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Looking for local gifts this holiday season? Here’s our guide for Oakland shoppers

on December 13, 2011

In a season that grows increasingly materialistic with each passing year, why not at least support the local economy while showering your loved ones with presents? Oakland’s swelling arts scene, assortment of independent businesses, and, of course, its medical marijuana economy all make for endless gift options. Our guide lists ten possible sources for holiday gifts to fit every price range. Goodbye Target, hello Oakland.

Little Shop of Hoarders
Neighborhood: North Oakland
6397 Telegraph Avenue
For: The collector

This antiques and collectibles shop opened just a few months ago at Alcatraz and Telegraph Avenues. The store is run by Tom Burke, a self-admitted hoarder, and Ron Morgan. One could spend a hefty sum on antique chairs or any number of paintings and prints, but great gift options also exist for smaller budgets as well. The extensive collection of ornaments, some antique and some “good replicas”  includes great stocking stuffers. The hamburger, ear of corn, baby’s head, weird clown and wooden Japanese crane ornaments pictured above are $5 each.

The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse
Neighborhood: Temescal
4695 Telegraph Avenue
For: The D.I.Y-er

This creative store on Telegraph is a one-stop-shop for any craft project you could dream up. From candle-making kits ($10) to scrapbook materials, as well as items like corks, miniature boxes, fabric and buttons, this place will inspire you to make something with your own hands and imagination, all for a very small price tag.

Remedy Coffee
Neighborhood: Temescal
4316 Telegraph Avenue
For: The caffeine addict

The coffee aficionado in your life will appreciate a bag of the Bay Area’s famous Ritual coffee ($15-$17). You can also buy a ceramic mug ($10) for their morning cup o’ Joe or a grab a T-shirt ($15) sporting the logo of this hip Oakland coffee shop.

It’s Your Move
Neighborhood: Temescal
4920 Telegraph Avenue
For: The gamer

‘It’s Your Move!’ sells games you’ve probably never heard of, covering topics you might have never imagined. “Their subject matter might be a problem at Target,” said Chris Specker, co-owner, as she pulled games like “Trailer Park Wars” ($31.99), “Stoner Fluxx,” ($19.99), and “Playing Gods, The Game of Divine Domination” ($69.99 for a signed copy, $49.99 for an unsigned copy) off of the shelves. The store’s gem might be the lone copy of a 1970’s board game called “Class Struggle: To Prepare for Life in Capitalist America,” which shows a man arm-wrestling with Karl Marx. The game, still in its original wrapping, sells for $149.99. They sell several games created by small companies local to the Bay Area.

Neighborhood: Temescal
470 49th Street
For: The nature lover

Allison Futeral wanted to start a farm in Temescal, but instead wound up with a store. She didn’t give up on nature altogether, though, and now—with her business partner Leigh Okies—sells “horticultural rarities” from Crimson’s tiny storefront. Who wants a Kindle or slippers when they could get a terrarium ($35-$60), a framed leopard lacewing butterfly ($30), or a taxidermied starling shadow box ($150)?  The birds, which Futeral promises all died of natural causes, come from a taxidermist friend who works at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Crimson takes “putting a bird on it” to a whole new level.

Neighborhood: Temescal
482a 49th Street
For: A romantic partner

Esqueleto’s storefront studio on Temescal Alley—off of 49th Street, just east of Telegraph—is the creative home of Lauren Wolf, an Oakland artist. She studied jewelry design in Mexico’s mountains, and her creations, made of various rocks and metals, reflect that influence. The pieces displayed above, a pyrite earring stud for $40 and an agate and druzy ring for $120, are simple and beautiful. If you plan on proposing to your partner this holiday season, the unconventional engagement rings here are made with diamonds and matted gold, and sell for about $3,000.

Neighborhood: Downtown
1444 Broadway Avenue
For: The loyal Oaklander

You can’t get more local than Oaklandish, a store that celebrates “local love and original Oakland charm.” Oakland artist Linda Latouche lives three blocks from the store and creates jewelry, like this heart necklace ($26), out of Oakland maps. Or perhaps you’d like to give someone who loves Oakland a felt Telegraph Avenue street sign pillow ($50). The artist, Sharon Murriguez, also makes custom street sign designs, if someone you know might like to rest her head on her very own street.

Neighborhood: Downtown
1427 Broadway Avenue
For: The artistic type

Oakollectiv has a number of gift possibilities, mostly made by local artists. Co-owners Penelope Adibe and Rachel Konte each have a line of stylish screen-printed apparel with varying prices. Hand-made scented all-natural soy candles (Bartlett pear, nectarine mint), made by the San Francisco company type.lites, come with typewritten quotes and messages ($20). The tiny journals, made by Oakland’s Bylee Design, are $5.

The Flower Building
Neighborhood: Uptown
2930 Telegraph Avenue
For: Someone crafty

The Flower Building, also known by its address, 2930 Telegraph, hosted a craft sale of work by local artists on December 2 and 3. Ro Aldana, one of the vendors, is an Oakland artist with a fondness for all things owl. Her fabric-adorned and hand-printed greeting cards are $5, and the bird wallet is $20. You can find more of her work at her website:

Oaksterdam Gift Shop
Neighborhood: Downtown
405 15th Street
For: The cannabis lover

It wouldn’t be an Oakland gift guide if we left out pot. The Oaksterdam Gift Shop sells a range of marijuana paraphernalia as well as cannabis-themed knick-knacks. The cookie cutter ($6) and ice cube tray ($9) would make great stocking stuffers. The chess set ($32) could be an entertaining gift for someone who enjoys both pot and chess. Perhaps at the same time.

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
Oakland North

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