Black Friday gift ideas

Only in the West Loop!

11/22/2012 6:40 PM

By Bill Motchan

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Thomas Linge, president of Old Temple Chicago, holds a hand-carved decorative soap from Thailand while seated at an imported teak chair.

Smitten Boutique owner Kristin Martin with a Dishique platter.

Let’s say you’re recovering from a tryptophan coma tomorrow morning, but you still want a jump start on holiday shopping, well I have a few gift ideas. These are also only-in-the-West-Loop shopping options.

$25 Gift

You’re not going to get much more unique than a handmade—in Thailand—carved soap. These babies emit a pleasant floral scent. They’re decorative, and if you’re out of Ivory, you can wash your hands with them. The imported soaps are available at Old Temple Chicago at 843 W. Van Buren. Thai women and children make these near the Ching Mai province.

$75 Gift

A very cool, functional gift is available from Smitten Boutique at 1041 W. Madison—a Dishique “Sweet Home Chicago” platter, which can be personalized with the name of the recipient. It also supports the local community; a West Loop resident created Dishique.

$825 Gift

You’ll need to head back over to Old Temple Chicago, for another product of Thailand: a chair or table made out of teak. Actually, these are carved from the trunk of teak trees. It’s a bit more complicated getting these out of the country and in the U.S. than a soap carving. But they’re quite comfortable to sit in, and definitely a conversation piece. Also,a bit on the heavy side, so bring Brian Urlacher and a few other burly dudes with you to haul them home.

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