Yujie: If you’re interested in any of “The Local Foods Wheel — Bay Area,” “Sitting Woman Beeswax Candle,” “Painter Pant — Conductor Stripe,” and “Cache Jar — Small Blue,” then the design collective Gravel & Gold at 21st and Lexington streets is the place to go.
Eleni: If you’re looking for a unique gift, Paxton Gate always comes through. You can find taxidermies of different animals or animal parts, all sorts of bones and fossils, and they’ve got trinkets for days. If your gift recipient is into more “normal” things like plants, art and jewelry, they’ve got those, too.
Annika: Book lovers, assemble! You can’t go wrong with a page-turner, especially if, on the dedication page, you leave a personal note addressed to your beloved recipient. Sure, you can hit some of the city’s other treasured bookstores, but I’d argue the gallery and art-filled bookshops in the Mission will soothe any frantic feelings induced by last-minute shopping. I’m thinking Dog Eared Books, Medicine for Nightmares, and the Adobe Books & Arts Collaborative.
Or, go the sentimental (and best) route, and gift a beloved photograph or homemade drawing using frames supplied by Back to the Picture. Snag a print while you’re there, too. Need other essentials like a fun card, or stocking stuffers? Look no further than the whimsical tchotchkes found at Serendipity Cards & Gifts, a store I often ravage right before a loved one’s birthday.
Lydia: Mixcoatl on 24th Street, where I can buy anything from a pair of earrings to some Mexican wine glasses. Also, Laku on Valencia Street for mittens, slippers and vintage jewelry.
Joe: Falla’s Discount store: If you’ve forgotten your anniversary, I’ll admit it, this is probably not the place to go. Not unless your significant other would like some boxer briefs or a t-shirt with Bruce Lee as a DJ or a school uniform. But, for so many purposes, this place does work.
For my foreign relatives, for whom many of these items would be a fun novelty, this is a great place to buy clothes. There are also dirt-cheap children’s outfits — and, if you want to give someone socks, you should shop here first. And they sell all manner of children’s games and toys. This isn’t the best place for a gift that screams “I really put a lot of thought into this,” but it is the place for a gift someone may enjoy anyway.
Annie: Bolerium Books (2141 Mission St., #300) has a delightful collection of social and political movement posters, books, pamphlets and other ephemera. Multiple eras, geographies, and languages are represented, and even perusing their website’s hundreds of subject tags is fun. For in-person visits, do make an appointment so they can pull items of interest from their massive collection. A bit niche, but if you like to give the gift of information or solidarity, you’ll do no better than Bolerium.