Schaumburg isn't just the place suburban Christmas shoppers flock to for big-ticket items on Black Friday, it's also the home of some hidden holiday treasures from all over the world.
For the past 17 years, Gifts of the World at Christ Community Mennonite Church, 888 S. Roselle Road, has been helping support artists, craftspeople and their communities in more than 38 developing countries by selling their work in the suburbs.
Though such pieces are available throughout the year, there's no more popular time of year for the store than December, when Nativities made by artists from various parts of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East go on sale.
This year, Gifts of the World has more than 60 such Nativities in stock, as well as ornaments that showcase the styles of many different cultures.
The store is managed by Janice Kennel Ropp, who took it over from her parents, the now retired pastors of the church.
Gifts of the World is staffed entirely by volunteers and its fair-trade policies insure the artists are properly paid to help them afford the food, education, health care and housing they'd be without if not fully employed by their craft.
And if the opportunity to find a truly unique gift and help an artist survive on his or her trade isn't enough, shoppers will receive a free gift with each purchase in December.
The store will host a Holiday Open House Saturday, Dec. 8 where visitors can sample fair trade coffee and chocolates. They can also put their name in for a gift basket with each purchase through Dec. 20.
During the holiday season, Gifts of the World is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The rest of the year, the hours are the same but only Thursday through Saturday.
Appointments also can be made for evening hours by calling (847) 895-3676.