It's the most wonderful time of the year, until you have to battle the crowds at Old Orchard or find that everything you were hoping to purchase at is sold out until next year.
Luckily, Evanston is filled with unique stores full of perfect holiday gifts. These stores were selected because they have been recommended by people in the community, so feel free to add your own in the comments or tell us what you think on Facebook.
1. - this store has everything you need for the socially conscious people in your life. It features a variety of fair trade items from around the world and works with local communities to help give them an income for their work. Gift items include artwork, purses, jewelry, and small items for the home.
2. - The bakery at Foodstuffs on Central has brownies and cookies and toffee and a variety of other goodies. While we don't recommend leaving them under a Christmas tree, these treats are perfect for bringing along to holiday parties.
3. Comix Revolution - This is the perfect spot for the person in your life who brags about reading all of Scott Pilgrim way before the movie came out. In addition to comics, they sell books, toys, and magazines. They also sell gift cards so you can let your comic expert friend decide exactly what to buy.
4. - If you really want something one-of-a-kind, this is your place. If you're not comfortable buying clothing for someone else, they have tons of fun accessories such as hats, scarves, and sunglasses.
5. - Give the gift of a new skill. Ayla's offers jewelry and beading workshops taught by local artists. They also have an Etsy store where you can ship beads directly to your friends out of state.
And, of course, a spa package is always a reliable back-up gift if you can't think of anything else. Evanston has a number of spas that offer gift cards, such as , , and -- to name a few.