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San Francisco Christmas and Holiday Gift Ideas

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Shopping can be one of the most important but stressful elements of the holidays. To avoid the mall and department store crowds, you might be tempted to just buy everyone identical red sweaters or Amazon.com gift cards. But here are some ideas for alternatives that are more personalized and thoughtful and that help San Francisco and San Franciscans--and can be obtained without sacrificing your sanity. For presents that everyone can use, see our separate guide to SF Bay Area food and foodie gifts.

 

GIFTS THAT DO GOOD
ScholarMatch
Give someone a scholar: ScholarMatch gift cards support financially needy but high-achieving college-bound students. The gift card recipients describe what kinds of students they’d like to support; the students in turn send updates on their progress. Founded by San Francisco author Dave Eggers, ScholarMarch assists students through the college admissions process and beyond. It’s helped more than 200 students with $400,000 in scholarships since its May 2010 launch.

Changing the Present
A slew of ideas for charitable gifts including memberships to nonprofit groups and gifts that benefit the environment, animals, human rights, education and other good causes. You’ll find something for everyone.

Under One Roof
Ornaments galore and other decor, Christmas cards, San Francisco skyline martini glasses, housewares, books, gear and toys for pets and other gifts. The store donates net profits to community agencies that provide HIV/AIDS services.
At Crocker Galleria, 50 Post St., San Francisco 94104

The Pirate Supply Store
Also the site of 826 Valencia, the nonprofit writing center for Bay Area youth co-founded by award-winning author Dave Eggers, the store plies San Francisco literary maps, student-written anthologies with forewords by luminaries like Daniel Alarcón, Khaled Hosseini and Adam Savage, other literature, and pirate supplies such as hooks, glass eyes, games, tattoo remover and treasure chests.
At 826 Valencia St., San Francisco 94110.

Creativity Explored Annual Holiday Art Sale
December 6-30, 2013
Prints, paintings, stationery, drawings, sculptures, fabrics and ceramics made by more than 135 disabled artists are on display and sale.
At Creativity Explored Gallery and Studio, 3245 16th St., San Francisco 94103.

 

MUSEUM GIFT SHOPS
Get your holiday shopping done and treat yourself to an exhibit, all at one stop. Culturally rich San Francisco has numerous museums with shops carrying thoughtful items for all ages. Admission to the stores is free.

Among others, there are the Asian Art Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Cable Car Museum, Cartoon Art Museum, Contemporary Jewish Museum and the Museum of the African Diaspora. The Exploratorium hosts holiday shopping nights on Dec. 12 and 19, 2013, that include free beverages and gift wrapping. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's store is open on Yerba Buena Lane (though the museum itself is closed until 2016 while it's being expanded), carries Tina Frey sculptures and other Bay-Area-made products and publishes a holiday gift guide categorized by price levelsThe museum stores at the de Young and Legion of Honor also have an annual gift guide whose highlights include a scarf inspired by Odilon Redon's Ophelia painting, a fan with graphics from The Art of Bulgari exhibition and art books for kids. 

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