Not everyone has a knack for gift-giving. Etiquette dictates you’re not supposed to give someone something you want. Also, you can’t just give up and hand over a wad of cash. And if you want to give a gift that’s totally SF, how do you find one that isn’t mired in kitsch? Trust us, that Golden Gate Bridge snow globe isn’t going to win over your future in-laws (besides, it doesn’t, er, snow here). Don’t worry, we got you. The things we’ve collected for this year’s Curbed SF holiday gift guide embody this place, from the ceramic splatter bowls, which draw from the Bay Area’s long history of artisans, to the aluminum Sutro Tower replica, a nod to our looming architecture. One more utterly refreshing thing about our humble gift guide: It is proudly tech-free.
Preserved octopus specimen in jar
$78 | Paxton Gate
Eerie yet chic, this preserved octopus in a jar, care of the minds at Paxton Gate, a landscaping and taxidermy store in the Mission, will elicit oohs, ahhs, and a few gasps when revealed. Each specimen, sourced from ethical vendors and private collectors around the world, makes for the perfect home or office accent to offset any room suffering from minimalism overload.
Sands Ojo wall hanging with moon and dune
$150 | West Perro
A wink to the Memphis Group, the Mojave Desert, and coastal living, Jimmy Brower’s wall hanging brings a little outdoor magic inside. Made with clay, leather, and birch wood, each piece is made to order (be sure to order at least two weeks in advance to get it in time for the holidays).
Aluminum Sutro Tower replica
$180 | Laurence Srinivasan
When it comes to San Francisco signifiers, locals bypass the Painted Ladies, the Transamerica Pyramid, and that orange hunk of metal in the bay in favor of Sutro Tower, the 977-foot-high, three-pronged TV and radio tower that rises at the top of Twin Peaks. It’s so beloved, in fact, that many denizens tattoo it on their bodies. This bright red, sleek and sturdy aluminum replica, riding 13 inches high and created by artist Laurence Srinivasan, is the next best thing to permanently affixing it to your delicate skin.
Modern Mud black cloth dog bed
$55 | The Foggy Dog
Made from recycled fiber spun from plastic bottles and filled with eco-friendly fiberfill, this snazzy pup pillow comes in a variety of prints and fill options to fit any look or comfort preference. Our personal favorite, the patterned chevron print, is also available in a clean white that we love. You can skip the pillow insert altogether and fill the pillowcase with something familiar, which is best for any anxious pups.
Pin featuring SFMOMA’s original facade
For years, not-so-very-nice people besmirched Mario Botto’s joyous postmodern brick-and-stone facade for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. But ever since the museum’s mammoth expansion in 2017—as well as a refreshing renaissance for all things PoMo—art lovers and architecture geeks have fallen in love all over again with the original exterior, which is featured on this enamel pin.
Cirrus organic cotton throw
$148 | Coyuchi
Though this comes in three colors, we recommend gifting “spice” since it evokes the hue of the San Francisco Giants. Featuring woven thick organic cotton yarns, which are brushed for maximum softness, it’s also the ideal throw for the city’s typically chilly nights.
$120 | Mel Ceramica
Slough off the minimalism blues with a series of spotty yet sublime serving bowls from the cheeky mind of Melissa Rice (her profanity-laced ceramic mugs are a hot item at her Valencia Street stand). She hand-throws these black splatter bowls out of porcelain right from her Outer Sunset studio.
$30-$120 | J.Hannah Co.
Karl Lagerfeld, it is rumored, used to spray his curtains at home with Guerlain’s iconic Mitsouko. Here’s a better alternative: the award-winning fragrance Skive, a smoky and leather scent by perfumer and leatherworker Canoe, which is as nice sprayed on your neck and wrists as it is co-mingling with your home’s air.
Large bronze ashtray
While the days of lighting up a Virginia Slim at a cocktail party are all but done, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo the ashtray as home decor. Edith Heath’s 1940s ceramic cigarette-butt receptacle has been given a hefty 2019 upgrade, cast in bronze and shined to reflective perfection. Fill it with your favorite candy or, if you must, tip your dank roaches in it.