Happy Christmas week, friends! With only about two more days to feasibly get some online shopping done, I have a couple last minute gifts from right here in Central Illinois.
I haven't always lived here. I came here from the Chicago suburbs for college. You'd think moving two and a half hours south wouldn't make much of a difference.
But I promise you, it does.
There are a lot of things about Peoria that surprised me. Like the sheer amount of camouflage worn in any given restaurant, for example. Honestly, when I first arrived here, I thought it was hideous. (Looking back now, that's probably because my mom and I drove up the run-down warehouse district route to get to my university.)
Now I work in the tourism industry promoting this town, and something else has surprised me: Peoria has one heck of an artistic, entrepreneurial crowd. There is certainly more here than CAT headquarters. So because I live here and many of my family and friends are split between Chicago and St. Louis, I thought it would be fun to shop local for my gifts and give them a little Peoria flavor.
Here are my top five picks for great local gifts (if you can't tell, I love gifts involving delicious food and drinks):
1. Thirty-Thirty Coffee, Roaster's Choice Bi-Monthly Coffee Subscription, $35
Oh how I LOVE Thirty-Thirty, even though I rarely touch coffee. (They have lovely teas, however!) This coffee shop is housed in one of the oldest buildings in town, and it's actually the coffee shop that inspired my novel. They have incredible coffee. Like they were named one of the six best U.S. roasters by Yahoo! Shine. That's how good they are. This coffee subscription is perfect for the java addict on your list.
2. J. Draper Glass, Blown Glass Wine Sets (prices vary)
I recently had the pleasure of watching Jeremie Draper, owner of J. Draper Glass, create a glass-blown pumpkin. It was amazing. She did it in about ten minutes. I particularly like this glass gift set including a wine preserver and two glasses, but there are plenty more on their site. Contact them for orders here.
Julie's Corner Store is a local legend where fudge is involved. We often pass around a plate of it at my office. The Butterfinger fudge is my one of my all-time favorites. They even offer a fudge-of-the-month club for those who take their sweet tooth seriously.
4. Olio and Vino, Specialty Gift Baskets
Truffles and Bubbly, Table in Tuscany, Wine Lovers Gift Set...Olio and Vino has something for every food lover. Their specialty is actually olive oil and vinaigrettes, so they certainly have gift sets for that as well. See the options and shop online here.
5. Pumpkin Glass Gallery & Studio, Sterling Name Pendant
I have been very into personalizing this year, and I would love to get one of these for my grandma. The sterling silver stacks to showcase every child or grandchild's name. Shop for this and other products here.
I have been seriously impressed with all the incredible local businesses around here, and what they give to this community. If you own a small business, be sure to check out Kabbage - an online provider of small business loans.
Kabbage provides resources to help small business owners build a strong business that will thrive in their local communities.Please consider shopping local for those last minute gifts and support the small businesses in your community. Happy holidays!