5 Great Local Gift Ideas

By Cathy Niland | 10.21.2021

The gift-giving season is just around the corner! Shopping early is a great way to ensure your gifts arrive on time and it gives artists and small businesses a much-needed sense of security. This guide will help you find local makers here in the Bay Area and beyond.

Small businesses provide the feeling that a real person is behind it all, someone who cares more about giving us a quality product or service, over just taking our hard-earned dollars.

– Annie Bukhman,
Designer and founder of Gift Shop Brooklyn to Forbes magazine

Buying local gifts

Supporting local artists and small businesses has never been more important. According to the Brookings Institute, the San Francisco metropolitan area lost an estimated 57,289 creative sector jobs between April and July 2020, totaling an estimated $7.4 billion in losses.

We encourage everyone to shop small this holiday season. Patronizing the artists and small businesses in your city means your dollar makes an impact on your community. The money made by artists stays within the local economy and the sales taxes paid by small businesses go toward schools, community services, and public works projects.

shop local

How to find great local gifts

We’re lucky to live in the age of the internet where shoppers can find locally made gifts almost anywhere. And in the wake of the pandemic, more artists are putting their unique products online than ever before. No matter where you live, Etsy makes it easy to shop local sellers by changing your shop location in your search. You can also find (and follow) artists and makers in your city using Instagram hashtags like #MadeInPortland, #HoustonMaker, #PhillyCraft, or #ChicagoCeramics.

See You In Person At GIFTY!

You can shop 80 local vendors selling things like original jewelry, handcrafted soaps, sculpted glassware, and so much more!

And don’t miss Giving Back At GIFTY, where a number of generous vendors have donated items with 100% of sales going toward Crucible programming.

5 local gift ideas in the San Francisco Bay Area

The Bay Area is well known for its rich creative community. From unique gift shops to makers markets to independent sellers, there are so many ways to support artists and small businesses. Here are our top five recommendations for shopping local this holiday season!

1. Shop local Bay Area markets—online and in-person

Makers markets are finding new ways to connect artists and shoppers this holiday season. The Crucible’s annual craft show GIFTY is in person this year, from December 3 to 5. We’ll be welcoming in local vendors and small businesses so you can shop directly from the source.

You can also shop in person at other local markets. West Coast Craft and Head West Marketplace are a few great options throughout Oakland, Alameda, San Francisco, and Sebastapol.

shop local
shop local
shop local

2. Buy local art

Here are 13 Bay Area artists and makers you can support this holiday season.

You can shop our faculty art page and support our community of working artists. And if you’re looking for masks to gift the fashionista in your life, be sure to check out our Bay Area Local Mask Maker Guide.

Looking for more ways to support local artists?

Head over to our latest blog post for 5 ways to support local artists.

3. Show your love for the Bay Area’s BIPOC businesses

It is extremely important to support the BIPOC businesses that make Oakland and the Bay Area so special. Where you spend your money is just one way to integrate anti-racist practices into your daily life.

Blk Girls Green House is a great West Oakland shop curated by Kalkidan Gebreyohannes and J’Maica Roxanne. Not only do they sell beautiful plants, but they also feature a collection of home goods and apparel from other black-owned businesses. Just a few blocks up the street, you can shop at Marcus Books, the oldest Black-owned independent bookstore in America, featuring a vast collection works of written by and about Black folks.

shop local
shop local
shop local

A popular favorite among Crucible staffers is Oakland-based beauty and lifestyle brand IYOBA. They make absolutely amazing products, including artisan soaps, face masks, bath bombs, and hair products. Be careful though, because you might have a hard time parting with your IYOBA goodies—we speak from personal experience, buy extra!

For even more shopping ideas, check out the Bay Area Organization of Black Owned Businesses (BAOBOB) directory.

4. Give the gift of food

This holiday season, you can support your favorite local restaurants by purchasing gift certificates, ordering holiday meals, or buying specialty items—all great gifts for yourself and others!

We also recommend Absinthia, Formosa Chocolates, and Fabula Tea, three great Bay Area vendors you can support by shopping local.

5. Get Crucible merch, classes, and gift certificates

This holiday season, you can support The Crucible’s mission to keep the industrial arts accessible to everyone by shopping original Crucible merch, including apparel, masks, and refurbished bikes.

shop local
shop local
shop local

Crucible classes are also a popular gift. You can register a family member for one of our upcoming classes, including new offerings coming this year. Not sure which class they might like to take? Crucible gift certificates will let them get creative in whichever department they choose. You can order yours online in any denomination—a great gift idea up to the last minute.

Crucible members get 10% off!

By becoming a Crucible member, not only do you get 10% off merchandise and class tuition, you also make our scholarships and community programs possible. Register today for discounts and other member benefits.

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