Time for Living, Time for Giving

I’m always surprised at how many people loathe Christmas shopping. And those that hate the shopping tend to be the people who put it off to the last minute and thus making the experience infinitely worse than it has to be. They end up in stores crowded with other crabby, panicked shoppers.

Although I resent the call to shop this time of year, as if buying things is all the season is about, I do like holiday shopping because it gives me an excuse to walk the City’s neighborhoods and visit my favorite local stores. By shopping this way, I get a little exercise, I get to take some time for myself, and I get my shopping done.

Local stores provide a lot of gift-giving inspiration. There are gift ideas in even the most unlikely places: we went to Miette Confiserie recently to pick up a few treats for ourselves (bergamot caramels for him; nougat for me) and realized that exquisite candies would be a good gift – especially for people who seem to have everything.

Local stores are also particularly great sources for gifts that are made in in the Bay Area. These are my favorite gifts to give because it gives me the chance to introduce someone to something I happen to love and something that they may not have in their area.

Here are some of my favorites SF-made items (or Bay Area-made items). I’ve also noted if there is a local store that carries them but you can, of course, always order online.

heath_budvases_lg.jpg Heath Ceramics
Heath is a legendary Bay Area operation. They’ve been in Sausalito for over 50 years, and their stuff is beyond classic. Their most affordable item happens to be my favorite: a $20 bud vase. Available at Heath, The Gardener (in the ferry building), and I spotted the bud vases at Spring.

vase.jpg J. Mendicino
These vases are easily one of my favorite made-in-SF gifts, and I even received one for my birthday this year! They’re sweet but still modern. And vases are something that everyone needs at some point and few people bother to purchase for themselves. (Picture from Three Potato Four). Available at Doe, Lavish and the ArtistXchange.

fluffy.jpg FluffyCo
FluffyCo is my go-to for gifts lately — whether they are gifts for myself or others, I can’t get enough of their printed hoodies, nighties and t-shirts. There’s more than just clothing here though. Every traveller could use one of their bright colored luggage tags. No one really wants to use those silly luggage belts to find their bag after a flight. Fluffy’s painted bottle openers (perfect for the beer-drinker in your life) and printed throw pillows also make useful and unique housewarming gifts.

FluffyCo has their own tiny little store on 14th St that is open Thurs – Sat, 12pm-7pm only during the holiday season. Also available at CandyStore, Curiosity Shoppe, and Rare Device.

jillbliss.jpg Jill Bliss – For the nature jerks on your shopping list. This local artist’s work is great on so many levels: it’s is ecologically sound. She uses recycled papers and vegetable-based inks. Her work is botantical and her focus is local. Her illustrated posters are of local herbs and flowers. And for someone like me who grew up in a house full of nature posters, the color and vibrancy of her work is particularly exciting. Herb posters, journals and cards available at Doe.

dutchdoor.jpg DutchDoor Press – Letterpress is such a great art form, and happily, one of my favorite letterpress sources is located in SF. One of my favorite purchases this season is Dutch Door’s calendar ($15) — it’s girlier than I usually go for, but I found it completely irresistible. Available at Etsy.com.

Dutchdoor also made the latest 60/40 print for Rose and Radish. When you buy a 60/40 print, the proceeds are split between the artist and a charity of the artists choice. Dutchdoor’s 60/40 print makes for a gorgeous locally produced gift and you’ll be donating to a good cause, too!

Lastly, these are not made in SF but they are all about San Francisco. Ork’s poster of SF neighborhoods (available only online as far as I know) and the SF maptote (available locally at CandyStore. I’ve bought at least three so far!) both confirm my belief that the City is only as strong as its neighborhoods.

Look for a future post on local foods that make for particularly delicious gifts.

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