5 extra special gifts for the holidays

Looking for a great holiday gift that does more than bring a smile to the recipient’s face? We have some fun ideas for you.

Chicago Lighthouse Designer Clock to keep time

With options ranging from CTA maps to national park photographs, these clocks are manufactured in Chicago by people who are blind or visually impaired. The sale benefits people who are visually impaired at Chicago Lighthouse. These are available on Amazon and select Chicago-area Target stores. Two books for sale by Chicago Lighthouse Board member Larry Broutman, African Treasure and Chicago Treasure,  also helps benefit Chicago Lighthouse programs.

I am … bath and body products

From the people behind the I Am Who I Am Foundation, these bath products are literally the bomb. A portion of the sale goes to benefit the teens and young adults with special needs who are selling them and a portion goes to buy super soft blankets for babies born with special needs at area hospitals to help parents celebrate their birth. Gift ideas can range from soaps and bath bombs to lotions to gift packs, $26. Available online and in a few select stores on the South Side.

Hugs + Mugs to inspire year-round

Head to Gigi’s Playhouse for a unique custom gift this year. We’re particularly fans of the coffee mugs, but it also has phone cases, key chains, ornaments, picture frames and more. Hugs + Mugs is a program of GiGi’s Playhouse and every purchase support GiGi’s career training program for adults with Down syndrome. Favorites include the custom mugs, $15, holiday gift baskets, $35, and a Believe ornament, $6.

Sweets to love

Fill up someone’s life with gift boxes of yummy bakery treats and coffee while helping Misericordia’s residents. You can even buy their special blend popcorn, Caramel Corn Crunch. Plus, if you need last-minute holiday cards, Misericordia residents also create beautiful paintings with Christmas, holiday or Chicago themes in the home’s art programs, which are then packaged and mailed by residents in the production program. A package of 10 cards is $10. 

Inspire that special sparkle with jewelry

Nothing says the holidays like sparkle. That’s where Kelly Neville comes in. The 26-year-old woman, who has Down syndrome, knows sparkle. She and her mom are the hands behind Special Sparkle, a company they operate from their Naperville home that specializes in pretty jewelry, key chains and bookmarks. This year has been a busy one and the duo has expanded the gifts, including an aroma therapy bracelet for those who like essential oils. They also are working to employ more people with special needs. 

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