Funny socks

These funny, snarky socks (some of them with expletives) are among the adult-friendly gift items in Giggles. 

You swore you wouldn’t this year.

But you did it again.

It’s three days until Christmas, and you are not done shopping.

You may have perfectly good reasons: Stomach flu took a 72-hour tour of your workplace. A project at church ate up more time than you thought. Uncle Jerry is just so darn hard to buy for.

Whatever the cause, time got away from you. The holiday looms forebodingly ahead. It’s too late to seek the placid, pajama-clad comfort of online shopping.

You must venture out — into the cold, and the crowds, and the decided lack of cheer in cash-register lines.

But there is an upside.

You can use this time to support local businesses. Ever wanted to be part of a hashtag #movement? You can join the #BuyLocal and #ShopSmall ambassadors of the world, whose mission is to support their communities by spending their money with businesses that are entrenched there.

Since we’re running short on time, I’ve scouted out some ideas for you. These are almost all real gifts I bought somebody on my list.

(Mom, stop reading this now.)

For the luxury lover

Got anyone on your list who loves Lush, the handmade cosmetics company that produces an array of colorful, fragrant bath bombs?

Head to Tournesol, 134 N. Merchant St., and check out the bath products by local company RAW Farms. There are bath truffles with shea and cocoa butter, or citrus and champagne, as well as scrubs and soaps. 

Bath truffles

These bath truffles by local company RAW Farms are among the luxurious items you can pick up at Tournesol on Merchant Street. 

You can find RAW Farms at facebook.com/rawfarms85

The shop is filled with all kinds of decadent little touches — beautifully drawn cards, dessert-flavored teas, richly scented candles and chocolate-covered pretzels. Who doesn't like nice things? 

For the artistic type

It’s right there in the name: The Art Farm, 252 N. Park St. The business opened in January and brims with curiosities to see/touch/smell. From a cross-stitch of PeeWee Herman to rocks painted like friendly bunny rabbits, you’ll find something for your most eccentric friends and loved ones here.

Shani Goss prints

Wrap up your Christmas shopping with visits to local businesses. These signed prints by local artist Shani Goss are $12 apiece at The Art Farm. 

Know anyone who loves the Bob Marley mural on Eldorado Street? For $12, you can gift him or her a signed print from Decatur artist Shani Goss, who designed the mural and painted it with the help of her husband, Tronnie.

For the athlete (or person who claims he will become athletic “next year”)

Balega socks

Got a runner in your family, or someone who claims to be embracing fitness but maybe just likes nice socks? Either way, these Balega socks at Fleet Feet could make a good stocking stuffer. 

You can’t go wrong with the combination of Fleet Feet and Spin City Cycles, adjoining businesses on West Wood Street near Oakland Avenue. For those who lack athletic prowess (or, in my case, basic coordination), the friendly staff is here to help. Tell them about your dad/cousin/sister-in-law, and they’ll help you find something. In my case, it was Balega socks, because a) everyone needs socks and b) they were on sale. Did I mention there are sales?


These bendable sloths are for sale for $3.99 in Giggles. They'd make great stocking stuffers for a sloth lover! 

For the whimsical, from child to adult

Giggles’ new space at 112 N. Merchant St. means more than double the room to become captivated by everything from sequin-covered stuff animals to tiny soft rubber sloths with bendable limbs. This is the home for everything you never knew existed, but instantly want as soon as you become aware of its existence. Mermaid stationary? Astronaut bandages? Socks with sassy, expletive-heavy phrases I can't repeat here? 

The new bakery case means you can get your sugar cookie fix, too. After a long morning of local shopping, I’d say you deserve it.

For the young reader (and, surprisingly, Packers fans)

I probably should have been surprised to find an entire section of Novel Ideas devoted to the Green Bay Packers. After all, it is a book store. But the business at 480 E. Main St. is also a repository for the wonderful and occasionally weird, so it didn’t phase me much.


Shopping for a Packers fan? Check out Novel Ideas, 480 E. Main St. 

Along with books new and vintage, Novel Ideas carries everything from boxers celebrating banned books to Harry Potter socks and Dr. Who paraphernalia. I was charmed by a series of books, $5.99 each, that aim to introduce young readers to figures including Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver, Rachel Carson and Jackie Kennedy.


These books, from The New York Times bestselling "Who Was" series, are a fun way to teach young people about historical figures. They're $5.99 apiece at Novel Ideas. 

For people who drink wine

I am not a wine snob. I am in fact a person who says, more often than not: “I don’t know. Do you have a red blend?”

Perhaps counterintuitively, it is for this reason that I like the Decanter, 215 N. Main St. The 12-year-old business is undoubtedly equipped to help people who know what they are talking about in this area, but its owners are patient and helpful with those of us who don’t. If you have a vague idea what kind of wine your friend likes or what is being served at dinner, they can get you closer to the mark than you would get on your own.

Also, there are tastings every Friday and Saturday! It was here that I discovered not all Rieslings give me a headache. For this I am grateful.


The Decanter has been in Decatur for 12 years now, building a reputation on helping customers who know a lot about wine — and those who don't. 

For anyone in Central Illinois

Do you like keeping up on the latest in your community? Want to read about the latest new businesses and Nelson Park developments? Track upcoming art and music shows? Read good stories?

I think I should be commended for waiting until the end to make a shameless pitch for this newspaper, which you can try as a digital subscription for 99 cents for the first month. My colleagues and I worked very hard this year to bring you journalism that we’re proud of, and we’re shaping up to do it again next year. Join us at herald-review.com/subscribe. You can gift a subscription by signing up with the recipient’s email address and contact details, but your own billing information.

For history lovers, there’s also our archives at herald-review.newspapers.com. This allows you to search the city’s newspapers back more than a century. As someone who uses them frequently, these archived editions are both fascinating and a total time-suck. Be prepared for a lot of phone calls that start with, “Did you know that Uncle Lenny won the Easter egg hunt when he was 7 years old in 1953?”

Merry Christmas to all — and happy shopping!

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Contact Allison Petty at (217) 421-6986. Follow her on Twitter: @allison0512


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