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Rebel yell

As many know, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots is next year, and this cool "Rebel" T-shirt—which out Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black designed—marks the occasion in a colorful way. ( $27; ) .

All the world's a stage

Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company has brought back its highly popular holiday gift-card special—and it's just in time, as upcoming productions include Familiar, written by Danai Gurira ( of The Walking Dead and the film Black Panther ); La Ruta, written by Isaac Gomez; and Ms. Blakk for President, by ensemble members Tina Landau and Tarell Alvin McCraney. ( Various prices; )

Watch it

No doubt you've heard of those subscription clubs in which new items are sent to you each month. Watch Gang sends cool timepieces to choose from—and, yes, watches are back in style. Also: A big bonus with this great present is that for no additional fees, the recipient will also have the chance to win a Rolex, Tag Heuer and Seiko every week. ( Starting at $29; )

Sing a song

Audra McDonald brings her rich voice to the CD Sing Happy—her first solo release with a full orchestra ( in this case, the New York Philharmonic ) and featuring her singing Broadway numbers she's never recorded. ( $12.59 )

Pop life

Snacks rarely gets better than what Chicago mainstay Garrett Popcorn offers. This holiday, make someone's day with the Hot Cocoa CaramelCrisp® Mix, which features Cocoa CaramelCrisp covered in fine Belgian milk and dark chocolate and mixed with classic CaramelCrisp; or the O Christmas Trio Gift Set ( three petite tins filled with Garrett Mix, Hot Cocoa CaramelCrisp® Mix and Buttery items ). ( $35-$39.95; )

Hot dates

The naughtiest calendar is out yet again ( for the seventh year ). Yep, the 2019 Orthodox Calendar is here, and the theme this time is "Equal Rights. We can Do It!"—and there are some hunky guys throughout the calendar to make sure the sights are pleasant as we persevere. ( Approximately $22; )

So fresh, so clean

Think about this: The typical cellphone has 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom. This is why PhoneSoap is practically essential—during the 10-minute cycle it works on your phone, the device kills kills 99.99 percent of household germs. I don't know how I lived without this. ( Starting at $59.95; )

Book it

Nina Barrett's The Leopold and Loeb Files includes a history of Chicago's 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder case, and includes a variety of source materials, including court transcripts, psychological transcripts, evidence photographs, and more ( $35; ).

New York, New York

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is out with a new holiday two-CD compilation featuring stars from the leading shows on Broadway. This newest edition features 28 tracks from the companies of Mean Girls, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, My Fair Lady, Pretty Woman and more. ( $25; )

Choosing my religion

Industry West—known for furniture—has added Chanukah items like the Marmol Radziner dreidel to its collection. A collaboration with the Jewish Museum in New York, the unique dreidel is crafted in solid walnut with graphic cutouts of Hebrew letters and includes a brass stand for display. ( $100; )

A cut above

One of the best-known knife companies in the world, Wusthof has items for the chef in your life. The three-piece plum charcuterie and cheese set includes a 5" soft-cheese knife, 5" sausage knife and 4" pate knife; and the then there's the Classic Santoku Hollow Edge 7-inch, which is great for starchy vegetables. Martha Stewart would be proud. ( $99.99-$139.99; )

Simply the chess

Chess, you say? Absolutely, especially with Square Off chess board—a magical/spooky item in which you can play against anyone around the world, as the pieces move by themselves. Players can also compete solo against the board's AI mode, selecting from 20 skill levels ranging from beginner to grand master. ( $369 and $449; Amazon and )

Hair apparent

When it comes to hair care, YANTRA products are pretty cool. All YANTRA products are made to be unisex and formulated for use on all hair types. In addition, 10 percent of every purchase going to one of YANTRA's charity partners of the customer's choosing, ( $40-$60; )

Smooth like SILQ

Office furniture ( including those for the home ) have come a long way—and just in time to save your back. Steelcase's SILQ chair has been advertised as the first chair designed to intuitively respond to the human body—and after testing it at the spot at Merchandise Mart, I'm a believer. You find yourself instantly sitting correctly. ( various prices; )

Pet stop

Think of Pawscout as a smarter pet tag. Among other things, Pawscout alerts owners on their smartphone if a pet gets out of the designated area, and even lets all users in the area know if your pet goes missing so they can help you find it. In addition, it keeps a digital profile of medical records, owner information, behavioral issues and other items. ( Starting at $9.95; )


Your favorite coffee lover will go crazy for the newest Keurig items, such as the Keurig® Special Edition K-Café Single Serve Coffee, Latte & Cappuccino Maker and the Keurig® K-Mini PLUS Single Serve Coffee Maker. Eventually, he/she/they may stop going to that popular coffee shop, saving some money. ( $99-$199; )

Playing footsies

When the weather outside is frightful, your Footsac recipient will be toasty, thanks to this blanket that has an 18-inch pocket in which they can tuck their feet. And you can choose varieties such as owl phur, mousse swirl phur and more. ( Starting at $112.50; )

Comics relief

With the box-office receipts of superhero movies showing no signs of declining, it's likely you know someone who's into Superman, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, Black Panther or some other world-saving character. Graham Crackers ( advertised as the number-one comic-book store in Illinois ) has hundreds of selections to satisfy your inner ( or outer ) nerd. ( Various prices; )

Maestro, if you please

The coffee-table book Leonard Bernstein 100: The Masters Photograph the Maestro features the out cultural icon through the lenses of photographers such as Richard Avedon, Felicitas Timpe and Henri Cartier-Bresson. ( $40; out Dec. 11 )

How sweet it is

Gigi's Cupcakes knows how to make some delicious cupcakes ( in sizes of signature, classic and mini )—but it also has cheesecake cupcakes, brownies and more. By the way, there is a Wilmette location if you want to shop locally. ( various prices; )

Climb every mountain

Certain truths are unavoidable—including the fact that slews of people start the new year with fitness goals. ( Whether they stick with them is another matter. ) Chicago's Brooklyn Boulders Chicago offers a wide range of rock-climbing and fitness classes, including yoga and mat-based courses. It's an innovative way to tackle the, ahem, two pounds one might gain over the holidays. ( Various prices; )

How sweet it is

Gigi's Cupcakes knows how to make some delicious cupcakes ( in sizes of signature, classic and mini )—but it also has cheesecake cupcakes, brownies and more. By the way, there is a Wilmette location if you want to shop locally. ( various prices; )

Spirited away

You can't go wrong with serving Mionetto's classic Prosecco DOC Treviso Brut this holiday season. With notes of honey, , and acacia blossom, this wine can be served chilled on its own or used to create your own holiday cocktails—and it seems that so many people enjoy prosecco throughout the year, and there are also Mionetto's signature DOC Treviso Brut Prosecco in mini-bottles as cool stocking stuffers. ( $4-$14; )

'Style' guides

Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, by Paul Martineau, is an informative, lavishly illustrated survey of one hundred years of fashion photography, including more than 300 photographs, including Man Ray and Herb Ritts. However, another book that warrants buying is Female, in which Chilean photojournalist Pilar Vergara captures the uniqueness and diversity of transgender women and their vital contributions to the world from a human-rights perspective. ( $45-$65; )

Lullaby the way

The CD Rockabye Baby! Who Runs the World serves a dual purpose: It provides lullaby versions of songs by Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Missy Elliott and more, and it instills girl power at an early age. ( $16.98; )

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