The end of 2015 is approaching, which means it’s time to think about designing your family’s holiday card. While you could purchase a box of cards and scribble everyone’s names inside, what’s the fun in that? Instead, consider sending cards with a photo of your family in a great Chicago landmark, or create your own card using craft and stationery supplies. Make 2015 the year you and your family send something unique and personalized to friends and family for the holidays by taking a look at these five venues in the Chicago area.
(Photo by Daily Express/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

(Photo by Daily Express/Archive Photos/Getty Images)


Chicago Teacher Store, Inc.
1855 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252-8200
www.chicagoteacherstore.net

Find paper in every color of the rainbow, paints, stencils and so many other craft supplies to make your own holiday cards at Chicago Teacher Store, Inc. Located in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, the store has a wide range of supplies so you and your family can make cards, gifts, holiday decorations and more. Chicago Teacher Store also has laminating services, so you can preserve those special holiday cards and keepsakes; for additional details on laminating services, check out the store’s website. Chicago Teacher Store is open to the public and also has puzzles, games and books for purchase.

Fitzgerald’s Fine Stationery
1100 W. Lake St., Suite 165
Oak Park, IL 60301
(708) 445-8077
www.fitzgeraldsstationery.com

Customize your holiday cards with the services available through Fitzgerald’s Fine Stationery. The shop offers an assortment of styles, with cards available for Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve. You can also incorporate some of your family’s favorite photos from 2015 in the card to give it a personalized touch. But why stop at holiday cards? Fitzgerald’s can help you create customized gift stickers, gift tags, address labels and holiday party invitations.

Noteworthy Notes
3629 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 661-1333
www.noteworthynotes.com

Make your way to Noteworthy Notes in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood if you’re looking for custom holiday cards. Choose a favorite photo from your family’s latest vacation or outdoor adventure, and create a holiday card that’s sure to stand out on everyone’s mantels. If you’re having a holiday soiree and want to send out a few snazzy invites, then Noteworthy Notes can help you out with its selection of themed stationery. Don’t stop at traditional holiday stationery, though, as you can order custom plates, ornaments and even coasters.

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Starvin’ Artist
802 S. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60304
(708) 358-3600
www.starvinartist.com

If you’d like to show off your artistic flair, then consider creating unique holiday cards yourself. To get started, pick up an assortment of paints, brushes, markers and other art supplies in seasonal colors at Starvin’ Artist, then you and your family can paint and color. You can also stock up on supplies for larger projects, as the shop also sells easels, spray paints and even art supplies just for kids. In addition to the Oak Park store, Starvin’ Artist has a location in the northwest suburb of Des Plaines.

Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 742-2000
www.lpzoo.org

This holiday season, consider incorporating a bit of Chicago in your photos by taking a family picture in Lincoln Park Zoo. You can pose in front of a favorite animal exhibit, take a picture in front of the zoo’s sign on Cannon Drive, or make your way to the zoo’s exterior so you can incorporate the city skyline in the background. For a more dramatic option, take your family photo during ZooLights, held on select nights through Jan. 3, 2016. After taking the photo, definitely make time to explore the zoo’s extensive exhibits.

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Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.