The decorating of Christmas trees began in the early 16th century in Germany when revelers used candy, fruit, cookies baked in festive shapes and even candles on the tree. Ostensibly, after more than few fiery disasters, people caught onto glass, wood and less hazardous materials. Loved by kids and adults alike, the shiny orbs can be nostalgic, elegant, goofy or just plain gorgeous and these Chicago shops are known for some of the most original options.
1300 S. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
Spaced-out fans should hit the Adler store for its space-, NASA- and Adler Planetarium-themed ornaments. There are also space snow globes and miniature constellation globes that you can hang on a Christmas tree. Good bets are the Age of Explora ornament globe, space shuttle and moon rover ornaments, an Adler bauble and even a few of the iconic Chicago skyline.
6840 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60634
Dom itp carries an array of Christmas ornaments hand created by glass-blowing artisans in Poland using classic techniques. The Polish Christmas ornaments are also decorated and painted by hand so each is truly one of a kind. In addition to Polish heritage ornaments, the shop has lots of Chicago-centric pieces such as Santa peeking from behind the Chicago Theater sign; Cloud Gate (The Bean) with a reflection of the city skyline; Santa reclining in the center of the Chicago Water Tower; and a Chicago Police car ornament. In addition, you’ll find plenty of Xmas pickles, whimsical animals, lovely glass orbs and even an Albert Einstein option for the brainiac in the family. There are locations on the northwest side, Harwood Heights and Woodfield Mall but you can just stop by the dom itp shop set up in the annual Christkindlmarket on Daley Plaza when you’re downtown.
613 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Located in the historic Tree Studios on State Street in River North, P.O.S.H. is known for a genuine mix of vintage and reproduction items modeled after vintage originals.The owners search the flea markets of France, Belgium, the UK and other countries to source the Chicago shop with charming finds you can’t find elsewhere: hotel silver from England, vintage paintings from Belgium markets, French china sets, etc. When the holidays roll around, you can find a collection of Parisian ornaments, a variety of classic Santa ornaments and whimsical creatures from the forest or sea. Francophiles will go for the Eiffel Tower snow globe ornament or give your favorite environmentalist the Victorian Gray Whale glass ornament.
Seasons by Peg
111 E. Van Buren St.
Woodstock, IL 60098
If you’re trekking to tree farms in the northwest corner of the area, stop in at charming Woodstock Square after you’ve chopped down the family fir. What better place to pick up a couple of ornaments during the season of goodwill than at a place with a cheery name like Seasons by Peg? The entire store is decked out in holiday finery and there are ornaments relating to religions, pets, sports, winter, fairies, angels and more. You can even buy dishes in the shape of ornaments on which you can place your ornaments.
3401 N. Broadway Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
Don’t confuse this fabulous Lakeview gift shop with the chain of sweaty gyms that dot the city – although you do get a workout of sorts rifling through a myriad of hand-made jewelry, vases, books, frames, stationery, lamps, candles and Christmas ornaments in the double-sized storefront. The staff at the independent shop divides ornaments onto themed trees such as a fish tree, bird tree or all one color like silver. Character baubles include appliance ornaments, people, the arts, television music, toys, pets and much more as well as Radko designed ornaments. A part of the neighborhood for over 20 years, Equinox has garnered the reputation as the go-to shop for holiday decor. It’s closed just two days out of 365 - Chicago’s Pride Parade day and Christmas Day.
Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.