1 There’s nothing like a summer fantasy to get you through the winter, so how about giving a June weekend in a lakeside tent at Wandawega Lake Resort in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, about 90 miles northwest? Built in the late 1920s as a “lakeside development for Chicagoans looking for weekend cottages,” it’s been restored and upgraded by a Chicago couple; you can rent out the original cottages ($200-$300/night, two-night minimum) or a trio of old Boy Scouts platform tents ($240/night for all three, two-night minimum) between May and October.
2 A unique gift for the music lover: Listening to Logs, “interactive art objects” handcrafted by School of the Art Institute senior Benjamin Bergevin-Smith. He embeds speakers (with a standard stereo headphone jack) into logs, then adds a crocheted cover. Sizes range “from that of a football to larger than a microwave.” The speakers aren’t exactly high fidelity, but the wood adds some resonance.
3 Yeah, hirsute is hip, but if you’re shopping for a shaver this season, get him the good stuff. Jack Black (a Texas company, not the rotund comedian) has a full line of facial grooming products—from Beard Lube ($16 for six ounces) to the Electric Shave Enhancer ($14) to the barber-shop-style Shave Lather ($12-$22) and cruelty-free Shave Brush ($85)—for the old-fashioned guy in your life. The products smell herbaceous, not macho.
4 A duo of gifts for your Francophile friends (you can’t keep giving them miniature Eiffel Tower statues forever): Graham Robb’s Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris, a biography of the city full of rich, meandering meditations on the people and events that shaped it; and the reissue of Jane Birkin’s 1973 solo debut, Di Doo Dah, the perfect blend of light pop and heavy breathing. Though she’s English, Birkin is the ultimate chanteuse, and was a muse to everyone from Agnès Varda to Serge Gainsbourg.
5 The box set America Lost and Found: The BBS Story chronicles the counterculture’s entrance into Hollywood at the dawn of the 70s through seven films made between 1968 and 1972 by BBS Productions founders Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider, and Steve Blauner. Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show (director’s cut), The King of Marvin Gardens, and the fantastically strange Monkees feature Head are the showpieces of a collection rounded out by the more obscure A Safe Place and Drive, He Said. All are restored high-definition digital transfers, accompanied by documentaries, interviews, audio commentary, and a host of other extras to geek out on.
6 You don’t have to be a coffee snob to appreciate the Hario v60 Ceramic Drip Cone (though the snobs love it, and have posted scores of videos to YouTube demonstrating the proper pour-over technique for it). For one-cup home brewing it’s a great, simple way to coax the maximum flavor out of your coffee beans.
7 For the guy (or larger-footed lady) in your life who wants to wear Converse high tops year-round: a leather edition designed by Chicago-based artist Cody Hudson. The color scheme, with a navy toe cap, and deer-brown leather upper recall a duck boot, and chambray lining adds a bit more prep. One of Hudson’s designs is embossed on the ankle, and his stamp is on the tongue. Created as part of the Product Red brand, which benefits HIV and AIDS programs in Africa, they’re available in men’s sizes 8-13.
8 Last year Soup and Bread, a weekly free soup dinner at the Hideout featuring a rotating lineup of volunteer chefs (including pros like Paul Kahan and Jill Barron) published a cookbook featuring recipes from the dinners; this year they’re offering a Soupscription. Subscribers get recipes for five soups and one bread, printed on cards with illustrations by Paul Dolan, delivered to their (snail) mailboxes every month for a year. Packets of six cards will also be available for $5 apiece at the Hideout Holiday Sale, along with handmade recipe boxes by Devon Bergman ($75).