Everyone is easy to shop for

20 local, thoughtful and ultra-specific holiday gifts for every loved one on your list

Photo By Priscilla Garcia

For the red-wine snob

A ‘reds only’ wine-club membership at Boeger Winery

We recommend buying this wine-club membership for someone you live with. That way, you can help drink each shipment of wines hand-selected by Boeger vintners. The shipments arrive four to six times per year, cost $40-$50 each, and include two or three bottles. Best of all, Boeger is close enough to Sacramento that you can pick up your shipments in person and taste even more wine while you’re there.

1709 Carson Road in Placerville, (530) 622-8094, www.boegerwinery.com.

For the culturally curious

Tickets to a show at Three Stages at Folsom Lake College

Though Three Stages at Folsom Lake College is less than a year old, the $50 million performing-arts facility is fast becoming a destination for culturally relevant entertainment in the region. Slip a couple of tickets for one of Three Stages’ upcoming shows inside a holiday card for a can’t-miss gift. Highlights from the 2012 calendar include the Moscow Ballet’s Swan Lake on February 9-10 ($29-$59), the Playing for Change Band on March 11 ($17-$25), and the nationally touring production of The Color Purple April 10-12 ($39-$59).

10 College Parkway in Folsom, (916) 608-6888, www.threestages.net.

For newly legal chickens

Two Flew the Coop’s designer chicken homes

This month, it finally became legal for Sacramento city residents to keep two chickens in their yards. Shelter your new feathered friends this holiday season with a designer chicken coop from Two Flew the Coop. Coop architects Greg Howes and Brian Fikes sell their custom chicken dwellings at Talini’s Nursery & Garden Center. We love the Karma Coop, a little red domicile with Tibetan prayer flags and a gold Buddha over the door. For less spiritual fowl, the spring-green Coop of the Rising Sun is a bright addition to any backyard.

Talini’s Nursery & Garden Center, 5601 Folsom Boulevard; (916) 451-8150.

For the Christmas-tree enthusiast

The perfect ornament from Dorothea’s

Dorothea’s has been selling Christmas decorations in Old Folsom year-round for more than 45 years. The sprawling shop is a forest of Christmas trees, all decorated in sparkling and opulent themes. The store has ornaments shaped like owls, wine bottles, shamrocks, skunks, cowboy hats, pizza slices, squirrels, nutcrackers, peacocks, soccer balls and hundreds more options. With such a large selection, you can find one with personal significance for everyone on your list.

801 Sutter Street in Old Folsom, (916) 985-2714, www.dorotheas.com.

For your snowboarding-novice girlfriend

Romantic weekend at Sierra-at-Tahoe

You want your girlfriend to love snowboarding as much as you do, so make sure her first experience is the best. Sierra-at-Tahoe boasts a relatively short drive from Sacramento, easy lessons for beginners, and romantic weekend packages. Just $35 buys the Learn to Ski/Ride Special, which includes equipment rental, a two-and-a-half hour class, and a limited lift ticket. The Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge and Spa Romance Package starts at $199 and includes lodging, two adult lift tickets, two one-hour massages and romantic room décor. Romance her on the slopes, and maybe next year she’ll get you a season pass.

1111 Sierra-at-Tahoe Road in Twin Bridges, (530) 659-7453, www.sierraattahoe.com.

To find the perfect Christmas tree ornament for everyone on your list, head to Dorothea’s in Old Folsom.

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For the wicked inner child

Kim’s Sticks and Strings custom zombie dolls

Everything’s coming up zombies in pop culture these days, but Sacramento knitter Kim Sofia’s handcrafted yarn monsters are unique works of art. Order a zombie boy or girl, with or without limbs, to please your morbid friends. These little monsters are too scary for children, but they pack plenty of personality for your braver associates. To give the gift of the undead this holiday season, place an order with Sofia right away. She makes them by hand to customer specifications and can only do a limited number for the holidays.

Visit Kim’s Sticks and Strings on Facebook.

For the boyfriend with a Movember mustache

Cowboy Comb and mustache wax

November is the official start of mustache season, and plenty of “Movember” ’staches are sprouting on the upper lips of men throughout Sacramento. If your man is committed to his mustache, make sure he’s packing a Cowboy Comb. These pocket-sized, mustache-shaped combs come in three varieties: basic black ($5.99), feminine pink ($5.99) and gold-plated ($100). Add a tin of the Cowboy Comb official wax ($9.99) for an unbeatable grooming gift created right here in Sacramento.


For discriminating dogs

Assorted treats from the Biscuit Bar

Pet Food Express goes way beyond rawhide chews and Milk-Bones in the dog treat department. The Roseville outpost of this regional chain stocks a whole freezer of raw dog foods, a cold case featuring Yöghund frozen yogurt, and a “dog deli” with a large assortment of chewy treats. To make holiday goody bags for your friends’ pooches, we recommend the Biscuit Bar. At $2.49 a pound, you can fill plenty of paw-shaped stockings with peanut-, liver- or apple-flavored baked goods from Old Mother Hubbard Baking Company. Some are even shaped like the mailman for added culinary interest.

The Fountains at Roseville, 1009 Galleria Road in Roseville; (916) 780-5555; http://petfoodexpress.com.

For the chocoholic

Snook’s housemade fudge

Snook’s has nearly 50 years of candy-making experience, so you can trust it to deliver quality chocolate. When you don’t have time to cook for a holiday party or potluck, a tray of Snook’s fudge is an easy—and much appreciated—contribution. The wrapped 16-ounce trays ($14.95) come in three flavors: chocolate, chocolate with walnuts, and caramel praline. Snook’s also makes salted caramels, assorted chocolates and nut brittles. Order online or visit Snook’s candy shop and see the sweet stuff being made onsite.

731 Sutter Street in Old Folsom, (916) 985-0620,


Ladybug, Ladybug in Midtown has an adorably squishy collection of finger puppets—one for every child you know.

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For the friend who gets you a menorah every year

Jesus-themed gifts from Mixed Bag

It’s not easy being Jewish in December, when some well-meaning Christian friends eagerly celebrate religious diversity by showering you with menorahs, candles and anything blue and silver from Target’s Hanukkah aisle. The thought is lovely, but so are nonreligious gifts like wine or designer handbags or theater tickets. After all, you wouldn’t buy Christian friends Jesus merch for Christmas—or would you? For the friend who’s bought you one too many Star of David candle holders, Mixed Bag has an assortment of Jesus-themed gifts. We recommend the Jesus Pen ($7.50) and the Jeez-Its sticky notes ($6.25).

2405 K Street, (916) 447-6123.

For the social gourmet

Winterhill olive oil tasting kit

Winterhill Farms is the source for quality olive oils in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The farm’s “Olive Oil Party Tasting Kit in a Box” ($36.45) makes a great gift for social (and culinary) butterflies. The kit includes four Winterhill olive oil blends, glass serving dishes, appetizer recipes and instructions for hosting an olive oil tasting party. Have it shipped it with your personalized gift message, in a handsomely wrapped wooden crate with a big bow on top. For custom gift baskets, the staff will “take you shopping in our store over the phone” to create the perfect selection.

321 Main Street in Placerville, (530) 626-6369, http://winterhillfarms.com.

For the child with busy hands

A cast of finger puppets

In addition to a lovely selection of paper goods and adorable ladybug-themed house wares, this Midtown boutique also boasts an incredible selection of finger puppets from Manhattan Toy ($6.50). There are dozens of designs: pirates, aliens, dragons, a giraffe—even a tiny version of Sesame Street’s Big Bird. Buy one for every child you know, or a whole handful for one lucky puppeteer.

Ladybug Ladybug, 2512 J Street; (916) 594-7664; www.ladybugladybug.com/sac.

For the comedy aficionado

Cats Made of Rabbits CD or DVD

Even with comedy, it’s important to buy local. Turn the Comedy Central fan in your life on to Sacramento-based talent with Keith Lowell Jensen’s newest stand-up CD (or DVD) Cats Made of Rabbits. Jensen covers a range of topics both poignant and bizarre, including the miracle of childbirth, the challenges of being a cool uncle and the horrors of truck-stop souvenirs.

Available at Amazon.com; iTunes; or at the Sacramento Comedy Spot, 1050 20th Street.

For the Francophile

Anything from Boulevard de Amelie

Bring April in Paris to December in Sacramento with French-themed gifts from Boulevard de Amelie. Try the enticingly aromatic bars of La Lavende soaps ($6.50 or three for $19) or a copy of Josephine Ryan’s beautifully photographed decorating book French Home ($29.99). If your Francophile friend is planning a trip to Paris in the spring, a fabric-covered travel journal with the Eiffel Tower on the cover ($13) might be just the thing.

The Fountains at Roseville, 1182 Roseville Parkway, Suite 165 in Roseville; (916) 787-1606; www.boulevarddeamelie.com.

Who wouldn’t appreciate a gift of aromatic soap bars from the French-themed Boulevard de Amelie?

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For the Occupy Wall Street sympathist

A locally made gift from the Indie Craft Fair (paid for with cash)

If your activist friends spent the year moving their money and occupying public spaces demanding financial change, you can’t just give them a Visa gift card for the holidays. Respect their values and support the local economy by purchasing gifts from the Indie Craft Fair. On December 4, at 2:30 p.m., the Yoga Seed Collective will open its doors to a bazaar of local clothes, jewelry, visual arts, handcrafted soaps, recycled vintage goods and more. The entire event is cash only, of course.

Yoga Seed Collective, 1400 E Street, Suite B; (916) 978-1367; www.theyogaseed.org.

For the aspiring agrarian

Sacramento Master Gardeners’ River Friendly Gardening

Unpredictable weather made it tough for local gardeners to grow a decent tomato this year. It’s time to enlist the help of our regional experts for the next harvest. Order a copy of River Friendly Gardening, the 2012 Sacramento Master Gardeners’ guide and calendar ($10) for any troubled green thumbs in your life. It’s full of Sacramento-specific tips to help you conserve water and energy, protect the local habitat, and produce a successful yield.


For the those in need of a wilder life

Adopt an animal at the Sacramento Zoo

Is someone in your family ready to become a Zoo Parent? Adoption fees for an animal at the Sacramento Zoo start at $25. For $50 or more, the gift recipient receives an invitation to the annual Zoo Parent dinner, featuring live music and animal encounters. All Zoo Parents get a fact sheet about the adopted animal and a quarterly newsletter, and have their names posted on the Zoo Parent Showcase for a year.

3930 W. Land Park Drive, (916) 808-5888, www.saczoo.org.

For anyone with tastebuds

Granite Bay Farms hot pepper relish

Over the years, Granite Bay Farms has expanded its offerings to a wide assortment of mustards, fruit spreads, salad dressings, rubs and pickled vegetables, but it was the hot pepper relish recipe that started it all. Despite its name, this award-winning relish is not dangerously spicy, and its sweet and tangy kick compliments most burgers and appetizers. Order 8-ounce jars ($5.99), or send gift baskets, gift certificates and sampler packs to out-of-town friends.

(800) 858-2767, www.granitebayfarms.com.

For the roaming gypsy queen

Her new favorite dress from Empress

Walking into Empress feels like stepping into a goddess’ hope chest. From floor to ceiling, the store overflows with vintage cocktail gowns, belly-dancing costumes, vintage lingerie, imported oils and incense, and sparkling costume jewelry. It’s the perfect shop to find a gift for all the divas, goddesses and free-spirited gypsy dancers you know.

582 Main Street in Placerville, (530) 642-2555.

For the overtired holiday shopper

A hot-stone massage from Mellow Me Out

Once you’re done procuring these gifts, it’s time to decompress with a spa package from Mellow Me Out, SN&R readers’ choice for the best day spa in Sacramento. $49 buys the “We Will Rock You” package—a facial or a hot-stone massage that includes a hot-rock foot bath guaranteed to relax even the most frenzied shopper. If that seems too selfish, spring for a group spa package like Martini Madness ($49 per person) or Mellow Me Out Madness ($69 per person), and bring your loved ones along.

Various locations, www.mellowmeout.com.