These 9 Chicago startups have gifts you won't find on Amazon

by Kate Rosow Chrisman
December 16, 2014

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Buying a holiday gift from a department store is not only boring, it's also inconvenient. With so much amazing technology out there, especially available locally, holiday shopping doesn't need to be either of those things. Here at Built In Chicago, we scoured the startup scene to find you the best, most innovative gifts that support local startups. Read on to find the best apps, drinks, delivery services and more to give to your loved ones this holiday.  

 

For the Romantic

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Need to set the mood? Get your loved ones some beautiful Chicago candles, picked up by the experts at Foxtrot. These premium, hand poured soy candles are made in up-cycled wine bottles, meaning you can feel good about your purchase. Get the pumpkin or cider scents to make your home smell like the holidays.

 

For the Culinary Challenged

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For families that are just too busy to shop and make a healthy meal each night, gift them freshly prepared food. Home Chef offers chef prepared recipes, fresh ingredients and instructions, all delivered to their door. 

 

For the Philanthropist

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Nothing embodies the holiday spirit more than giving, so instead of buying a present, how about giving those in need a bit of extra help? GiveForward is a platform where people can easily set up fundraisers for friends or family and its especially suited for those who need a bit of extra cash for medical bills. 

 

For the Busy Professional

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No one wants to go grocery shopping after a long day of work, so why not give the gift of convenience with Peapod, the online grocer. Now when you stop by unannounced, you're sure to be offered a snack. 

 

For the Wanderlust

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Use the newly launched app Tripnary to find and book your loved one a truly out-of-this world trip. No ideas on where to send them? Browse Tripnary’s bucket list destinations for inspiration. Compare prices from their home city to dozens of destinations with just one click. 

 

For the Fitness Lover

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Pick a wearable, wrap it up and tell your fitness-loving friend about Matchup, an online platform that allows friends and strangers to challenge eachother to fitness activities and compete for cool prizes. Once your friend puts on his Fitbit (or Jawbone, or one of the other many devices supported), challenge your buddy to a little friendly competition online. If those wearables aren't fashionable enough, try contributing to the Mira Fitness Kickstarter to get something more fashion-forward. 

 

For the Whisky Lover

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Online retailer Ezra thinks that as we age, our taste in liquor should get better. That’s why they are constantly on the lookout for interesting and tasty whiskeys, bourbons and other liquors. For the holiday season, Ezra’s recommends Few, an Evanston-made bourbon; Koyal, a Chicago-made Rye; and Letherbee, a Chicago-made Absinthe. Bottoms up!

 

For the Beauty

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For your mom, your wife, or your best friend, give the gift of getting pampered. Pretty Quick offers an easy way to book and pay for spa services all over Chicago, by trusted salons and spas. The company offers gift cards too — perfect for the beauty in your life.

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