Our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Board games and spunky knives, flashy watches and necklaces, flying drones and scooters are among the hot gifts of the season.


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The Gift Guide: Jewelry & Time Pieces


Hammered and Forged

Gold and silver tabs with a single diamond make this necklace, aptly called Strength ($1,140), a unique artisanal gift for any woman. It’s lightweight, so you can wear it all day, from the gym to the farmers market and out for cocktails at the latest apothecary bar. Best of all, it jingles, so you become your own magical moment. It’s made right here in Oakland by artisans Rebecca Longenecker and Meghan Zimmerman, using their own inimitable mix of hammering, forging, and an ancient process called lost wax casting to create bohemian one-off pieces that convey a sense of strength and feminine beauty. www.MetalEarthStudios.com.

—Jody Brettkelly


The Watch to Want

Hand assembled in Detroit, The Runwell 47mm ($600) is a Shinola original and somehow manages to be old American yet urban. It has a case plating of polished rose gold, a midnight blue dial with silver sub-eye, and is powered by 46 Swiss-made components. The dark brown leather strap gives it a wear-anywhere appeal. Shinola, named after an American shoe polish, is the first company in decades to make luxury watches in the United States. The Swiss parts are assembled at its factory, which is housed in a historic building that used to be home to General Motors. www.Shinola.com.

—Jody Brettkelly


Make Lemonade

Looking for classic jewelry with a modern twist? Designer Marja Germans Gard is your girl. For her Lemonade Handmade Jewelry, she crafts each of her pieces individually, using 14k gold, rose gold, and sterling silver. Check out her recycled silver rectangle “hoop” earrings, her hammered rose gold link or bangle bracelets, or her long necklace that combines an oxidized sterling silver chain with interlocking, polished gold rings. Gard’s jewelry can be found in stores around the Bay Area, including Modern Mouse in Alameda; A Priori and Collector in Berkeley; Hatch, Maison d’Etre, and Philipa Roberts in Oakland. And she’ll happily make custom items, too, including wedding sets. www.LemonadeHandmade.com.

—Kate Madden Yee

The Gift Guide: Hostess Gifts


Heavenly Scents

It only takes a drop or two of a floral essence to turn a dish from ordinary to extraordinary. Long a cuisine staple of many Middle, Near, and Far Eastern countries, these essences are new to Western palates and make a unique gift for your foodie friends. Berkeley perfumer Mandy Aftel, who built her reputation on hand-blended, small batch, natural fragrances, offers Chef’s Essences & Sprays ($16 to $24) in 22 different “flavors” like blood orange, violet, pear, and galangal. She also offers perfumes; face, body, and hair elixirs; organic teas; botanicals; candles, and books. www.Aftelier.com.

—Andrea Pflaumer 


Don’t Be Fooled

There’s something disturbingly tender about Andy Swartz’s Wooden Tarot. In Swartz’s visually evocative deck, a wood mouse plays the Fool, journeying through landscapes of snakes and foxes, moths and whales, crystal geodes and skulls. A companion booklet explains that the deck began as a Kickstarter project: “You are the Fool who made this journey possible.” Be the next Fool to rush in. $24 for a 26-card deck of the Major Arcana available from Namaste, 3229 Lakeshore Ave., Oakland, or www.ILoveNamaste.com. Complete deck available at www.SkullGarden.net.

—Sarah Phelan


Say It With Flowers

The Lilliputian flower arrangements from Brother & Sisters Flower Shop are truly deserving of the word “adorable.” You can choose one or more of the tiny glass vases containing lush seasonal blooms, always surprisingly arranged, and present them to your host in a wire basket. An affordable and teenily impactful gift that will suit all tastes. The shop is part of the new phantasma foodie hall and 1,200-square-foot garden development that is Grand Fare Market. Grand Fare Market, 3265 Grand Ave, Oakland, 510-899-9610, www.GrandFareMarket.com, www.BrotherAndSistersFlowers.com.

—Jody Brettkelly

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