rebellious gift guide 2019

Welcome to Chicago’s Most Rebellious Gift Guide!

Another year, another collection of uniquely badass gift ideas for the feminists on your list. We know, we know: all feminists and their friends really want this holiday season is A NEW PRESIDENT FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY. But until that glorious day arrives, these delights from some of our favorite women-owned and feminist-friendly Chicago shops will keep us warm. Once again this year we challenge you to not buy a single gift from that behemoth whose name rhymes with Glamazon. #ShopLocal #ShopSmall #ShopFeminist #ShopRebellious

Start A Revolution on Your Bookshelf

Women and children first rebellious gift guideIndependent bookstores these days are hotbeds for cultural conversations and readings that call out the insidious political systems that are crippling our society and our democracy. Writers, authors, poets, readers and anyone else looking to expand their consciousness find each other between packed bookshelves, either bumping into each other with an armful of paperbacks or, decidedly, seated next to each other with their Notes app ready to jot notes. There’s friendly discourse, there’s impassioned pleas, there’s searches for context. Yay, the revolution—if not already blooming underground—starts surrounded by hardcover spines.

But, we must remember that in the beginning was the Word, and if you aren’t reading, there won’t be much change.

Women & Children First Bookstore handles both sides of the rebellious coin, offering a wide cadre of events and readings dear to every feminist. If there’s a new social, economic or historical justice book coming out, there’s a good chance the author will make its way to Clark Street. Its event calendar stays booked with opportunities to meet and fellowship with the brightest literary minds around.

Plus, the W&CF staff knows its shelves, and can recommend their favorites in any genre you’ve been eyeing. Stop in to grab the latest from your favorite Chicago author, or you can check out the wishlist of Chicago books and donate to women in prison. Princess McDowell

Fuel The Revolution with ‘Shut it Down’ by Lisa Fithian

shut it down by lisa fithian rebellious gift guide

Shut it Down,” by Lisa Fithian is veteran activist’s guide to direct action and strategic civil disobedience that roves that change can come, but only if we’re open to creatively, lovingly, and strategically standing up to protect what we love.

“This wise and warm book will help us build real power.”—NAOMI KLEIN

Available now wherever books are sold. (See above!)—From our sponsors

Give the Gift They’ll Open Again and Again

books rebellious gift guide

So, it’s a wrap.

Everything’s under paper and under the tree. You’re done with all your shopping, except for one person. Or two. Maybe four.

So what do you get for that hard-to-buy-for person who never likes anything? Well, as they say, a book is a present they’ll open again and again, so why not head to your local bookstore for these great gifts.

The giftee who needs a boost of confidence will love unwrapping “More Than Enough” by Elaine Welteroth. It’s the story of the author’s realization that she really WAS everything she needed to be and if that’s a great lesson to take into the new year…

For the lover of music, feminism, and fierce women, “No Walls and the Recurring Dream” by Ani DiFranco will make a perfect gift. It’s the story of DiFranco’s first thirty30 years on earth, her activism, her life, and her music.

The reader who works to understand racial issues will want to see “When I Was White” by Sarah Valentine beneath the tree this year. It’s the true story of a little white girl who grows up to be a woman who learns that her father was a Black man. Complicated, yes. Fascinating? That, too.

Season’s Readings!Terri Schlichenmeyer

Explore the Toy Workshop Santa Doesn’t Talk About as Much

palm power extreme at early to bed rebellious gift guide
The Palm Power Extreme, available now at Early to Bed

Honestly, nothing says “holiday spirit” more than a high-quality dildo.

To continue with the holiday-themed metaphors, if you are able to brave the winter cold and travel up to the barren north of 5044 N. Clark Street, you can enter a marvelous toy room packed to the brim with the beautiful, the breathtaking, and the truly bizarre for everyone on the nice or naughty list.

Early to Bed was opened in 2001 to give the people of the Windy City access to quality, diverse sex toys in a welcoming, safe space. It is a sex-positive, woman/trans-friendly shop, and it is staffed with knowledgeable people equipped to provide honest feedback on their wide variety of goods that range from books, accessories, and toys.

The shop also provides workshops on a number of topics, and their staff is more well-versed in toys than Santa’s elves (admittedly, “toys” probably has a different definition for the staff of Early to Bed, compared with Santa’s elves.) —Molly Harris

Deliver a Chocalatey Hug in a Cup

Mindy's hot chocolate
Photo courtesy Mindy’s Hot Chocolate

Chocolate is such a perfect holiday gift. Barring any serious chocolate allergies, it works as a perfect present for anyone on your gift list: it is simple, delicious, and you can make it as fancy as you want to be.

Mindy’s Hot Chocolate is a staple on Chicago dining guides, and hands-down the best hot chocolate in the city. It tastes like a hug in a cup, and everything else in Mindy’s Hot Chocolate bakery seems like something that would come out of the kitchen of a kindly older woman who may or may not have a house made out of candy and a desire to murder young children.

It’s that good.

If you live in Chicago, you owe it to yourself to head to 125 S. Clark Street to try their hot chocolate as a holiday gift to yourself. For those outside the city, you can also purchase one of their hot chocolate blends that include Mexican Hot Chocolate, Medium Hot Chocolate, Dark Hot Chocolate, or you could really confuse the people on your gift list and just send them a dozen of their homemade marshmallows. —Molly Harris

Be Bossy

bossy ad rebellious gift guide
Show the small business owners in your life some love.

Make any gift more thoughtful by buying it from a women-owned business! Bossy Chicago helps Chicagoans shift their buying power to women. So no matter what you’re looking to gift this season, search their online directory of hundreds of local, women-owned, small businesses.

And for any women entrepreneurs or small business owners in your life, give the gift of community! Bossy Chicago runs a collaborative online community for women and non-binary small business owners, and you can gift one-year of membership to their community as the ultimate show of support for those small business owners in your life. —From our sponsors

Shop the Show that’s ‘One of a Kind’

art rebellious gift guide

Those looking for a number of unique gifts via one-stop shopping can look to the “19th Annual One of a Kind Holiday Show” (Dec. 5-8) at The Mart in River North.

The four-day event offers artwork (ceramics, paintings, photography, sculpture, etc.) and handcrafted pieces (jewelry, baskets, furniture, etc.) made by more than 600 artisans. Attendees can also enjoy live music, fashion shows, artist demonstrations, crafting workshops, and gourmet cafes as they shop.

“Every year we are amazed by the quality and unique items artists produce for our show,” says Aida Sarvan, director of marketing for the One of a Kind Show. “Shoppers are treated to new and trendy items from hundreds of artists, which can only be found at The Mart each holiday season. This year, our holiday gift guide features a variety of new items from our Emerging Market, which features 30 up-and-coming artists sharing their work at the show for the first time.”

Tickets are $12 per adult for all four days; children are free. Special ticket packages are also available. A portion of all ticket sales benefit the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. For more information, visit —Janet Arvia

Put Some Swing in Your Christmas

music gift guide
Chicago native Jane Lynch (left) performs in “Swingin’ Little Christmas” at City Winery on Dec. 15 with Kate Flannery and Tim Davis.

Experiencing live music is a festive option for those participating in pre-holiday outings and gift exchanges—especially if seeing Chicagoland native Jane Lynch in “Swingin’ Little Christmas.” The Emmy winner joins actress Kate (“The Office”) Flannery, singer Tim Davis and The Tony Guerrero Quintet for two shows at City Winery Chicago (Dec. 15). In addition to regular tickets ($55-$78), Meet and Greet passes ($75) are available at

The Q Brothers Collective mashes up hip hop with reggae in its take on the Charles Dickens classic “Q Brothers Christmas Carol” at Chicago Shakespeare’s The Yard on Navy Pier (Nov. 29-Dec. 23). For tickets ($32-$56), visit

Hell in a Handbag Productions recreates Bette Midler’s famed New York concert in “Bette: Xmas at the Continental Baths” at Mary’s Attic (Dec. 6-31). Order tickets ($18-$125) at

If you prefer being on holiday over the holidays, world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming stars in “The Light in the Piazza” at Chicago’s Lyric Opera House (Dec. 14-29). Based on Elizabeth Spencer’s novel, the musical follows an American woman who falls in love while visiting Florence. For tickets ($49-$219), visit —Janet Arvia

Charm Your Chakra

I woo me Chakratude

Take things into your own hands. Because there’s no shame in this game. Charm your chakra with an #AttitudeOfEnergy.

Vibrant American Apparel chakra gear with sassy affirmations. Empowering Clairvoyant Readings. Visit for more information about services and gift ideas.

Save 15 percent with code REBEL. —From our sponsors


Outfit Your Squad

rebellious sweatshirt

This slouchy, comfy, sexy sweatshirt is a Rebellious bestseller for good reasons: it’s a little bit “Flashdance,” a little bit “Laverne & Shirley,” and all about making you feel extra Rebellious! Buy one (or four) today for yourself and your squad.

Or scoop up all kinds of branded goodies—from notebooks to totes to thongs (you read that right)—at our two Rebellious shops on Spreadshirt and Threadless. A portion of all proceeds benefit your favorite Chicago-based feminist magazine. —Rebellious writers


Several of our fabulous Rebelles contributed to this piece.