Guide

2018 Joyfull Gift Guide:

I am so excited to share with you my very first Holiday Gift Guide! I have curated some of my favorite items just for you guys! Most of these items are local and give back in some way. Some of these items are made in limited amounts or on sale so be sure to check them out before this weekend ends! If you go shopping this Black Friday consider checking out some of these amazing local brands instead of shopping at big name brand stores. Most likely they have something very similar.

What to Expect: 

The mindset I had when creating this gift guide for you was to share items that are affordable, local, and/or unique + have versatile use. They are listed first by category, then by lowest price to highest price. Many of these items I thoroughly love or put on my list this year for myself or others! As an adult you put things on your list like grocery gift cards and toilet paper because #adulting but these are a little more fun to share. haha. Keep in mind that not everything listed is also pictured. Everything is priced under $70 and there is a little something for everyone. Here is a 2018 Joyfull Gift Guide PDF with links to all the photos in the above collage for easy access.

I really thought about so many things and took a great deal of time these last couple of weeks to put this together so I hope you enjoy and have a Happy + Joyfull Holidays!


The Environmentally Conscious: 

||$8 || Stainless Steel Straws by Eco at Heart – five 8.5 in. straws w: brush included. I have tried so many different kinds of reusable straws and this is my favorite one so far! Dishwasher safe + CCIC Certified. Normally these are $15 but they are on sale right now on the Eco at Heart website.

|| $10 || Nylon Reusable Bag by Baggu – This bag folds up easily and holds up to 50 lbs which is equivalent to about 3 regular, single use plastic bags. There are a variety of colors and patterns too! It helps to have something durable that also folds up easily and they are machine washable.

|| $19 || Marble Traveler Mug by Swell – 12 oz I purchased this last year for all the traveling I did as I wanted to invest in a good quality to go cup and I use it daily now! I purposely purchased the 12 oz size (instead of the 16 oz size or 20 oz size) to take up less space in my travel bag but also to encourage buying a smaller size beverage when hitting up my local coffee shops.  For traveling, I usually store my drink mixes like tea, nuun tabs, or four sigmatic elixirs inside so I can easily make a drink quick once I get through security.  It is insulated with three layers that keep it from creating condensation and truly works for both hot beverages (up to 12 hrs.) and cold beverages (up to 24 hours). The wide mouth makes it really easy to clean. I have dropped it a few times and it hasn’t dented or damaged the marble design. Swell is also a proud partner of UNICEF, BCRF, + RED.

|| $28 || Travel Utensil Wrap  by Allie Kushnir – thoughtfully designed by Chicago artist Allie Kushnir. Made with organic linen + cotton with a twill tie. 3 color options: brick, jade, or sage! comes with 1 stainless steel knife, spoon + fork and room for your own reusable straw! I have my eyes on the jade one. Check out some of her other designs too like pillows, zip pouches, cute hand painted cards, and mantra calendars!

||$50 || Reusable Silicone Bag Set by Stasher – I can’t say enough about these silicone bags! This set includes: 1 half gallon, 2 sandwich, and 1 snack bag. You can freeze them, cook in them, or even make guacamole, or icecream! Dishwasher + Microwave safe, and you can write on them! Currently, 25% site wide for black friday! use code “HOLIDAYSTASH”


The Person you never know what to get: 

|| $1 || Mini Pencils by Adam JK – The perfect stocking stuffer created by one of my favorite artist, Adam J. Kurtz, a very personal creator from Brooklyn, NY. Inspirational Message: “You are what you make of them” I have a keychain with a little saying about how everything will be good. I appreciate how blunt Adam is with his art. He puts in additional bonus items with his orders and has some black friday deals. You can get these pencils for free if you buy another item.

|| $13 || Silicone Ice Cube Trays by Tovolo – 2 trays that are great for more than just ice. I use these for everything! Try freezing homemade nut milk cubes for an extra delicious smoothie, freezer fudge, pesto cubes, or fresh chopped herbs like basil chopped and frozen with a little olive oil ready to pop out cook with.

|| $16 || Lemon Lavender Clove Laundry Soap by Meliora a Certified B Corp right here in Chicago. A few years ago I actually started making my own laundry soap + researching all about how to make the perfect laundry soap. (ask my friends, I went a little crazy and was even considering selling it at farmers markets! ) I remember the first load of laundry I did using a non toxic homemade laundry soap and it was amazing to see how much better my clothes felt, smelled, and how much better I felt using non toxic ingredients on our clothes. It is been neat to see this company grow from where they were back when they had just a few products and before they rebranded. This scent is so unique and works for both standard and HE washers. There is even a bulk size! I appreciate how transparent this company is and how involved they are in truly making a difference for the environment. This soap is at a great price and you can buy refills for even cheaper. If you really want to get into the Holiday spirit they have limited edition Peppermint products!

|| $20 || Wicker Basket by Threshold – who doesn’t need a basket! Plus, it works great to carry other wrapped gifts! I have a few of these around the house in the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom. The shop local section at the very end of this post has several locations where you can find a variety of organizing baskets!

|| $30 || Medium Tabletop Planter by Little Fire Ceramics Add a ZZ Plant -the easiest plant to take care of!


The Self Care Guru: 

|| $7 || Dental Lace Bamboo Fiber and Activated Charcoal Floss in a 100% recyclable glass!

|| $12 || Tongue Scraper by Wowe If you haven’t scraped your tongue are you even living in 2018? Tongue scraping is so satisfying and gets rid of bacteria + plaque buildup. This set of 2 stainless steel or copper tongue scrapers are a must try! Wow also makes pretty cool sustainable bamboo toothbrushes that are numbered so you don’t get your toothbrushes mixed up with the fam!

|| $15 || Castile Soap by Dr. Bronner’s I use this 32 oz. bottle for everything. I prefer the unscented because then you can add your own essential oils. Mostly, I use this as a body wash but it is a great makeup remover, and cleaning product base.

||$25 || Body Dry Brush from Scratch Goods If you haven’t tried dry brushing, it is a must! Weird at first but it can: clear congested pores, slough off dead cells, and stimulate your lymph system with this body dry brush. smooth over dry skin on arms, legs and torso in gentle strokes towards your heart, preferably before showering. a great way to bring energy to your mornings: use regularly to brighten skin, promote circulation, and stay baby soft.

|| $25 || Jade Roller  from Scratch Goods promotes circulation + cell turnover, reduces inflammation via lymphatic drainage, stimulates collagen production smoothes overworked facial muscles and leaves skin glowing!

|| $32 || Menstrual Cup by Dot A Dot cup is a medical-grade, silicone menstrual cup that can be worn for up to 12 hours and used for up to 10 years. Every cup comes with a limited-edition, hand-sewn, canvas storage pouch, designed by @ashleymaryart.You’re actually purchasing 2 cups! For every Dot cup purchased, one is given to a girl in need, allowing her to go to school or work and to be an active member of her community, regardless of her menstrual cycle! This company is right here in Chicago!


The Foodie: 

|| $7 || Cacao Sprouted Buckwheat by Lil Bucks – aka Nutritional Sprinkles! I put these in everything and on everything. Full of: plant based protein, antioxidants, fiber, copper + magnesium! Yes, they are gluten free, grain free, raw, paleo, vegan, low food map, low glycemic, and sooo tasty! The only flavored sprouted buckwheat on the market and the matcha flavor is just as good! You can use the code “joyfull” for 25% off your first order.  Emily, the badass local owner, just got onto Amazon too and currently, there is a great deal where you can get two bags of cacao Lil Bucks for $15.99!

|| $10 || Grain Free Granola by Hungry by Nature the pecans stand out beautifully in this delicious mix made by Chicago blogger Ellie! 1000x better than store bought granola. This granola is so tasty with a little coconut yogurt and fresh fruit. I think it would go great on our sweet potato casserole this year too! She currently has cute stocking stuffer bundles and handmade holiday gift boxes which include her delicious granola along with four other local favorites! (some of Ellie’s faves are also some of my local faves included in this gift guide!)

|| $14 || Glass Loaf Pan by Pyrex perfect for the oven, microwave, freezer, and dishwasher! I love my Pyrex and you can make so many things in it besides a delicious loaf of chocolate chip banana bread! My favorite is a Walnut Tofu Nut Loaf which has become our families favorite dish, and cookie loaves, brownies, or even ice cream!

|| $15 || Blissful Basil Cookbook by Ashley I am very excited to incorporate some of these recipes into my holiday menu’s this year! Ashley, a chicago plant based blogger, has thoughtfully put together over 100 plant based vegan recipes that are mostly gluten free, soy free, and refined sugar free and or can be made nut free, grain free or oil free. I have so many cookbooks on my shelf but this one is organized so nicely and truly one that I plan to keep coming back too. I am especially looking forward to making this creamy potato casserole recipe!

|| $15 || Cashew Butter by Nutmeg’s – the perfect spiced nut butter to drizzle or dip for all the holiday favorites! – or – buy a trifecta of almond, cashew + peanut butter for only $33! Locally made plus 50% of the proceeds go to a nonprofit in Kenya, where the owners husband is from. This here proceeds are going to: Freely in Hope! Freely in Hope is a nonprofit that equips survivors and advocates to lead in ending the cycle of sexual violence. Through Holistic Education: providing high school and university scholarships for survivors; Leadership Development: equipping survivors through strengths-based leadership; Storytelling Platforms: advocating with survivors through outreach programs. Find out more about this nonprofit at:

|| $16 || Raw Unfiltered Honey by Bike a Bee The most unique honey I have tasted. The honey I purchased at the Plant ( a magical place where I learned all about Bike a Bee) is from Fong in McKinley Park and has such beautiful notes of citrus. Jana does beekeeping all by bike to visit over 50 beehives!

|| $24 || Anna Tumbler by Little Fire Ceramics perfect minimalist, neutral design. Use this 10 oz. tumbler as a mug for hot cocoa, tea, apple cider or works great as a little planter or pencil holder. Jessica is the sweetest lady and I truly love her style. I am obsessed with my planter too.

|| $24 || Marble Utensil Holder by Crate + Barrel I have so many utensils I needed a place to put them for easy access and this marble holder I purchased last year works so perfectly for my tiny kitchen. The marbling is unique to each piece and it goes with just about any design.

|| $25 || Superfruit Chews by Spark Organics for a whole case of 8! These are way better than Starburst! Made in Chicago by two brothers, Jonathan and Christian. Get it and fill ALL the stockings! Use code “SPARK50” for this price from black friday until cyber monday!

|| $30 || Saffron by Rumi the most delicate saffron I have tasted. Sustainably sourced and hand picked by Afghan women. The Afghan climate is perfect for growing what is tested to surpass the highest standards for Category 1 saffron by over 25%.  Since the flowers are so delicate the women carefully hand harvest each flower early in the morning as soon as they open. The three stigmas of each flower are hand separated and it takes 450,000 stigmas to make just 1 kilogram of saffron! A true labor of love.

|| $30 || Gluten Free Pancake Mix by Long Table A Brunch Lovers Dream! 4 pounds of locally sourced heritage grains that are stone milled. This nutrient dense, gluten free pancake mix was one of my favorite finds this year, so much so that I started working for this small family owned Chicago company! The texture is unreal and each purchase plants a tree through American Forest, so win win! Use code “joyfull” for 10% off now until Dec 20th! Also, Samuel has the best gift baskets ready to go with pancake mix, local maple syrup, and a life is long (not short) tea towel complete with a handwritten message!

|| $50 || Mango Wood Bowl by Sur La Table This was a birthday gift a few years ago and it is one of my favorite items in the kitchen. I love putting all my fresh produce from the farmers market in this gorgeous bowl but it can also be used as a salad bowl too. The pop-ups listed at the bottom of this post also have beautiful wooden bowls and utensils!


For the Men:

|| $24 || Cedar + Pine Beard Oil by Scratch Goods My dad has a pretty big beard going and this would be perfect! This local store makes great nourishing goods for more than just your hair using quality ingredients.

|| $45 || Oat Whiskey by Koval Distillery One of the oldest distilleries in Chicago! This 80 Proof organic whiskey has primary notes of caramel and oats with a rich, creamy finish. Aged in new American oak from Minnesota. Only the “heart cut” of the distillate, no “heads” or “tails.” Grains sourced from a local organic farmer collective in the Midwest. Unfiltered 100% Oat. Heart Cut. Single Barrel. Organic. I use this organic vodka for making my own vanilla extract for the holidays.

|| $68 || Indestructible Belt by Truth high quality vegan belt. I have had mine for awhile and it looks just like leather. Black or Brown Option.


For the Ladies: 

|| $11 || Truffle Gift Box by Ethereal Chocolates true chocolate lovers beware! From my first bite back when they started at a farmers market I knew this company was legit. One of my favorite classes in Culinary school was chocolates and fast forward to many chocolates later, I am still blown away by the unique flavor combinations Ethereal comes up with.  Now they have their own location selling unique high quality items like these truffles! All dairy + gluten free. You can make boxes of 4-20 truffles + meltaways. Check out some of their holiday chocolates like candy cane bark! I have been dying to check out their beautiful cafe in Woodstock, Illinois.

|| $12 || Non-Toxic Nail Polish by Palate Polish is made in small batches, 5-free and vegan with unique food inspired names. My personal favorite colors are the Spirulina Smoothie + Earl Grey

|| $18  || Tiny Moon Studs by Michelle Starbuck Designs Tiny vintage brass moons with soldered sterling silver posts and backs. These studs have been polished to a shine and sealed. (6mm x 8mm) Includes free gift wrapping with a personal message and free shipping on orders over $45 so you get a little something else just for you. Get 25% off all regular priced designs during their Annual Holiday Sale! Use code ‘MSDHOLIDAY18’. Sale ends November 26.

|| $26 || Winterberry + Cinnamon Soy Candle by Wrightwood Candle Co. I am obsessed with non toxic candles like this hand poured one that burns up to 50 hours! phthalate free fragrance oils, essential oils, dye free wax, reusable container, cotton wick, soy coconut wax, lead free wick + gift wrapping and message available. Made right here in Chicago by Hannah! 

|| $30 || Reversible Beanie by Athleta so soft + light weight. Plus, it is reversible with 2 minimal designs. Comes in 4 others colors too. 20% off until Sunday.

|| $32 || The Nadia Necklace by Mata Traders I have a few of their tops and jewelry pieces from last year. I love the quality of this Chicago company creating handmade items from women in India. This piece was handmade and crafted at a fair trade cooperative. It has clean lines and electrifying shapes, for casual or dressy outfits using goldtone-plated brass.

|| $35 || Bouquet by Flowers for Dreams free delivery + every single bouquet sold benefits an amazing local charity. They source their flowers fresh daily from local wholesalers and farms across Illinois and Wisconsin.

|| $36 || Affinity Zip Pouch by Allie Kushnir so cute + made with vegan leather!

|| $40 || Custom Letter Necklace by Vo Jewelry I have always wanted to get a monogram letter necklace for my mom + this has a unique chain. Made by a local Chicago designer.

|| $62 || Jacquard Chaturanga Leggings by Athleta The most comfortable leggings I own. This unique textured design comes in black too. Fair-trade certified. They carry tall, petite, and plus size too. Now until Sunday you can get 20% off!


For the Athlete:

|| $5 – $32 || Electrolyte Tabs by Nuun – my favorite hydrating drink. Tropical is my fav but grape + strawberry lemonade or pretty tasty too which is why I love getting the variety pack. I keep one of these with me at all times for on the go. They were especially important during marathon training this year + the variety pack was nice so I could switch it up. These are about .54 cents a drink which is much cheaper + cleaner ingredient wise than other brands out there.

|| $12 ||  Compression Socks from Balega I have trained and ran 2 marathons with balega socks and they are the most durable, breathable sock I have found that work for everyday use too. A variety of colors and made with antibacterial silver ions. All Balega packaging is printed on partially recycled board. Also, their manufacturing facilities use a water recycling purification system that recovers up to 50% of wastewater.

|| $15 || Chocolate Protein Cookies  from Munk Pack full of carbs, protein + delicious chocolatey goodness for a quick boost of energy. Vegan + gluten free. Taste more like a brownie if you warm it up for 5 seconds. Check out my energy bites recipe I made with these!

||$63 || Wireless Bluetooth Headphones by Plantronics So comfortable, waterproof, and sweatproof! I wore these for the Chicago Marathon this year + the bass is great! You can hear the music so clearly but also hear what is happening around you. What blew my mind was being able to easily answer phone calls while training + running the marathon.


Where to shop local: 

a few unique pop-ups and shopping deals you won’t want to miss!


Fearless Cooking Holiday Pop-up:

4501 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60630

Fearless Cooking offers classes for everyday home cooks who care about environmental sustainability. So not only will Catherine teach you how to make a meal, she’ll also equip you with cookware and utensils that are high in quality and made locally or regionally from recycled materials.

What they have: roasting pans, cookie cutters, pie plates, etc., along with all manner of gifts including:

• Cookware, Unique food gifts, serving plate and utensils

• Pre-wrapped gift boxes at all price points

• Hostess Gifts

• White Elephant/Grab Bag

• Teachers Gifts


Nourish Pop-Up:

4945 N Damen Ave.

Hours: Nov 21 & 23 9 to 5 (and then every weekend through Dec 23!)

filled with gifts perfect for the food lover—unique, hard-to-find food stuffs and things for the home you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere in Chicago. Including Bike a Bee honey+ more!


2950 W Chicago Ave Suite 105 Chicago IL, 60622

Also at:

Monday – Thursday – 11am – 7pm Friday – 11am – 8pm Saturday – 11am – 7pm Sunday – 11am – 6pm

Chicago’s only nonprofit fairtrade shop! One of my favorite places to holiday shop. I have a few cutting boards, wooden utensils, and picture frames that I absolutely love from Greenheart. They have so many unique items like this leaf shaped plate and so many gift bundles! In choosing products, they are mindful of the entire production process — the resources used to make them, the wages paid to the artisans and the overall environmental impact. Everything they carry has a story.


Nov 23, 11:00 AM – Dec 29, 7:00 PM

5207 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

This is one of my favorite pop-ups to hit up! So many unique fairtrade items from over 30 local vendors!

A great place to get all your chicago items like organic coffee, wooden bowls + utensils, handmade picture frames, jewelry + more! I found some really great deals last year!


Shop Lakeview East + get a $50 giftcard :

If you spend $300 in Lakeview East and save your receipts you will get a $50 giftcard! All you have to do is get your holiday shopping done locally + bring in your receipts now until Dec 21st to redeem your gift card. Over 150+ stores are participating!


Unwrap Lincoln Square Ravenswood + get a $50 giftcard! 


An important note:

It is easy to spend money + get caught up in the hustle this time of year. Keep in mind that there are other ways to show those you love that you care. Slow down and enjoy the little moments. Help someone clean, watch their kids, spend time with them, do something they love, share kind words, give someone a compliment, because it could mean more to them than you know.


Your turn:

If you have any other local pop ups you know about or have other favorites please share below!

This is a living document and I would love to include more local favorites in this guide.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

This post is not sponsored and all thoughts are my own. This post contains affiliate links. Purchases through the affiliate links help support my blogging and if you click through and purchase, I will make a small portion. Also, thank you if you choose to support my blog in this way.

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