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As local retailers began rolling out their holiday gifts, we partnered with Aurora’s favorite fashion blogger, Arella Swan, to highlight opportunities to shop small and at the malls in the communities of the Aurora Area of Illinois. 

Here's what Arella Swan had to say about her holiday shopping travels in the Aurora Area: 

When searching for holiday gifts this year, I wanted to make sure I not only chose unique items, but also that I supported retail shops in my local community. Supporting local business has always been my thing. 

My blog,, and my social media presence is all about supporting upcoming brands, businesses, and artists, so I was thrilled to get a chance to hop in my car and tour the Aurora Area in search of the perfect gifts for the people on my list. Thanks to the Aurora Area CVB for helping me plan my holiday shopping trip!  Here are some of my faves from my travels, as well as shops you can support on your quest to find unique holiday gifts for friends and family. 

Stay connected with Arella Swan on instagram at @arellaswan and at her website,

In-store photos by Bunmi Ishola (@bunmi_ishola)
Product photos by Amy Nelson (@amynelsonphoto) 

Blissful Blooms • Aurora,IL

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Blissful Blooms is a custom floral boutique, home to holiday home decor and beautiful floral gifts! Shop Blissful Blooms for that special someone, or arrange a workshop with family & friends in their gorgeous space above Warehouse 55. 

Arella's Faves at Blissful Blooms: 

  • Dry Bar arrangements

  • Eucalyptus bunches

  • Cocoa Crawl arrangement

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Visit Blissful Blooms online at

Branch Gardens • Aurora,IL

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Shop Branch Gardens for sustainable indoor & outdoor gardening supplies your conscious cousin or sibling will love. This is a great place to elevate your space, with decorative planters and succulents, as well as goods curated for aromatherapy and herbal infusions. 

Arella's Faves at Branch Gardens: 

  • Decorative planters

  • Succulent varieties

  • Herbal tea collection

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Visit Branch Gardens online at

Chicago Premium Outlets • Aurora, IL

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The outlets have something for the person who loves all things luxury! You can enjoy exclusive discounts on designer and brand-name labels up to 65% off at over 160 stores at Chicago Premium Outlets. Early holiday savings are listed on their website, which makes it easy to shop in the way most comfortable for you, whether it be in person, or curbside & in-store pickup. 

Arella’s Faves at Chicago Premium Outlets: 

  • Saks Off Fifth

  • Kate Spade

  • 7 of mankind

  • Fannie May Candies

  • Adidas 

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Visit Chicago Premium Outlets online at

Cotton Seed Creative Exchange • Aurora,IL

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Downtown Aurora’s creative spirit comes alive at The Cotton Seed Creative Exchange, and everything inside this curated boutique exudes creativity, with a selection of gifts for the lover of art, self-care and expression in your life. Find vintage records, handmade candles & cards, and proud Aurora themed goods, plus wood-cut wall hangings and apparel.    

Arella's Faves at Cotton Seed Creative Exchange:

  • Tendaji Body Scrub

  • Miss Sadies Hand Soap

  • Allure Candle Co. Candles

  • Stewart Street Creative

  • Bamenda Coffee

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Visit The Cotton Seed Creative Exchange online at

Fox Valley Mall • Aurora, IL 

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Full space to walk and shop, Fox Valley Mall is home to more than just your regular mall stores, with artisan kiosks, interactive adventures, a two-level arcade and bowling alley, paint-your-own pottery workshop, and even a fast casual restaurant specializing in gourmet peanut butter & jelly sandwiches! The new Center Park is a fun new feature, and there is an impressive collection of murals inside and outside the mall. Kids will love the carousel, dressed up for the holiday season with garland and wreaths, a perfect photo opportunity. 

Arella's Faves at Fox Valley Mall: 

  • Pee Bee Jays

  • G by Guess

  • H&M

  • Claires

  • American Eagle Outfitters

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Visit Fox Valley Mall online at 

Warehouse 55 • Aurora,IL

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Every room is a new experience at Warehouse 55, and even when you think you’ve seen it all you’ll be surprised to find that there’s more to explore. Shop unique finds for your home, and browse vintage gifts from art prints to books, apparel, and collectible items. 

Arella's Faves at Warehouse 55:

  • Grae Flannel Vintage

  • Gypsy Willow

  • C&M Vintage

  • Lavender Twist

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Visit Warehouse 55 online at

Wyckwood House • Aurora, IL 

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Home to dozens of local crafters and artisans, Wyckwood House is a beautiful boutique in Aurora Downtown. Decorated to perfection for the holidays, you can find everything from home furnishings to a complete line of fashionable womens clothing here. That’s not all: there are a number of excellent gift ideas for men, kids, and even pets here, too! 

Arella's Faves at Wyckwood House: 

  • Wyckwood Collective Home Collection

  • NaturalAnnie’s Essentials

  • ModStich Co. 

  • Off Beat Thrift vintage finds

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Visit Wyckwood House online at

Stay up to date with shopping, dining, and events at

Hearth & Hammer General • Batavia,IL 

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I could spend all day around the scents of Hearth & Hammer’s literary-inspired candles, but that’s not all you’ll find at this modern general store. Specialty goods and sustainable gifts are available here, including some surprising finds, like ballpark popcorn seasoning. Yes, they have that along with the popcorn to go with! Hearth and Hammer takes away the stress of shopping with an amazing collection of one-of-a-kind gifts. 

Arella’s Faves at Hearth & Hammer: 

  • Hearth & Hammer literary candles

  • Maple Bourbon Pecans

  • Wild Life Floor Puzzles

  • O’Douds Beard Oil

  • You, Me, We Book 

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Visit Hearth & Hammer General online at

Find more options for holiday shopping, dining, and events at

More Polish Pottery • Big Rock,IL

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Did you know there’s a hidden gem shop for Polish pottery just minutes away from downtown Aurora? More Polish Pottery is the Midwest’s largest wholesalers and retailers of artisan Polish ceramics in the Midwest. The history and culture of the pottery is amazing, and each piece has so much colorful detail. It’s all in the details for me, from unique items for cooking, decoration, and serving coffee or tea. This one’s for those who love collectibles and want to surround themselves with beautiful art. 

Arella’s Faves at More Polish Pottery: 

  • Bistro Mug

  • Red Poppy Pitcher

  • Butterfly serving tray

  • Round Hawaiian Ornament

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Visit More Polish Pottery online at

Atrevete Confections • Montgomery, IL 

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This super-chic French-inspired cafe is the perfect sweet stop to pick up holiday desserts and gifts. Best part is you can treat yourself at Atrevete Confections, with drinks from the cafe, yummy cheesecakes, and artisan chocolates offering a sweet retreat from the hustle of holiday shopping.

Arella’s Faves at Atrevete Confections: 

  • Turtle Cheesecake

  • Hibiscus Apple Cider

  • French Macaron Gift sets

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Visit Atrevete Confections online at

The Rustic Fox • North Aurora, IL 

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The Rustic Fox is a one-stop-shop for vintage gifts, decor, and handmade goods. Each aisle was perfectly decorated, with so much to discover for the holidays. Whether you want to deck the halls or find unique vintage and handmade gifts, the Rustic Fox in North Aurora is a fun destination to browse with family & friends for the holidays. 

Arella’s Faves at The Rustic Fox: 

  • Dot Dot Smile

  • FireFly Candle Market

  • Kelsey Street Designs

  • Golden Scarab Antiques and Uniques

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Visit The Rustic Fox online at

Stonehouse Market • Oswego,IL 

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Inspiration awaits you inside these walls! Located in one of Oswego’s original buildings, Stonehouse Market is a cozy setting where you’ll find an elegant mix of furniture, housewares, and holiday decor, plus great small gift items like journals and activity books. 

Arella’s Faves at Stonehouse Market:  

  • Letterfolk Tile Mat

  • Handmade Tassel Trees

  • Paint by Sticker Workbook

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Visit Stonehouse Market online at

Velvet Grace • Oswego,IL

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I was amazed at how every area within Velvet Grace was so beautifully decorated. Adding to the magic, a chic fashion studio is tucked away behind the main property, housing a wide variety of clothing, jewelry, and accessories perfect for holiday gifting. 

Arella’s Faves at Velvet Grace:

  • Need Grace Tee

  • Denim Short Sleeve

  • Studded Frame

  • Bar Necklace 

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Visit Velvet Grace online at

Stay up to date with shopping, dining, and events at

Farnsworth House Gift Shop • Plano, IL 

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 For the architecture enthusiast or minimalist in your life, the Farnsworth House is an architecture buff's dream. A gift in the form of the tour of the house is great and also a nice day out by the Fox River. The gift shop hosts a plethora of architecture and design books, along with unique souvenirs to commemorate the Farnsworth house. 

Arella’s Faves at Farnsworth House:

  • Modern in the Middle book

  • Fearless Edith Shirt

  • “Less Is More” baby onesie

  • Miniature collection collectibles

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Visit the Farnsworth House Gift Shop online at

Flight Bottle Shoppe • Yorkville,IL 

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A variety of local beers, meads and wine are on tap and ready to try before you buy at Flight Tasting Room & Bottle Shoppe, a specialty craft beverage store near the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Yorkville. This is a fun place to shop for the perfect holiday treat to gift yourself or the cocktail connoisseur in your life. 

Arella’s Faves at Flight Tasting Room & Bottle Shoppe: 

  • August Hill Caramel Apple Wine

  • Lyrical Lemonade

  • Kure’s Ginger beer

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Visit Flight Tasting Room & Bottle Shoppe online at

Olde Farm Creek • Yorkville, IL

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Set on an idyllic working farm, orchard, and apiary in Yorkville, Olde Farm Creek showcases farmhouse holiday decor in addition to apples and honey for purchase. I felt so welcome here thanks to the owners’ warm hospitality, and enjoyed browsing the variety of items on display at this picturesque specialty shop in the countryside .

Arella’s faves at Olde Farm Creek:

  • Star Coaster Set

  • OFC honey

  • Filthy Animal Mug 

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Visit Olde Farm Creek online at

The Olive Gallery • Yorkville, IL

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The Olive Gallery is a dream destination for the home chef. Every oil and vinegar has a card accompanied to it with a recipe, which is great for inspiration and to help you understand the taste profile for each blend. Stock up on a gift set and treat the gourmet cook in your life to a flavorful wintertime. 

Arella’s Faves at The Olive Gallery: 

  • Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar

  • Coconut Balsamic Vinegar

  • Blood Orange Olive Oil

  • Black Pepper Olive Oil

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Visit The Olive Gallery online at

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While the holidays may look different this year, you can still find holiday cheer throughout the Aurora Area of Illinois.

Stay up to date with events, art markets, and dazzling drive-through Christmas lights at