Hanukkah is over. Luckily for everyone else, I stumbled upon lots excellent, inexpensive gifts offered by several of our Bernal Heights merchants while finishing up the last of my holiday shopping last week. So never mind that my shopping is done; yours may be just beginning! Here are some last-minute gift ideas I found around the neighborhood:
Drinking Cups and/or Succulent Planters
Where: Succulence on Cortland
Price: Beginning at $27
It’s for humans! No, it’s for plants! It’s a drinking cup for tea! No, it’s a small planter for your countertop! Actually, according to the staff at Succulence, it’s both! These lovely pieces from Jennifer Fisher look great no matter how you use them.
Wooden Toy Sports Cars
Where: Chloe’s Closet on Cortland
Matchbox or Hot Wheels are always popular among the under-10 set, but these wooden toy cars jack-up the style quotient. The bodies are made from sustainable bamboo and the vehicles themselves are powered by clean, abundant, and eco-friendly momentum. Sound good? There’s one catch: Prolonged exposure to these toys may turn your child into a future recruit for the Bernal Dads Racing Team.
Totally Frikkin’ Amazing Pickles
Where: Paulie’s Pickling on Cortland
Price: $8 per jar
Our family had our annual “vodka and latke” party last week — a seasonal ritual that embraces the Eastern European tradition of downing ice-cold vodka shots with a sliced pickle chaser. (Try it! Yum!) My job was to buy the pickles, so I loaded up at Paulie’s. Even if you’re not celebrating in St. Petersburg style, pickles from Paulie’s will bring a smile to any foodie’s face.
Old Skool Bicycle Bells
Where: The New Wheel on Cortland
Price: $11 to $27
If they ride a bike in the city, they definitely need a bell. These Crane bicycle bells from Japan all offer classic styling, and they’re available in a variety of metal finishes. Ring-a-ding-ding!
Artsy, Awesome Bernal Heights Photographs
Where: Inclusions Gallery on Cortland
Price: $25 each
I found these hiding in the back room of the Inclusions Gallery. They’re wonderful. This series of photos by Erin Malone shows a variety of images around Bernal Heights and Bernal Hill. They’re small format, but each comes mounted in a generous mat for that über-artsy look. There’s a nice selection to choose from too, so it’s easy to find a perspective that captures Bernal as you love it most.
Make Your Own Gummies Kit
Where: Rock Candy Snack Shop on Cortland
I would have bought one of these for Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter, except we’re still digging our way out from under a pile of surplus sour worms left over from Halloween. Too bad, because this DIY gummy candy kit looked like a ton of fun, and it’s a whole lot more wholesome than our unholy Halloween leftovers. The kit uses natural seaweed as a gummy-agent, and it comes with an extended geek-out on the story of carrageenan, as well as everything you need to make some sweet treats.
T-Shirts From the World’s Second-Most Glamorous Zip Code
Where: Secession Art and Design on Mission
Price: $28 and up
We’re cool, here in Bernal Heights. We don’t brag. We don’t boast. Our style is understated jet-set chic, and that extends to the clothes we wear as we wander the world. These sporty t-shirts tell everyone that you’re representing the 94110, and if some people don’t know where that is — well, then those are people you probably didn’t really want to know anyway. The shirts available in sizes for infants to adults, and I’m sad to report that Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter just outgrew the one I gave her a few years ago. Bonus: The names of our world-famous local streets are embedded in the numerals, for extra graphic-design pizzaz.
Versatile Throw Pillows That Also Happen to Look Like Logs
Where: Heartfelt on Cortland
True Story: I bought one of these pillows a few months ago. I got it because I thought it would look fun on our living room sofa — and it does. But turns out these compact pillows (which are sold in a variety of woodgrains) are also good for so much more. For example, while packing for a car-camping trip last summer, I grabbed the pillow off the sofa and stuffed it in my bag to use as a head rest inside my tent. It was ridiculously comfortable, and I got a great nights’ sleep. Then I came home from camping, unloaded my gear, and flopped the pillow back on our living room sofa — where it continues to look good as new. Indeed, I’m sitting on the sofa as I write this now, with my log-pillow perched behind me to provide lower-back support. Quirky, comfy, fun, and so much more.
PHOTOS: All photos by Telstar Logistics, except for the 94110 shirts, which came courtesy of Secession Art and Design