The East Bay’s Premier Magazine of Culture & Commerce

The East Bay’s Premier Magazine of Culture & Commerce

The 2018 Gift Guide

The 2018 Gift Guide

Festive Finds for Family & Friends.

Can you please everyone on your holiday shopping list this year? This answer is, yes, you most definitely can, with this little gift guide assist. Here’s how to satisfy fashion divas and foodies, homebodies and jewelry junkies, and gadget geeks. There are a few pampering tips sprinkled in, too, so even the pickiest present receiver will be pleased.

Haute Hats

Do you have a friend who lives for the races and hosts a Kentucky Derby party every May? Whether she cheers for her favorite thoroughbred from the grandstand in Louisville or from her couch in Oakland, a Derby hat is sure to make her smile. Berkeley Hat Company, the Bay Area’s largest hat retailer, sells a wide selection of bright, fanciful, unforgettable hats perfect for the racetrack, church, a royal wedding, or an exquisite tea. The Easy Going Organza Derby hat ($49) is stylish, packable, and comes in four colors. Berkeley Hat Company, 2510 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-962-4428, —EGJ

Oakland Is Magic

For the fabulous friend with impeccable style, choose a locally designed-and-made, wide-neck sweatshirt. This black top is printed with the gold outline of a triangle and inside the triangle are the words, “Oakland is Magic,” surrounded by silver crystals ($42). It ranges in size from small to XXL. Designer Kate Morrow of Resurrect also made the print on crop sweatshirts ($40), a unisex tee, and muscle tanks ($30). You can dress the whole crew in holiday magic. 4135 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 510-653-8716, —AC

Metal Mastery

If you want to pop the question around the holidays with something nontraditional or to just surprise that special someone with an amazing piece of jewelry, Johnny Ninos crafts women’s and men’s engagement rings and wedding bands like no one else. Inspired by what he sees on his walks along the California coast—from barnacles, seedpods, and even industrial decay—his recycled metal and conflict-free diamond rings are handmade in his Los Olivos workshop in the Ynez Valley. He also fashions inspired-by-nature luxe necklaces and earrings in a unique, organic style. You can find a selection of his wearable sculpture at Esqueleto in Temescal Alley or online at —MJL

Boombox Redux

Back in the 1980s, there were two pieces of electronics you needed to be cool. The first was a boombox: those big stereos people would carry on their shoulders, playing tapes of Run DMC. The second thing you had to have was an Atari Video Computer System, aka the Atari 2600. This classic gaming console basically invented the model for modern video game systems and kicked off the home video game revolution that resulted in Fortnite and Minecraft. To commemorate that heyday of simple video games and publicly playing your music, the Atari Speakerhat ($129, includes a Bluetooth-enabled speakers embedded in the fabric. This wearable boombox alternative will show everyone you’re 40 but still able to disrupt an AC Transit ride. —AH

Kicky Kicks

The sneakerhead in your life is definitely lusting after a pair of kicks from the collaboration between Converse and celebrated Japanese couturier Comme des Garçons. They are the same iconic black Chuck Taylor All Star high tops you’ve known since before Joey Ramone put them on to sing “I Wanna Be Sedated,” but in the CDG collaboration, they’re emblazoned with a cheerful heart motif designed by graphic artist Filip Pagowski and Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo ($135). Bows and Arrows, 2513 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, 510-649-6683, —EG

Elegant Threads

A timeless piece of clothing is a gift that keeps on giving. The modern Asian and European cuts and feminine lines of O.R. Sight clothing make this Bay Area-designed fashion house a sure win. For the woman who has everything, choose the crisp, white cotton shirt with cable knit trim ($78). It cruises from work to play with ease, and the slight A-line fit provides easy grace. For a fabulous, holiday unisex option, look to the infinity loop scarves ($49) in a range of rich and neutral tones. Made of 85 percent silk and 15 percent cashmere, they’re as luxe as they are cozy. Fourth Street Maker’s Row, 1910 Fifth St., Berkeley, —AC

Gadget Geek Out

For the gadget nerd in your life, there are few things as delectable and rare as a GPD device. These specialized computers come in a number of forms, from the GPD Win Pocket 2 ($700), which includes a built-in gamepad and buttons, to the GPD Pocket 2 ($500), which resembles a tiny laptop that fits in your hand. The real reason to own one of these devices is to have professional-grade gaming equipment in the palm of your hand. While these devices cannot possibly rival the power of a desktop gaming rig, they are powerful enough to run just about any software written before 2015 as if it were brand new. That means these devices can handle your favorite older 3D Steam. —AH

Hopheads Unite

Give a man a beer, and you’ll slake his thirst for a day. Teach a man to brew, and you’ll slake his thirst for a lifetime. Instead of giving the beer connoisseur in your life a six-pack or a growler, why not give him a Beermaking Starter Kit instead? The starter kit ($72) comes with everything a brewmeister will need, including a six-gallon bucket for fermentation, siphoning hose, airlock, caps, and a book with step-by-step instructions on how to brew delicious beer at home. Oak Barrel Winecraft in Berkeley has everything to help your favorite hophead turn the dream of an apricot basil saison into reality. Oak Barrel Winecraft, 1443 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-849-0400, —EGJ

Paella Party

Any aspiring foodie should have a paella pan in his or her kitchen. Spain’s most famous dish, paella, originally comes from Valencia and is typically made of rice, vegetables, and meat and/or seafood cooked in a broth spiced with saffron, rosemary, and paprika. The result is colorful and delicious and makes a big impression at parties. The Spanish Table sells enameled paella pans that can be used on the grill or in the oven, are a breeze to clean, and will not rust. They’re sized by how many people each on can serve. The 12-person pan is 18 inches across and sells for $36. The Spanish Table also sells stands, burners, utensils, cookbooks, and ingredients like Valencian rice. The Spanish Table, 1814 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-548-1383, —EGJ

All Bottled Up

Vintage apothecary bottles from a historic Oakland pharmacy make a unique gift for your local history lover. These magical bottles arrived at Gold and Rust Finds via the Lee Family of Eagle Pharmacy. There are roughly 100 bottles, starting at $50. They come in a range of sizes, some in amber, green, or clear glass with glass, cork, or metal lids. Originally used for holding medicines, they originate from Oakland in the early 1900s when Eagle Pharmacy was at 4701 E. 14th St. In the late 1960s, Dr. Richard Lee (a third-generation Oakland resident) took over Eagle Pharmacy and also employed Ruby Fong, one of California’s first female Chinese-American pharmacists. Gift a piece of East Oakland’s history with one of these special bottles. 4268 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, 510-999-4653, —AC

Fit for a King (or Queen)

Does the ruler of your house need (or just want) a throne of his or her own? Check out the hand-designed, specially made Hugo Chair ($2,000). Swiss-born Alameda resident Hugo Reichmuth has turned his passion for woodworking and proficiency with computers into making unusually fluid, ingeniously designed chairs that re-create the “cupping” feel of lying in a hammock. “The finished chair is a one-of-a-kind modern design that looks like it’s made of hammers from the inside of a piano,” he said. Your chair can be custom-made for any color combination. Check out his website to see current models, and contact his studio for an appointment. Hugo Reichmuth, Alameda,—LL

Faces of the East Bay