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Locals only: Gift ideas that support Bay Area businesses

Kitchen ceramics and other holiday items are displayed on a table ahead of the holiday season at Heath Ceramics in San Francisco on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

If you have trouble coming up with gift ideas, you certainly aren't alone. Even Santa Claus—a magical elf who can see you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake—needs the children of the world to provide him with an itemized list of their holiday wishes.

Here at The Standard, we know how hard it can be to find the perfect present. That's why we took it upon ourselves to compile this guide in advance of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

Whether you're on the hunt for fashionable clothing and accessories, functional home goods or something a bit more creative, the local merchants on this list—as well as many more we didn't have the space to include—have you covered.

Even if you don't find exactly what you're looking for here, we think you'll walk away with a little inspiration and a better idea of what to get for all the unique people in your life. Happy holidays!

For the Domestic God or Goddess

Among the most iconic and classic of Bay Area brands is Heath Ceramics, born out of Sausalito and the hands of revolutionary ceramicist Edith Heath. A carefully crafted candleholder or beautifully glazed bud vase is sure to please friends and family who appreciate both form and function. Candleholders ($25) and bud vases ($32) are on the cheaper end of the Heath Ceramics spectrum. Starter dinner sets go for $200, but savvy shoppers can head to the brand’s Sausalito factory and showroom for discounted seconds that look just as good as firsts. You also may stumble upon a ceramic style or hue not available online or in one of the brand’s San Francisco showrooms. 

Kitchen ceramics are displayed ahead of the holiday season at Heath Ceramics' Mission showroom in San Francisco on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

You’ll also find thoughtfully curated home goods at The Perish Trust on Divisadero, a self-described “modern day general store” selling artisan kitchen wares, apothecary items and cookbooks. 

Earthen on Fillmore Street carries its own line of ceramics as well as a slew of wonderfully whimsical Christmas ornaments ($18). 

Foggy Notion on Clement Street boasts an impressive lineup of eco-friendly products that could also double as practical and budget-friendly stocking stuffers, including reusable paper towels ($20) and food-storage wraps ($18), facial rounds ($15) and mesh produce bags ($10 to $18).

Often Wander on Valencia offers an array of wonderfully scented candles, diffusers and incense refills that keep on giving. The Valencia boutique offers half-priced refills on its products

And if you want to make something special for your friend or family member’s domicile, you can make your own custom-made candle blend at Moonshot Studio in Noe Valley. (CJC)

For the Fashionista

There are many thrift stores and apparel boutiques with stylish and one-of-a-kind items for the clotheshorse on your list. Here are a few that have caught our eye this holiday season. 

Current San Francisco on Fillmore Street offers a selection of colorful “small batch” styles that owner Nancy Munzer handpicks or works with a designer to create for the boutique’s house brand. That means that the collection is always shifting, and you’re bound to find something unique. 

Sophie Faustinelli, Camilla Faustinelli and Maria Garcia admire the outdoor racks at Isso clothing boutique in the Mission on Aug. 15, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

If you’re looking for fashion-forward and environmentally friendly, Isso in the Mission upcycles second-hand clothes into fresh and funky new fashions and only sells wares “made, found or designed in the Bay Area.”

And ReLove on Polk, a Black-owned resale boutique, curates a tight collection of vintage, designer and independent labels that define cool. Whether you’re looking for a classic trench or a bright blue and yellow varsity jacket, ReLove has you covered. (CJC & OMC)

For the Dads, Dudes and Bros in Your Life 

California Cowboy is a San Francisco-based brand with a brick-and-mortar on Polk Street. Inspired by the California outdoorsy lifestyle, the brand’s creator made an “apres-ski” shirt that’s perfect for the skier, skater or snowboarder in your life and built for hanging. The slim fit button-up made from luxury Portuguese flannel ($168) boasts a reinforced back bottle pocket where your pa or pal can store a beer, burrito or White Claw; a zippered dry tech pocket to hold a smartphone; and loops for holding gloves or sunglasses.

California Cowboy's “après-surf” Hawaiian shirt has a back pocket perfect for holding a beer. | Courtesy California Cowboy

Every flannel comes with a bottle opener and beer cozy so the dude in your life can be fully ready to pop one open. While one might favor the flannel shirt for San Francisco’s chilly weather, California Cowboy also makes a similar beer/seltzer-friendly short-sleeve “après-surf” shirt ($145) in Hawaiian-style prints for warmer climes.

State of Flux, a community-focused Black and Brown-owned men’s clothing boutique on Valencia, also offers an assortment of hoodies, hats, totes, tennis shoes, T-shirts and accessories with bold styles. If you’re looking to make a fashion statement, be sure to check out their lines of streetwear. (CJC & CC)

For San Francisco Style

If you’re on a budget but still looking to share a slice of San Francisco with your mates or family members, San Francisco-based brand Culk has beanies, “dad hats” and trucker caps under $30 that are emblazoned with symbols of the Golden State, including the Golden Gate Bridge, poppies and nods to local San Francisco spots and sports teams. 

You can also share your San Francisco pride with a shirt, sweater or hoodie from one of the city’s screen-printing specialists. 

Fleetwood's latest line of sweatshirts has an Ocean Beach theme. | Courtesy Fleetwood

Upper Playground, an OG Bay Area streetwear line out of Lower Haight, has tees and accessories under $45 designed by local artists such as North Beach artist Jeremy Fish

Fleetwood on Clement Street sells Ocean Beach-themed sweatshirts ($48) and totes ($20) along with an assortment of SF-made brands. 

And Sunset-born screen-print apparel brand San Franpsycho has trippy unisex tops featuring everything from well-known SF landmarks like the Cliff House ($34.50) to the more obscure Doggie Diner heads ($59.50). The brand also sells dog hoodies ($19-$28) with the Golden Gate Bridge printed on the back. (CJC) 

For Your Canine Companion

Speaking of dogs, you may want to pick up something for your furry friend this holiday season. Fancy new dog cafe Dogue sells a small selection of leashes, collars and bowls, and luxury dog boutique Mishka on Union Street offers an array of pooch-friendly sweaters and tops. (CJC)

Dogue in San Francisco offers a $75, three-course tasting menu for dogs and sells dog accessories. | Christina Campodonico/The Standard

For the Coffee Addict or Curious Palate 

Every San Franciscan has their favorite morning brew, but you can’t really go wrong with any number of SF or Bay Area-based roasted beans.

A few staff favorites all with Bay Area origins include: 

    Coffee lovers wait in line for Lady Falcon coffee on Oct. 22, 2022, in Alamo Square Park in San Francisco. | Jesse Rogala/The Standard

    And with some bags starting at just $12 dollars, a bag of beans is a budget-friendly buy that will cheer almost anyone who consumes coffee in your life.  

    Alternatively, if you have a friend who’s not so into coffee or trying to decaffeinate their lifestyle, we recommend picking up a pot of City Bees honey harvested directly from hives scattered throughout San Francisco’s busiest and buzziest neighborhoods. City Bees founder and aparist Robert MacKimmie posts up at the Clement Street Farmers Market every Sunday. (CJC)

    Robert MacKimmie, founder of City Bees, looks at one of his hives in the Inner Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco on Nov. 2, 2022. He's been harvesting local honey for over 20 years. | Morgan Ellis/The Standard

    For the Creative in Your Life

    For your artsy friend or family member, be sure to stop into Jenny Lemons on 24th Street for unique arts and crafts supplies, including needlepoint, embroidery, block printing and rubber stamp kits ranging in price from $15 to $85. 

    Rare Device on Divisadero also boasts an assortment of artsy gifts, including colorful art prints, pens and notebooks and whimsically shaped cups and mugs in almost every hue of the rainbow. Your design-loving significant other may also appreciate one of Rare Device’s artful necklaces. 

    The Pirate Supply Store for author Dave Eggers’ youth writing nonprofit 826 Valencia also offers an array of whimsical gifts with nautical themes that your pal with a wild imagination might appreciate. Pick up a spyglass, an eye patch or a hook for a creative gift that also backs a good cause. Sales from the shop support the SF-based nonprofit’s writing programs. (CJC) 

    For the Audiophile in Your Life

    Record Store Day Black Friday

    Created in 2007 to support independently owned music shops around the world, Record Store Day hosts an annual Black Friday event, when music lovers line up for a chance to add new, rare and reissued vinyl to their collections. 

    Several shops around the Bay are hosting Record Store Day sales, including Amoeba Music in Haight-Ashbury, which marks 25 years in San Francisco this month. On Black Friday, Amoeba will drop 160 Record Store Day releases—David Bowie’s The Next Day Extra EP, the Jerry Garcia Band’s Pure Jerry: Coliseum Hampton VA November 9 1991 LP, Jefferson Airplane Live at the Monterey Pop Festival and Snoop Dogg’s Coolaid on lime green vinyl, just to name a few—along with other in-store only specials. 

    Other Bay Area record stores like Thrillhouse Records, a punk record store and label in Bernal Heights, and 1-2-3-4 Go! Records in North Oakland will host Record Store Day Black Friday sales as well. 1-2-3-4 Go!’s sale is by (paid) appointment only.

    If you’re having trouble narrowing down the perfect gift for a local music nerd, Miles Davis’s live recording in San Francisco, Black Beauty: Miles Davis at Fillmore West, Luniz’s old school hip-hop gem Operation Stackola, Green Day’s neo-punk classic Dookie and the 2010 indie darling compilation In a Cloud: New Sounds From San Francisco are all excellent choices. (SH)

    Olivia Cruz Mayeda, Sarah Holtz, Camille Cohen and Nick Veronin contributed additional reporting for this story.
    Christina Campodonico can be reached at