While the holidays make our waistlines widen, they tend to shrink our wallets. According to a recent survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, half of American consumers are concerned about their holiday expenses, and one-third of all shoppers will have a budget this season.
Holiday shopping in our northern suburbs doesn't have to break the bank, however. Following are a few ways to make your holidays sparkle without busting your budget.
For your home
Whether you need to update your living room before the neighbors come by for cocktails or you're looking for a gift, there are plenty of beautiful home goods within reach. In Deerfield, Overstock Furniture Sales Inc. has occasional tables for almost every style - from thoroughly modern glass and steel to more traditional painted woods. You'll also find many decorative items to make your tabletop pop. In Highwood, Consignments Etc. stocks high-end furnishings from local homes, as well as excess inventory from high end department stores. And in Northbrook, the Village Treasure House has a little bit of everything; on a recent trip I spied an antique mirror for over my fireplace, an area rug to warm up my den, and a wooden rocking horse that would make any toddler smile. Knowing that the store's profits are shared with local charities that benefit women and families in crisis will warm your heart, too.
There are so many places to find a new, yet tasteful, (no Christmas sweaters) holiday frock. If Wilmette's Encore and More doesn't have what you're looking for (maybe even something from the designer rack), try LilyJack Resale and Consignment in Morton Grove. Owner Gwen Kessler probably has a new necklace, a handbag, or a pair of shoes to make your favorite dress sparkle. Or, check out The Resale Shop at the Glenview Community Church. Many of their items for women still have the original tags. In Northbrook, shoppers can hit up a row of resale shops at once on Skokie Boulevard. Park in one location and you can search for deals on designer duds at Marshall's, Loehmann's, Nordstrom Rack and the newest addition, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF FIFTH.
For your favorite kids
For outfits as cute as the kids who will wear them, check out the gently used inventory at Still Adorable in Glenview or Principessa Children's Boutique in Highland Park. Owner and mother Aimee Krupp knows her stuff; she opened Principessa four yars ago after her online auction hosting skills outgrew her home.
Books and media
Does your nephew have books or movies on his wish list? The selection of DVDs at Highland Park's Half Price Books is exceptional, with everything from classic TV series to animated favorites. Or, Books Down Under at the Wilmette Public Library might have a gently-used treasure for your favorite neighbor. It's run by volunteers from the Frieds of the Library, and benefits library programs year-round.
A little bit of this, a little bit of that
For some shoppers, the thrill of a great gift comes from the hunt. If that's you, check out the new Goodwill store in Northbrook or Highland Park's Hadassah House Resale Shop. Hadassah House has been in Highland Park for 40 years, with volunteers offering up home decor, jewelry, artwork and clothing for the whole family. Or, try Encore and More in Wilmette, the major fundraiser for the local section of the National Council of Jewish Women. You'll find everything from collectables and furniture to designer clothing.