With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to find the perfect gift for your loved ones. Illinois is full of one-of-a-kind products, so don’t forget to shop local. Here are 10 unique gift ideas, all made in Illinois, that will be perfect for someone on your list.
Looking for a taste of Galena? Then look no further than Galena Boxes, assembled and sold by The Workshop, a charitable organization that promotes the general welfare of individuals with disabilities. The Workshop, a Jo-Carroll Energy member, offers gift boxes that include unique items made or sold by area businesses. Each gift experience creates up to seven jobs for individuals with a wide range of abilities. While there are many themed boxes offered year-round, this year the limited-edition Christmas Box includes popcorn, chocolate, magnets, body spray and an ornament, all from local businesses. These gift boxes are available while supplies last. Order online or by phone by Dec. 14 to ensure arrival by Christmas.
Go to Larkfield Glass for beautiful, one-of-a-kind blown glass pieces. Randy and Joy Turner, EnerStar Electric Cooperative members, create and sell original pieces from their studio outside of Paris. Randy has been a glassblower for more than 35 years and creates ornaments, pumpkins, vases, paper weights, bowls, plates and much more. Pieces can be purchased at their studio during scheduled open houses. Upcoming dates include Dec. 7 and 21, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Dec. 15, noon to 7 p.m. Events are free, and attendees can enjoy the spectacle of glassblowing up close. Pieces can also be purchased on their Facebook page, where you can stay up to date on upcoming events and new items.
Bath, Body & More
Take care of your skin with Skinfully-Delicious products. Not wanting to travel to the big city or pay the high prices of shipping for skin care products, Western Illinois Electrical Coop. member Cynthia Stewart decided to make her own. For more than a decade, with the help of her family, Cynthia has used natural products to create bar soap, bath bombs, lip balms and more from scratch on her hobby farm between Hamilton and Carthage. Other products include soy candles and melts, bubble bath scoops, body butter, and beauty oil, her newest product. There’s also a men’s line that includes shaving soap, beard oil and balm, and shaving kits. Items can be purchased online or at several retail locations in western Illinois.
Woodturner Michael Blankenship creates beautiful, one-of-a-kind wooden bowls, ornaments, loose-lid boxes and vessels. Anything that can be turned, he can make, and no two pieces look alike. On top of that, Michael has been completely blind since 2003 from a rare retinal disease. He says woodturning saved his life. Michael taught himself how to turn wood by listening to videos. His pieces are created from recycled urban logs or trees that would have ended up in landfills. Michael, of Chatham, has traveled all over the country and internationally to do woodturning demonstrations. His pieces can be purchased on his website or at Studio on 6th located in downtown Springfield.
D & G Flatware Jewelry
Accessorize with … silverware? It all started when Gina Rubner, a McDonough Power Cooperative member, purchased a silverware bracelet. Then she and her family made bracelets from her grandmother’s silverware. Today, Gina and her husband Dan create unique and fun jewelry from old silverware, which includes bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings and pins. They also make keychains, wind chimes, Christmas ornaments, money clips and more. They are always experimenting with new ways to transform silverware. Items can be purchased at Stray Cat Art in Galesburg, Studio on 6th in Springfield, on their website, or at shows – see upcoming events on Facebook. If you have silverware you would like transformed, they also do custom orders.
James and Hope Reinneck spent two months in the hospital with their daughter who was born premature. During that time, James would make salsa from their garden and bring it to the nurses who encouraged him to sell it. The couple, Clinton County Electric Cooperative members, did just that a few years later. Their salsa, called Salsa Rose, is named after their now 11-year-old and is sold in more than 400 locations in 13 states. Additionally, Reinneck Ranch, located in rural Mascoutah, sells bread and butter pickles, snack sticks, beef jerky, bratwurst, and gift sets. Go to the store locator on Reinneck Ranch’s website to find a seller near you.
Please your sweet tooth at Chocolate Factory Inc., a SouthEastern Illinois Electric Cooperative member. Founded by Linda Meherg, the Chocolate Factory has been a family-run business for more than 40 years. It is home to more than 40 varieties of gourmet chocolates, 12 kinds of fudge and sugar-free chocolate, along with novelty chocolates which include fishing tackle boxes, makeup sets and tool kits. During Christmastime, you can find chocolate in the shape of stockings, Santa, snowmen and more. All chocolates are handmade and can be purchased at the store, located in Golconda across from Dixon Springs State Park, or online. Order no later
than two weeks before Christmas to ensure delivery.
Timberview Alpaca Farm
From fashion to figurines, Timberview Alpaca Farm offers a variety of handmade felt products. In 2010, Corn Belt Energy members Rick and Elizabeth Lord decided to add alpacas to their farm in rural Clinton. Elizabeth was then introduced to needle and wet felting. She creates many items including scarves, wraps, cloche hats, tree ornaments, and snowman, Santa and gnome figurines – all made with felt from the alpacas. Mill spun yarn from the herd is also for sale. Items can be purchased at the farm store onsite, which is open by appointment or for special events posted on their Facebook page. Items will also be sold at the Allerton Holiday Showcase Dec. 13-15 at Allerton Park.
Clean up with goat’s milk soap from Blossom’s Barn. Ann Stoll, owner of Blossom’s Barn and member of Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, carefully creates eco-friendly products on her farm that utilizes nature’s bounty. The milk for the soap comes from the farm’s very own goat herd. The goat’s milk soap comes in a variety of scents including the popular lemon calendula, peppermint oatmeal, lavender and citrus. There are also seasonal soaps, which currently include apple cider and pumpkin spice. Other items include balms, body polish and soy candles. Liquid soap will be available soon. Products can be found at Futurgarb in Chicago, plus other locations across the U.S. and online.
Sweet with a little kick – that’s the best way to describe Johnny Sauce. Donna Harms, a Monroe County Electric Cooperative member, started the small family business in 2018, and it has grown rapidly ever since. Sold in pints or gallons, this addictive gourmet sauce was created by her husband John and can be used as a marinade, for basting or dipping. Johnny Sauce is sold in more than 70 stores, mostly in southern Illinois, including ACE Hardware, IGA and Farm Fresh stores. For a complete list of sellers, go to Johnny Sauce’s Facebook page or contact them directly to order. Next year, keep an eye out for a new, sweeter version of Johnny Sauce.