Nature-inspired Gifts from The Arboretum Store: Staff Picks

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December 5, 2023

The Arboretum Store offers more than 8,000 nature-inspired items for nature lovers of all ages. Shop in person or online for books about home gardening, all-weather birding gear, toys designed to awaken a child’s interest in the natural world, beautiful home decor items, and much more.

The store is dedicated to anyone who marvels at the natural world, loves to learn about trees and other plants, or seeks gifts to share nature’s beauty. Your purchase also has a wider impact, helping to support education science, research, and conservation efforts spearheaded by The Morton Arboretum.

Not sure where to start? Here are gifts that Arboretum staff are choosing for their friends and family this holiday season.


Frasier Fir Fragrance Diffuser

Selected by Caleb Phelps, design manager

Awaken the holiday spirit in your home with aromas of Siberian Fir, pine, and sandalwood! The Arboretum Store carries a wide selection of home goods inspired by nature, including a Frasier Fir fragrance diffuser.

Caleb says the scent of fresh fir needles seems to bring him back in time, imagining magical holidays of the distant past. An included glass jar to hold the diffusers is printed with pine branches and makes a stylish addition to any mantle or tabletop.

Price: $55
Recommended for: tree hugger, holiday lover


Reclaimed Arboretum Wood Bread Boards and Serving Boards

Selected by Brian Malatia, arborist supervisor

Share your love of trees with friends and family with a bread board or serving board made from reclaimed wood of trees from the Arboretum’s grounds. The Black Walnut Medium Serving Board pictured here features an elegant handle, and the dense grain makes for a secure cutting surface. When not in use, it doubles as a gorgeous display piece for the kitchen.

Small, medium, and large-sized boards in a variety of woods are available at The Arboretum Store. Brian suggests any of these as gifts for those who appreciate fine craftsmanship and the simple beauty of wooden objects. Stop by to shop a variety of one-of-a-kind items for the home and kitchen, including spoons, salad tongs, coasters, and more.

Price: Ranges from $95 to $350
Recommended for: anyone who appreciates handcrafted items, entertainer, history buff, nature lover


Folkmanis Finger Puppets

Selected by Kathryn Neuffer, supervisor of early childhood programs

Kathryn uses Folkmanis finger puppets for nearly every one of the Arboretum’s early childhood programs, and kids absolutely love them! The high-quality materials and construction of these fuzzy woodland animals will help them hold up to many years of play.

As the Arboretum’s supervisor of early childhood programs, Kathryn is drawn to toys that offer a range of possibilities for play to stimulate the imagination. All Folkmanis finger puppets—fox, bunny, beaver, jack rabbit, raccoon, spotted owl, and gray squirrel—have enough structure to sit or stand on their own, so they can be played with as miniature stuffed animals as well as finger puppets.

Price: $9 –$14
Recommended for: children from toddlers up through early elementary age who enjoy animals and the outdoors


The Secret World of Plants by Ben Hoare

Selected by Rachel White, senior horticulturist

The colorful holographic artwork and gilded page edges of this beautiful hardcover book will catch every kid’s eye. Its pages are packed with visually stimulating illustrations and information about plants and trees.

Rachel has this book on her list because she’s always looking for gifts that can be enjoyed for many years, rather than just one season. The Secret World of Plants is designed to grow along with young minds: Smaller children can point and name the colorful illustrations, while older kids can dive into the details of plant identification with fun factoids throughout the pages.

Price: $24.99
Recommended for: future botanists and green professionals, any child who is curious about plants and trees


Northern Lights Whiskey Candle

Selected by Caleb Phelps, design manager

Caleb recommends candles from Northern Lights, which feature rustic and warming scents such as bourbon, spice, and tobacco. The Whiskey Candle evokes the tasting notes of top-shelf whiskey and is a unique gift idea for anyone who’s serious about their spirits.

Light the wick for a burst of spicy clove and black peppercorn, followed by shades of vanilla musk, amber, and smoky incense. Bottom notes of charred oak barrels lend a layered complexity. Like a fine aged whiskey, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a merry gathering with friends or a snowy evening with a good book.

Price: $20.00
Recommended for: a father, significant other, son, or special friend in your life for whom you never know what to buy


Do-It-Yourself Birding Start-Up Kit

Selected by Leslie Weibeler, digital content coordinator

If you’re looking for the perfect way to introduce a friend or family member to birding, Leslie suggests creating your own birding supply kit with items available at The Arboretum Store. The store carries everything you need to start observing and identifying birds in your area, from birding-specific items to practical outdoor gear.

For example, the Rite in the Rain All-Weather Journal—which comes in pocket, small, medium, and large sizes—is filled with waterproof paper that’s usable in wet weather when paired with the Rite in the Rain All-Weather Pen. Beginning birders will also appreciate one of several illustrated birding guides available in The Arboretum Store that list and describe common birds seen in their area.

Don’t forget about clothing to keep the cold at bay during long walks in the woods. Fleece headbands embroidered with The Morton Arboretum’s logo feature a contoured design to keep ears warm in chilly winter air. An Arboretum poncho is always worth bringing along and clips conveniently to a bag or belt loop.

Price: Ranges from $6.95 to $18.95
Recommended for: budding birders, nature poets, travel writers


Give the Perfect “Green” Gift this Holiday Season

The Arboretum Store is currently open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can shop in person, over the phone by calling 630-719-2454, or at The Arboretum Online Store.

Your purchases support the Arboretum’s efforts to plant and conserve trees, provide educational programming, and continue to be a global leader in tree research. Arboretum members receive a 10% store discount. Membership cards must be shown in the store or the membership ID applied online at checkout.

Can’t decide on the right gift? Let your friends and family select their own with an Arboretum gift card. Gift cards may be used at the Ginkgo Restaurant, Ginkgo Café, and for purchasing memberships.

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