It's officially winter in Chicagoland! There's snow on the ground and it's freezing cold.
It's beginning to look a lot like the holidays, and I for one couldn't be more excited to see snow on the ground this year—thanks 2016!
The holidays mean holiday shopping, and if you're like us here at MPC, you've got a few folks on your list that are nearly impossible to buy gifts for. That's why we've put together this year's 2016 holiday gift guide! Whether you're gifting for a plannerd or a Chicago lover, these ideas are sure to brighten their holiday season :-)
Chicago is one of the best cities in the U.S. for cycling. Treat yourself to a new ride, and donate your old bike to Working Bikes. Working Bikes is a nonprofit organization dedicated to recycling bikes and supporting international and local initiatives. Since its inception, Working Bikes has redistributed more than 50,000 bicycles worldwide to disadvantaged families in countries throughout Latin America and Africa. Locally, Working Bikes donates to individuals and partner organizations here in Chicago, providing transportation to people in homeless transition, refugee resettlement and youth empowerment programs. Your bike will like its new home!
Marisa Novara (@marisa_novara) is declaring 2016 the year of the woman and thinks you should too by purchasing The Woman Cards—featuring nine amazing women portrayed on playing cards—for the amazing women in your life.
For the intrepid urbanite, Josh (@MPCJosh) suggests 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Chicago and an $8 Metra weekend pass. When living in the city, it can take a while to figure out that there are 1) some great dunes hikes, forest walks, prairie strolls and whatnot really, really close to (and sometimes in) Chicago; 2) trains that can take you to many of these places; and 3) books about these great outdoor adventures. Josh's copy of 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles is pretty worn at this point, and he's had lots of great weekend adventures to show for it. So, get a copy for a friend that will then lend it back to you (or maybe get your own copy) a weekend pass on Metra, and get outside this winter (yes, the outdoors exist in winter) to explore!
For the art lover in your family, Chloe suggests a book of paintings by Chicago-based artist Kerry James Marshall. Marshall’s work, recently on exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, portrays the everyday lives of African-Americans in vivid, colorful, large-scale paintings. Chloe recommends Look See or Mastry as an introduction to his work.
Chicago Wilderness is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year with an awesome fundraiser to help preserve 12 key species in Chicagoland. Donors can choose which animal they'd like to support. For the nature nut in your life, consider making a gift to their favorite local wild creature!
Madeline (@mp_shepherd) has an idea for the game board geek in your life (who may also be an urban plannerd): Suburbia. Players plan, build and develop a small town into a major metropolis. Using various “land uses” like residential, commercial, civic and industrial, players have to create economic engines that are also self-sufficient and grow their population. The player with the largest population at the end wins!
One of MPC Development Associate Jenny Cunningham’s favorite places in Chicago is the historic Music Box Theatre. Opened in August 1929, this utterly unique architectural gem on Southport Avenue shows an average of 300 indie, foreign, cult classic and straight-up classic films annually, including the beloved Music Box Christmas Double Feature & Sing-A-Long, now in its 33rd year. Music Box Gift Cards never expire and will delight anyone on your list.
For the person in your life who loves to cook, Avril (@urban_flute) suggests a gift box of Chicago neighborhood-themed spices from The Spice House in Old Town.
For all of your Bruce-Springsteen-loving friends (and let’s be honest, if you’re not a fan of The Boss, something’s wrong), our newest MPCer, Shehara, suggests his 2016 memoir, Born to Run. She laughed, she cried….and afterward, she did an ill-advised karaoke rendition of "Dancing in the Dark."
Our new VP of Philanthropy is on the board of Read/Write, and she suggests a subscription to their Hungry for Stories book club for the bookworm in your life. It's a book club about the Chicago point of view, as constructed (and demolished) by some of the city’s most divergent writers, artists, editors and publishers. Subscriptions are available for three, six and 12 months.
Our president (@MarySueMPC) also suggests curling up with a good book. Here are two that are nourishing her this season: Vital Little Plans, a collection of the early short works of Jane Jacobs (appropriate during this year, which would have marked her 100th birthday), and Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman. Enjoy!
This holiday season, Kendra suggests empowering court-involved youth to tell their stories through the performing arts with a gift to Storycatchers Theater. This youth development arts organization has been equipping young people with the artistic tools to bring their stories to audiences since 1984. You can also enjoy a unique theatre experience by signing up to attend a free show in 2017.