Revival offers playful objects for every budget. Designer blankets with saturated colors of blues and greens and geometrical patterns are soft in texture and made of 100% Merino wool. A cut above any catalog find ($229.95). For $30 you'll find fantastic angora and wool hats for the mod, fly girl or homey. One stretchy hat has a border of webbed material--hair gets pulled through it, framing the face like a mane, while keeping the noggin warm. The string light collection is extensive and includes lights with tufts of black and white feathery fur. These fuzzy shimmering lights will please both teenager and Black & White gala girl ($14.95).
Revival of the Fittest, 1701 Haight (at Cole), 751-8857. One-stop shopping for the naturalist, Buddhist and goddess on your list. The bug collection is both scary and seductive, with preserved butterflies, beetles, and other unimaginables ($78 and up). African and Indonesian ceremonial masks range from humorous to ethereal and start at $50. Expansive tapestries from India in earthy, muted colors make great wall hangings, bedcovers or beach blankets and are both versatile and affordable ($18.95-$24.95). Planetweavers, 1573 Haight (at Clayton), 864-5526. The huge fishnet-clad legs dangling over the entrance of this little boutique hints at what's inside. Enter this party girl, lap dancer's closet and find custom made disco-raver all-American cowboy hats. In this time of über-patriotism, it's a gift for that friend who won't tone it down to half-mast. ($67-$100). Ultra cool are the fur legwarmers that fit over boots. Dancing hooves are phat these days and come in blacklight-ready zebra and cow prints ($40). For the Christmas stocking, but meant for the midriff, pick up a novel navel adornment that blinks. Belly lights ($8) twinkle in red and green and include two batteries and adhesive. Promises are made that it will adhere to outies! Piedmont, 1452 Haight (between Masonic and Ashbury), 864-8075. For the rock star in your life, look no further than Wasteland for outfits worthy of the stage, rave, motorcycle or street. Ultra cool seconds give you the financial leeway to purchase those red-and-white leather racing pants for the guy with a Norton, or a bright orange 70s macramé top for the retro-chic girl. Denim outfits and jeans have always been a great find here, as well as Goth, mod, and rockabilly attire. Jewelry, sunglasses, gloves, hats, and shoes round off the outfit for a head-turning appearance. Catering to the counter culture, this huge cavern of a store has been a fixture in the upper Haight while costuming the ever-changing SOMA club scene. Wasteland is known for its vintage collection, but also features an amazing contemporary selection that changes as fast as fashion. Wasteland, 1660 Haight (at Belvedere), 863-3150.
Very cool here are messenger, shoulder, and clutch bags made from recycled seatbelts--all are gorgeously woven and come in custom-dyed colors ($70- $100). Particularly swank is a silver Saab clutch. In the toy section, check out No Bonz. These iMac-colored Lego-like gizmos assemble into sea creatures with moving parts--an invertebrate building bone-anza ($18). For the friend who frantically rummages for their Edelweiss-wailing phone, Therapy sells a mobile phone holder shaped like a baby's head. They come in blue or pink with a hole in the back for the phone. A suction cup adheres to a car window or the forehead of those who make us suffer. ($10). Therapy is a good thing.
Therapy, 545 Valencia (next to HEAD gallery), 861-6213.
Displays of vintage chemist bottles, fossils, plants, and tools plus a tearoom lure the nostalgic, the naturalist, and the gardener alike. The Victorian Conservatories, beautiful curved glass houses that are showcases for exotic plants ($60-$780) make good gifts for all of the above. The precious feel of an ostrich egg in one's hand is a gift unto itself. The egg's enormity betrays its fragility ($20-$50). For a child, a fossilized shark's tooth provides a feeding frenzy for the imagination and one that you might not want to witness. ($7.50 and up).
Paxton Gate, 824 Valencia (between 19th and 20th Sts.), 824-1872.
Yaeko Yamashita is an alchemist with fabric, creating beautiful objects like her Arabian-style velvet slippers ($68 -$75). The children's version is irresistible. ($29-$35). Alongside mittens, gloves, hats and jewelry are fantastic Dr. Seuss-inspired miniature chairs. Wire backs twirl and end in a tuft of feathered fur, while the seat sprouts velvet buds of different colors. If Barbie needed a throne, this would suffice ($15-$23). In the stocking-stuffer price range, you'll find velvet/satin budding rose brooches, barrettes, and hair ties, all handmade and exquisite ($5 -$20).
Laku, 1066 Valencia (between 21st and 22nd Sts.), 695-1462.
With 100% of profits going to AIDS charities, you give twice with every gift purchased here. You'll find a veritable goldmine of housewares for your favorite Francophile, including a Paris-labeled glazed pitcher and small bowl ($52), a stand-out on any table. A glass hummingbird feeder gives that neighbor something else to watch besides you. Hand-blown spheres or red rocket shapes will delight the nervous birds and your wallet at $38. For Christmas parties, those gifts of ornaments are immediate gratification to you and your host. A gorgeous peacock ball ornament ($14) goes to the A-list party giver.
Under One Roof, 549 Castro, 503-2301.
My daddy once told me, "Never give a gift you can't share." You'll want to make sure you're around when this gift gets unwrapped. This shop is a hilarious nest of fantastic chocolates and fudges in a boudoir setting. The chocolatier carefully crafts indulgences for those of us who'd rather die fat and laughing. When you've got names like Coffee Slut Truffle and Lou Rawls Balls, (a dark bittersweet truffle), to choose from, the dilemma of "what for whom" takes care of itself. While classic fudges like chocolate and maple are delicious, slip in some exotic flavors like the rose or violet. Palates will reel with pleasurable confusion when the botanical essence saturates. Purchase a Faerie Queene pre-paid debit card or pre-boxed chocolates ($8 to $50). All individual chocolates are packaged in festive bags.