Granted the giving, religious and entertainment aspects are important but that still leaves shopping, food and restaurants to go with friends and family and specialty items to find.
So, even though it’s not always all about food or cakes here are two places that excel in those categories. And even thought it’s not all about shopping these two places have fun or unusual gifts and other items you’ll want or need for holiday celebrations.
Plus, even though it’s not just about toys, this place has something that will appeal to different interests and ages.
Chocoholics rejoice. Go here because owners Bill and Donna Collazo have found a way with their executive and pastry chefs to infuse cocoa in entrees, appetizers, breads and butters, desserts and drinks.
But you don’t have to order any of those because this is a full-service restaurant where all the food is delish. BTW, the restaurant’s meats are supplied by Allen Brothers whose clients include some of Chicago’s top steak houses.
However, you will want to linger and relax here because it’s not so noisy that you can’t have a conversation and the owners’ motto and believed in by their staff, is that customers always are important and come first.
The bonus is that the chocolates you will see in a case when you leave are made in house and are irresistible so you’ll want a box to give and to eat at home.
The Chocolate Sanctuary is at 5101 Washington St. Gurnee at the corner with Milwaukee Avenue. For reservations and other information call (224) 944-0808 and visit Chocolate Sanctuary.
Do what folks in northwest suburban Barrington area do. They know they can count on Ambrosia, a European-style patisserie, to come up with the perfect pastries to serve friends and families for holiday parties so they order but also stop in to see what looks interesting, creative and delectable.
This is also a good place to go for breakfast if you crave croissants that are sweet or savory. Choose what you want at the counter including coffee and bring them over to atable. But forget trying to resist bringing something to have later at home.
Ambrosia is at 710 W. Northwest Hwy., Barrington. For more information call (847) 304-8278 and visit Discover Ambrosia.
Long Grove is a fun place to visit December weekends when it has carolers and carriage rides but you will want to stop in at the Olive Tap, weekends or weekdays to pick up gifts for the holidays.
You get to taste different olive oils and vinaigrettes before you buy. However what is most important is that the store’s products are fresh. They also know how to package items so they look special.
The Olive tap is at 240 Robert Parker Coffin Road, Long Grove. For more information call (847) 478-8741 or visit The Olive Tap.
The store has been the place to go in Highland Park for years when needing cards, invites, announcements and great wrapping paper. However, it shines during the holidays with all kinds of stocking stuffers you never would have thought of. It’s a great place to browse so enjoy and don’t be in a hurry.
The Paper Source is at 490 Central Ave Highland Park, For more information call (847) 266-6100 or to get some ideas visit PaperSource.
Among the unusual aspects of this toy store, a new shop that opened Sept. 2, 2017 in Lake Forest, is that visitors can try out and play with the toys.
Educators are on hand to answer questions, offer suggestions and when needed, schedule learning sessions because the store is also a Learning Center.
Sage Explorers is at 644 N Bank Ln, Lake Forest. For more information call (224) 249-3658 visit Sage Explorers.