santa cruz holiday gift guide
December 2018

Think Holiday, Buy Locally

By Delphine Burns

As the holidays approach, it’s tempting to scour Amazon for easy gifts for friends and family. Although online shopping can be enticing, Santa Cruz County is full of unique gift-giving potential. Instead of browsing online this year, support local businesses, find special gifts and explore your community all at once. This gift guide highlights local businesses countywide to help you bring a little piece of Santa Cruz County to your holiday celebrations.

santa cruz holiday gift guide

Santa Cruz

Petroglyph Ceramic Lounge

If you need to get creative in a time crunch, Petroglyph is the place for you. At this local paint-it-yourself pottery studio, simply select a piece of pottery and a few colors to design an art piece tailored to your loved one. Opt to paint an intricate design with thin-tipped brushes or use a thicker brush to paint something more minimalist.

Price: Studio fee is $9 for children 12 and under and $10 for adults. Each ceramic is individually priced, ranging from $5 to over $50.

santa cruz holiday gift guide

Birichino Wines

The Birichino tasting room is a new addition to downtown Santa Cruz, but definitely a gem. 

From bubbly whites to aromatic reds, Birichino’s diverse selections are sure to pique the interest of the wine-lover in your family.

Price: Birichino wines range from $17 to $95 per bottle.

santa cruz holiday gift guide

Start Now! You Can Make a Difference by Chelsea Clinton (Bookshop Santa Cruz)

This children’s book is chock-full of solutions to adult problems. For the youngest activists you know, #1 New York Times bestselling author Chelsea Clinton offers tips on how to change the world, regardless of your age. Support local businesses by purchasing at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Price: $16.99

Seymour Center Membership

Give the gift of environmental education this year with a membership to the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. Children can interact with sharks, sea stars and other nautical friends while learning about ocean conservation at this community-supported marine science education center.

Price:  Membership fees vary.

Adult: $40

Student: $20

Senior: $35

UCSC Employees & Alumni: $35

Downtown Dollars

Not sure where your loved ones shop? Downtown Dollars are redeemable at most shops in downtown Santa Cruz and may be purchased year round at Bookshop Santa Cruz, the Downtown Information Kiosk, or Pacific Cookie Company. Here is a list of businesses currently accepting Downtown Dollars.

Price: Gift cards for any dollar amount may be purchased.

San Lorenzo Valley

Mountainside Made Jewelry (Felton)

Support Mountainside Made through its first holiday season! Felton’s contemporary general store carries more than just jewelry. From books to art to children’s gifts, you’re bound to find something unique for every member of the family. Shop in store or online at

Price: Prices vary, starting at $5.

santa cruz holiday gift guide

Chocolate Visions (Scotts Valley)

This chocolate shop allows customers to print logos and designs on any chocolate, allowing for a customizable gift. Chocolate Vision has over 18 flavors and uses fresh, natural ingredients.

Price: Assortments begin at $23.95


Beer Thirty

Beer Thirty is a taproom, bottle shop and beer garden featuring outdoor games, fire lamps and the finest craft beer. Its dog-friendly atmosphere and extensive menagerie of ciders and beers makes it the perfect setting for holiday gatherings. Take your loved ones out for a relaxing afternoon or simply purchase a gift card.

Price: Gift cards for any dollar amount may be purchased.


Warmth Company Boutique

Peruse Aptos-based Warmth Company for candles, glassware, books, artwork, body products and more. This boutique is locally owned and frequently updated with quaint gifts.

Price: Prices vary, starting at $5.


Gizdich Ranch

Many locals say Gizdich Ranch makes the best pies they’re ever tasted.  Gizdich Ranch has been owned and operated by the Gizdich family for four generations. Among highly-recommended Holiday favorites is the apple pie.

Price: Prices vary depending on pie flavor and size.


CA State Park Annual Pass

Annual passes allow holders access to any state park for a year. Gift a year’s worth of outdoor adventures to your favorite nature enthusiast and allow them to revel in California’s natural beauty year-round, from Big Basin to Joshua Tree.

Price: Annual vehicle pass costs $125.


Donate to your favorite non-profit in honor of your loved ones. Below are a few recommendations.

Monarch Services

Monarch Services is a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking. This organization is committed to serving Santa Cruz county, with a special commitment to women, youth, children, Latinas and other under-served groups.

Barrios Unidos

Barrios Unidos is a youth violence prevention organization dedicated to providing alternatives to at-risk youth and re-entry opportunities to former prisoners.

Ecology Action

Ecology Action seeks to diminish the impacts of climate change by connecting community members with environmentally-sustainable solutions, focusing primarily on energy, water and transportation.

Price: Donation amounts are up to you!

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