Guide to shopping sustainably in Evanston for the holiday season


Illustration by Angeli Mittal

Snow is falling and presents are piling up next to a tree, illustrating the true spirit of giving this holiday season.

Shveta Shah, Reporter

As holiday markets and consumerism become increasingly intertwined, it’s refreshing to take a step back and consider how to shop in a sustainable way. Here’s The Daily’s guide to some of the ways you can check off your holiday lists in Evanston while also keeping Mother Earth happy.

1. Start by thinking local

Shopping locally is one way to consciously support small businesses in the community. The process also helps reduce the overall carbon footprint by eliminating the process of shipping goods across the country.

Lisa Degliantoni is the organizer of Shop Evanston Made, a seven-week long pop-up shop in Church Street Plaza. The pop-up has 150 local vendors that rotate weekly to sell their handmade goods. Along with the merchandise, the pop-up also features an art installation from local artists and members of Evanston Made for customers to enjoy while shopping.

“You have to have made (the product),” Degliantoni said. “We are tiny by design because we want to be a hyper-local resource for handmade goods.”

Kimberly Polka, founder of the glass station, is one of the featured vendors at Shop Evanston Made.

Using her own drawings of owls and other animals, she cuts and fuses glass to make custom night lights. She has been selling her glass creations since the early 2000s.

“With COVID, a lot of people started to realize, especially in Evanston and other small communities, that supporting local was important and kept people afloat,” Polka said.

Mark Cleveland is another vendor at Shop Evanston Made. Cleveland crafts unique watercolor prints of local Evanston shops like Bennison’s Bakery.

Through his art, Cleveland has the opportunity to learn about people from the community. Cleveland said these life stories are what fuel him to do work. He believes amplifying the work of local artists is especially important during the holiday season.

“The value is twofold,” Cleveland said. “We are selling in a market that understands who we are and where we come from, and we are resonating with people who live in the area.”

The Artem Pop Up Gallery on Sherman Avenue is another shop that highlights the work of local artists in Evanston. The store features unique statement jewelry pieces and handmade candles made by Jacob’s Candles, a Chicago-based business.

2. Try shopping second-hand

Another eco-friendly way to shop is buying second-hand items. This gives clothes another life and reduces the waste from production of new clothing. Crossroads Trading is one of Evanston’s thrift shops, carrying unique items for everyone, including jackets, bags, scarves, jewelry and more.

Thrift House Junior League of Evanston-North Shore’s has been open since 1940 and offers gently used clothing, jewelry and home decor. The thrift shop is scheduled to reopen for the holiday season on Dec. 3. All of the proceeds from Thrift House go back to the community through outreach programs like Connections for the Homeless.

3. Get creative with your giving

When in doubt, plants are always great gifts for anyone on your list. They can help reduce carbon dioxide levels in the air while also providing an aesthetic beauty. Plant Shop Evanston carries a wide variety of plants that are sure to brighten anyone’s holiday season, including mini succulents, cacti and larger houseplants.

When checking boxes off your holiday shopping list, don’t forget about your furry friends. Follow Your Nose pet shop carries a wide variety of sustainable gifts for pets. Ramie Gulyas, founder of the store, said sustainability has always been a consideration with her business.

The shop sells “Chilly Dog” sweaters, which are made out of locally sourced South American wool. The sweaters are both durable and unique, according to Gulyas. Follow Your Nose also carries dog toys made out of recycled plastic, which reduces the amount of trash on planet earth.

Gulyas thinks that the longevity of an item is particularly important, not just in the pet world but for every item.

“I try personally to buy things that last and I don’t want to have to keep replacing them,” Gulyas said. “Because it’s just wasteful.”


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Twitter: @shvetashah17

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