There are two types of shoppers in the world: Those who buy all their gifts ahead of time and have them neatly wrapped under the tree a week or more before Christmas arrives...and then there's the rest of us!
If you still have shopping to do, or if you're one of those folks who does all their shopping on Christmas Eve, there are plenty of places in town to find unique and fun gifts.
Here's a list of local stores to help you check those remaining "giftees" off your shopping to-do list:
The Olive Tap
68 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, 815-459-6457
Just opened Aug. 1, The Olive Tap is an olive oil and balsamic vinegar emporium. The store has about 40 sealed Fustis, metal dispensers that hold a variety of carefully selected extra virgin olive oils, flavored oils and balsamic vinegar selections. Customers can sample each before they buy, and then The Olive Tap bottles their selections on site.
"We bottle the oils and vinegars separately because they have different shelf lives," said owner Lori Sherry.
Sherry said her store features small batch, artisan-produced oils. The vinegars are bought from producers in Modena, Italy. The Olive Tap also sells a selection of salsas, culinary sauces, marinades, jams, mustards, and seasonings. The store offers custom gift baskets, custom bottling, tasting parties and more.
The Buddha Bean
77 W. Main St., Cary
The Buddha Bean in Cary is a tea and coffee garden. The store offers flavored coffee, garden ornaments, jewelry and gifts.
Stop by The Buddha Bean from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight, Friday, Dec. 21, and join staffers in helping those in need in the Cary community.
The more customers give, the more they get. For every non-perishable food item patrons bring in, they will receive a discount. Example: Bring in 10 donation items and get a 10-pecent off your total purchase, according to a press release issued by the Cary Grove Area Chamber of Commerce.
Plus, customers can enjoy cookies and coffee while they shop- Buddha's treat - and free gift wrapping on purchases, the release stated.
All proceed from this special shopping evening will benefit the Cary Grove Food Pantry, 8901 Cary-Algonquin Rd., Cary. Discounts limited to 50% off. Voucher sales are not included.
67 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, 815-455-6202
If you're looking for a truly unique gift, stop by Wickham Interiors in downtown Crystal Lake. The store is packed wall to wall with beautiful Christmas decorations including floral garlands, sparkling beads, ornaments and holiday serviceware.
In addition to the thousands of delicate ornaments, the store offers the official White House Christmas ornaments from 2006 to 2012. The lower level of the has nautical decorations, baby gifts, more plates and serviceware, and holiday decorations.
Play It Again Sports
6124 Route 14, Crystal Lake, 815-459-1717
Sports equipment tops many people’s Christmas lists. Stop by Play It Again Sports where staffers strive to give customers personalized expertise to help them find the best equipment for the lacrosse players, hockey players, figure skaters and snowboarders.
The store also has a selection of fitness equipment, and sells both new and used equipment. And, a big plus for shoppers sticking to a budget, patrons can trade in used equipment for money, or credit towards a new purchase.
The store’s inventory is about 60 percent new.
KaleidoScoops Ice Cream Shop
Crossroads Gifts (formerly Howell's Gift Shop)
57 and 58 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, 815-788-0027
If you're looking for stocking stuffers, stop by KaleidoScoops for novelty candy. The shop has a wide selection of hard-to-find candy including products baby boomers enjoyed during their childhood.
Examples include jawbreakers the size of a tennis ball, large colorful lollipops, candy cigarettes, bubble gum, candy buttons and Razzles.
Stop by next door at Crossroad Gifts, where you can find new crocks personalized with "Crystal Lake." The store also sells the collectible Crystal Lake ornaments with image selections of Crystal Lake Central High School, the Raue Center for the Arts, Veteran Acres sledding Hill, Col. Palmer House, and ice skating at Main Beach.
Out of the Box
71 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, 815-444-7446
This is the perfect store to find out-of-the-ordinary gifts that promise to surprise and delight your loved one. The store features specialty gifts, jewelry, home decor, purses, scarves, and a plethora of Christmas items.
Visit the Out of the Box webpage for more information.