A Bay Area Holiday Gift Guide

What a year. It seems like just yesterday we were all hearing rumors about a really nasty bug going around somewhere over there, and bam! Eight months and approximately 1 million awkward Facetimes later, here we are. It’s Turkey Day and we haven’t changed out of these sweats in… well… we’d rather not say.

Of course, that’s just for us lucky enough to work from home. Plenty of us have continued going out into the world to keep our infrastructure working, shelves stocked, food cooked, and to treat the sick.

As we move on from this year’s Thanksgiving holiday, and into the season of giving and receiving, surely we all have someone on our list who could use a pick-me-up. With that in mind, we’ve put together a short list of gift ideas — most of them local — that we hope will help you show your loved ones just how much you care.

For the Reader

Books by Bay Area Authors
Various Prices

Stop by your local independent bookstore to pick up some of these 2020 releases by local authors: For a memoir, check out Roberto Lovato’s Unforgetting, a book about Central American migration, or Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s Children of the Land, which centers around the writer’s experiences growing up undocumented. For fiction, Vanessa Hua’s Deceit and Other Possibilities is a lovely collection of short stories, and Lysley Tenorio writes about a family filled with secrets in The Son of Good Fortune. Craving romance? Try Jasmine Guillory’s Party of Two. Poetry? Monica Sok’s A Nail the Evening Hangs On. Comics? Daniel Clowes’ Original Art. (GZL)

We Are La Cocina Cookbook

Founded in San Francisco’s Mission District, La Cocina — “the kitchen,” in Spanish — is a commercial kitchen and business incubator that seeks to “increase inclusivity in the food industry and offer equitable opportunity for living-wage work and asset generation.” This 2019 cookbook features inspiring stories and 120 recipes from over 40 women who have harnessed their culinary talents to become entrepreneurs through La Cocina. (OT)

Spirits of San Francisco

Gary Kamiya and Paul Madonna — two GOATs of San Francisco’s literary and artistic scene —  have joined forces with Spirits of San Francisco, a graphic novel cum portrait of the city. With words by Kamiya (author of Cool Grey City of Love) and pen-and-ink drawings by Madonna (who created the All Over Coffee series for the Chronicle) the book is a must-have for those who love all kinds of San Francisco content. Get it at your local neighborhood bookstore. (BS)

Food & Drink

Bee D’Vine Honey Wine

This Sonoma-based business sparked a huge buzz after its Nov. 13 appearance on Shark Tank. That’s when founder Ayele Solomon scored a four-shark deal to invest in his honey wine. The beverage — a simple combination of pure spring water and raw honey — is 12.5 percent alcohol by volume, and imbibers can choose between Demi Sec and Brut. Sparkling honey wine is also available. (OT)

$56 per dozen

Although four more states joined California when they voted to legalize marijuana in the November elections, edible marshmallows are still a distinctly Bay Area treat. Satisfy your sweet tooth with these low-dose gourmet confections, handcrafted right here in San Francisco. A batch of a dozen Mellows comes in two themes — birthday cake and assorted, which includes the flavors brown butter sage, birthday cake, and strawberry shortcake — and each piece contains 5 mg. of THC, which is generally considered entry-level, so you don’t have to worry about your mom accidentally eating one unawares. (OT)

Anchor Brewing Vintage Christmas Ales
$10 per six-pack

Anchor Brewing, one San Francisco’s oldest breweries, is serving up nostalgia at their Potrero Hill tap room. The beermaker is offering a “vertical tasting” of its Christmas Ales from Christmases past, including the 2017, ’18, and ’19 editions, in a single, $10 six-pack. The special offer is only available for pickup at the Anchor Public Taps at 495 De Haro, but you can preorder at AnchorBeerToGo.com. Corner stores throughout the Bay are also selling the brewery’s 2020 Christmas Ales. (BS)

Photo courtesy of Anchor Brewing

Fernet Francisco

As another cold-front descends on the Bay Area, it may be time to retire those summery cocktails and reintroduce some amaro flavors to your liquor cabinet. And when it comes to amaros, San Franciscans don’t play coy. Though the sweet and herbaceous libation may have originated in Italy, locals have long claimed the fernet as their own. It’s fitting, then, that Fernet Francisco uses a dozen local herbs and botanicals to create their take on this aromatic spirit. Find them at local grocers or order online from spirit retailers. (NV)

Coffee Connection

Coffee shops have long served as places of refuge for those in need of a caffeine jolt and a place to read, get work done, converse, or simply people watch. But as the COVID-19 pandemic has made congregating in cloistered spaces dangerous, boutique coffee roasters and independent cafes have found it harder to move their beans.  Adapting to this new normal, local shops and roasters have begun offering bean subscriptions. Four Barrel Coffee, Home Coffee Roasters, and Ritual Coffee are just three of many local roasters offering home delivery on a subscription model — sort of like a wine club, only far more socially acceptable to drink in the morning. (AS)


Photo courtesy of Shattered Earth

Shattered Earth Enamel Pins
$10 to $18

There are so many cute selections from this SF-based small business. Designed by a local artist, the Shattered Earth shop features quirky and humorous enamel pins, like: falling ramen and pancakes, galaxy-themed coffee and desserts, classic Vitasoy juice and milk boxes, Chinese porcelain bowls with a matching soup spoon, and more. Shattered Earth even keeps Animal Crossing themed merch for those of you still stuck in that phase of quarantine. (GZL)

Camp Collection Masks

Looking for a stylish mask that benefits a good cause? A portion of proceeds from the Camp Collection’s line of face masks — manufactured right here in San Francisco — are donated to No Kid Hungry, and for months, the company donated masks to essential businesses for every set purchased. These face coverings prove that staying safe never goes out of style, with six-packs of masks in color palettes like pastel, brights, ’90s, and rainbow. For the political junkies among us, they sell “vote” masks, too. (OT)

Rickshaw Bagworks Messenger Bag

For those who have recently taken up biking, this holiday season is the time to explore the wide world of bike accessories. San Francisco has tons of local companies that make these products. When it comes to messenger bags, it’s hard to beat Dogpatch-based Rickshaw Bagworks. Their brightly colored over the shoulder bags are simple and conspicuous — helpful features when trying not to get run over. While you’re picking up a bag, check out Rickshaw’s impressive collection of artsy masks. (BS)

Just for Fun

Tarot of the Divine

Follow your intuition with Bay Area artist Yoshi Yoshitani’s Tarot of the Divine, a deck of tarot cards inspired by mythologies and fairy tales from around the world. Tarot of the Divine features stories such as the Japanese folktale of the Crane Wife or the Maori legend of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. It’s based on the classic Rider-Waite set, making it an easier transition for anyone looking to add a modern deck to their collection. Each deck comes with the customary guidebook, but if you’d like to learn more about the stories behind the illustrations, consider ordering the companion book, Beneath the Moon, for $18. (GZL)

Art of Being

Bring a little brightness to your friend’s day by gifting them The Art of Being deck from stationary store Under the Sunlight. There’s one card for every 52 weeks of the year, and each one contains a reminder of the little ways to enjoy life. Throw a dance party for one to shake out all the stress from your system, or practice a forgiveness mantra to allow yourself some grace. Whenever you’re feeling down, just pick a card from The Art of Being to get your spirits back up once more. (GZL)

Photo courtesy of Under the Sunlight

Meenal Patel Studio’s Prints

You might have seen Meenal Patel’s children’s books, Priya Dreams of Marigolds & Masala or Neela Goes to San Francisco. Patel’s artwork gives off cozy, feel-good vibes, and would make a lovely addition to any apartment or work-from-home office space. Each of Patel’s prints draws from floral patterns to muted earth tones, and celebrates community, intersectional feminism, and nature. Art can bring you happiness, and these prints are enough to brighten up any shelter-in-place mood. (GZL)

Scents of San Francisco

These candles make perfect gifts for the loved ones in your life who planned to visit the Bay Area this year, but whose travel plans were precluded by the pandemic. Destination Fragrances’ SF-themed collection bundles scents inspired by various city neighborhoods into 10 candles, with essential oils meant to capture the spirit of areas like Golden Gate Park, Chinatown, and North Beach. This product comes as an 8-oz. candle or a 2-to-4-oz. travel tin. (OT)

You Gotta Know San Francisco Sports Trivia Game 

You think you know your Niners, Giants, Warriors, and A’s? Put your skills to the test with the You Gotta Know San Francisco Sports Trivia Game. The newly released game includes 500 questions on everything from the Splash Brothers to the Bash Brothers — that’s Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, for those too young to remember the glorious steroid era of baseball. This IRL card game, which comes in a Niners-maroon tin, can provide a nice break from screen time during the winter months ahead. Get it at the website above or ask about it at your local game store. (BS)

Go Trax GXL V2 Commuter Scooter

Give your loved one the gift socially-distanced, zero-effort-required transportation: a personal electric scooter. One of the cheapest brand name e-scooters right now is the Go Trax GXL V2 Commuter Scooter, which can be purchased at the company’s website for $270. Cheaper, probably less reliable e-scooters can be found on Amazon, while more expensive varieties can be had at the Bay Area’s B8ta stores, along with other mobility gizmos like the Santa Cruz-designed, San Jose-built OneWheel. (BS)

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