Panettis, 3927 24th St. (between Sanchez and Noe), 648-2414.
More than a jewelry store, this is a gallery of wearable art dedicated to selling the wares of many local artists who design and hand-make limited-edition pieces. Currently featured at the Noe Valley store are Betsy Barron's organic-influenced designs. Barron casts jewelry from items found in nature--poppies, twigs, and a beautiful star of anise are among her treasures. Margaret Marano has a distinctly Asian flair to her work, which includes beautiful glass earrings, while Vanessa Mellet's Baroque style is much more ornate. A popular line of rings is offered by David and Ronnie. One of the great things about this shop is that there is something lovely in every price range, from $12 to $2,000.
Gallery of Jewels, 4089 24th St. (at Castro), 285-0626.
Can't figure out what to get anyone? Head to Forrest Jones, a general/kitchen/only-in-San-Francisco store. Wicker baskets of all shapes and sizes are stacked along the sidewalk; garlic presses are displayed nearby sequined vests. For the friend who can't afford Paris this year, how about French soaps from Roger & Gallat in a classic fragrance like sandalwood or a natural scent like melon? ($4.50-$18.50). For your girlfriend who eats the olives out of your martini, how about a Tuscan yellow olive tray of her own ($15)? Indulge the décor-deprived in co-owner's Phillipe Henry de Tessan's specialty--lamps fashioned from colorful Malaysian seed jugs ($100 to $200).
Support a local artisan this holiday season. For 30 years, American Pie has been the place for emerging artisans to sell their wares. Owner Taylor Wilcox's taste is whimsical and offbeat. In addition to nostalgic knickknacks and old-fashioned candy, you'll find a gift of aromatic luxury--a silky pillow stuffed with buckwheat and lavender ($36-$56). Make someone the snazziest shopper at the Farmers' Market with a kitschy 50's-influenced canvas tote ($26). Choose from bursting fruity patterns like strawberries on a turquoise background. There's plenty here to stuff in stockings, including eye pillows, magnets, and even Scent of San Francisco incense sticks ($10).
American Pie, 3101 Sacramento (at Baker), 929-8025.
My Boudoir is a lingerie store where lace bears little resemblance to the doily beneath grandma's fruitcake. If you know your gal doesn't mind goin' nipply, give her a red spidercage bra ($78) with matching panties ($108). If you haven't been dating her long enough to give the gift of kink, go with a sexy but snuggly ivory velvet chemise with embroidered lace ($120). And ladies, there's holiday shopping here for you too! Buy yourself something sexy and sit for a Boudoir Portrait. For $125, you get a one-hour session with a professional female photographer and 36 shots of yourself in seductive poses to give that lucky someone. Victoria, beware.
My Boudoir, 2029 Fillmore (between Pine and California), 346-1502. www.myboudoir.net.
If the idea of homemade gifts conjures images of the macaroni sculpture you made mom in fifth grade, it's time to re-evaluate your creativity. How about a handmade photo album for your sister to remember the trip you took to Tahoe together? Or a collage crafted into an accordion book for your grandfather? Paper Source provides not only the kits ($5-$29.50) but the know-how of a helpful staff. Better yet, give the gift of craft itself. Paper Source offers more than a dozen classes for the hobbyist--linoleum-block printing, Polaroid image transfer, bookbinding, silk-screening, and card making ($45-$110). Children's classes are also offered.
Paper Source, 1925 Fillmore (between Bush and Pine), 409-7710.
D&M Wine and Liquor isn't your ordinary corner package store. A pre-eminent source for champagne, D&M also specializes in single malt scotch, armagnac, calvados, cognac, and tequila. Pick up a couple of tumblers and wrap them with a bottle of Bunratty Potcheen Moonshine ($15.99), the first legal potcheen (pronounced "poteen") since the 17th-century ban on its production. For an ultra-rich whisky, give him a bottle of Black Adder Old Man of Hoy from the northernmost distillery in Scotland ($38.99). If tequila is more his style, a bottle of Del Maguey Chichicapa ($59.99) is a complex tequila with a distinct smokiness and hint of mint, imported from a pueblo at 7,000 feet, separated from Oaxaca by a mountain range. If you're lucky, he'll open it up right there and toast the holiday season with you!
D&M Wine and Liquor Co., 2200 Fillmore (at Sacramento), 346-1325. www.DandM.com.
Give your best friend a day at the spa. Imagine her recovering from the holidays inhaling aromatherapy candles while steaming out the toxins of those spiked eggnogs. Afterward, any memory of the annual Christmas bicker is soothed away in an herbal wrap at Heaven Day's renovated Victorian spa. She'll be chanting your name in thanks. Facials, massages, wraps, and other spa treatments run from $40 to $150. Or create an in-home spa package--Heaven Day Spa offers gift baskets, facial and body masks, candles, and relaxation CDs for the in-home spa.
Heaven Day Spa, 2209 Chestnut (between Scott and Pierce), 749-6414. www.HeavenDaySpa.com.
Bring some Italian tradition home for the Holidays. Lucca Delicatessen, with its dangling sausages and shelves brimming with Italian wines, fresh cheeses and pastas, is a bit of Little Italy in the Marina. Great with coffee, panettone ($2.99-$12.99) is a seasonal yellow cake that is surprisingly unsweet. In Italian-American homes it's customary to bring a panettone in its decorative box to your Christmas host. Panforte is a typical Italian cake of Siena (and New York Italians) with candied fruits, almonds, and dusted with powdered sugar ($6.99 and $11.99). But Amarettis di Saronno--Italian almond-flavored cookies--are everyone's fave. Hard and crumbly, some might think it's a perfect dip in a glass of Vin Santo, but children love them crushed with milk. Buon appetito!