Holiday Gift Guide: Give a present, support a local business

Friends and loved ones will delight in S.F.-made wares

By Grace Z. Li, Avi Salem, Benjamin Schneider and Olivia Tucker

Granted, pandemic-era holidays will be unprecedented, with folks (we hope) gathering in bubbles or socially-distanced ways. Yet COVID-19 won’t stop the joy of giving (and receiving). During this year’s economic stresses, showering loved ones with presents from local businesses and makers can make a big difference in the lives of many. To that end, here are a few gift ideas:

Romance readers will enjoy Jasmine Guillory’s “Party of Two.” (Courtesy photo)

Romance readers will enjoy Jasmine Guillory’s “Party of Two.” (Courtesy photo)

Books by Bay Area authors

Various prices,

Stop by your local independent bookstore to pick up 2020 releases by local writers: For a memoir, check out Roberto Lovato’s “Unforgetting,” 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)

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 with stories such as the Japanese folktale of the Crane Wife or the Maori legend of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. The deck is based on the classic Rider-Waite set, making it an easier transition for those looking to add something modern to their collection. Each deck comes with the customary guidebook, but 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 The Art of Being deck from stationery store Under the Sunlight. There’s one card for every week of the year, and each contains a reminder of the little ways to enjoy life. Throw a dance party for one, shake out 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)

Shattered Earth sells fun enamel pins with video game themes. (Courtesy photo)

Shattered Earth sells fun enamel pins with video game themes. (Courtesy photo)

Shattered Earth enamel pins


There are so many cute selections from this San Francisco-based small business with designs by a local artist. Some of the quirky and humorous enamel pins include 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)

Children’s author Meenal Patel’s colorful art works are uplifting and inspirational. (Courtesy photo)

Children’s author Meenal Patel’s colorful art works are uplifting and inspirational. (Courtesy photo)

Meenal Patel studio prints

$32, MeenalPatelStudio

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. With designs ranging from floral patterns to muted earth tones, the prints celebrate community, intersectional feminism and nature. Art can bring you happiness, and these prints are enough to brighten up any shelter-in-place mood. (GZL)

Camp Collection masks

$38-$55, collections/masks

Looking for a stylish mask that benefits a good cause? A portion of proceeds from the Camp Collection’s line of masks — manufactured in San Francisco — are donated to No Kid Hungry. (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 in color palettes like pastel, brights, ’90s and rainbow. For the political junkies among us, they sell “vote” masks, too. (OT)

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)

Independent San Francisco food purveyors contributed to the cookbook “We Are La Cocina.” (Courtesy photo)

Independent San Francisco food purveyors contributed to the cookbook “We Are La Cocina.” (Courtesy photo)

“We Are La Cocina”


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)

Scents of San Francisco


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


$56 per dozen,

Although four states joined California when voters legalized 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 in San Francisco. A batch of a dozen Mellows comes in two themes — birthday cake and assorted, which includes three flavors: brown butter sage, birthday cake and strawberry shortcake. Each piece contains 5 mg. of THC, which is generally considered entry-level, so there’s no need to worry about mom accidentally eating one unawares. (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, which 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)

“Spirits of San Francisco”


Gary Kamiya and Paul Madonna — two greats 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)

Anchor Brewing Vintage Christmas Ales

$10 per six-pack,

Anchor Brewing, one San Francisco’s oldest breweries, is serving up nostalgia at its 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 St., but it can be preordered at Corner stores throughout the Bay are also selling the brewery’s 2020 Christmas Ales. (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 is the Go Trax GXL V2 Commuter Scooter, available 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 such as the Santa Cruz-designed, San Jose-built OneWheel. (BS)

Rickshaw Bagworks messenger bags are perfect for bikers. (Courtesy photo)

Rickshaw Bagworks messenger bags are perfect for bikers. (Courtesy photo)

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 companies that make these products. When it comes to messenger bags, it’s hard to beat Dogpatch-based Rickshaw Bagworks. Its 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)

Fernet Francisco


As another cold-front descends on the Bay Area, it may be time to retire those summery cocktails and reintroduce 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 its take on this aromatic spirit. Find it at local grocers or order online from spirit retailers. (NV)

Home coffee roasters in San Francisco is just one local coffee purveyor offering subscriptions. (Courtesy photo)

Home coffee roasters in San Francisco is just one local coffee purveyor offering subscriptions. (Courtesy photo)

Coffee connection, and others

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 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)

The Exploratorium’s online store is selling the Kiko Robot 962 kit. (Courtesy photo)

The Exploratorium’s online store is selling the Kiko Robot 962 kit. (Courtesy photo)

The Exploratorium collection


San Francisco’s beloved science center offers a curated selection of “unique gadgets, tinkering items, games and books that focus on science, technology, engineering, art, and math” for folks of all ages, from little ones to teens and seniors. Also, all purchases from its online store support the nonprofit institution’s “mission to create educational experiences and transform learning worldwide.” Gemstones, robots and puzzles are just some of the cool things for sale. (LK)

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