Our Annual Holiday Gift Guide

While pandemic-related shortages in big department stores may be impacting some shoppers, our local shops are thriving. (And if you’re anything like us, you’d rather shop local and support the artists in your community anyway!) And luckily, shopping local seems to be the running theme for our gift guides and this year’s is no exception. So, get out your list and read on to find some local gems. You can thank us later!

From Decorative Artist, Caroline Lizarraga

My first pick is the Chalcedony Heart charm, it’s from Harwell Godfrey, whose owner is my dear friend Lauren Godfrey. I chose this piece for two reasons: first, if you know my work, I am obsessed with malachite, and second, not only is Lauren’s jewelry exquisite but this piece also benefits Futures without Violence.

My other choice is basically anything from the Hayes Valley jewelry salon, Metier, but I picked these Gabriella Kiss Oxidized Bronze Hand Earrings with Red Drops, as I have a fond love for hands in art and jewelry. The women behind Metier recently opened their larger store and they have a beautiful variety of estate and modern jewelry, so there’s something for everyone.

My last pick if from another incredible, woman-owned store; and quite frankly Marie (the store owner) is a badass and her jewelry reflects it. This Petite Third Eye ring is a signature piece of Fiat Lux, and I have always loved the symbol of the protection of the evil eye.

From John Anderson of JKA Design

As she says on her popular Instagram feed, Maja’s San Francisco shop, Found by Maja, is a veritable treasure trove of carefully curated vintage and contemporary bespoke items from around the world. Her shop may be tiny, but it’s literally loaded with beautiful things, all of which would make gorgeous gifts for discerning recipients!

Not to betray the Bay Area’s beloved Heath Ceramics (whose pieces we also love!), but Asheville, North Carolina’s East Fork is certainly giving them a run for their money with their beautiful, timeless, functional line of pottery — made from clay sourced across the Southeast. A quick tour of their colorful, well-designed website quickly reveals their commitments to sustainability, their staff and larger community, and responsible, thoughtful business practices. Their webshop also offers, in addition to their own pottery, a currated selection of dining, tabletop, kitchen, and pantry items to suit a wide range of tastes (and budgets!). To note: The various types of tinned fish from Portugal’s José Gourmet are as adorable as they are delicious. 

LA-based Block Shop has such groovy textiles (think: pillows, table linens, apparel) and a commitment to ethical sourcing and manufacturing! On top of which, 5% of their profits each year go toward “occupational health and community programs in Jaipur.” There is much to love both from and about this sister-owned enterprise based in Los Angeles.

April Higashi’s Shibumi Gallery on Fourth Street in Berkeley showcases not only her own beautiful and beautifully crafted fine jewelry (for men & women), but also jewelry, art and textiles by a growing list of accomplished creators, both local and international. April, and many of her artists, can be commissioned to create custom pieces, including engagement and wedding rings; she also offers appraisals, as well as redesigns of family or heirloom pieces.

From another pair of sisters, Maggie and Annie Genovese, along with artist John O’Hara, comes the effortlessly cool gallery & retail studio Forsyth in Saint Louis. They represent a small roster of working artists, like Maggie Robertson, whose incredibly charming, hand-painted ceramics are certainly on my wishlist! And one day—mark my words!—I will own and/or give as a gift one of John O’Hara’s “Custom Vinyl” paintings with a favorite song. Their “Saturday Marnin Cartoons” weekly email newsletter is also a favorite at JKA.

If consumables-perishables are your jam (pun intended), then look no further than Black Jet Baking Co. on Cortland Ave in Bernal Heights for super yummy everything.

From Lynn Kloythanomsup & Her Team at Landed Interiors & Homes

We love giving Diptyque’s Set of Five Limited-Edition Scented Candles, it’s luxurious at an approachable entry point. Lynn was first gifted this from our design assistant, Allegra, and since then it has become one of her staple gifts to give. When designing interiors, we must design for all five senses—including scent!

Our designer, Tiffany has this Casper Glow Light at home, which gradually dims to help you sleep at night and slowly brightens to get you going in the morning (especially helpful on dark, winter days). It’s small, minimal, portable, and one of those nice-to-haves you wouldn’t necessarily think to purchase, yet end up using all the time.

We constantly find ourselves jotting down desk-side notes and sketches. This FAF Memo Pad has a pleasant, sturdy design with a versatile aesthetic and Heather has been using one for years. The sheets tear off easily, and it’s refillable! It’s the perfect, no-nonsense desktop companion for when you want to go analog.

Luna loves some of the flavors that Haus offers, and a number of them lend themselves to smoothly transitioning into the holidays. And with the Haus Sampler Kit, aperitifs can be customized to your gift recipient, which adds a thoughtful, personalized touch for the season.

From Nilus De Matran of Nilus Designs

Letterform Archive is a nonprofit center located in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. Dedicated to all things lettering, typography, calligraphy, and graphic design spanning thousands of years of history, visitors can hold the Guttenburg Bible from 1400, leaf through some Russian Constructivist propaganda, and get dizzy on original posters from the 1960s. Gifting a membership is one of the best ways to support this gem.

Another nonprofit organization, the FOR-SITE Foundation is “dedicated to the creation, understanding, and presentation of art about place.” Their exhibitions are based on the belief that art can inspire fresh thinking and important dialogue about our natural and cultural environment. Located within the former Cliff House, the Lands End exhibit metaphorically marks the end of things as we know them. While the exhibit is free to the public, timed tickets must be purchased in advance. A great gift would be to tour this together and then make a donation to the FOR-SITE Foundation so they can continue offering these important experiences.

The holidays are best enjoyed together, and along with visiting exhibitions, listening to the radio can be a fun way to enjoy the company of friends and family. Radio Garden Live, a nonprofit Dutch radio and digital research project, is a free app that gives everyone live access to radio stations around the world. An especially fun way to reconnect with radio stations from your hometown and to discover new ones. The world’s music is literally availble on your phone.

From Jeff King & Company

Jeff’s picks this year are inspired by his oldest brother, Kevin King, who died this past September. Kevin was an avid supporter of the local art scene, his eclectic tastes reflected his genuine interest in people and his surroundings. Like the following nonprofits, galleries, and storefronts that he supported, Kevin was a champion for art and artists everywhere.

Arion Press pairs great artists with great literature to create stunningly beautiful, handmade books. The Press, located in San Francisco’s Presidio National Park, publishes several limited editions each year. Their production facility includes a letterpress shop with a one-of-a-kind collection of historic metal typefaces, a type foundry (in continuous operation for more than 100 years), and a complete hand bookbindery. Their limited edition books, each one a treasure and work of art, are the ultimate gift for the bibliophile on your list.

Park Life is an independent retail store and art gallery located in the Inner Richmond. The store, stocked with whimsical, unique, design-y wares, is the perfect place to find something for everyone on your list, while the gallery strives to show the most engaging contemporary art being created today. Since 2006, the owners have kept to their singular goal of showcasing art and design that represents the diversity of our community while reaching a wide audience.

What began as a record store in 1999, Upper Playground is now a global, multiplatform lifestyle brand selling prints, books, toys, furniture, housewares, and, most notably apparel, think: Ts and hats. Despite their success, the brand has remained fiercely independent, maintaining an edge while giving artists, many yet discovered, a highly visible platform. Their T-shirt collections are the epitome of Bay Area street culture—their designs are a creative riff on pop culture, sports, music, film and urban life.

Crowned the Best Nonprofit and Art Gallery in 2020 by the SF Bay Guardian, Creativity Explored was founded on the belief that art is essential to life. Formed in 1983, the San Francisco studio-based collective currently serves 130 artists and has facilitated the careers of hundreds of developmentally disabled artists. In addition to their online shop and exhibitions, they also offer professional art services.

The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, YBCA, has been a cultural anchor of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens neighborhood since opening its doors in 1993. With a focus on community involvement, YBCA strives to bring contemporary art, performance art, dance, film, civic engagement and public life to the forefront. A membership to this multi-disciplinary art space would be a welcomed gift for any art lover on your list.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Jeff King & Company!