We all have people in our lives who are tough to buy for. You know, the ones who have everything they need and buy everything they want.
It sure would be nice to come up with an unexpected gift that shows some thought and a lot of love.
Consider a tribute gift. It takes personalization to the next level by honoring Uncle Jim or Grandma Sue and helping others at the same time.
is a great way to honor folks who love children, animals or just enjoy nature. Several people may want to go in on a donation. It costs $1,000 for an
placed in the Hamill Family Play Zoo's rear garden or for a stadium plaque attached to a seat in the Seven Seas dolphinarium. The zoo has many other ways to offer tribute to your loved one: $1,500 for a tree planting with a plaque and $10,000 for a personalized bench. For more information, call 708-688-8667. Similar opportunities are available at the
; call 312-742-2171 for details.
Got a nature lover on your list? Give a living legacy by
donating a tree
to a park district or forest preserve. For instance, the DuPage County Forest Preserve has oodles of tribute giving opportunities. Spend $500 to fund plantings and enhanced landscaping throughout the district and recognize someone with an engraved leaf at the preserve's Wheaton headquarters. For $1,500, a
will mark an existing tree, while $2,500 will support a new planting.
range from $1,000 to personalize an existing bench to $1,500 for a new handcrafted log bench to $2,500 for a recycled-plastic bench with a concrete pad. Other pricier options from personalized bike racks to information kiosks to mini shelters also are available.
The forest preserve offers tribute gifts at other locations as well. For instance,
from $100-$500 support the Mayslake Hall Restoration Society. At the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn, donations of $75 and up include personalized acknowledgement near an adopted animal's cage. Funds collected pay for the food, medical care and enrichment of the center's animal collection. For more information, call the DuPage Forest Preserve District at 630-933-7097. Call the forest preserve district or park district in your area for other ideas.
supporting area animal shelters
in honor of pet lovers. Animal Education & Rescue in Libertyville, 847-816-0831, recognizes donations of $100 or more online with a personal tribute. Call an animal shelter near you for other ideas.
in Glencoe, 847-835-8333, has giving opportunities for gardeners, history buffs, along with music and book lovers alike. Donors can
adopt a bonsai tree
purchase engraved bricks
near the visitor center or along the rose garden walkway ($500-$1,000),
sponsor a summer Carillon Concert
pay for a special floral display
buy a book with a personalized nameplate for the Lenhardt Library collection
restore a rare book
(cost varies) for the library's rare book collection (one of the largest in the world). Consider similar options at the
in Lisle, 630-719-7948.
Give a gift to Kohl Children's Museum of Greater Chicago in Glenview for those whose favorite sound is children's laughter. Donations of $25 and up will be acknowledged as part of the museum's 25th anniversary, while
range from $1,000 to $2,500,
dedicated benches in Habitat Park
cost $5,000 and
range from $5,000 to $25,000. Call 847-832-6911 for details.
consider giving to the hundreds of area charities that don't offer personalized tributes,
but will have meaning for your recipient. For instance, Advocate Health Care with more than 250 sites offering care in Illinois including 10 acute care hospitals and two integrated children's hospitals, allows donors to target particular departments and programs. Give to provide charity care for the uninsured, to give patients massage, music and pet therapy, or target departments like the addiction treatment program, adult Down syndrome center or cancer treatment. Tribute donations can be made in any amount. Call the Advocate Charitable Foundation at 847-384-3400 for more information.
For those who live for golf or have a special place in their heart for people with special needs, the
Sunshine Through Golf Mission
offers a perfect gift. For $150 to $500, donors purchase personalized bricks placed on the walkway of the Midwest Golf House in Lemont which brings golf into the lives of people with special needs. Call 630-685-2351 for more information.
Gift givers with any budget can pick the perfect tribute gift for a loved one with any interest by donating a book to their local library. For instance,
the Arlington Heights Memorial Library will put a personalized name plate in any book purchased in someone's honor.