Perfect the art of gift giving this holiday season with our fourth-annual gift guide.
By Leslie Muirhead & Tara Walker
Revelry Drifter Backpack
Offered in an array of colors, this 23-liter, water-resistant, roll-top backpack is perfect for anyone in your life who loves long adventures. Not to mention it has a secret inner stash pocket and is lockable, which keeps valuables safe, and (like all of Revelry’s bags) has a carbon-filter system, making it odor absorbent. We all know someone for whom this would come in handy. | Leslie Muirhead
$120. Sold locally at Berdels and The GrowBiz. Revelrysupply.com.
When, like many of us have in recent years, snowboarder and Olympic athlete Jussi Oksanen grew troubled by the amount of single-use plastic that is used, he decided to do something about it: he decided to create a line of reusable products for the creative, adventurous type that look good and function even better, giving its users lifetime warranties. This 36-ounce insulated, wide-mouth, stainless-steel bottle is guaranteed to keep your loved one hydrated for a full day of exploring, soccer camp, work life, beach days, and so much more. | LM
The Craftsmen Collective Apron
Having a hard time finding a gift for your picky friend, dad, boss, or mother in law? Take note of new shop on the block The Craftsmen Collective, which fills its space with incredible handmade pieces from a wide range of artists. Stop by and you’re sure to find something unique that will help you pass the gift-giving test this holiday season. For example, this unisex, multi-use denim apron is handcrafted in San Francisco. Its natural, vegetable-tanned leather strap will help make anyone wearing it look good. | LM
$86. The Craftsmen Collective, thecraftsmencollective.com.
Copper Moon Apothecary’s Injury Healing Balm with CBD
It’s the worst seeing someone you care about in pain. We have just the gift to help them out—naturally. This powerful balm will work wonders for arthritis, joint inflammation, muscle relief, injury overuse, and more. Anti-inflammatory herbs, white willow bark and 200-mg of a high-CBD hemp oil are just a few of the ingredients that make it highly effective. | LM
$39.99. Copper Moon Apothecary, coppermoon.net.
Alpaca Blanket from Home/Work
Since opening in 2015, Home/Work has been a jackpot of stylish and playful goods, with its rare collection of hand-selected gifts and household inspiration. This handsome alpaca blanket is a surefire bet for anyone on your shopping list, especially those who love to get cozy. Made in Ecuador, it is hand-woven on wood looms with alpaca wool—a method that has been in practice for hundreds of years, guaranteeing high quality, uniqueness, and warmth this winter season. | LM
$130-$195. Home/Work, shophomework.com.
Yeti Cooler Bags from ARK Interior Design
What’s better than a cold drink on the beach? Not much. What’s more annoying than carrying a cooler that leaks all over you? Not much. ARK Interior Design, a home-décor shop filled with local and global products, carries the solution. Yeti is known for its high-quality insulated products that keep beverages and snacks crispy cold. These Yeti Bags are an awesome addition because they are easy to carry, waterproof and leak proof. Your gift’s recipient will be the coolest one on the block. | LM
Starting at $200. ARK Interior Design, arkinteriordesigns.com.
RetroXO Reclaimed Wood Cutting Board
No one can have too much wood décor. RetroXO’s pieces are known for making bold statements in any room of the house. Made from reclaimed wood sourced in California, its cutting boards embody the concept of functional art. The beautiful, locally made kitchenware will make the owner want to show it off and add a spark to their home. | LM
$35-$100. Sold locally at Art Inspired, Hive and Hum, and RetroXO by showroom appointment. Retroxo.net.
This gift might transform you into your dog-loving-friend’s best friend (or, at least, their two-legged best friend). The three Santa Cruz men behind YaDoggie want to help dogs get healthy by providing tasty-yet-nutritious food (with flavors like buffalo-duck, lamb-sweet potato and turkey-pea) and reducing the common problem of over-feeding. New customers get welcome kits with grain-free dog food, biodegradable poop bags, treats, and customized transition plans because “suddenly switching your doggie to a new food causes tummy troubles.” They also personalize shipping dates, adjusting as they monitor dogs’ consumption. They truly care about individual dogs, and it shows. They are even creating a “smart scoop” that links to phones and alerts family members if dogs have been fed. | Tara Walker
$66-$72 per 26-pound bag subscription shipment (lasts several weeks); prices and sizes vary at stores. Subscriptions sold online, a la carte food sold locally at Westside Farm and Feed and Felton Feed and Pet Supply. Yadoggie.com.
California Honeycraft’s Beeswax Kitchen Wrap and Surfboard Wax
Your friends will thank you: with re-usable beeswax kitchen wraps, they can store food without having to untangle those pesky plastic wrap containers, and they’re simultaneously helping the environment. “You simply wrap bowls, plates or food items and the wax seals in the fridge for freshness,” says Shannon Oberg, who founded California Honeycraft with husband/beekeeper Travis. The beeswax comes from their own bees, kept on the hillside next to their home near Cowell Beach. “We built a big porch out of Craigslist bricks. Our friends bring their kids over for bee lessons and tea parties,” says Oberg. Their newest item launched in October: 4-ounce blocks of biodegradable organic surf wax scented from “real mountain pine,” made for water temperatures of 60 degrees and below. | TW
$4.50 (surf wax)-$20 (kitchen wrap package with two 10×10 sheets). Kitchen wrap sold at Hive and Hum, Santa Cruz. Both products sold at californiahoneycraft.com.
Goodies from Santa Cruz Food Lounge Pantry
It’s fun to assemble a grab bag of goodies for foodies in your life, and the Food Lounge’s Pantry has fantastic local selections to choose from. A few of our favorites: olive oil from Belle Farms, culinary salt blends from Farmer Freed, My Mom’s Mole mix (just add stock), and gift certificates from Ocean2Table, which delivers sustainable seafood to customers that’s fresh from the boat that day or the day before. In fact, you can enclose a card with the gift and suggest using everything together. Sauté fish with olive oil, add Spice It Up chile salt, and top with mole sauce. Food Lounge co-owner Andrea Mollenauer makes her mole with light coconut milk instead of stock—a delicious variation for seafood. | TW
$9-$30. Santa Cruz Food Lounge and Pantry, scfoodlounge.com.
Chef’s Knife from Toque Blanche
Want to splurge on that special someone who loves to cook? According to everyone’s favorite traveling chef Anthony Bourdain, costly knife sets are overrated. What you really need, he says, is “one good chef’s knife, as large as is comfortable for your hand.” Of the many that local shop Toque Blanche carries, one standout is the Wusthof “Classic IKON” 8-inch chef’s knife. It’s normally $170 but—like all Wusthof knives at Toque Blanche—it’s on sale through Dec. 31. The store’s best-selling “heavy knife” is curved in a way that’s easier on the hand than the Wusthof “Classic” line. Also, chefs tend to like it more because they can sharpen it from the top tip of the knife all the way down to the blade bottom (the “Classic” has a bolster that shortens this line). Plus, it can handle tough jobs like cutting a hard-shelled winter squash. | TW
$119.99 through Dec. 31. Toque Blanche, mytoque.com.
West Coast Bitters from Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm
Ingredients in handcrafted West Coast Bitters include artichoke leaves, coriander seeds and dandelion root, the latter two of which are organic. Mostly used as dietary supplements to support digestion, bitters can “also be served to friends and family after a festive meal or taken on a hot day with lime and seltzer water,” says herbalist Carin Fortin, a co-owner of Blossom’s Biodynamic Farm in Corralitos. Some people use them as cocktail additions. Blossom’s makes the bitters using moon cycles, which is part of biodynamics. They grow all ingredients on their biodynamic farm, except the juniper berries. (Until their on-site juniper berries fruit, these are wild foraged.) Check out their quarterly CSH, too: a unique herbal twist on the typical produce-centered CSA. It includes a choice of tonic or bitter, plus tinctures, tea and more. | TW
$46. Sold locally at Santa Cruz farmers’ markets: Downtown on Wednesdays, Live Oak on Sundays, Westside on Saturdays. Blossomsfarm.com.
Little Brave Ones Teepee
Made with love in San Francisco, these natural cotton canvas teepees create the ultimate play space for the beloved little one in your life. The quick and easy set up spurs the imagination, providing room for multiple kids to play, hideaway and read. Teepees come in a wide range of fun fabrics, creating a unique environment for your grom to call his or her own. Let the magical childhood memories pour in this holiday season. | LM
$159. Sold locally at Childish Santa Cruz, littlebraveones.com.
Dome Terrarium from DIG Gardens
Know someone who needs to bring some outdoor spunk indoors? Not your standard table topper, these bad boys will ensure joy and greenery in your loved one’s life year round. Fill them with any succulent or air plant to brighten up their living space. | LM
From $24.99. DIG Gardens, diggardens.com.