Shoppers' paradise Scarves, pottery and jewelry boxes are some of the luxurious and unique gifts that Dale Turner and Zia Moon, manager and assistant manager, respectively, sell at The Promenade Gift Shop at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. The shop specializes in whimsical and intriguing items that Turner and Moon choose at a trade show every January.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer
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Unique, tantalizing and tasty gifts are only a few steps or keystrokes away.
Get yourself out of a gift-giving jam by getting your recipient into jams from the gift shop at Allerton Park and Retreat Center. The gift shop sells jams and jellies, salsa verde and chow chow relish. Jam varieties include strawberry and gooseberry as well as blackberry jelly and rhubarb-strawberry preserves. The gift shop also sells honey from Allerton’s bees.
The shop’s Allerton Gift Basket includes honey, a Fu Dog tile, an Allerton T-shirt and hat, and other items, and the Allerton Label Food Basket contains honey, salsa verde, chow chow relish and five of the jellies/jams.
“We were researching ways to offer Illinois products to the public, to promote the Allerton name and increase food service (at the retreat center), and this seemed a good way to do that,” said Matt Eckhardt, assistant manager of the gift shop. Allerton began selling the food products this past summer. They are available only through the gift shop’s Web site, which will go live some time in December, until the gift shop reopens for the 2007 season in March.
If a special someone has been dropping hints such as, “I never feel fully dressed without fossilized walrus tusk,” you’re in luck.
The Promenade Gift Shop at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts has jewelry made from fossilized walrus tusk, as well as amethysts, synthetic opals, turquoise and other gems.
The Promenade has an intriguing line of educational wind-up toys that includes Katita the Hero, named in honor of a dog that became a national hero in Brazil when she rescued a 3-year-old boy from two vicious pit bulls. Note: Some imagination is required, as Katita the windup toy more closely resembles the spider from “Charlotte’s Web” than any canine, heroic or otherwise.
Although it’s not quite as fearsome a weapon as the Red Ryder BB gun coveted by Ralphie Parker in the holiday saga “A Christmas Story,” Ralphie could have defended himself and his friends valiantly from the neighborhood bullies had someone been thoughtful enough to arm him with the “Chicken Chucker,” a toy pistol that shoots tiny rubber poultry.
The Promenade also has coasters and picture frames with designs inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and a variety of clocks and jewelry boxes. A holiday wreath made of peacock feathers might just tickle someone’s fancy too.
Dale Turner and Zia Moon, manager and assistant manager of the Promenade, respectively, attend a trade show every January
to select items for the upcoming holiday season, keeping their discriminating eyes out for the unique and the whimsical.
“We like to keep our inventory fresh,” said Turner, “and it changes all the time, so we don’t buy a gross of something and keep
selling it nor do we have a catalog. And all the proceeds go right back to Krannert Center to support the arts, so you’re doing a good deed when you shop here.”
Almost anything with the Illinois or Fighting Illini logos and school colors is available at the Illini Union Bookstore, including dog
bones, birdbaths and orange-and-blue tabletop trees made from goose feathers. Gifts for the erudite include all sorts of books and “Magnetic Personalities,” finger puppets/refrigerator magnets of Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allen Poe and other literary giants. Diminutive kits also are available that teach the arts of meditation, reading tarot cards and tap dancing.
If you’re still in a holiday funk, let your recipients select their own gifts. Krannert’s CenterCheck gift certificates are available in denominations from $1 to $100 and can be purchased online or by mail, phone or fax and at the Promenade or the Krannert Center ticket office. CenterChecks can be redeemed for event tickets and for purchases at the Promenade, the Interlude Bar or the Intermezzo Café.
IUB also offers gift cards in amounts of $10, $25, $50 and $100 – and up, if you’re feeling especially benevolent – that are valid for two years and can be purchased in the bookstore or by phone.
If children’s books are on your holiday shopping list, but you’re already snowed under with shopping, or worse yet, paralyzed by the avalanche of books out there, professional help is on the way.
Holiday shoppers with books on their list can use the UI library’s “Buy a Book Service” to get “easy and quick access to local and online booksellers,” according to Lynn Wiley, head of acquisitions at the university library. When a title is not available through the online catalog or when a library user prefers to own a book, the option to purchase is only few clicks away through the library’s Web site. A small percentage of purchases from select vendors “will help the library add more books to its collection,” Wiley said.