rebellious gift guide

Welcome to Chicago’s Most Rebellious Gift Guide!

We’re thrilled to share gift ideas for the feminists on your list from some of our favorite women-owned and feminist-friendly Chicago shops. With locally made goodies this good, you have no reason to order all of your gifts this year from that mammoth online retailer whose name rhymes with Glamazon. #ShopLocal #ShopSmall #ShopFeminist

For the Hostess with the Mostess
Carol's Event Staffing Rebellious Gift Guide

Carol Brewer, founder of Carol’s Event Staffing, wants party hosts and hostesses to actually have fun at their own events.

“We allow them to really focus on what their agenda is that day,” Brewer says. “We want everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves, including the host, too.”

No worrying about whether the wine is chilled, the dishes are washed or people’s coats are being hung up: her expert staff has it covered. That goes for everything from intimate dinner parties to corporate holiday events to retail trunk shows to weddings.

They’ve even staffed a dog’s birthday party.

“If it’s legal, we can help them out,” Brewer says with a laugh. “Once people use us, they’re like, ‘Why am I ever doing this by myself again?'”

Since 1994, Carol’s Event Staffing has been serving, bartending, organizing and coordinating rentalware across the city and suburbs. Staff are dressed unobtrusively to blend in with guests as they pass hors d’oeuvres, serve drinks and make themselves otherwise indispensable.

Visit Carol’s Event Staffing to schedule a little peace of mind for the hardworking host or hostess in your life.

By Karen Hawkins

For Sustainable, Woman-Powered Swag

Ink Forest Rebellious Gift Guide

We here at Rebellious Magazine are committed to (read: obsessed with) sourcing sustainable goods from woman-owned businesses, and when it came time to order a set of special edition T-shirts, we hit the jackpot.

Ink Forest is local, woman-owned, eco-friendly and a dream to work with. Owner Judy Mazzuca went above and beyond to work with our budget and timeline, she sent us a series of rad alternative designs to choose from, and when all was said and done, we got a buncha fun extras, including buttons and a social media shout-out. 

Rebellious Gift Guide tote bag from Ink ForestI can neither confirm nor deny that I got emotional when this thank-you tote bag (right) arrived a few weeks later. I’m not crying. You’re crying!

In addition to shirts, buttons and bad-ass custom tote bags you’ll want to carry everywhere, Ink Forest makes buttons and posters. Perfect for team and corporate gifts, family reunion gear and unforgettable event swag.

By Karen Hawkins

For Book Lovers in Your Life Who Have Read All the Classics

Women and Children First Rebellious Gift Guide
Women & Children First is participating in Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. “We’ll have complimentary refreshments all day from locally owned Coffee Studio and Sauce & Bread Kitchen. We’ll also have special giveaways (tote bags, prints, and more). Plus, a percentage of the day’s profit will be donated to Chicago Women’s Health Center.”

Fiction Lovers:

For literary book lovers in your life, look no further than Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Saunders’ first novel after a celebrated career as a short story writer takes readers on a unique journey, not only via the plot but with language itself.

Did your book lover watch all of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and regret that it wasn’t as good as the book? Check out Louise Erdrich’s newest dystopian novel Future Home of the Living God.


If your poetry lover hasn’t discovered Chen Chen, they’re in for a delight with lines like “I am making my loneliness small. So small it fits on a postcard | a baby rabbit could eat.” Chen Chen’s stunning book When I Grow Up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities is at once droll, tender, fantastical and yet relatable.


For fans of Brené Brown, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times from Buddhist nun Pema Chodron is a classic self-help-style book speaking to loneliness and resilience. And you don’t have to be a Buddhist to get great stuff out of it.

Tireless activists will be empowered by Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America — an anthology of 23 feminist writers on protest and solidarity.

Speaking of feminists, did you know that Roxane Gay released two (TWO!!) books this year? Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body — the name says it all — and Difficult Women, a story collection about women as different as they can be. I trust you’ll know who needs more Roxane in their life.

Jeanette Hurt’s Drink Like a Woman: Shake. Stir. Conquer. Repeat. places new and easy-to-follow feminist cocktail recipes such as “The Suffragette Sour” and “Nelly Bly-Tai” beside the history of strong women in an attempt to reclaim the traditionally misogynistic cocktail culture. Pick up this fun and tasty read for all the feminist cocktail lovers in your life.

By Jera Brown

For Next-level Feminism

Feminist Mantras Rebellious Gift Guide

We’ll let you in on a secret Chicago feminist girlcrush: Amelia Hruby is one of our favorite people to follow on Instagram, and her weekly Feminist Mantra Monday series is just one reason why.

We know Amelia as the host of the inspiring Go Forth podcast, and we’ll let her explain what the feminist mantras are all about. 

“‘Fifty Feminist Mantrasstarted as a weekly mantra post and built into this book-length project that arranges 50 mantras by season to guide readers through a feminist mantra practice over the course of a year. It provides mantras and writing prompts that explore themes of relationships, politics, self-care, labor, community and more, all with an emphasis on building feminine/feminist consciousness in our lives.”

Beautiful, right?

Books begin shipping Dec. 1, and you can order your very own copy here.

By Rebellious Writers

For Theater Lovers

42nd Street Rebellious Gift Guide
Kimberly Immanuel (center) and the cast of “42nd Street”. Photo by Brett Beiner.

“What to get the person who has everything?” is a question that coexists with nearly every “happy holidays” declaration. Luckily, the joy of experiencing live theater needs no return receipt, especially when gifting seats to the following favorite revivals and Chicago premieres.

Rebellious Theater Maven Janet Arvia has an awesome Theater Gift Giving Guide you don’t want to miss.

For the 1990s Nostalgia Lover On Your List

Tori Amos Rebellious Gift Guide
Tori Amos brought her “Native Invader” tour to Chicago in October 2017.

The holidays are the perfect time to dive deep into 1990s nostalgia. Here are a few gift ideas that conjure memories from the glory days of grunge.

Tori Amos – ‘Native Invader’

Back in 1992, Tori Amos released her debut solo album “Little Earthquakes,” and she continued to dominate the decade with the subsequent releases of “Under the Pink,” “Boys for Pele,” “From the Choirgirl Hotel” and “To Venus and Back.” Amos’ 2017 album, “Native Invader” is a great gift for your favorite music fans.

Pearl Jam – ‘Let’s Play Two’ Concert Film

If grunge was more your scene in the 1990s, consider picking up a copy of the new Pearl Jam concert film, “Let’s Play Two.” Directed by the accomplished music photographer Danny Clinch, this documentary was filmed during Eddie Vedder and company’s legendary 2016 concerts at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

Doc Martens

Vegan 1460 rebellious gift guideNothing says ’90s like a pair of Doc Martens. I love the Vegan 1460 variety (left), but the brand’s massive array of styles gives you plenty of options for gift-giving.

Bayside Tigers sweatshirt

Every pre-teen’s favorite show in the 1990s was “Saved By the Bell.” Surprise your favorite Kelly Kapowski with her very own Bayside Tigers sweatshirt – just like Zack and the gang used to wear –and pair it with a giant scrunchie to complete the throwback look.

Janeane Garofalo – ‘If I May’ Comedy Album

When it came to comedy, Janeane Garofalo ruled the ’90s with her sarcasm-rich HBO half-hour special, role on “The Larry Sanders Show” and scene-stealing appearance in “Reality Bites.” Give the gift of laughter this holiday season with her latest album, “If I May,” which dropped earlier this year.

Lisa Frank Stocking Stuffers

In the 1990s, you were considered the coolest gal in school if you had the latest Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper to keep your homework organized. Today, an official sticker set is a fun and fresh stocking-stuffer that will bring a smile to the face of any Gen Xer on your shopping list. 

By Laurie Fanelli

For Sexy Self-Care


Rebellious Gift Guide toy collage
From left: The Zumio, Pulse III DUO & Doxy Massager

A holiday gift guide not just for the rebellious woman in your life, but for any rebel you know who could use some tender loving self-care. (All products available at Early to Bed and all tested by me – or a trusted penis-owner – unless otherwise noted.)

New for clits:

Intense, concentrated stimulation with Zumio’s SpiroTIP™ technology.

New for penises:

Hot Octopuss PULSE III SOLO (or DUO for partnered use)
Oscillates! Can be used flaccid or erect! Can even be used with a partner (DUO model)!
SOLO: $109, DUO: $149

For butts:

b-Vibe Novice Plug
Jessica Gordon, of online retailer LUVOQA, recommends this vibrating plug for beginners.

Mr. S. Leather’s Electrified World’s Most Comfortable Butt Plug
Can be connected to a TENS Unit for electrical play! Rebellious’s Jera Brown recommends this for the advanced anal player.
From $159.95

For wand lovers:

Doxy Massager
The most powerful wand on the market? Many say yes!

Budget picks:

Silver Bullet
This classic is easy to use and battery powered.

Femme Funn Ultra Bullet
Twenty vibration settings, 100 percent silicone, rechargeable and completely waterproof!

Tenga Egg
Made to be disposable, Early to Bed suggests you may get a couple uses out of this soft masturbation sleeve.

Fun Factory BOOTIE Plug
LUVOQA also recommends this smallest of a set of 3 plugs of graduated sizes.

Bonus pick:

UVee Go Play Toy Sanitizer
Sanitize and charge your toys simultaneously!

By Nicole Guappone

For Booze You Can Wear (On Purpose)

soap distillery rebellious gift guide
You too can smell like Beer + Cigarettes (and trust me, you want to!)

Danielle from the Soap Distillery is a sorceress of scents. Her boozy concoctions sound bizarre but smell AMAZING.

I have had the privilege of touching and smelling her various bars of soaps and body oils with such intriguing names as Negroni, Fig Bitters, Bourbon and Limoncello.

They wrap you in a haze of slightly naughty deliciousness and they look beautiful on your bathroom shelf. My personal fave? Beer + Cigarettes body oil, which sounds kinda gross but smells better than ANYTHING in the whole world. You, too, can smell like Beer + Cigarettes (and trust me, you want to!). Just head to

By Jessie Mansbacher Kibbe

For Capital-R Rebelles

Rebellious Gift Guide swag
You can buy these beauties on the Rebellious Magazine Spreadshirt Shop.

No Rebellious Gift Guide would be complete without some signature Rebellious merch. If you can put a logo on it, we have, from “Flashdance”-inspired sweatshirts, hoodies, tote bags, notebooks, mugs, baby onesies and thongs.

Yes, thongs.

Between the two Rebellious Swag Shops and our stash of special edition shirts from Ink Forest, we have a little something for everyone. The perfect gift for the most capital-R Rebellious peeps on your list.

Rebellious Magazine Spreadshirt Shop

Rebellious Magazine Threadless Shop Don’t miss free shipping on orders over $45 through Dec. 15!

By Rebellious Writers

For You!

Rebellious Gift Guide Shoes for You
Treat Yo Self this holiday season with tailor-made shoes or whatever strikes your fancy.

Gifts are the most important part of the holidays. Honoring Baby Jesus or Hanukkah or whatever it is that atheists celebrate is all well and good, but there’s a reason that the Three Wise Men stopped off at the Bethlehem-equivalent of Baby Gap to pick up some gold, frankincense and myrrh before they showed up at Mary and Joseph’s. Gifts are small reminders for the loved ones in our lives that they are important to us. They are a way to honor our friends and family, and gift-giving is my favorite part of any holiday.

That said, there’s something to be said for buying a gift for yourself. Just call me the Self-Centered Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come, because I am here to urge you, this holiday season, to get gifts that celebrate you. It’s cold out, the news cycle is a never-ending cycle of pain and misery, and there are too many refined carbohydrates in holiday food—you should take a break and treat yourself.

Monthly Donations to a Worthy Cause

I suggest this first so no one can accuse me of being self-centered. What’s a better way to celebrate yourself than by giving to an organization that means something to you? Love polar bears? Try the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Love vaginas? Planned Parenthood is for you! 

What about truth, justice and the American way? Support those superheroes at the American Civil Liberties Union.

Donations to these organizations have the added benefit of allowing you to pass street canvassers and, when prompted to give money, tell them that you already donate. A monthly donation might be costly, but earned smugness is priceless.

A Taser

Googling “serial killers Chicago” brings up a startlingly large number of murderers, that’s all I’m saying. And look at this taser! This taser is PINK!

A Really Nice Blender

Everyone should have a blender. Even if you already have a blender, you could probably get a nicer one. They are so remarkably versatile—want to make margaritas? There’s a button for that. What about soup? There’s a button for that. Want to make a smoothie? Of course there’s a button for that. Take the advice that my father gives me whenever he calls—eat a g-damned vegetable. Even if you’ve eaten nothing but vegetables for the past 20 days, my father thinks you could stand to eat a few more. And if you have the funds to buy a Vitamix, you could probably use it to liquify diamonds (which would make up for the price tag, honestly).

The New Taylor Swift Album

Only God can judge me, and I think God can agree that there are some catchy songs on this album.

A Wine that Costs More than $7

I was hanging out with some friends this weekend and realized that none of us have ever spent more than $7 on wine. Not that there’s anything wrong with Winking Owl or Charles Shaw, but every once in a while you should splurge. For like $8.

Something Tailored

More Shoes Rebellious Gift Guide
The best-educated woodland elf on the block

Tailoring is the key to beauty. Tailoring makes everyone look good (which is honestly why klansmembers are so fuck-ugly—there’s only so much you can do with a white sheet). This is the biggest purchase I’m going to urge you to make—buy something; a skirt, coat, suit, shoes, whatever—that is tailored specifically to complement you.

Over the past summer, I decided to buy a pair of handmade oxfords. Amara Hark-Weber is a shoemaker and artist in Saint Paul who makes the most gorgeous freakin’ shoes on the planet. She walked me through the entire process, allowing me to choose the pattern, shape, design, color, fabric, everything. Then she took my measurements and a few months later, I had a pair of custom shoes.

The resulting oxfords make me look like a woodland elf pursuing his Master’s degree, which is absolutely my style aesthetic.

By Molly Harris

Several of our fabulous Rebelles contributed to this piece.