Everybody loves a thoughtful holiday gift. However, often the best gifts aren't the most expensive or biggest items under the tree.
"It's important to teach kids and families that they don't have
to buy `new' for the holidays to give something special," says
Heather Grance, manager of public programs at the
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. "They can reuse and renew
materials to make fun, one-of-a-kind gifts that recipients will
For those who don't have the time or inclination to make their
own gifts, buying handmade items from local artisans is another
thoughtful option. With a little time and creativity, families can
find gifts that are both economical and sentimental. Here are a few
local resources for families looking for handmade gifts this
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 2
Where: 2340 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago
Cost: Admission to the holiday fair is free
(museum admission not required
Details: Local vendors will be selling their
eco-friendly holiday wares. Many of the items are handmade and
When: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 24-25;
Cost: $3 per project, $5 for two projects
Details: Participants can "upcycle" by diverting
unwanted materials from the landfills and turning them into
handmade gifts. For example, kids can use pieces of felt from
thrift shop sweaters to create tree ornaments.
When: Classes/workshops are offered in the
morning, afterschool and on weekends
Where: 2312 W. Roscoe, Chicago
Details: Throughout the holiday season, Wishcraft
Workshop offers a DIY class for everyone (whether you are "crafty"
or not). This is an opportunity to create handmade gifts with the
help of creative craft experts by your side. Options include: "Kids
+ Grown-ups Making Stuff Together," "(Little) Hand-Made Gift
Workshops" (minimum age is 4) and "(A Little Bigger) Hand-Made Gift
Workshops" (minimum age is 7). Projects range from homemade play
tents to pendants to picture frames.
When: Dec. 1-2; 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Pulaski Park Fieldhouse (1419 W. Blackhawk
Cost: Admission is free
Details: This family-friendly market offers a
variety of handmade creations from local indie artists. Get into
the holiday spirit while you shop thanks to festive tunes, a free
photo booth and a free trolley offering rides to other neighborhood