Today, the day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. It is also just about the only day you will not find this self diagnosed shopaholic in the mall, or even near a shopping area. I practice sobriety today. It is a good exercise for me. I have now made it two whole days without shopping. That may be a record.
I have also decided that I will not join the holiday craze. Of course I have to buy gifts for teachers, family, babysitters and friends. But what you will not see me doing is running through Nordstrom on Christmas Eve. As tempting as those cashmere gloves may be -- and those silver Nordstrom gift boxes are so festive -- I have decided to buy gifts made locally this year.
Living in the San Francisco Bay area, it is quite easy to find locally made items. There are quite a few local designers, from jewelry to clothing to housewares. Since I love to eat, I will likely be purchasing locally made gourmet food items. I won't give away all the details, as some of you readers may also be on my gift list. But here are some of my favorites (I am hoping that you will share some of yours with me in the comment section as well).
- Prevelli Jam. You can find this at the Farmers Market on California Ave. in Palo Alto on Sundays. There are many local jams at your farmers market.
- Olive Oil. We love Davero Farms. You can order online, or buy it at Plaza Farms in Healdsburg. My family also enjoys the olive oil from Skipstone Ranch and Stone Street Winery. You can visit Stonestreet, taste the wines and buy some reasonably priced oils for hostess gifts (as I just did -- look out hostesses).
- Chocolate. My sister is a fan of Charles Chocolates and often brings them as a hostess gift. I also buy Scharfenburger. They make a great dark chocolate.
- Wine. I know nothing about wine. I tend to buy wine after visiting the vineyard on which the grapes are grown. I prefer small family-run wineries. You can check out artisan wine at Locals in Geyserville, and dazzle your friends with a label that they have never heard of before but has the requisite 94 rating. I also like to buy what the S.F. Chron. wine experts suggest.
- Locally made soaps and candles. Once again, your local farmers market probably has a good selection. If you are up in Healdsburg, you should visit the Healdsburg Soap Company. This shop is new on the plaza. Their handmade soaps are wrapped in maps on Healdsburg. (I bought some for my mother in law the last time she babysat for my kids while I got away to the wine country.)
- Napa Everything. Check out Napa Style.
- Local cheeses. I am allergic to cheese, but as we all know there are some great California cheese. (Of course , we have those happy cows to thank for those great cheeses, ha!) Humboldt Fog is my brothers favorite.
Visit the Ferry Building in S.F., local farmers markets, the 4th Street area in Berkeley and check out all of your local shopping districts. You will be amazed at the unique products you will find. Support local merchants and give gifts that you can not find at the mall.
And if you have any local favorites, please share them with me! I'm always looking for great new local stuff to buy.