Chicago Bungalow

The 2020 Bungalow gift guide

If you’re struggling to shop local and socially distanced at the last minute this holiday season, here’s a gift guide full of suggestions to help you out. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your couch!

Are you still scrambling to put together some last-minute gifts? Or you’re just not sure what to get the friend or loved one that bought themselves everything during this on-going pandemic? Look no further than this gift-guide (actually, there will be links so that you can look further, but you get the point).

My last gift-guide focused on everything Chicago bungalow and still includes some great suggestions for shopping local. This year, I tried to expand on that list a bit. If there was ever a year to shop local and help out small businesses, 2020 is the year to do it.

Here are some of my favorite small businesses, projects, and community resources that you can buy from and support this holiday season.

For the giver

What can you give to someone who’s passionate about giving? Consider donating to a local community resource, collaborative, or organization in their honor! Here are some of my favorites.

Grocery Run Club

Get them a membership to the Grocery Run Club. They accept one-time donations or offer monthly donation memberships. GRC installs fridges and pantries around Chicago to help increase access to free food.


This Chicago-based and artist-led group has installed free markets around Chicago that stock items like food, diapers, and toiletries; helping community members meet basic needs. Click on their name above to view their projects and help support their work.

Brave Space Alliance

Brave Space Alliance is a Black-led and trans-led organization that has worked hard throughout this pandemic to provide resources to all Chicagoans in need. If you know someone who loves supporting local causes and organizations, a donation in their name to Brave Space Alliance would make a great holiday gift.

For the explorer

The Folded Map Activity Kit by Tonika Lewis Johnson is available for printing at home.

Folded Map Action Kit

What better time to participate in Tonika Johnson’s Folded Map project? Get out and explore other neighborhoods and find your “Map Twin” with her Folded Map Activity Kit. This is a great gift to send to friends and family that live in or around Chicago. The kit is free to download and print at home, so please donate to the Folded Map project here.

If you own a car or can rent one, it’s a great time to use the Folded Map Action Kit to get out and see the city, especially with all the festive lights and holiday displays!

For the book-lover

Books come in a lot of different forms nowadays, from ebooks to audio books to comic books, and more. Consider supporting these local book stores and publishers by buying a gift card or sending a copy of your favorite book in a digital format to a friend or loved one. You can also donate to any of these bookstores to honor the book-lover in your life this holiday season.

Haymarket Books

Rose Café

Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery

Gift the audio book lover in your life a subscription to You can gift membership subscriptions for 1 month to a year, or even just single audio books. A portion of each sale and membership goes to support a local bookstore of your choosing.

For the music-lover


Help support local music venues and artists. Consider buying merch for the music-lover in your life from their favorite local band or music venue. Unsure of who or what that might be? Consider making a donation to CIVL, the Chicago Independent Venue League.


Send a Bandcamp gift card! Bandcamp allows patrons to directly support artists and bands that they love.

For the food-lover

The Wieners Circle

The Wieners Circle in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood is a Chicago institution. If you know it, you know it. Send someone the gift of a Char dog and cheese fries or a t-shirt of their famous sign this holiday season!

Baguette & Butter

Know someone that’s into urban gardening and sustainable cooking? Consider sending them a digital cookbook or an urban dwelling field guide. They also offer memberships, workshops, and events throughout the year!

For the garden-lover

City Grange

A repeat from last year, but they’re worth mentioning again! If you noticed a renewed interest in gardening during the pandemic, consider giving a gift card to the up-and-coming or well-seasoned gardener in your life. City Grange can help them plan and order for a new garden or support an existing garden.

For the DIY-er

A few more repeats from last year along with some new additions to the list! Give the gift of a membership, workshop, or gift card! (And ultimately the gift of progress on any DIY home improvement project!)

The Chicago Tool Library

Owl Hardwood Lumber

Crafty Beaver

Rebuilding Exchange

ReUse Depot

Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse

Last, but not least…

For the booze-lover

Soap Distillery

Coping during a pandemic and stay-at-home orders is tough. Instead of giving actual booze this holiday season, consider giving a gift card to Soap Distillery! (This company is a personal favorite of mine!) They offer a range of booze themed products: from candles and oils to lip balms, and obviously soaps as well!

Happy holidays from MCB!

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